An Overview of YouthWrite Peak II Experience 2018

 Ages 15-19: July 8-13, 2018 at Kamp Kiwanis, Bragg Creek, AB

By Thomas Trofimuk and Mary Pinkoski

1. Imagine this: A field in the middle of the afternoon sun sits poised on the bedrock earth like a sheet a paper. It is a form of sorts into which you will pour your body, arrange yourself in various iterations by moving through it. Mid-week you realize that this field is exactly what you have been doing with your words on paper, with your body yoga stretching itself across the front deck, with your drum hands flailing in the air, with your song voice moving through space, with your improv rushing up against the walls, with your art rising off the table and off the typewriter, and (again) with your writing, always your writing.

Imagine this: you find yourself at YouthWrite Peak II 2018. In her poem, Packing for the Future: Instructions, Lorna Crozier writes:

Take the thickest socks.

Wherever you're going

you'll have to walk.


There may be water.

There may be stones.

There may be high places

you cannot go without

the hope socks bring you,

the way they hold you

to the earth.


Did you bring your socks? Are you being held to the earth?

2. And imagine this: This is a rearranging of sensibilities. This is a beautiful immersion. This is a curious growth spurt. You walk around the YouthWrite Peak II campus with your notebook and you are swimming in creative energy. The water is warm, and teeming with life. You laugh, and write and stretch your creative muscles. You listen and tread water. You might swim a little, farther out to sea – rising and falling with each arriving wave. You become ebb, and then you become flow. You will fill up each day with that creative energy and in the night you will dream of sprawling epic narratives – with thousands of full-blown characters and such a stunning complexity. And in the morning you will be hungry again. It will be a simple hunger. Easy to understand. You will know where to fill up again, and how, you just won’t know anything about the offering.

Take a breath. Inhale deeply. That is the smell of morning. That is the feel of muscles stretching against gravity. That is you, sinking back into your body. That is movement away from the unconscious into the conscious, and purposely diving into the unconscious. That is being an artist, with a voice, with a unique awareness of the world. A breathing acuity. Now, what’s your story? What is your story? What? Where do you begin? Take a breath. Pull on your socks. Let them hug your feet. Take a deep breath, and begin.

Perhaps there is a deer: Perhaps there is a deer, standing at the edge of the far field. Can you imagine what this deer sees? It stands there at the edge of things, as deer do, and watches as it grazes the tall grass. The sightlines are ideal, as it will easily see a predator coming. In the distance, there are dozens of students and teachers, and one black cat that drools when it is happy, all travelling invisible pathways across time, and space and story. They are all engaged in one long story, made up of smaller stories and fragments of stories, and bits of poetry, and something that occurred during a yoga pose, a beat – from a drumming exercise – that stuck, and a scene inspired by a man named Spyder. Somewhere inside an improvisation you will see the way forward in your own story. Listening to a half-baked melody, you will know where your own song begins. Watching the whimsy of something called the BEEG Show, you will understand your own capacity of whimsy (if they can be fools, so can you – if they can risk, so can you). The deer watches as the students walk, and run, the invisible story-lines and at the end of the day, perhaps the deer nods and accepts.

3. Imagine this is what the deer knows: It will leave this field changed. Imagine this is what you know: You will leave this field changed. You will unfold yourself and then fold into yourself in so many ways. The twisting of the trees will be your lesson in survival. You will leave here stronger than you arrived, and open in so many new ways. You will leave here a vessel of all the classes you took, all the words you wrote, all the songs you sang. You will leave here a super power inspired by a legion of Supers and Gail.

You will leave here as

one long and enduring


a fawn wobbly legs,

running for the first time across

a field of freshly risen grass.



Prepare your application documents - Info Sheet



For ages 8-11, please see our River Valley Daycamp Experience 2018


For ages 12-14, please see our Peak I Experience 2018

 Never been to Kamp Kiwanis? Visit this page for the address and a link to Google Maps.


Cost: $625  


(Price includes: tuition, supplies, meals, snacks, accommodation and entertainment.)

Our line-up of fabulous instructors!



Ghada Alatrash is a Syrian-Canadian doctoral candidate, sessional instructor and  research assistant in Educational Research at the Werklund School of Education at the  University of Calgary. Her current research speaks to the lived experience of the Syrian Diaspora in Canada. She is the author of Stripped to the Bone:  Portraitist of Syrian Women and she has recently been invited to speak on her book as a TEDx speaker. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma. She has also been profiled in several media including CBCPBSBBCAljazeera,and Gulf Newsamong othersIn this course, we will begin by engaging readings of short stories and poetry as a vehicle to travel into our worlds of writing. Our plan is to travel as deep as we can during   this week, and to visit spaces that are beyond borders and boundaries.  Our end goal is   to collectively build our narratives in accordance with rules defined and written by our hearts and minds.


Beyond Borders and Boundaries - We'll begin with engaging readings of short stories and poetry as a vehicle to travel into our worlds of writing. Our plan is to travel as deep as we can during this week, and to visit spaces that are beyond borders and boundaries.  Our end goal is to collectively build our narratives in accordance with rules defined and written by our hearts and minds.




Timothy Anderson is a novelist, poet, screenwriter, playwright, librettist, short story author, singer/actor, painter, composer, director and editor. His degrees in creative writing, music, journalism and political science and certificates in management and music theatre have taught him that nothing is boring and everything can be written. A winner of the 3-Day Novel reality TV show, multiple writing awards, and an Alberta Centennial silver medallion for arts and advocacy, he has also performed internationally in opera and musicals.


The Wild Side - Writing that melts in the sky, in the ground, in your mouth. Take your   secrets, your revenge, your dreams and find ways to give them voice safely by transforming them into unusual forms and releasing them into the world.      Ground-based skywriting; no helmet required.




Laurel Deedrick-Mayne loves to write… just about anything! Her book, A Wake For The Dreamland, has been on Edmonton’s Best Seller List more than 65 times and won the 2016 Alberta Readers Choice Award. Something Laurel hears often is how much people “love the l letters!” in her book. She’s looking forward to breaking out the stationary, licking the stamps and instilling the joy of writing and receiving letters to YouthWriters.


Writers of the Lost Art  Forget texting, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook messaging. We’re going to explore the   old-timey lost art of handwriting letters to loved ones, or the famous or the dead. There’s nothing   like sending and receiving something in the mail or discovering long-lost letters in an old attic trunk or in a bottle or behind the walls of an ancient house.  Bring your favourite pen and as many postal (mailing) addresses as you want, but at least four. A variety of paper, postcards and stamps will be provided, but you can also bring your own. Oh yes, and we’ll also look at how integrating letters in your fiction can be wonderful for shaping character, developing plot and adding tension or mystery.




Natasha Deen loves stories—exciting ones, scary ones, and especially funny ones! Her most recent stories include Lark and the Diamond CaperGame’s End, and the forthcoming In the Key of Nira Ghani. When she’s not working on her books or visiting schools and libraries, she spends a lot of time trying to convince her pets that she’s the boss of the house.

The One with a Million Lives & Faces: Create characters that readers love or love to hate. Every character has secrets and fears and hopes and dreams – find out what you didn’t know you knew about your character(s).  What will make or break them as they journey through their story?  What do they truly want and what would they die for?  Get tips and tricks for creating realistic characters that will stay with your readers long after they reach THE END.




Wally Diefenthaler loves his ‘76 VW Westphalia almost as much as he loves teaching. More importantly, he loves learning, teaching, thinking and living the dream.  A long-time social studies teacher, he has been around long enough to remember the ‘60s, revile the ‘90s and embrace the present. Along the way, he has had time to think, talk and write about how he's arrived at this moment. How do we know who we are and what we could become? We stop, look and listen to our world to find our place in it. It’s the journey, not the destination.




Waking Up To Our World- Do you wonder about your relationship to nature? Would you like to explore your senses and sensibilities as you walk the land? Sharon Butala, in The Perfection of the Morning, writes that nature “is the place where words stop, referring to that moment…when we realize that an entity is present, or that Nature is alive, even that Nature has a memory.”  We will embark on a journey that will involve looking, listening, creating, writing and most importantly thinking and reflecting about who we are in relation to our world. As we walk, let’s experience what we see, hear, smell, as we explore our surroundings. Let’s share our thoughts and reflect on the large and small wonders that surround us. What acts of small kindness can we offer to fill up the world’s bucket as well as our own?




Ellen Doty is a soulful vocalist and songwriter originally from Okotoks, AB, but who currently makes her home in Calgary. She’s been songwriting since the age of 12, and  went on to study vocal jazz at Carleton University. She is currently signed to Toronto  record label Alma Records, and her second full-length album Come Fall  was released on   Universal Music in March of 2018, debuting at #1 on the iTunes jazz charts. She recently completed her second cross-Canada tour and will be touring in Japan and Europe this coming fall. She was honoured to be asked to be part of YouthWrite and looks forward to sharing her knowledge of writing with you. Ellen's excited to work with Gail for the first time! 


Make Magical Music (and Lyrics)! - Come explore the magic of joining lyrics and music together in song. Learn how to combine creative writing with a melody to build your own songs from scratch in a supportive and collaborative environment. While knowledge of music is an asset, it's certainly not required- our main focus will be on writing the lyrics themselves in both traditional and creative ways. If you have/play an instrument, feel free to bring it along. 


Marcus Fung is a Grant MacEwan music chool graduate with diplomas in jazz piano performance and composition. He has served the last 10 years in his community as a early child music and movement educator, expressive arts, and drum circle facilitator.   More recently, Marcus began focusing his studies on the healing arts and re-generative culture.  He weaves his world experience to help inspire people to mend and tend our web of relations, a deeper connection to our ancestors, ourselves, each other, and the natural world. Recent studies include an ongoing apprenticeship with Papa Gilberto Mahua in the Amazon jungle, with Pete Bernard of the 8th Fire Medicine Lodge, and at Jaki Daniels Kaheeyu Mountain Institute.  He works for a embodied, earth-honouring, self-expressing, creative and  compassionate culture of peace and reconciliation.


The First Language of Making Music - Before there was spoken language, there was communicating through thought, meaning and ideas.  There was the rhythm of the heartbeat, the call of the birds, the rustle of the leaves, the song of flowing water. There was the colour of sound, the taste of tones, and the enchantment of melody.  This class is for you whether you love to make music, or are terrified of making music. Take a guided tour in the amazing possibilities of how easy it is to make music together.  Use your body, your voice, different drums, shakers, bells, blocks, gongs and flutes and over the week develop your musical vocabulary.  Join us on a journey of joy and discovery of a language that we all once knew.



Jacqueline Guest is an international award-winning author of twenty novels. Jacquie has stood on an iceberg, flown a kite in a hurricane, worn bedroom slippers in Parliament and dodged hungry lions all while on the job as a writer! Her fast paced-novels have topics that range from deadly video games to comic book superheroes and mysterious meteorites!  She has over twenty years of experience working with students of all ages and has taught reading and writing workshops across Canada, the US and as far off as Africa.  In 2017, Jacqueline was awarded the Order of Canada. Her motto: READING ROCKS!


Time Travelling Writers: Creating Stories for the Future! - Is the unkown just a page waiting to be written?  Does your past shape your present writing?  Can you

create stories now that will live on into the future? Discover the secrets to writing a story that can travel through time with you! 

WARNING- You will construct a take-home Time Capsule. Bring small articles, writing samples and fun stuff to be sealed in your time capsule!



Jen Kunlire is a Calgary-based spoken word artist, writer and workshop facilitator. She has performed on stages across Canada, has been acknowledged for awards and titles including People’s Poetry Festival Poet of Honor in Calgary and winner of the 2008 CBC Poetry Face-off for Calgary. Her published works include six chapbooks and a published piece in The Great Black North - Contemporary African Canadian Poetry Anthology.  Jen's work is a mixture of gritty, thought-provoking and introspective dialogue as she calls upon her storytelling roots to weave the fabric of her writing.  A fan of improvisation, she can be heard jamming with Calgary’s Freak Motif every now and then and spends most of her time facilitating workshops for newly arrived immigrants to Canada.


Weaving Myths into Your Creative Life for the 21st-Century Superhero - Be an everyday superhero! You’ll create magic

by writing your own mythology representing your core values, strengths, weaknesses, imperfections and idiosyncratic nature. Armed with this brilliant tool we call the human spirit, discover your version of superhero and villain—and what these mean to you personally—to conquer the ills of humanity .  Peer into Medusa’s coils and turn enemies into stone; ride a Trojan horse to the Temple of Athena; reimagine a world without war; project yourself into the past or future with the aid of Kronos. Heroes and Heroines are the symbolic and archetypal genius behind great stories and poems. The trials and tribulations captured in these myths intertwine with the human journey, struggle and spirit.  You are invited to create your own mythos in a poem,

short story or any narrative you feel compelled to write. 


Jason Long has been writing for film and theatre in Canada for close to twenty years now. He’s written three feature films alongside frequent collaborator, Robert Cuffley, Turning PaigeWalk All Over Me, and Chokeslam which was part of the Canadian Film Centre’s Comedy Exchange Program in 2015 and premiered in the fall of 2016 and won an AMPIA award for Best Feature Screenplay. In addition to story editing on many Alberta based film and television projects, Jason is the screenwriting instructor in the film and video department at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.  His latest feature length screenplay, Ice Blue, premiered at the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival. He’s also currently developing his television series, Snaring Junction, with Catapult Entertainment Group in Los Angeles.


Write A Movie Script Today – You want to write for film and television? Really? Oi, okay, we need to talk. Let’s start at the beginning—structure, pitching concepts, learning to play with format, the differences between writing for film, television, and the web. Okay, now let’s write some scenes, making sure we always have conflict and tasty surprises and reversals. Hey how about we shoot some of these scenes? With cameras and stuff? Wow, what an amazing five days: went by so fast, I hope you’ve learned your lesson and are no longer interested in writing screenplays (“Movie Script” sounds 10x better, admit it.) With special sometime-guest Anna Cooley as Anna Cooley.


Conni Massing is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film and television. Stage credits include Pants on Fire (The Mommy Monologues), her hit rom-coms The Invention of Romance and Oh! Christmas Tree and her widely-produced adaptations of Bruce Powe’s The Aberhart Summer and W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and theKidHer new play, Matara, was recently featured in a staged reading at Urban Stages Theatre in New York City and will be produced in Edmonton’s 2018-19 season. Conni’s writing has been recognized by AMPIA, the Academy of Cinema and Television, the Betty Mitchell Awards, The Writers Guild of Alberta and the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards. A recipient of a Queen’s Jubilee Medal (for contributions to the arts), she was also honoured as one of 100 people who have made a contribution to Alberta theatre in the last one hundred years.


Real! Live! Drama! - Do you see drama all around you in the way people talk to one another – or in the silences when they don’t?  If you have a burning desire to develop dramatic   characters and write a blueprint for actors, directors and designers, this course is for you. Get a taste of the special skills required to write a play in this fun and active approach to creating theatrical stories.


Mary Pinkoski, 5th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton (2013-2015), is an internationally-recognized poet. She has performed on stages across North American and at the 2015 Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her work has appeared in multiple anthologies. She is the 2011 Canadian National Spoken Word Champion and a winner of the 2008 CBC National Poetry Face-off. In 2015, Mary was recognized as an Edmonton Top 40 Under 40 and also awarded a University of Alberta Alumni Horizon  Award for her poetry work in the Edmonton community, in particular for facilitating poetry workshops and her creation of the City of Edmonton’s Youth Poet Laureate role.


Observer Effect: The Poem as a Museum - What happens when we write as if the poem is the artifact of our life? How do we "curate" a particular moment into a poem? What happens when we put that poem on display? Come to this class prepared to experiment in writing and editing, as we play with the idea of how our poems change, the longer we look at them.





Rachel Ann is a fun loving full time yoga teacher in Calgary. She is recognized with Yoga Alliance as an ERYT-500 and has traveled far and wide to deepen her understanding of yoga. She has done over 800 hours of training and continues to explore the mechanics of yoga. Prior to yoga, Rachel Ann was overweight, overworked, needed more then the corporate world had to offer and wanted to LAUGH more. Now, she has a passion to share her love for yoga through lively dynamic sequencing and by creating an experience which allows the student to take the teachings presented in class off the mat and incorporate them into daily life. Rachel loves to laugh until it hurts and lets loose on the dance floor. She dances like no one is watching and some of the best advice she ever got was to just 'be herself'. She's silly, outgoing and free in all aspects of her life.

BE THE CHANGE: Move.Create.Laugh Yoga is much more then Sun Salutations and headstands. Yoga is an opportunity to uncover the true essence of our individuality, leading us to change our lives and to change our world. During the week we will explore, move, dance, yell, laugh, write, meditate and go deep within to unveil the majestic YOU!




Barry Thorson has written plays, screenplays, novels, stories, and an op-ed monthly   column for a small town Alberta newspaper. He still prefers writing longhand, and has   multiple tote boxes filled with coil-ring notebooks (having just moved again, he's freshly   reminded of this heavy and cumbersome fact). In addition, Barry has taught multiple   times at Youthwrites past, as well as Theatre Alberta's Artstrek and Mount Royal   University in  Calgary. With a BFA in acting from the University of Alberta, Barry has   performed and directed with most of the professional theatre companies in Calgary and   Edmonton. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, and is father to two teenage daughters and a one-year-old, Piper. 


Eye Say! - Autumn, 2039.

After years of a culture obsessed with fake news and the ongoing assault on facts and truth, society has reacted (overreacted?) with a dreadful backlash: fiction, in all its forms, is considered a capital crime. Storytelling, poetry, film, theatre, reading, writing in any form other than the transmission and reception of pure fact... these pursuits no longer exist. Casual use of metaphor or simile in everyday conversation ("I'm hungry as a horse" or "you're my little princess") could result in arrest. Everyone polices everyone else, and favours are won by turning in your fellow citizens who breach - however slightly - article 451 (referred to as the "So Help Me God" law used to advance "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth").What would it be like to live in such a world? How reliant are we (all of us, not just writers) on the use of poetic expression in our everyday discourse? Imagination, dreams, desires, wishes... all are on code red alerts. What does it mean to be human without the ability to express oneself? What is truth? Who can be the arbiter of such 'reality'?



Thomas Trofimuk is an Edmonton writer who does not come lightly to the blank page. He has four novels in the world – The 52nd Poem, Doubting Yourself to the Bone, Waiting for Columbus, And This is All a Lie – and has just completed a fifth. He’s a long-time teacher at YouthWrite, and a world famous, spasmodic dancer – people have often asked him if he trained with the Bolshoi Ballet Company and that very well could be true. 



Long story short - What do the movie Pretty Woman, the song “Once I was Seven Years Old,” the story “Dave Cooks a Turkey” and the story of Adam and Eve all have in common? Answer: They’re all great stories. A five-day discussion on what story is, why we’re drawn to stories – and how to make your stories great.










Spyder Yardley-Jones was born in the  dark, frozen, tropical jungle of Edmonton. For years he's been creating visual arts for  solo and group shows, creating controversy in Canada and the USA. An award-winning published illustrator, Spyder has also educated billions and billions of youth in artist-in-residency programs in both public and Catholic school systems. He has been working at   The Art Gallery of Alberta as an assistant art handler since paint was invented.


In This Corner - Write in any style you choose, but the catch is that you must include  these words: “in this corner.”  Next you'll translate your writing into a multi-media, three  dimensional diorama. A physical corner will be provided; then you provide the  imagination and the story behind the corner!


Special Guest Presentation!

A Little Night Music With Ellen Doty and Steve Fletcher

Ellen Doty is a soulful vocalist and songwriter originally from Okotoks, AB, but who currently makes her home in Calgary. She’s been songwriting since the age of 12, and  went on to study vocal jazz at Carleton University. She is currently signed to Toronto  record label Alma Records, and her second full-length album Come Fall  was released on   Universal Music in March of 2018, debuting at #1 on the iTunes jazz charts. She recently completed her second cross-Canada tour and will be touring in Japan and Europe this coming fall. She was honoured to be asked to be part of YouthWrite and looks forward to performing an evening concert.


Keyboardist Steve Fletcher has an exceptionally broad range of musical influences that have shaped his playing over the past 30 years.  His proficiency on numerous keyboard instruments such as piano, electric piano, organ, accordion, and synthesizers, has enabled him to carve a niche in the Alberta music scene as an eclectic performer and in-demand session musician.  Steve began piano lessons though the Royal Conservatory of Music at age 7. He joined a band in junior high school, which would eventually go on to become a popular Calgary rock-funk group that toured Canada for several years. He studied music at the University of Calgary, and completed the jazz performance program at Mount Royal University.  Over the past 20 years he has performed and recorded with countless artists, and has toured throughout North America, Europe and Japan. He has opened for such notable jazz artists as Medeski Martin & Wood, The Bad Plus, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson, and John Abercrombie.  He won a 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award, and was nominated for a Juno in 2013.  His Hammond B-3 organ based group Sinistrio has been an active part of the Canadian jazz scene since 2006. They have released 4 records through Chronograph Records.


And of course...

The Amazing Peak II Supers:


Elena Belyea is thrilled to be returning for her fifth summer at YouthWrite! Elena is a queer performer, producer, arts educator and graduate of the University of Alberta and the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting program. She is founding Artistic Director of Tiny Bear Jaws, a little theatre company with teeth, and a co-founder of the Common Ground Arts Society’s annual Found Festival in Edmonton, a showcase of multidisciplinary arts events that take place in non-traditional venues.  Her plays have been performed across Canada and received numerous awards. Little known (but utterly unsurprising) fun fact: She's gaga for Gail!










Nick Carter is ecstatic to be given the opportunity to interrupt his retirement for another edition of YouthWrite. He is a filmmaker and writer who’s been involved with YouthWrite since 2010. Recently, Nick completed the experimental micro series A Present for Your Present while living in semi-isolation on an island in the Pacific Ocean and is currently in development on a range of other projects in Toronto. Nick respects the custom of saying flattering things about Gail in this space. Gail is nice.









 Anna Cooley is a film writer-producer-director based in Calgary. Her multi-award winning feature documentary A Sauropod Abroad is currently making its way around the international festival circuit. Her short narrative film Sleepwalker, made with the support YouthWrite and its talented supervisors, premiered in February 2017. Her production company Erratic Pictures creates projects that explore different styles of storytelling through film, collaborating with artists in many disciplines and experimenting with new technologies like virtual reality. Recently, Anna developed and taught the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers’ 2017 Spring Break Movie Camp, a one-week intensive film lab for teens. She is thrilled to be back at YouthWritefor her 7th year as a Super and to be working with beloved Gail!


Cole Feth, who considers himself to be Gail’s most prized university student, is a recent recruit to the YouthWrite team. As such, he asks you be gentle, kind and, of course, play as many practical jokes on him as possible. Cole asks that you do not, however, use his love for sports against him as he has recently discovered he was merely a nerd trapped in an athlete's body. He loves to write, tell jokes (almost entirely of the sarcastic nature) and is really hoping to make your experience at YouthWrite a memorable one.  After three times as Supervisor, he now knows how much he cherishes Gail.








Jennifer Hill has been traveling the world in search of adventure near and far, from teaching snowboarding in New Zealand to fighting forest fires in Northern Alberta. She has visited the great NWT and worked for the ice roads as well as led bike tours for an active travel company all over Canada. Jen currently attends the University of Alberta, studying to be a teacher. Her adventurous spirit never stops: she looks forward to inspiring others to find their own adventures wherever they may be, including in their writing! Jen is excited for YouthWrite and to work with the goddess Gail.










Miranda Martini is a musician and writer based in Calgary. She studied English literature and creative writing at UBC and recently completed a master’s degree in songwriting at Bath Spa University. Her writing has appeared in several local and national publications, including Alberta Views Magazine and Reader's Digest, and her article, "Women in Charge" (2014), won a Western Magazine Award for Best Emerging Writer. She recently performed in and co-wrote music for Cheryl Foggo's play John Ware Reimagined, which will be remounted in Edmonton this fall. Miranda attended YouthWrite as a camper from 2001 to 2005, and she's so excited to be back as a supervisor because she loves Gail the most!





Deirdre Sprenger is a student at the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Education. She has performed in and choreographed for many dance and musical theatre productions throughout high school, and directed a one-act play in NextFest. In her spare time, Deirdre volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club. She loves working with young people and through a career in teaching hopes to provide students with the opportunities she was privileged to have in finding her passion. Deirdre is thrilled to be a part of the YouthWrite team, and is well into learning just how much she adores Gail!







Peter Takach is a writer and teacher whose works have surfaced in some of the nation’s finest magazines, literary festivals, and recycling bins. Banished from his hometown for crimes against humanities, he can be found teaching high school English or perched on driftwood staring out at great Neptune's ocean. A proud alumnus of YouthWrite and the Spoken Word Youth Choir, Peter is thrilled to once again be working with the beautiful and talented Gail.












YouthWrite Coordinator:

Gail Sidonie Sobat  is a multi-award-winning teacher and author, with eleven books for children, teens and adults, and a number of educational and academic articles. She is the YouthWrite creator/ coordinator, an international presenter, an instructor in the professional writing program at MacEwan University and in the Faculty of Education at U of A, is The Writers' Union of Canada Regional Representative for Alberta, NWT and Nunavut, and was writer in residence with the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries (2015). Gail is a 2016-2017 Global News Woman of Vision and a 2017 Arts and Culture Citation Award recipient. She has moved thirty-two times in her life from Badlands to Siksika Nation Reserve to hideous suburbs to Istanbul to the Sunshine Coast to her writer’s garret in a century-old temperamental house. She adores all of her Supers equally, and loves YouthWrite madly!