The Museum at Campbell River is offering two-week writing retreats to three local authors in Roderick Haig-Brown’s study at the Haig-Brown House this winter/spring. Photo by Island Life Photographics

The Museum at Campbell River is offering two-week writing retreats to three local authors in Roderick Haig-Brown’s study at the Haig-Brown House this winter/spring. Photo by Island Life Photographics

Prestigious Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence program becomes retreat for local writers in 2020

There’s another victim – at least temporarily – of the COVID-19 pandemic: The Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence program.

Each winter, the Museum at Campbell River typically welcomes a writer for a live-in stay at the historic Haig-Brown House for the prestigious residency. But according to program coordinator Ken Blackburn, it wouldn’t have been responsible to do that this year.

“The residency typically involves a lot of consultation with local writers, host gatherings and workshops, public talks and the like,” Blackburn says, “and a lot of that isn’t possible this year, so we’re going to open up the study for local writers to have the opportunity to take a two-week retreat.”

After all, Blackburn says, just because the house won’t be in use by a writer-in-residence, Blackburn says, doesn’t mean it can’t be in use at all, and one of the things the annual residency does is foster positive discussion about the importance of the written word. The fact that the residency isn’t happening doesn’t make that conversation any less important.

“All of the arts, including the literary arts, need to keep conversation going, especially these days,” Blackburn says. “The arts are what will be there for people, no matter what happens in the world, and words have as much power to help, heal and inspire as any other form.”

The successful applicants to the retreat program will spend 20 hours per week at the Haig-Brown House – for a total of 40 hours – but exactly when those hours happen is flexible, Blackburn says, to hopefully allow a far broader pool of applicants.

“We didn’t want to say, ‘you have to be on-site from noon to 4 p.m. every weekday’ or something, because that would restrict who was able to apply,” Blackburn says. “This way someone working full-time could do the retreat around their work schedule. We could maybe even get a student who wanted to do evenings and weekends.”

Retreat dates are scheduled for Jan. 25 to Feb. 7, Feb. 22 to March 7 and March 22 to April 4.

During the writer’s time, each writer will have the opportunity to meet virtually with a previous Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence for collaboration, advice and a bit of mentorship along the way. They will be expected to participate in a blog through the Museum at Campbell River throughout their retreat, but what other work they take on during their retreat is wide open.

“One of the things we’re asking for in the application is ‘What are you planning to work on?’” Blackburn says, “but whether that’s a novel or a poetry collection or a memoir or a play is up to them.”

And it’s possible the retreat program is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At this point, Blackburn says, they are hoping to welcome a visiting, live-in author for next winter, but that will depend on how the next six months or so play out.

“There are no plans to change next year at this point,” Blackburn says. “We are going to go ahead and plan for a 2021 intake to begin in the spring for the arrival of a writer next November.”

Information on how to apply for the retreat spots can be found at www.crmuseum.ca under “Haig-Brown Writing Retreat.”

The deadline to apply is Dec. 11.

RELATED: Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence in the national spotlight

RELATED: ‘Our stories shouldn’t go to our graves with us’



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell River

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Klahoose First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Cortes Island community has had one positive test, one other potential case

An aerial view of Zeballos. (Photo/A. Janisse)
Zeballos closes public service areas ahead of second wave

Library, landfill and village office closed until further notice, says mayor

Greenways Land Trust Executive Director Cynthia Bendickson points out one particular area of concern within the Baikie Island Nature Reserve that hasn’t benefitted from replanting efforts due to soil compaction and pollution from its days as a log sort. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Greenways Land Trust gets $275K for restoration work on Baikie Island

Two-year project will start with the development of a 10-year plan for the area

Campbell River city council recently held a roundtable meeting with leaders from the aquaculture and forestry industries to discuss how they can be part of a post-COVID economic recovery in the region.
Campbell River city council holds roundtable on aquaculture, forestry

Will go forward with quarterly meetings involving industry leaders to address issues in the sectors

The Carihi Fly Fishing Club is touted as an example of incorporating the outdoors into the education curriculum in SD72. Photo submitted.
SD72 schools and educators embrace outdoor education and learning outdoors

The Campbell River School District has embraced the movement to incorporate nature… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Most Read