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NorthWord launches “Whispers” filled Issue 18 with an invite to “Say What You Mean”

Lovers of poetry and prose gathered at Keyano Art Gallery on March 24, 2018 to celebrate the launch of NorthWord’s Issue 18. Guest edited by Kitty Cochrane, local writer and teacher, and featuring a stunning cover of the Boreal sky by Carol Breen, local visual artist, the magazine was well-received by all.

Visual artist Russell Thomas was live on location to paint a secret literary legend, which attendees learned to be Margaret Atwood following a social media contest to suggest the subject. A silent auction was also the highlight of the event. Poetry and prose readings, open mic, as well as a conversation between the incoming and outgoing guest editor remained a perennial favourite.

“Being a guest editor helped me understand that a magazine as a whole is a piece of art as well,” noted Cochrane, who also helps organize Full Moon Café, a local arts/culture gathering.

“It was inspiring to read through the over 70 submissions for this issue. It was very difficult to choose, as each piece was beautifully crafted. The ones selected represent the range of human experience and emotion, wishing and wanting. Judgement, self-doubt, anger and loss. Strength, endurance, renewal, hope and love. The pieces connected with the theme of Whispers in sometimes direct and sometimes oblique ways,” she explained.

“It’s encouraging for people to see their work in print, and exciting to see the caliber of writing contributed. Wood Buffalo has a thriving writing and arts community, and the launch was a great opportunity for people to come together to be celebrated, energized and inspired by each other,” Cochrane added.

Dawn Booth, President, NorthWord, agrees.

“We are so inspired by everyone who came together to make our Whispers launch a success. Local artists, businesses and literary lovers all made this happen and due to their generosity, we will be able to finance our next issue,” she said.

“To our guest editor Kitty Cochrane, and cover artist Carol Breen, well done. Your collection will be another one our community holds on to for years to come. Our event showcased how the arts continue to come together and how strongly our passions exist in Fort McMurray,” Booth said.

Liana Wheeldon, Executive Director, Arts Council Wood Buffalo,will be the guest editor for the next issue. She elaborated on picking “Say What You Mean,” as her theme.

“It stems from a discussion about truth. People try to be kind, so they don’t say what they mean. Is honesty the ultimate kindness, or can honesty be unkind? Would you tell a person if they had something green stuck between their teeth? I wanted to see where this goes,” shared Wheeldon.

Deadline for the next issue is April 30, 2018. Original poetry of no more than 50 lines, prose, fiction or non-fiction - 3000 words maximum, and art can be sent to All names will be removed, and only alignment with theme matters.

NorthWord is available free of charge at MacDonald Island, Chez Max - Jamaican Restaurant, Blue Mountain Bistro, Keyano College, Points North Gallery, and the Thickwood YMCA.

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