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NorthWords Writers Festival

The ability to write well is a skill that many people use in their day to day lives, and being a published author is a dream that lots of people aspire to fulfill. However, it can be an incredibly difficult challenge, which is why the NorthWords Writers Festival was first started back in 2007. Amber Henry, the Vice President of NorthWords, is one of the many people who are helping to give Northern writers a chance to be seen and have their work shared with the world.

“It was started by a group of literary enthusiasts, who wanted to create a festival or an event that would support local writers by allowing them to share the stage with like minded, published authors from the south. So they were able to do that! By August 2008, they has put on their very first festival.”

Amber explained that the chance for younger authors to share the stage with those who already have storied careers can be the first step. To have a moment in the spotlight in panels and workshops among those who have found success before can be a great piece to add to a resume, which can then give young writers extra credibility, and more opportunities. As with many other routes of entertainment, one moment of being seen by the right people can make all the difference.

“Our open mic nights are, outside of the festival and during the festival, the biggest draw that we have. That’s not to say that our workshops and our panels aren’t great, but I think Northerners are really excited to share their stories and the open mic gives them that opportunity. This year we have three open mics; one’s entirely in French, another one is an all ages event, so anyone can perform in any age range, and then we have Blush, which is NOT an all ages event!”

Amber shared that her biggest piece of advice for any writers in the North would be to come to the NorthWords Festival, as it can allow you to meet other writers and potentially get your foot in the door with people who can help you along. When all of this comes together, it can create success stories that reach across the entire country.

“Richard Van Camp is our best example. He was one of the founding fathers, and he has a twenty-seven year career in writing and publishing books, and in those twenty-seven years, he’s done twenty-seven books. He writes in all kinds of genres including novels, short stories, children’s books, graphic novels. He writes horror, he writes love stories, he’s got the full spectrum of knowledge and experience, and we are so lucky that he comes back every year that he can and he shares all of that with the people who join our festival through workshops and panel discussions.”


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