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NorthWord to Launch #GameOn Issue During Alberta Culture Days

A few games with a few names – you are invited to the official launch of NorthWord magazine’s #GameOn issue on Sunday, September 27, 2015. The event will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days, a province-wide annual celebration for arts and culture.

The launch event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature poetry workshops such as ransom poetry -- where participants can cut words out to create poems; sonnets – where you can write 14-lined works with a specific rhyme scheme; and a “What’s In A Name?” station -- where participants can pay homage to, and write about, the next issue’s theme. Readings will follow at 2 p.m. in the Theatre where published writers from the #GameOn issue will read their works, as well as will workshop participants, if they so desire.

Revealed during the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, the #GameOn issue was produced in conjunction with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) and the Games Committee. Will Gibson was the guest editor, and enjoyed compiling selections.

“It was an enormous privilege to be asked to edit NorthWord's #GameOn issue, but I was a little hesitant about how to approach the exercise of editing submissions for a literary magazine. I come from the world of journalism, where writing tends to follow a certain formula and structure. I was unsure about how to handle poetry or short stories, something I hadn't really studied since my undergraduate days at the University of Alberta almost 30 years ago,” shared Gibson, who is with Syncrude’s Public Affairs, and is a well-known youth soccer coach.

“Whether it was a short story about sibling rivalry or a poem on baseball, I could clearly see how writers were able to capture "competition" in all its guises through unique voices over different literary forms. Because the submissions were anonymous, it stripped any loyalties or politics out of making selections. Which isn't to say that was easy -- there were some stories that were very well-written, but didn't quite fit into the theme that emerged. Along the way, Jane Jacques, managing editor for NorthWord, proved to be very gracious and extraordinarily helpful in guiding me through the process. Guest editors are very well supported and will be amazed by the width and breath of talented writers that submit their work,” Gibson added.

Speaking of guest editors, Joanne Hlina, treasurer of the Northern Canada Collective Society for Writers (NCCSW), which publishes NorthWord, and who is a business administration instructor at Keyano College, will be editing the next issue.

She says choosing “What’s in a Name?” as a theme is meaningful on many levels. And, there are many ideas for those wishing to submit.

“Your name is the most personal thing about you. It is how you are identified by yourself and by everyone else. What does it mean to you? Have you ever thought of changing it? When you were younger, did you think you were adopted and your real name was something else entirely? Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, stated that naming things helps you stop fearing them—such as those faceless, nameless creatures that live in the closet and under the bed. Has naming something given you a feeling of power? Has it lessened your fear? Has it changed your feelings in a different way? Naming people, things, and places is a mysterious, yet profound way of dealing with the world. How has naming shaped your thinking?”

Suzanne McGladdery, president, NCCSW, says “this summer was a huge one for NorthWord. Not only did we celebrate our sixth birthday, but we published our twelfth issue, celebrating our region’s hosting the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games. It was a big undertaking, and I’m very grateful to Will Gibson for guest editing and choosing such rich words about what our theme, #GameOn, meant to our contributors.”

“Every visitor to the Games went home with a copy of our magazine, which increased our normal distribution several times over. This absolutely would not have been possible without the generous support of the RMWB’s Joint Initiative Funding grant and our sponsors and advertisers, and of course the Games organization itself. It’s very difficult to support the arts in times of economic downturn, because it seems like a luxury. But really, in times of want, it’s art that pulls us through. We deeply appreciate the abundant support we received for this issue, and hope that we, in turn, have provided a bit of support for everyone who reads it.”

Deadline for the “What’s in a Name?” issue is October 30, 2015. No late submissions will be accepted. Short stories or excerpts from current projects, fiction or non-fiction (3000 words maximum), verse of no more than 50 lines, along with anything surprising, original, or inventive can be submitted as a Word document to the editors at

NorthWord is available free of charge at MacDonald Island, the Keyano College Bookstore, Keyano Reception (front desk), Keyano Library, Points North Gallery, and the Thickwood YMCA.

For real time updates, like us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @NorthWordYMM.

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Public Relations Director

Northern Canada Collective Society for Writers


Twitter: @NorthWordYMM

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