NorthWords Workshop with Hayden Trenholm

Turning Your Life Into Your Life Story
A hands-on master class that combines instruction with writing exercises to strength writers to create strong narratives in their fiction, essays and memoirs.

Join Hayden Trenholm, an award-winning playwright, novelist and short story writer for this two-day workshop, a hands-on master class that combines instruction and writing exercises to create strong narratives. Fiction and creative non-fiction writers will learn how to turn their personal or family stories and memoirs into strong, compelling tales.

Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10, 2016
10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Northern Frontier Visitors Association
$120.00 for two days
10% Discount for members

Sign up at the Yellowknife Book Cellar in person or by calling 920 2220.
For more information, please email

Workshop Details
Day 1
Creating Strong Narratives
• What happens Next?
• The Power of Structure in Story Telling
Building Strong Characters
The Power of Speech – Voice and Dialogue
Finding Time to Write

Day 2
The Role of Research – Writing What You Understand
Sources of Inspiration – Music, Art, Travel, Family
Reading for Writing
Q&A on Writing, Marketing and Publishing
Your Story and Others
The Writing Life

NorthWords Workshop April 2016

NorthWords Workshop April 2016

NorthWords Festival 2015, Let’s Celebrate!


NorthWords NWT is very excited to announce the line up for this years festival. We are thrilled to be welcoming for our tenth annual festival; Kathleen Winter, Garry Gottfriedson, Alexander MacLeod, Richard Van Camp, Drew Hayden Taylor, Joanna Lilley and Jacqueline Guest. Our theme is Ten Years of NorthWords, Let’s Celebrate! The festival is being held May 28th to 31st. We hope you will come out and celebrate with us.

To view a full list of our festival authors, check out the Festival Authors tab on our website!

Workshop with Sheryl McFarlane

We had a great workshop on Valentine’s Day with children’s author Sheryl McFarlane.  Particpants ranged from published writers to absolute beginners and the workshop satisfied all, ranging from inspiring exercises to hard-nosed business information.  75% of evaluations gave it an ‘excellent’ and the remainder ‘good’.  In answer to “What could have been better?” the unanimous reply was that it should have been longer. 

McF workshop 2

We had a great workshop on Valentine’s Day with children’s author Sheryl McFarlane.

Workshop and NorthWords AGM – 22 November

FS BookJacket DRThere is still time to sign up for Fred Stenson’s workshop ‘Casting a Spell’ at Aurora College, 10 – 2.00 this coming Saturday, 22nd November.   Click here for details.

This will be followed by the NorthWords AGM, 2.30, room 308 Aurora College.  Come and find out how you can be part of NorthWords as it moves into its second exciting decade. There will also be the necessary legal stuff.

if you can’t make the workshop then catch up with Fred and find out about his new novel at the Yellowknife Public Library, Friday lunchtime, or at the Book Cellar on Sunday afternoon.

One-on-One Mentorship Programme Returns!



After an exciting pilot last fall / winter, NorthWords one-on-one mentorship programme is returning 3rd November!

Are you:

  • working on a short story / novel / memoir / poetry / creative non-fiction
  • thinking about creative writing?
  • wondering about publishing?

Would you like to:

–       talk to a professional writer about your ideas?

–       get feedback on your work from a professional writer?



A gremlin has got into our website, stealing news of all the great things we’ve done over the past 2+ years: 

  • No mention of the amazing festivals we had in 2013 and 2014. 

  • Nothing about the many workshops we’ve run.  

  • No word on the great online mentorship scheme that took off in the fall winter of 2013/14 (and is about to start again).

Please be patient while we see if we can find the missing information and update this site.  It’s going to take us a bit of time to sort out, but rest assured we are still here, still promoting and supporting the writers – and readers – of the north.

Contact us at if there is something you want to ask or tell us.

New rules for NorthWords Prize

For the three years NorthWords has been awarding the $1000 NorthWords Prize to an exceptional book set in the NWT. Until now, books written by NorthWords board members, staff and their close families have been ineligible for the Prize. This rule was included to ensure that NorthWords would not be guilty of nepotism or favouritism.

However, many of our northern writers have chosen to become involved with NorthWords as staff or board members. We encourage this. It ensures that NorthWords keeps going, supports writers in what is mostly a lonely occupation and helps writers give back to the northern writing community. It seems unfair that those writers who give their time to NorthWords should be penalized by having their books disqualified for the Prize. This rule also has the effect of  narrowing the field of eligible books.

So we’ve decided to change the rule. Starting with the 2013 Prize, all  books with strong NWT settings or themes will be eligible for the NorthWords Prize, as long as their authors live in the NWT and have lived here for one year prior to the end of the year when the book is published or have been raised and/or schooled in the NWT and maintain strong ties to the NWT.

To keep the process fair and transparent, the winning book will be chosen by and independent panel of judges.

If you have published or are publishing a book about the NWT in 2012, please consider submitting it for the 2013 NorthWords Prize. For full guidelines, please go here.

NorthWords thanks De Beers Canada for its sponsorship of this Prize.



NorthWords Prize presented to Body Trade

The 2012 NorthWords Writers Festival is now over and this one was the best yet! But then, we say that every year. A huge thank you goes out to all the authors who participated, the sponsors, the volunteers and everybody who came out to take part in the event. Together we created something wonderful!

One the highlights of the festival is the annual presentation of the NorthWords Prize to an outstanding book set in the NorthWest Territories. The 2012 NorthWords Prize went to Body Trade,  the haunting story of two girls from Yellowknife who flee the North in search of a better life down south. The author, Margaret Macpherson, was raised in Yellowknife and returned to Yellowknife after a 30-year absence to participate in this year’s NorthWords Festival. Congratulations, Margaret!

The NorthWords Prize is sponsored by De Beers Canada.

Follow these links for more information about Body Trade and Margaret Macpherson:



Seventeen authors selected to contribute to NorthWords/DeBeers Anthology

YELLOWKNIFE (May 22, 2012­­) – De Beers Canada and NorthWords NWT are proud to announce that works from 17 writers have been selected for inclusion in Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories, an anthology scheduled to be released later this year. Some of these writers will read selections from their stories during the 7th Annual NorthWords NWT Writers Festival at the Flash: Your 3 Minutes of Fame Open Mike on May 31, 8 p.m. in the Atrium of the Greenstone Building in Yellowknife.

The anthology grew out NorthWords’ vision of building an NWT literary culture by supporting the work of NWT writers and De Beers Canada’s commitment to literacy development in the Northwest Territories. De Beers Canada is the Premier Sponsor of NorthWords and has supported the organization since it was founded in 2006.

“For the past 10 years we have inspired children to read through our Books in Homes program, and now we are helping inspire a generation of writers,” said Cathie Bolstad, Director of External & Corporate Affairs for De Beers Canada. “It is important that people living in the Northwest Territories, especially children, can read about and be inspired by the people and the places they know.”

Altogether, 94 works were submitted by NWT writers. The submissions were turned over to two judges: John Mutford, author of the well-known northern book blogThe Book Mine Set and Judy McLinton, NorthWords board member and a former editor and journalist. They decided on the final selection of the stories without knowing the identity of the authors. The successful stories were written by both published and emerging writers. For information on the writers see ANTHOLOGY.

“Congratulations to all the authors whose work has been chosen. We now have a vibrant collection of stories that showcase life in the NWT from many points of view,” said David Malcolm, President of NorthWords NWT. “It has long been NorthWords’ dream to publish an NWT Anthology. Thank you to De Beers Canada for making this dream come true.”

The book is being published by Great Plains Publications in Winnipeg under their Enfield and Wizenty imprint. It is scheduled to be printed over the summer and launched in Yellowknife this fall. It will be on sale in time for Christmas.

Between 2003 and 2011, De Beers Canada has distributed approximately 28,000 books to students attending schools in Aboriginal communities close to our NWT Projects, an investment of nearly $550,000. In fact, by the end of 2013 De Beers will have spent more than $750,000 on literacy initiatives in the NWT, helping youth get books to read and supporting NWT writers.

The NorthWords 2012 Writers Festival will take place in Yellowknife from May 31 – June 3.