The Wells Gray Country Seniors Society Writers’ Circle is still up and running, despite not being able to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year’s focus is courage and resilience. (Unsplash photo)

The Wells Gray Country Seniors Society Writers’ Circle is still up and running, despite not being able to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year’s focus is courage and resilience. (Unsplash photo)

Empowering seniors in the North Thompson Valley:Writers’ Circle focus on courage and resilience for 2020

Courage and resilience are the focus of this years’ Writers’ Circle compilation book, in an effort to showcase how seniors are coping with the pandemic or crises in their lives.

The Writers’ Circle is a club within the Wells Gray Country Seniors Society, and is the brainchild of coordinator Sandra Holmes, who created the group as a way to meet new people when she moved to Clearwater over a decade ago.

“I simply named a time and place,” she said. “And people came! That’s how it started. Simple as that.”

The group started meeting in 2011, and in 2012 they decided to put together a cookbook-style collection of their works. The following year, the Writer’s Circle chose to publish again — and they have many times over since.

In 2013, they tried their luck at a grant — and succeeded.

A $2,000 grant from the Wells Gray Community Forest was awarded to the group and they used the funds to publish their works into a more professional-looking paperback. They ordered 100 copies and sold out, making the full $2,000 back.

They’ve done this every year they’ve published, learning from their previous mistakes and adding local artwork and photos. Each book has been put together 100 per cent by volunteers. This year, they’ll be able to hire some folks to properly edit and compile their works instead, as they received another $2,000 grant from the Wells Gray Community Forest.

While those in the group may have a passion for writing, most of them are not professionals, said Holmes. The ability to hire an editor or two means they’ll be able to continue to improve the look and readability of their works.

“We’re not very good at giving each other good criticism,” said Holmes. “We’re too nice.”

The Writers’ Circle has about eight consistent members, but that number has changed, and so have the people, since they started in 2011. The story ideas have evolved, and so have the authors. Some are new to writing and others have had works published, such as Barbara Ferguson who published her own book of poems and short stories in 2012. She passed away in 2017 and members wrote pieces for her in the sixth Wells Gray Writers’ Circle edition.

Holmes said at the beginning, the group was quite shy because of the varying level of skill, and writing can be a very emotional and personal endeavour.

But over the years, they’ve come to understand what goes on personally in writing. And, like Fight Club, “What we talk about in writing group, stays in writing group.”

The collections contain a variety of pieces. They’ve done a few collaborative stories, where one person would write the first chapter, and the next chapter would change to a new writer, and so on until it’s complete. Other times someone will choose an item and the group will take a few minutes to write about it and share their work.

The Writers’ Circle would meet twice per month at the library, but COVID-19 restrictions have shifted the meetings to Zoom, which Holmes said hasn’t been extremely successful, because of bad internet connections, technology woes and the lack of personal connection. But, she said she’s going to keep going and the group hopes to publish their 2020 works by the end of June.

Anyone interested can reach out to Holmes by sending an email to No experience necessary, just a willingness to give it a shot.

“It’s amazing what writing can do for people,” she said. “If (they) are just brave enough to pick up a pen.”

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

Ladies Golf close enough for a cheery wave

A new month - new COVID rules - a new start. For… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read