Northwords NWT sponsored a writing workshop at the Yellowknife Public Library on Sunday afternoon in hopes of inspiring more Northern and Indigenous writers.
“We do so by putting on a variety of events throughout the year, including workshops, panels, mentorship, much like what you see today,” said Robyn Scott, Northwords NWT board president.
Sunday’s event was open to all, and the organization strives to host at least one such event every month, according to Scott. These gatherings serve as a reminder to writers that they are not alone in their creative journey and provide a platform for mutual support, she explained.
Close to 15 people showed up for the workshop.
“I really enjoy engaging with other writers. I hope they got something out of the presentation and the talk,” said facilitator Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. “We just really were diving deep into the different kinds of writing groups that writers can take part in to help move their creative dreams forward.”
She added that after the workshop, people moved to the children’s area of the library for the launch of a new co-authored picture book that she put together with Fred Carmichael, the first Indigenous commercial pilot in the Arctic. The book, which took four years to complete, is a biography for kids about Fred’s nearly 70 years of flying in the North.
Metcalfe-Chenail has been a writer for about 15 years and has been publishing for 14. This is her sixth published book. She started out writing and publishing books for adults about the aviation history and also edited a collection of essays about moments of reconciliation and truth-telling in Canada.
She also working on children’s books that are very near and dear to her heart. Carmichael’s story is her second published children’s book.
Miki O’Kane, Carmichael’s wife, said, “For many years, people have asked Fred to write a book about himself. However, he was hesitant as he didn’t want to appear as if he was bragging. Their friend Danielle, a children’s and adult author, convinced him to write something for kids.”
She said that the book has been a collaborative effort between her, Carmichael, and Metcalfe-Chenail. The process was slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Danielle’s personal life events, including the birth of her daughter.