Report on Angeline Schellenberg’s Book Chat

The August Book Chat featured award-winning poet, Angeline Schellenberg. She read from her book Fields of Light and Stone. The first poem she read with her son because she’d written it in the ‘voices’ of her grandparents. Angeline spoke the words attributed to her grandmother and her son read the part of her grandfather. All her touching poems from Fields of Light and Stone were based on her grandparents’ emigration experience and farming life in Canada.

During the Q&A, audience members asked Angeline about her creative process; working on the book layout, the editing for publication, etc. Afterwards, four audience members shared their own poems during the Open Mic part of the evening. Danie Botha shared a poem from his book 2 Bowls of Joy. Phyllis Cherritt read about a remembrance of her mother. Penny Haywood, inspired by one of Angeline’s poems about a garden, read her own poem about a garden. Emmanuel Okoh read I Kooti, published by the Canadian League of Poets.

I find it fascinating, during these Book Chats, how the Featured Author’s readings often inspire the audience to share their work with similar themes. I highly recommend you join us for Book Chat #5 on September 9, 2020 at 7 pm with Lauren Carter, who will be featured in the next post.

Kids Book Chat # 2

Our first Kids Book Chat did not have as many young attendees as we’d hoped, but it was fascinating to see the interaction between Bill Richardson and his illustrator, Slavka Kolesar. It was the first time that they’d had the chance to ‘meet’, even if it was only virtually.

Bill read their book, The Promise Basket, a touching story about a Mother’s love for her child and how she expressed that love, even though she had very little to give.

Our second Kids Book Chat will take place on September 1 at 1 pm, when we will feature Kaj Hasselriis. He will read from his book, Politikids, which he also illustrated. This virtual event is free to Guild members and their families.

To attend, please email the Guild office at manitobawritersguild3@ to receive instructions.

About Kaj Hasselriis:

He is a cartoonist who lives in Winnipeg. His first name rhymes with “Hi!” Kaj took up illustrating in 2018 after many years as an award-winning CBC journalist. That fall, he wrote, drew and self-published his first children’s book, Politikids: Canada’s Leaders Tell Their True Childhood Stories. He sold almost 1000 copies of Politikids during the federal election. Now, Kaj is working on his second book, The Golden Boy in the Case of the Missing Cube, in collaboration with the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation.

Reminder of Upcoming Events

Before delving into our programs, if you are a member writer wanting to join a Writing Group, look for the link to our Writing Group Survey in your inbox. If you did not receive the email and wish to take part in the survey to find a group tailored to your needs, please email us for the link at:(
Now for our upcoming events:
August 4th at 1 pm: Kids Book Chats
We want to welcome all members along with their children and grandchildren. This free-to-members event will feature Bill Richardson reading his award-winning book The Promise Basket, and his illustrator, Slavka Kolesar. Q&A to follow. Email the Guild for the Zoom details.
August 6th at 7 pm: Writing Rants and Ramblings
Come to your video screen to chat about your writing and discuss issues that are close to your heart. All are welcome. Email the Guild for the Zoom details.
August 12 at 7 pm: Book Chat#4
All member poets (and those interested in poetry) should sign up to hear Angeline Schellenberg, ask her questions about her poetry and maybe share some of your own.  Email the Guild for the Zoom details.

Launch of new program for kids

With the success of our evening online Book Chats and, with social distancing still an issue with kids as well as adults, we have come up with a way to reach out to the children and grandchildren of members, providing some free afternoon literary programs. During the month of August, we are lining up writers for a series of Kids Book Chats, beginning with those who were a part of this year’s Manitoba Book Awards, in particular, those who wrote books that were submitted to the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award – Younger Category.

Each of these online meetings will begin with a reading from the author, followed by a Q&A where participants can ask questions of the author and, in some cases, with the illustrator as well. This reading series will take place every afternoon for a couple of weeks, depending on how many writers we can get on-board. We’d like to continue the series with other local writers for children and teens, too. Anyone who would like to sign up their kids or grandkids to watch, please email the Manitoba Writers’ Guild ( to receive the Zoom links and instructions.

Our first Kids Book Chat will take place on Tuesday, August 4th at 1 pm with Bill Richardson, who was the 2020 winner of the McNally Robinson Booksellers Book for Young People Award – Younger Category with his book, The Promise Basket, a lyrical story which celebrates the love between a mother and her daughter. He will be joined by his illustrator, Slavka Kolesar.

As well as winning this year’s Young People Award, former radio host, Bill Richardson, was also the winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. He has written several other highly acclaimed books for children, including The Ants Come Marching, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent and winner of the Time to Read Award; the children’s novel After Hamelin, which won the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award; The Alphabet Thief and The Bunny Band, both illustrated by Roxanna Bikadoroff.

Illustrator, Slavka Kolesar, has a BFA in visual studies and art history from the University of Toronto and trained as an early childhood educator. Other books she has illustrated include Ulysse by Suzanne de Serres, Le Nom de l’arbre by Stéphanie Bénéteau and Le Légende de Carcajou by Renée Robitaille, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. She was chosen as the TD Summer Reading Club illustrator in 2017.

About The Promise Basket:

A stone when it’s thrown can cause damage, can break
but nothing can shatter the promise I make.

So begins the poem a mother writes on a scrap of paper. She wraps the paper around a stone and places it in a basket to give to her daughter on her first birthday. They are poor, but the mother is determined that gifts will be given when gifts need giving. She keeps her promise, and the Promise Basket, too.

Every time there is a need for gifts, the mother finds a pretty stone to tie up with paper and ribbon and gives it to her daughter in the basket. She continues the tradition over the years until her daughter has a baby of her own…



Book Chat #4 – Angeline Schellenberg

Book Chat # 3 with Joan Thomas was a lot of fun! Joan read a new piece of writing. Getting this sneak peak was very exciting for those in attendance, of which there were seven. Three participants read their own work during the Open Mic. The rest of us preferred to sit back and listen.

Our fourth Book Chat will take place on August 12 and will feature poet Angeline Schellenberg. This is a free-for-members-only event. If you are a current member of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and would like to take part in this virtual event, please email the Guild ( to receive the Zoom information and let us know if you would also like to take part in the Open Mic, which will take place after Angeline’s reading and Q&A.

Angeline Schellenberg is a poet living in Treaty 1 territory (Winnipeg). Her first full-length collection, Tell Them It Was Mozart (Brick Books, 2016) received three Manitoba Book Awards and was a finalist for a ReLit Award for Poetry. In addition to publishing three new chapbooks, in 2019 she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Arc Poetry Magazine‘s Poem of the Year. Angeline has served as Deep Bay artist-in-residence (Riding Mountain National Park), a Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program mentor, a Poetry In Voice performance judge, and host of the Speaking Crow reading series. Her second book is Fields of Light and Stone (University of Alberta Press, 2020).


Strategic Plan revealed

Writer's Guild Manitoba Winnipeg
         Strategic Plan 2020-2022

After much animated discussions, we have completed our Strategic Plan for the future. This includes updated Mission, Vision, and Values statements, as well as the things we feel we can accomplish within the next three years.

With social distancing, it is difficult to present our plan in person, so we have created a video presentation and posted it on our new YouTube channel, ‘Manitoba Writers’ Guild, 2020 and Beyond‘. Here is the link:

Please subscribe to our channel, to which we will post clips of our Book Chats, workshop snippets and other Guild events. Onwards and upwards!

Book Chat # 2 with Anita Daher

On June 10, the MWG held our second Book Chat. Anita Daher was our Featured Author, who read a chapter from her newest teen novel You Don’t Have to Die in the End. After her reading, she answered some questions which inspired lively conversations on such a variety of topics including how Anita arrived at the title for her book, how chapter transitions transport the reader, story-boarding to maintain flow and setting, how to notice plot holes, the editing process, redemption (a theme in Anita’s book), getting writing grants, etc.

During the Open Mic segment, four of the seven participants read passages they wanted to share. David Cramer read from a review of Only to Sleep. Bev Greenberg shared a memory of her childhood, preparing for her uncle’s wedding. MaryLou Driedger read from her work in progress, an historical novel based on events from her father’s immigration to Canada. Barbara Lange shared a piece from her book Memories of the Moonlight Special, based on vignettes from people’s recollections of the beach train era. All readings were highly entertaining and the evening was also quite informative. It was wonderful for Anita to have the opportunity to read from her book because her launch was hampered by the pandemic.

We encourage more people to join us on July 8th at 7:00 p.m.  Joan Thomas will be our Featured Reader for the third MWG Book Chat, available to members only. If you are not yet a member and wish to join, please go to our Membership page. If you are a member and wish to participate in the next Book Chat, please email the Guild office ( to register and receive the Zoom information.

In case you haven’t heard of Joan Thomas, please keep reading and learn about this talented Manitoba writer:

Joan Thomas is the author of four novels: Five Wives, The Opening Sky, Curiosity, and Reading by Lightning. In 2014, Joan was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Prize for a writer in mid-career, and in 2019, she was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Fiction for Five Wives. She is a former teacher and book reviewer, and she lives in Winnipeg.
*Note: Joan’s books are available at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Please support our local bookstore, which supports the Manitoba Book Awards.

Manitoba Writers’ Guild Hosts its first virtual Book Chat



On the evening of the 13th May, eleven members accepted our invitation to attend our first virtual Book Chat. The session was hosted by Susan Rocan, Past President of the Guild.

After brief introductions, Margaret Sweatman, who kindly agreed to accept our invitation to be our Featured Author, read a section from her book “When Alice Lay Down with Peter”, a novel with very much a Manitoba connection. The reading was well received.

After an interesting question and answer session it was time to give the floor to a number of established and aspiring writers present who had indicated that they would be happy to read.

David Cramer, Andy Dutfield, Joyce Clouston, Marylou Drieger, Bev Greenberg, Gloria Moodrey
and John Hill all read something and in the case of David Cramer something that had inspired

The general consensus was the Zoom platform worked well with good video and audio quality.
With the challenge of our busy lives and finding parking at the Guild’s normal venue at the
ArtSpace building it seems that this will be a more practical way of hosting these kind of events
even after the Covid-19 pandemic is behind us.

For those members who couldn’t make our first Book Chat the next one is coming up on the 10th of June.
Our featured writer will be Anita Daher.

To book a spot at the next event, please email




New Free-for-Members Program

Introducing our new MWG Book Chats – virtual events to access from the comfort of your own home!

They will occur on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM. Each evening starts with a Featured Published Author, followed by a brief Q&A. After the Q&A, we’ll have an Open Mic where members can share their writing, about 5 minutes per reading. We have quite a line-up of Manitoba Writers willing to participate, for which we are truly grateful.

All members can participate – and it’s free!

Sign-up in advance, via emails to the Guild (, to receive the on-line invites to join the Zoom meetings. Please let us know if you would also like to read something during the Open Mic segment.

Our first chat occurred on May 13, 7:00 pm and featured Margaret Sweatman.


In case you have not met Margaret Sweatman, here are some things you should know:


Margaret Sweatman is a novelist, playwright, poet, and performer (vocalist and harmonica). Her plays have been produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange, Popular Theatre Alliance and the Guelph Spring Festival. She has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the National Academy Orchestra, as well as with her own Broken Songs Band and other new music ensembles. Her stories and poetry are published in Prairie Fire, The Fiddlehead, Contemporary Verse 2 and elsewhere. Margaret’s writing has won the Rogers Writers Trust Award for Fiction, the Carol Shields Award, the Margaret Laurence Award, the McNally Robinson Award, and the Sunburst Award.


(To purchase any novel by Margaret go to your favourite bookstore or use the links below.)

Mr. Jones (Goose Lane 2014)

“Prose as lyrical and transparent as Ondaatje, as political astute and fiercely clear-eyed as Didion. “

— Lisa Moore, author of February and Caught

The Players (Goose Lane 2009)

“… magical … a wonderfully humourous tale ….”
— Andrew Armitage, The Sun Times

When Alice Lay Down with Peter (Knopf 2001)

“… hurtles forward with wit and vitality, deeply satisfying and inspiring.”
— Charlotte Gray, The National Post

Sam and Angie (Turnstone Press 1996)

…  gripping … the elegance, precision, and beauty with which the story is told.”

Letters in Canada, 1996

Fox (Turnstone Press 1992, reissued 2017)

an utterly brilliant novel … both intimate and epic.”
The Globe and Mail


A great day for writers

 While a writer’s life is usually solitary, either sitting at a table with paper and pencil or tapping away at a typewriter or computer, this time of COVID-19 has us isolated from friends and family, too. So, it is with great pleasure that I share this news from the Manitoba Book Awards Committee: ENGLISH (Winnipeg, … Read more

March news

In light of the COVID -19 situation, the ArtSpace building is closed to the public. As a result the Manitoba Writers’ Guild will be conducting our business virtually by monitoring and responding to emails only, There will not be anybody in the office to answer phone inquiries. All scheduled events will be postponed until … Read more