First annual Write-A-Thon brings together writers of all stripes

Kamloops Society for the Written Arts promises a day of fun, productivity and participation

Baker hopes that the event will bring writers together from across the city, particularly young people. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

On March 9 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., the Kamloops Society for the Written Arts (KSWA) will be hosting their first annual Spring Forward Write-A-Thon. The KSWA plans to establish the fundraising event as an annual day of writing, fun and community participation, says JP Baker, chair of the organizing committee and Secretary-Treasurer of KSWA.

While the KSWA has hosted events in the past, such as their annual Writers Festival in the fall, Baker notes that this will be the KSWA’s first actual fundraiser.

“We wanted to do something new. Lots of organizations do fundraisers. There is so much competition to do dinners, that sort of stuff. We thought ‘How do we have fun ourselves.’ So even if we don’t raise money, at the end of it, we’ll say ‘That was a blast’,” Baker said. “So it will be fun even if we don’t make any money, but hopefully we’ll make some money!”

The fundraising for the event will work in the form of pledges, says Baker. While participants in the Write-A-Thon are asked to seek pledges from friends, neighbours and family members before the event takes place, pledges aren’t a prerequisite to entry.

“Ideally, we’d love people to come in with something but we’re not placing huge demands on people. If you get some friends to throw you a few bucks, we’re happy,” Baker said. “There are some people out there who are raising several hundred dollars, that’s great but the big thing for us is participation. So if someone doesn’t feel like they can raise a lot of money, that’s fine. We still want them to participate.”

While fundraising isn’t exactly required, Baker says that there will be prizes for those who do the most fundraising. The top fundraiser will get a pass to the fall Writers Festival and a Writer’s League kit.

“Writer League kits are a subscription kit that comes with all sorts of stuff from writers and a stack of signed books from our previous guest writers,” Baker said.

The event isn’t just for creative writers either, says Baker. In fact, the KSWA is encouraging anyone who needs to sit down and put their pen to paper to come join them. According to Baker, some people will be spending the day writing letters to old friends, doing university assignments or simply journaling.

In addition to the chance to work on that short story you’ve had in your head, the event will also offer entertainment, performances and inspiration. Door prizes will be drawn every hour, a rock band will be playing live music and local authors have promised to come and speak at the event.

“At lunchtime, we’ll have some published local authors coming to talk about what they have done,” Baker said. “We have got a couple of city councillors participating. So there will be established authors, a couple that want to come participate and a couple that want to come and say some words of encouragement.”

At the end of the night, an Open Mic will take place where writers are encouraged to read their work.

“At 8:00 p.m., when the Write-A-Thon ends, we’ll start the Open Mic. We’ll have music and people from throughout the day are welcome to come and read their stuff. They don’t have to, there is no obligation to,” Baker said. “That’ll be a fun event too and anyone is welcome to come to that.”

While the money raised will end up going to support the yearly Writers Festival and hosting guest speakers, the Write-A-Thon is about bringing together writers in the Kamloops community more than anything else, says Baker.

“Writing can be an isolating thing and we hold these events in part because it’s good to go out and get connected and meet other writers,” he said.

Detailed information about the event can be found at www.kswa.ca. Interested participants should email info@kswa.ca with their name, phone number, address, and a single sentence stating why they want to be involved.

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