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The Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence In Poetry We are so pleased to have FRED WAH as our 2019 judge!


"Fred Cogswell (1917-2004) was a prolific poet, editor, professor, life member of the League of Canadian Poets, and an Officer of the Order of Canada." First Prize: Second Prize: Third Prize:

$500 $250 $100

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:  Book must be bound as a book, not a chapbook.  Book length must be a minimum of 60 pages in length.  Selected poetry must be written in English by a single author.  Book must be original work by the author (translations will not be considered at this time)  Original date of publication falls between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.  Book must be published in Canada.  Book must be written by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident alive in submission year.  Electronic books are not eligible. In case of dispute about the book’s eligibility, the Society’s decision will be final. Fred Wah is the judge for our 2019 Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence In Poetry.

Reading Fee: $25 (all funds Canadian). Payment can be made through PayPal (there is a link below) or by money order (payable to “Royal City Literary Arts Society”). If you pay with Paypal, please include a copy of your receipt with the submission package. Two copies* of the book must be submitted to the Royal City Literary Arts Society, along with the reading fee (or proof thereof), and must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2019. The society’s mailing address is: Royal City Literary Arts Society Fred Cogswell Award Box #308 - 720 6th Street New Westminster, BC V3L 3C5

Shortlist will be announced Oct 15, 2019. Winners will be announced Nov 1, 2019.

Winning authors & titles will be included in the December issue of RCLAS’s Wordplay e-zine. *Submitted books will not be returned; they become the property of the Royal City Literary Arts Society.

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2019 Fiction Winners & Honourable Mentions

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2018 First Place Winner Fiction

Summer Gone Wrong 1979 © Donna Terrill This summer was unlike any others that Fiona had experienced in her secluded mountain village. Kootenay summers had a rhythm of their own – early morning garden-watering and emptying of slug traps, kayaking to the far side of the lake for picnics on the sandy beaches in the shadow of the Valhalla glacier, hiking into the back country in search of alpine flowers and wrapping towels around shivering kids at swimming lessons in the glacial lake.

But this summer felt out-of-step, the normal cadence, off-tempo. For one thing, there was a beer strike. Not knowing how to break the habit of a pub stop on the way home from work the highways crew, the miners, even the bank manager still gathered at the local watering hole. They took to drinking hard liquor with a Texas Pride near-beer (usually the domain of the local AA members) chaser. Schedules were organized to drive down across the line on a rotating basis and bring back the allowed two cases of watery American brew like Miller and Budweiser. This concerted effort saved the day for a young logger and his waitress girlfriend who feared that their long-planned nuptials would become a dry celebration.

Fiona developed a taste for gin and tonic. She was in the custom of stopping at the pub for an on-tap draft after work and before she picked up her two preschoolers from family daycare. Without fail, at first sight of her they launched into a game called “mummy’s here, everybody cry!” Jean, their care-giver would give Fiona a helpless look and say “They’ve been great all day, I don’t know why…” as her two charges would cling, whine and try to scale their mother’s body.

Sometimes, in anticipation, from her perch on a red vinyl bar stool, Fiona would order a double gin and tonic to fortify herself. “Changing gears,” she called it. Even after the beer strike ended it remained her happy hour drink of choice.

Sometime after the snow cleared off Idaho Peak but before the annual demolition derby a puzzling incident occurred – someone tried to burn down the post office. It was

clearly arson, evidenced by a broken window, a charred pile of last year’s income tax forms on the post office floor and traces of gasoline. The mystery was never solved but there was much speculation over coffee hour. Could it mean a Sons of Freedom revival or perhaps a remorseful romantic was having second thoughts and wanted his (her) letter back? Pension and unemployment cheques had to be re-issued and temporary quarters were set up in the General Store. The normal rhythm of one’s daily mail pick-up and the trading of current gossip on the post office steps was disrupted.

The temperature climbed and no one could remember the last time it rained. The needle-indicator on the forest-fire hazard sign at the entrance to the village was set to ‘high’. Many of the local men had been recruited to fire-fighting teams by the forestry department, a regular source of seasonal employment. A gauzy, smoke cover floated high over the valley, filtering the sun’s August heat and bathing all things below in ethereal dullness. There was a breathlessness to the air quality, a sensation of waiting, waiting for the blue sky, the young men and the cold beer to return. Helicopters were out in full force, so many, like busy dragonflies around a stagnant pond, droning and whirling against the listless sky.

Amongst her Texas Pride-drinking cronies Fiona heard the theories begin. “That many choppers? Forest fires, be damned!” The head mechanic at the highways yard smacked his palm on the table, causing the foam on his beer to slop over his glass. “I bet my bottom dollar they got infra-red cameras and are lookin’ for backwoods potgrowing gardens. Damn hippies!”

With the reverberations of the helicopters blades still pulsing in the air, the alarm went out, the posters went up. Two local boys were missing – technically, one boy and one man. Brian Ross was ten years old, the middle son of a single-mother and known to be a ‘handful’, often found at the centre of boyish mischief. The other, Jake Winter was a man in his early thirties with the mental development that roughly made him Brian’s equal. Jake and his mother ran the local bottle depot. Jake had a slight build and was mildly micro cephalic. He loved to stand out front on the sidewalk and converse, in a nervous staccato with everyone who passed by, often answering his own questions, with his eyes blinking and hands fluttering. Both families were new in town and, like many other newcomers, were most likely in search of a fresh start, an accepting community and the familiarity of small town life.

By late afternoon the volunteer fire brigade had organized groups to search the woods and lakeshore nearby while the Anglican church ladies brought coffee and sandwiches to the Firehall. Miners’ headlamps were issued to continue the hunt into the humid, moonless night.

Fiona had seen the two together the previous morning. She was driving into work about 10 am, later than usual since at dusk on the previous evening a VW van, loaded with her partner, Matt’s old Vancouver friends had chugged up their rutted driveway for an impromptu visit. It turned into quite a party but she rose early, fired up the wood cookstove and left the slumbering guests with fresh coffee and warm banana muffins. When she spotted the two ‘boys’, walking side-by-side she thought it was an unlikely pairing but figured that they might be searching the ditches for returnable bottles. She let herself into her office and proceeded to check her telephone messages and make the necessary re-scheduling changes. Her job as the coordinator of the area’s home support service was a lucky break – it provided a steady pay-cheque and a few occasions every year to fly to Vancouver for meetings and training. Most newcomers were forced to sacrifice career aspirations when they chose the valley lifestyle, cobbling together a livelihood as best they could.

Matt had drawn the ‘daycare pickup’ card today. He and the children sat huddled in front of their fourteen inch Sears black and white TV playing on the Atari, a computer game in which they owned a 25% share. When Fiona arrived home with a bag of groceries Matt looked up with a questioning expression, “Anything?”

Fiona shook head. “Not yet.”

She hated the cooing, pigeon sounds the game made and the rapt attention that most often, kept all three of them from acknowledging her presence. Their setter-cross, Sasha grew restless when the family became transfixed, staring at the beeping box. She would bark sharply in startled surprise when the sudden cheering and high fives would erupt. Fiona pocketed a dog treat and called for Sasha to follow her outside.

The smoky sky had taken on an eerie greenish cast, ominous and other-worldly. Now, sitting in the field of leafy bracken ferns she scratched Sasha’s head and felt the ground beneath her vibrate. Was it a distant rolling thunder or more helicopter rotors? Something was off-kilter. Sasha’s ears were on high alert. She ignored the treat Fiona offered and emitted a series of agitated high-pitched yips and whimpers.

“Don’t worry, girl. Life is good The Atari gets passed on tomorrow. Let’s take a walk.”

Sasha ran on ahead, then back-tracked, ran a circle around Fiona to make sure she was following, then took the lead again. They kept to an abandoned railway track that bordered Fiona and Matt’s property. The far side of the old rail bed fell away to a creek

far below. Centuries of spring run-off had widened the creek bed as the stream swelled and receded with the pace of the melting snow, deep in the Purcell Mountains.

From her high vantage point Fiona could see, through the quivering birch trees, the mouth of the creek, where it widened and emptied into the deep, cold mountain lake. Some old-timers claimed the lake to be bottomless in spots. The creek sliced the surrounding village in half but was spanned by a steel bridge.

It was on this bridge that Fiona could make out a parked white vehicle with a red, rotating light. On…off…on…off. She watched as the doors of the ambulance were closed. It moved off towards the hospital. She didn’t hear a siren.

She felt the first raindrops on her face. Sasha stood beside her and waited. The rain’s momentum increased. Fiona closed her eyes and raised her face away from the empty bridge. The rain ran down her face and diluted her tears. When she opened her eyes the sky cover was thinner, delicate, the cool air weightless, washed clean of smoke. No helicopters throbbed and pounded. “Let’s go home, Sasha.”. Fiona drew a deep breath.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- copyright Donna Terrill

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2018 Second Place Winner Fiction

Welcome to Canada © Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki When the endless umbrella of the Vancouver sky opens up above your head for the first time, you will have just become an immigrant in Canada. As you stand there in the expansive concrete parking lot, cradling your eyes with your hand, basking in the cedar-perfumed breeze which you will from that day on associate with freedom, a worrisome though will gnaw at you. What does being a Canadian immigrant entail? You needn’t worry at all. Even if you don’t know anything about your predicament, you’ll be just fine. Nobody around here will pounce on you with a list of things you ought to do. If you can afford a place to stay and your food, no one will come knocking on your door to ask if you've done your prescribed immigrant things, because there really aren’t any. As long as you pay your bills, you’ll never be bothered by anyone. The problem will arise when you run out of money. The amount you brought with you from your third-world-country will disappear quickly like Canadian summer. For the cost of living a whole year back where you came from, you may not survive a week in Vancouver, even in the shady neighborhood of New Westminster, famous for its vintage apartment buildings from the seventies where you will become familiar with the skunky aroma of the famous BC bud. Don’t linger in the hallway where you will be greeted by the barking of a locked up Rottweiler guarding his owner's home business. Hurry up on your way to the basement laundry room and don’t bother greeting the colossal dude whose only body coverage is a thick coat of hair. He may take your attention a wrong way. When the money runs out, you’ll have to: 1. Use the stash you’ve put aside for a plane ticket back home, just in case. 2. Sign up for a job-find program. Look for one in a good neighborhood, not one of those with a bunch of tattooed guys in undershirts and baseball hats worn backward. 3. Get a job.

In a job-find program, you'll get to know people you’d otherwise never have a chance of meeting in your life. There will be some familiar faces too. You’ll find there your thicktongued Eastern European bunch chewing on the English language, each of your words sounding more nostalgic than the previous one. If you know what’s good for you,

you’ll find savvy Asian friends and they will teach you everything you need to know about making it on a dime. Sooner or later, you'll become employed, a working immigrant which is infinitely better than being one who collects social security cheques and raids the food bank every month. You will be paying your bills and filing tax returns, buying IKEA furniture, and throwing away all the junk you’d collected from garage sales in your early immigrant days when finding a full set of chipped mugs made your day. You’ll purchase a K-car from a decent second-hand car dealer with a golden heart with whom you’ll haggle until the price is right and who will smile and say to you, Welcome to Canada. You will never again let people talk about car dealers as sleazy characters. On the weekends, you will drive around the city and eat fast food which will make you gain twenty pounds and blend with everyone else around you. Yes, being an immigrant is a very good thing until something bad happens. Maybe you'll just break your front tooth while munching on crispy fried chicken and the dentist will tell you that it would cost you three months of your salary to fix it. Or a guy you know will fall from the scaffolding at a construction site where he works illegally, and he will lose his right eye. Or a friend who immigrated at the same time as you will get run over crossing the street on his way from the night shift. You will spend days comforting his widow in their studio apartment full of notebooks still open where he left them, his handwriting stopped midway through his computer programming class at the BCIT. When one or all of these things happen, the transient nature of being an immigrant will reveal itself to you. This will not feel good. You and your friends will see yourselves as clumps of tumbleweed in a flowering meadow. Being an immigrant won’t be enough for you anymore. You will have a crystal clear vision of where you must aim your life. Unfortunately, there is no how-to-do-book for this; it's something each of us has to figure out on our own. Whatever it takes, however we can, by any means possible, we shall become firmly-rooted Canadians.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- copyright Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2018 Third Place Winner Fiction

Fly Away © Annis Teller

When Connall saw Brooke and Dylan up ahead, he stood still and let the crowd swirl around him, then began to edge back. It wasn’t that he minded them being a couple so much, but he couldn’t help but be struck by the timing of this particular meeting. One year ago, that had been him with Brooke in the airport. Or, it should have been. Last September, he’d come to meet her plane, once he’d gotten over the shock of the text that told him she was on a plane that required meeting. He’d never liked being backed into corners, but he’d dutifully driven to the airport, and waited for her by the domestic luggage carousel at YVR, where he’d watched about a million other people who’d also left their arrivals to the last possible moment. Half of them were tired families returning home just in time for the first day of school. Labour Day weekends in airports were very, very busy. God, how he hated crowds. He’d seen her, of course – she always stood out despite her petite stature, and that day she stood out even more, bright with happy excitement. He’d watched her scan the people, searching their muddling, shifting groups with that penetrating blue gaze. He knew she’d been looking for him, given the size of her expectant smile, and he’d even started to move toward her, surprised to discover that he smiled, too. He supposed that pleasure at the sight of her was a possible ingredient, but that day the overall mix of his emotions had been indisputably dark. He’d soldiered on, kept an even pace, ignored the terrified hammer of his heart, didn’t try to fathom her unexpected move to Vancouver. He’d barely noticed when the other man bumped him, even when he’d sworn under his breath before hefting suitcases onto an uncooperative luggage cart. Slender cord looped tight around one bulging suitcase; it caught on the cart before snapping free with an angry twang. The man’s wife calmed their child while she waited. It was a minute incident – the family hadn’t noticed him, and he hadn’t even flinched, but it made Connall realize he couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t. He’d stopped, turned on his heel, and walked away, decamped so quickly neither shame nor love could catch up. That was three hundred and sixty-five days ago, almost to the hour, and the realization made him clutch his luggage, an odd comfort given that it stank of vinyl like the heavy bag his father had once used. He doubted that Brooke realized it was an

anniversary of sorts, because she was completely focussed on Dylan, and Dylan, naturally, couldn’t take his eyes off her. No wonder – if she’d been bright with happy anticipation last fall, this year she positively glowed, her smile as clean and white as her shirt. It was just as well because Dylan staggered with the kind of exhaustion that only a trans-oceanic flight could induce. Judging by the look of him, he’d been awake for well over twenty-four hours, and they’d all been difficult: the plane too cramped for comfort, the white noise of engines and conversation, the headache curved under the skull. Only business travel could transform a headache into a giant hand that squeezed brains like they were soft pieces of fruit. Connall knew the feeling well. He moved toward security with restless feet, followed the ropes that outlined a serpentine path instead of a boxing ring, thick ropes that could abrade naked skin and made him studiously avoid thoughts of his childhood basement. He breathed a sigh of relief every time he made it around a corner. Stopped one last time to look at Brooke. Once, years ago, he’d seen big white birds, a whole flock of them, when he’d been trapped in yet another plane on yet another trip. He couldn’t remember which airport, or which destination, but he remembered he’d somehow been assigned the far back window seat, and that the Airbus wasn’t taking him home. The plane had zoomed into the air, and it had been cloudy. High clouds, though, which meant good visibility, and he’d gazed, bewitched, as the flight of birds tossed itself in the wind. They’d been white as winter, snowy feathers against gray sky. While he watched, one single beam of sunlight had pierced the gloom, and the birds had struck fire like incandescent light bulbs. They’d been so brilliant, it almost hurt to look at them. The person in the seat beside him had said the birds were snow geese, traveller birds that mated for life and always returned home to the same nesting grounds. And that was Brooke, today. Incandescent. It almost hurt to look at her, too.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- copyright Annis Teller

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2018 Honourable Mention Fiction

The Iron Maiden © Patricia M. Evans

She’s been here for six months now. At first everything was fine. She came, looked after my husband for a few hours, and left. Things have changed since then. She’s still a caregiver but she’s more now. When she arrived I felt at ease in my home. Now it feels like it’s her home, and I am a stranger who is merely tolerated there.

Maria puts another potted plant on the windowsill. That’s as in “MY windowsill”. She’s got three of them there already, and now here’s another one. I pretend to look at the plants, while thinking how much I resent her slow infiltration of my home.

It seems so paranoid to think that some kind of takeover of my home is going on. But not only are her plants on my windowsill, she has brought some of her bedlinen for us to use. Okay, so my sheets were not the greatest, but I would have got around to replacing them at some point. Now we are sleeping in her luxurious 800 count set of sheets, pale blue. I hate pale blue. And she has brought dishes. She did break one of my plates, but she didn’t have to replace it with six plates, soup bowls, and large mugs. They crowded out all the dishes I have acquired over my lifetime. Those have been banished to the storage cupboard over the refrigerator, out of sight.

She smiles at me as she crosses the living room. Her smile is beautiful, so calming. Her eyes surrounded by the perfect number of soft wrinkles, are the loving eyes of a mother. She’s not my mother, thank God. My mother was alarming enough. This one is an improvement over my mother but still makes me queasy.

“Come on, Frank, time to take you to the bathroom,” she says, her slight Polish accent showing through. She is small, but sturdy, brown eyes and short dark hair. My husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease, tries to get out of his chair but stumbles, his sense of balance destroyed. She grabs him, and pulls him upright, placing his hands on his walker, and accompanies him to the bathroom. She’ll wait in there, hovering over him until he’s finished and then clean him. I am deeply grateful for her care, but also perturbed by her closeness and intimacy with him.

I sit on the sofa and try to remember what it was like before the Iron Maiden came into our lives. I call her that, although I know it’s a misnomer. But when I think about it, it might not be. The Iron Maiden was very attractive on the exterior, rounded and welcoming, but on the inside, she was full of spikes that could destroy you.

Maria walks my husband out of the bathroom, showers and dresses him, and settles him in front of the TV which he will sit and stare at all day.

Then, “Excuse me, I would like to ask you something.” This is the way our daily interactions begin. Our conversations are usually about something that is massively important to her, but that I can’t see anything pressing about. Today, it’s the arrangement of food in the refrigerator. She pulls everything out and piles it on the counter.

“What I suggest is that this goes here.” She puts the jams in the back of the shelf, which I would never do as it is something we use everyday. She follows this up with other jars, containers, packets, which she arranges by placing them against the back wall, lining them up like prisoners about to be shot. Each time she places something, she says, “Is this all right here?” It’s definitely not all right, I like my food at the front of the shelves, where I can reach it. I find myself saying, “Yes, it’s okay”.

“You have to watch it with these care givers. Some of them want to insinuate themselves into your life.” When the social worker said that to me, I laughed. The first couple of caregivers were fine; they simply provided care. They didn’t want to put my refrigerator in order or bring potted plants until my window sill was crowded.

I watch Maria as she bustles about, washing dishes and tidying. She recently tidied up my books, which I used to keep piled on the coffee table. I kept them there because I loved their presence. Without asking me, and with no reverence for the importance of books, she wrapped them in plastic bags and put them in a box out of sight.

I wanted to yell at her over the books, but it seemed so petty. She’s just trying to make things neat and tidy. The books have been out of sight and out of mind for a while now. I mostly sit and watch TV.

Her tidying finished for the moment, Maria comes and sits too close to me on the couch. I try to edge away from her without her being aware, but she doesn’t notice things like that. She begins to tell me about her daughter, who lives in a town several hours drive away.

“I would really like to go and stay with her and my son in law more often, but they are always so busy.”

Some vague sense of politeness compels me to ask, “How often do you see them?” and immediately regret it.

She tells me that she sees them only once a year, and that her daughter only calls occasionally. “She has this very demanding job,” Maria says, “and I understand that she doesn’t have much time to call me. “

I can tell from the tone in her voice that she doesn’t really understand why her daughter is so distant.

She goes into the basement to sort out the recycling. I take advantage of the brief time alone to go back into the refrigerator to see again her amazing painstaking discipline of bread, jam, mustard, apples, grapes. As usual, she has wrapped every muffin, every piece of fruit in individual plastic sandwich bags, then placed them into larger plastic bags, which are then gathered together in plastic containers. I have spoken to her before about her promiscuous use of plastic bags, showing her pictures of the devastation they are causing in the environment, but she has ignored me. I, in turn, frequently ignore her when she tries to talk to me about something I think is unnecessary. In my case, it’s passive aggressiveness carried to the limit. I don’t know what it is in her case, but it doesn’t lead to any alteration in her behaviour.

I take several items from the refrigerator, and check the number of plastic sandwich bags she has used. Some of the items are wrapped three times over. As I put things back, my mind wanders over how much this wrapping habit of hers is costing me in grocery money, then onto wondering about this compulsion to wrap and wrap again. I have this sudden vision of myself, shrink wrapped and lined up with the jams in the back of the refrigerator.

She comes back upstairs and says, “Excuse me, I would like to talk to you.”

She thinks she is being polite, but the words strike like blows. I grit my teeth, my shoulders hunch and my stomach contracts, all caused by those nine words which I hear so often. She sets out a list of things she intends to do. “I have to do the washing, then clean the bathroom, and then do the floors.” I listen without interest until I hear the word “floors”. Oh God, the floors! She is obsessed with them. We have the cleanest floors in town. When I was in charge of my home, I always thought that a soft white coat of dust made the hardwood floors look, well, less hard. Now they’re so clean, we could eat from them, as the saying goes. Sometimes I deliberately drop crumbs on their pristine surface. So far I have fought off the urge to gather up soil from outside and scatter it all over the floors, but I am afraid that one day that urge will overwhelm me.

I nod mutely at her list of chores, and watch her as she whisks around the place, humming to herself. A person who hums while cleaning is sick.

After she has left for the day, in a fit of petty passive aggressiveness, I disarrange the refrigerator, moving everything from the back to the front of the shelves. At first it feels good, but after a few elated minutes, the pleasure fades and I feel bad, like a child defying her mother. Why am I doing this? I should be grateful to her. She came in and took over the hard job of looking after my husband, and takes care of me as well. But still I have that unsettled feeling.

I carefully return the things in the fridge to their former position.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- copyright Patricia M. Evans

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2018 Honourable Mention Fiction

A Fair Critique © Aaron Barry

"Why do you think the artist chose beige?" the man asked, leaning toward the gentleman to his right. They were seated upon one of the modern art gallery's generously proportioned benches, looking out at the undoubtedly priceless abstract piece before them. "That's a terrific question, really. Well, if I had to hazard a guess—and I am being quite careful not to inject too many personal biases into my assessment—I would say that the artist was trying to capture the thoroughly dismal affair that is human existence. You can see from the evenness of both the paint's mixture and the artist's stroke that every hint of white and sienna—bliss and suffering, respectively—have been lost, which leaves us with a profound statement about the blandness of this very harmony.” Delighted by his new friend's keen sense for artistry and elocution, the questioning man pressed for more answers: "And what of its size? It's a little large, wouldn't you say? Why do you suppose that is?" The stranger smiled. "You're right to call attention to the project's scale. Had the artist chosen to make this the size of, say, De Kooning's Interchange, the whole thing may have fizzled out entirely. Instead, the artist used as much space as he could, thereby acknowledging the universality of the work's central theme. Think of it as his way of saying, Hey! We are here, everywhere—but why—? You do see the message in it now, don't you?" He could, in fact, see the message now. "Oh, I do say! That was rather impressive," the questioner proclaimed. "I really haven't much experience with fine art. My father was always very critical of it when I was growing up. But I believe even he would have been able to appreciate this. I have to ask, though: How were you able to figure all of that out?"

"Ah, well, it just so happens that I'm an art critic for Dribs and Drabs. It's my business to interpret even the most imperceptible of creative intentions." "That makes perfect sense. I was worried for a moment that I was the only one who didn't know much about art." The man had never had the privilege of keeping such august company. "You've really opened my eyes today. I’m truly glad to have met you. But if I may, I would like to know one last thing about this piece before I let you move on: What is it called?" The critic fell silent. He ran a hand through his Van Dyck beard. "I’m ashamed to admit that its name eludes me. It must be new." "Well, this should be an easy fix. I'll get up and read its plaque out to you." The other man lifted himself from the bench and made his way over to it, where, after discreetly clearing his throat, he began reading: "Phyllis E. Stein...All My Exes...2018...blood on canvas...?" The critic shook his head, confounded. "No, no—that simply cannot be. I know that piece well, and this is most evidently not it. There are no Xs written in blood here." As a gallery attendant came into view, the critic bid him come their way. "How can I help you today?" the attendant asked, wearing a polite smile. "I believe the curator has made a grave error. You see, right over there is a mislabeled piece of art." The critic pointed toward the painting. "Do take a good look," the other man chimed in. The attendant maintained his cheery expression. "I'm not sure I understand what it is you're referring to."

"That right there, my friend!" the critic exclaimed, pointing again, this time with urgency. Cracks of consternation began to play upon the attendant's face. "Gentlemen, I don't follow." "Surely you,” the critic insisted, “as an attendant of this fine gallery, have something of an eye for art—or, at the very least, functional vision. Take a look in that direction"—he led the attendant's gaze toward the painting again—"and tell me you don't see beauty. Tell me you don't see that marvelous sea of beige, that conduit of human consciousness!" A pause. "Now I see it," the attendant said. "Excellent!" the critic cried with relief. "You should have trusted me; I'm something of an expert on these things. Now, the problem here is that this piece bears the wrong plaque. It quite clearly says All My Exes, but we are confident this is not that, and we would very much like to learn the name of—" "Gentlemen," the attendant interrupted, his puzzlement now replaced with genuine concern. "I think there's been a misunderstanding here. We moved All My Exes across the hall last week. What you've been staring at is nothing more than a wall."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- copyright Aaron Barry

7th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2018 Honourable Mention Fiction

A New Start © V.J. Hamilton

We meet at the docks in Madras, 1878, literally by accident, when the porters fetching the luggage of passengers disembarking from HMS Marlowe underestimate the weight of a trunk and lose their grip on it as they bear it down a ramp. It lands on a beggar, a blind beggar, as Fate would have it, and his screams fill the air while the crowd presses forward, whether to help or to look I do not know. I close my eyes and recite the prayer for the dying; it gives me as great a comfort as it did eleven months ago at Papa’s bedside. When I look up, I see the eyes of a red-haired Englishman upon me. After the shrieks and shouting subside, and the ordinary hub-bub of searching and greeting begins, the man marches over to me. “May I assist you in hailing a conveyance?” he asks. He looks at me directly, his face pink beneath a luxuriant and expertly trimmed auburn moustache. Such staggering impertinence: addressing a lady directly. I turn away, looking wildly left and right for the members of my group. Blessedly I see several gathering near to a porter holding up the sign “Bishop Thomas Girls’ School,” where we lady visitors will be boarding for the next month whilst the girls are on holiday. In my relief I forget myself and murmur, “oh, that poor, poor man—” meaning the beggar, whose lifeless body is, at that moment, being carried away in a hand-cart like a sack of barley. With a chill, I realize that he has departed this world without anyone to pray for the transition of his soul and I murmur: Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. My eyes begin to fill, remembering Papa’s last days. I remember, too, how he begged me to settle myself with a decent man, a good provider. The red-haired man apologizes for his boldness and offers me his handkerchief, but I decline. I am not some common trollop, despite my presence among the feminine “fishing fleet.” We are a group of forty eligible English women who have paid the bond of £200, plus one-way ticket, for the privilege of sailing here to India to meet eligible Englishmen in the military and Indian Civil Service. His eyes surreptitiously look me over, from boots to bodice, and I am secretly glad I struggled into my whalebone that morning, despite the choppy seas. I remind myself not to smile—never to smile—as my teeth are my weakest feature. One thing I hope to shed with this new life in India is my odious nickname: Horsey.

“What a dreadful thing for you to see within minutes of landing here,” he says sombrely. “My sincerest apology.” I wonder who he has come dockside to meet. He is dressed, not as a soldier, more as a gentleman, with stiff collar, a well-cut three-piece suit and Ascot tie. I catch glimpses of collar studs, cufflinks, and a watch chain. He tilts his face to the left as he looks worriedly into mine, and I feel my heart pounding. “Are you all right?” he asks. I raise my hand to my throat. “Quite, I assure you,” I say, trying to sound cold, but alas it is about as frosty as ice pressed against a hot stove. I gesture toward the Bishop Thomas group. Two nuns step forward to corral us ladies. The man says quickly, “My sister Lavinia is in dire need of good company.” He discreetly offers his card. “I invite you and a friend to pay a call—once you have settled in.” Why me, I wonder. As if he anticipated this very question, he whispers, “we redheads ought to stick together.” As I take his card, I feel pinkness travelling from my fingertips to my neck. Poor, discomfited Lavinia! I picture a woman my age with luxuriant red hair whose ivory skin must never be exposed to the full light of day. I should like to make her acquaintance. In the carriage ride to the school, I peer at the black typefont on the blinding white card: Nigel Hetherington, Esq. Accessories. Import/Export

* * * We new arrivals of “the fishing fleet” are brought to one wing of the boarding school. The cots are small, and each leg of the bed stands inside a tin cup—to discourage climbing insects, I learn later. The drab woollen clothing we arrived in is deemed “unsuitable for our new life.” It’s a phrase I shall hear often over the next several days. Soon a team of tailors arrives with bolts of bright cotton and begin taking orders for new frocks. As I finger the mother-of-pearl buttons, my thoughts stray to Hetherington Accessories, Import/Export. We are encouraged to adapt ourselves to the new environs, where the omnipresent threat of disease means wearing scratchy cholera belts, sleeping under voluminous mosquito netting, and regularly consuming bitter quinine tea. In twos and threes, we venture out for short walks. On the street we are assailed—screeching vendors and fragrant blossoms and sickening dung and frying onions and mewling children and eyepopping reds and yellows and greens—and all manner of sensations vie with one another to see which will shock our senses more. We rush back to the oasis of grey English calm. And above all, we learn to cope with the heat, the heat, the heat…

The next week two chaperones and a dozen of us travel in two carriages to the Viceroy’s Park in our new, cooler attire and white parasols. I wear a bonnet and gloves, too, because the parasols do not offer full protection. The titters and whispers among our group swell into exuberant chatter and giggles—constantly and imperfectly hushed by the chaperones. Alone among the group I feel a natural silence as I contemplate the verdant gardens whose heavy fragrance envelops us. Papa and I shared an interest in horticulture. How he would have loved to see these shrubs! Papa, I shall inscribe this scene in my heart for you. I realize, however, the plants here are strange and unnameable, which troubles me greatly. Suddenly I think: Lavinia. She might know the names—or how I could find them. On our way back to Bishop Thomas Girls’ School, I am squeezed in among my new associates who sway and gossip relentlessly. I press my face against the cool glass of the window. A street is unexpectedly closed. Our horses clip-clop through a harumscarum route among throngs of brown limbs and bobbing black heads. Suddenly we careen toward the unloading docks. HMS Burnham Thorpe sits, in the midst of unloading. My eye travels immediately to the scene of last week’s accident. It looks as if nothing has changed; how can that be? Beggars still line the way, jostling piteously for the attentions of passengers treading down the ramp. For the first time I wonder whose trunk it was, and whether she knew it was Fate’s instrument of death. I forgot to thank God for my own deliverance from the choppy seas. Thank God too for the opportunities that abound, despite the oppressive heat, the milling crowds, the vapours of disease, the reek and the noise. Thank God for the yards and yards of colourful future experiences spilling out before us like a mighty river. I am momentarily overcome. As I remove my handkerchief, I see the bright white card.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- copyright V.J. Hamilton

2019 RCLAS Write On! Contest BIOS: Fiction Winners & Honourable Mentions Donna Terrill divides her time between New Westminster and the Slocan Valley in the West Kootenays and enjoys the literary scenes in both communities. She has been a long time member of RCLAS, Ren Writers, B.C. Federation of Writers and a regular attendee at Vancouver Writers’ Festival, Lit Fest New West and Elephant Mountain Literary Festival in Nelson. She is currently completing her first draft of a novel and keeps busy with a little cycling, kayaking, gardening and keeping track of eleven grandchildren.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki is a visual artist and storyteller living in Port Moody where she immigrated from Serbia in the nineties. Her literary short stories have been published and earned awards in Canada and the United States. She is presently working on a collection of short stories set in Serbia and Canada. To see Tatjana’s art and read about her literary journey, please visit her web site

Annis Teller lives in New West with her husband and children, two indoor cats, and bird feeders sufficient to drive the cats crazy. Sometimes there is also a dog, if dog-sitting is required. “Fly Away” is an excerpt from Teller’s first novel, which has been almost finished for five years, and remains (therefore) unpublished. Such is the life of a writer/mother/sister/daughter/volunteer/ teacher/wife. Note to husband: if you happen to see this, please know that nothing is intended by the order of items on the list.  Annis Teller is a pseudonym.

2019 RCLAS Write On! Contest BIOS: Fiction Winners & Honourable Mentions Patricia Evans lives in Vancouver’s West End, and never intends to leave it. She is a recovering lawyer, having practiced matrimonial law for far too long. She writes mainly horror stories, and as a family law lawyer, she came across stories more horrifying than anything even Stephen King could invent. In addition to being awarded prizes in several writing competitions, both for fiction and poetry, she has been published, mainly online, on the MicroHorror and ScyFy websites, and in print in The Yellow Booke, an anthology of horror stories. She is currently struggling with a YA horror novella.

Aaron Barry is an English major, ESL teacher, and, when the stars align, a writer — and like every good writer, he enjoys celebrating in excess, gambling with money he doesn’t have, and forming ill-fated relationships in his off time. His humorous poetry and short stories have been featured in over sixteen publications. He is currently working on a full-length haiku collection. He may be contacted at

Short fiction by V.J. Hamilton has been published in The Antigonish Review, The Nashwaak Review, and The MacGuffin, among others. She won the EVENT Speculative Fiction 2018 prize. She lives and works at a desk job in Toronto and writing fiction keeps her sane. Sort of.


First Place: Donna Terrill – Summer Gone Wrong 1979 Second Place: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki – Welcome to Canada Third Place: Annis Teller – Fly Away 2019 Fiction Honourable Mentions Patricia M. Evans – The Iron Maiden Aaron Barry – A Fair Critique V.J. Hamilton – A New Start First Place Summer Gone Wrong 1979 by Donna Terrill This story is rich in characters, subtext, and vivid sensory descriptions. The writing is tight and well-paced. The reader is welcomed to an isolated, slow-paced summer town. A place where locals meet and gossip in the bar. However, “this summer felt out-of-step, the normal cadence, off-tempo. For one thing, there was a beer strike.” Everything is off, including the main character. Fiona, mother of preschoolers, always stops by the bar after work to “change gears.” From her we learn about the town’s puzzling incidents “someone tried to burn down the post office.” And, two local “boys” go missing. One of the missing is a vulnerable man-child. His description is one to remember. I was hooked, and didn’t want to stop reading this exceptional story. Congratulations! Second Place Welcome to Canada by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki “When the endless umbrella of the Vancouver sky opens up above your head for the first time, you will have just become an immigrant in Canada.” The story unfolds lightly, even though it addresses the hard truths of being an immigrant. What emerges is a series of instructions for new comers, and what to do if the money runs thin or you find yourself living in the shady neighbour. I enjoyed the fluid writing, and understated descriptions like, “You and your friends will see yourselves as clumps of tumbleweed in a flowering meadow.” Anyone who has left their homeland will relate to this story. Those who have never left their birth land will get a glimpse into the struggles of adjusting to a new culture. I hope this author continues to write engaging stories as this one.

Third Place Fly Away by Annis Teller It is difficult to convey a story about a character’s emotional limitations in under one thousand words. The writer for this piece did an excellent job. The main character finds himself at an airport, and by coincidence sees at a girl who could have been part of his life. But, he was and still is emotionally incapable. This story had to be read with care. A whole backstory was tucked into a single sentence. “He moved toward security with restless feet, followed the ropes that outlined a serpentine path instead of a boxing ring, thick ropes that could abrade naked skin and made him studiously avoid thoughts of his childhood basement.” I’m sure we’ll see more writing from this talented author.

“It was a pleasure and honour to read so many wonderful stories. I read each several times. The winner stood out. I made remarks on the top three stories, and selected three honourable mentions.” Warm Regards, Claire Lawrence

Claire Lawrence has been published in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and India. Her work has been performed at the National Gallery, UK, and on BBC radio. Claire’s work has appeared in numerous publications including Geist, Litro, Ravensperch, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Curating Alexandria and Bangalore Review. Her creative non-fiction appeared in Just for Canadian Doctors Lifestyle Magazine. Claire Lawrence has a number of prize winning stories, including winning RCLAS Write On Fiction Contest 2018. She was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. Her goal is to write and publish in all genres. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Moor of the Rock by Jerena Tobiasen

Tariq was born into a Berber family c. 680 AD, although no record was ever made of the event. He was taught the traditional and ancient beliefs and deities adhered to by the villagers. He celebrated all of the milestones expected of him, without question and with devotion. Also ingrained in him was the instinct to survive. He followed the village warriors and watched them practice military manoeuvres and, when all of his chores and prayers were complete for the day, he would retrieve a special rod that he had shaped into a mockweapon and stored under his sleeping mat, and follow the shadows to the far side of the stream upon which backed his family’s hut of stone and dried mud. There, in the glade of a thicket that blocked his family’s view, he would practice the moves that he had seen earlier made by the soldiers. The morning after the day that celebrated Tariq’s fifteenth birthday, he rose with the false dawn, prayed to the deities for guidance, broke his fast, rolled up his bed for the last time, and kissed each parent good-bye. Had he known then the direction that his life was to take, he might have tarried a while longer, but still he would have departed. Tariq knew in his bones that he was meant to be a warrior, and now it was time to follow the path forecast by the deities. He walked for several days until he found the main camp of the Berber warriors and was directed to the tent of the commander. There, he was instructed to wait for a summons. As he sat in the shade of the commander’s tent, his belly rumbled. He allowed himself two bites of the remaining bread that his mother had baked for

him, and three swallows of sweet well-water from the goat skin water bag that his father had made especially for his journey. Then he covered himself with the carpet woven by his grandmother and given as a wedding gift to his parents, and he slept comforted by their love of him. In his sleep, he saw himself as a great warrior and a leader of men, but as he began to puzzle through exactly how that was to be, he awoke abruptly to the toe of a boot nudging his knee. “Is this how a great warrior serves his people? Napping in the afternoon heat?” A deep voice belonging to a figure backlit by the sun demanded of him. Tariq scrambled to his feet and stood smartly before the distinguished soldier. “My apologies, sir. It won’t happen again,” he said with sincerity. “No, I don’t suppose it will Tariq, son of Ziyad,” the commander of the troupes said chuckling. “I have been waiting a long time for this day. Come, it is time for you to prove that your years of practising in the glade have been worthwhile.” Tariq’s eyes swelled in wonder. “You know about that?” he asked, blushing. “A good commander knows all things,” the man replied. “Now, close your mouth and follow me. I will introduce you to the men with whom you will serve.” He turned on his heel and led Tariq deep into the camp pointing out the location of the latrines, the food stations, and sleeping quarters. “I don’t believe that you have learned to ride. Am I correct?” “Just my father’s donkeys, sir.” “Then you are not yet the ideal warrior. Pay attention to your instructors. Serve me and the deities well, and you will accomplish great things.” “Yes, sir!” Tariq replied with enthusiasm. ~

Several years later, Tariq and a company of warriors encountered a hostile group of rebels under the rule of Musa bin Nusayr, the emir of North Africa. The rebels overpowered Tariq and his men, several of whom were killed or mortally wounded and left to die. Few survived, and they were not unscathed. Tariq received a deep slash to his upper thigh at the hand of a scimitar-wielding Arab. Despite the depth of the wound, an Arab physician was able to clean it and stitch the wound closed. Tariq was awed by the physician’s skill and knowledge of medicines. The scar of the healed gash forever reminded Tariq of his one act of carelessness. He resolved to pay attention to his surroundings at all time, especially during battles, no matter the size. As soon as the wound healed enough for him to return to fighting, the emir called him to his court. “Tariq ibn Ziyad”, Musa said, calling him by name, “I have heard of your achievements in battle. You are rumoured to be a great Berber warrior, even at your young age.” Tariq’s guards had shoved him to his knees in the presence of the emir, told him to keep his eyes on the floor and not to speak unless addressed. At the emir’s comments, Tariq dared to raise his eyes to the powerful ruler. “I am as you say, sir,” Tariq replied, raising his head. He looked into Musa’s eyes with confidence. “Indeed,” Musa replied, the corner of his mouth momentarily turning upward. “That we shall see. You will serve me as the great warrior you are renowned to be. We will conquer new lands and spread the word of Islam. If you serve me well, you will be rewarded.” “If I serve you well, you will set me free,” Tariq said. “I am no one’s slave.” “Prove to me that you are worthy, and I will consider it,” the emir countered. “That I will do,” Tariq replied, “but for one thing.”

“Explain yourself,” Musa demanded, raising an eyebrow to the exception. “I cannot spread the word of Islam.” “Because . . .” “Because I do not know it. It is not my belief.” “Then you shall be taught, and you shall learn!” The emir bellowed. “Take this man away,” he said to the guards, “but treat him as a warrior, although a slave he is yet.” ~ Tariq kept his word, proving to the emir that he was a worthy warrior. He studied the Quran and learned the laws of Islam, found them worthy and embraced them as his own. He learned to read and write, and the manipulate numbers, and became a master of successful military strategies. The emir was pleased with the accomplishments of his warrior slave. He freed Tariq from slavery and encouraged the young Moor to rise within the military ranks. In time, Tariq became a general of the emir’s army, as well as the emir’s confident, despite their oftenheated, counterpointed discussions. In 710 AD, Tariq ibn Ziyad, under the emir’s command, led a predominantly-Berber army across North Africa to the sea. They boarded vessels that carried them across the water to the Iberian Peninsula with orders to conquer the Visigoths. With each successful conquest, he and his troops spread the word of Islam. The emir rewarded Tariq by appointing him governor of Tangiers. Tariq formed several alliances with local rulers and continued to invade the Visigoth settlements until he became de facto governor of Al Andalus in Islamic Iberia. In 714 AD, Tariq retired to Damascus, where he lived the remainder of his life, well known as a conquering hero and military strategist, and a scholar.

As time passed, the great mount of Mons Calpe (the Hollow Mountain) located at the southern tip of Iberia was renamed in Tariq’s honour as Jabal Tariq, or the Mount of Tariq. Throughout his life, Tariq had spread the word of Islam across the lands that he had conquered. He remembered every day the knowledge and wisdom that he had learned from those whose life paths he had crossed, those who had helped him become the great warrior of his destiny, and he was grateful. Tariq’s prowess as a soldier and scholar have long since been forgotten by most, as time often allows. However, his name and his accomplishments are honoured still with each reference made to the mount named in his honour, Jabal Tariq – the great Rock of Gibraltar. Note: Much of Tariq ibn Ziyad’s history is unknown; therefore, the writer has taken liberties with the telling of the tale.

Jabal Tariq or Rock of Gibraltar, taken by Robert Douglas, May 2019

View from roof of a Berber home in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, taken by Robert Douglas, May 2019

A narrow alley way in the Old Medina of Fez, taken by Jerena Tobiasen, May 2019

-----------------------------------------------------------------Moor of the Rock copyright Jerena Tobiasen

THE MIGHTY PEN by W. Ruth Kozak

"A pen is certainly an excellent instrument to fix a man's attention and to inflame his ambition." John Adams (diary entry Nov. 14, 1760) WRITE'S RULE #1: “Always carry a notebook and pen with you to jot down those brilliant plot ideas, scintillating dialogue and scraps of narrative that come to you while you sip coffee at Starbucks or ride the bus to work. These spontaneous thoughts are the pure stream-ofconsciousness bits that will keep your writing bright and alive. Don't wait until you get home, or you'll have forgotten them. It's a good idea to keep pen and paper by your bed too. Some fine thoughts may come to you just as you're drifting off and if you wait til morning they'll be lost in your dream-world. WRITER'S RULE #2: Learn to type, because you'll be spending half your lifetime at a keyboard. More importantly, editors will not accept handwritten manuscripts. I still have a box filled with hand-written stories in notebooks along with my own illustrations.

I was twelve, and seriously considering a writing career. One of the things I wanted more than anything in the world was a typewriter. A real typewriter like reporters used. I was convinced my parents would get me one. Alas! When Christmas came, I was presented with a small festively wrapped box. Perhaps the typewriter was hidden somewhere in the closet or on the porch? No such luck! Inside the box was a Bulova wrist watch with an expandable gold strap. I was crushed with disappointment. "It's a beautiful watch," my Mother said. I knew she meant well. I was a kid who always daydreamed and dawdled, perpetually late for appointments and school. And now I'd have no excuse not to get home by my 9 o'clock curfew. But I couldn't be convinced that a wrist watch was better (or more practical a gift) than a typewriter. It wasn't until my fourteenth birthday that I got my wish. A secondhand black Underwood. A real typewriter like reporters use in editorial news rooms. I spent hours in the solitude of my bedroom pounding the keys, writing pages and pages of words. By the time I was sixteen I'd churned out half a dozen short novels all with a historical theme. When I went to live in Greece in the '80's I bought myself a bright red portable Brother. I had no furniture so used an upturned drawer for a table and spent hours typing travel stories. Every story I marketed, typed on that little Brother, was published. I've kept it as a memento of those days, when the travel journalist was born. Later, I graduated to a word processor, and eventually technology caught up with me and I bought a computer. How wonderful to not

have to retype pages, change ribbons --- to be able to spell-check and correct, cut and paste. No more clack-clack ding of the old typewriter. Now just a soft click click of the computer keys. One summer when I went back to Greece to travel and write, I bought myself a palm pilot and small fold-up keyboard. As I am often camping, this was a perfect tool for me, portable and compact and more practical than a lap-top. I wrote all summer composing, editing, taking notes. When I returned home I became caught up in moving to a new apartment, taking my possessions out of storage, setting up. By the time I got my computer working again and went to hot-sync my summer's work into it, the palm's battery had run down (I had forgotten to read the fine print that said to keep it plugged in and charging). All my work had vanished! Fortunately, I'd hand-written some of the notes and had saved them. Otherwise all would have been lost! I usually always keep notes and my first drafts are generally written by hand first. I believe that the pen is more trustworthy than technology. In fact, this is the second attempt at writing this blog. The first one I wrote vanished into cyberspace when I accidently tapped the wrong key. All I had of the original were a few handwritten notes. The mighty pen had made it's point.

"And, as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name." Shakespeare ("A Midsummer Night's Dream")

Our Annual General Meeting was held at the New West Public Library on June 22, 2019

Special Presentations and raffle prizes.

Thank you to the winners who were able to attend: Meg Stainsby Donna Terrill Carlie Blume Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki Alexander Hamilton-Brown W. Ruth Kozak Annis Teller Aaron Barry And to those who sent their regrets: Bryant Ross Chelsea Comeau Patricia M. Evans V.J. Hamilton P.W. Bridgman Fran Bourassa Don Smith Susan Flanagan

We are sincerely grateful to our three judges: JUDE GOODWIN, CLAIRE LAWRENCE & JENNIFER W. SMITH. Jude and Claire were both able to attend our little event. Jennifer W. Smith sent her regrets from her home in Ontario. She was with us in spirit. Alan Hill did a great job filling in for Jennifer. Thanks to everyone who came out to our awards ceremony and reception. We had a successful contest this year and hope to do so again next year. Thank you to RCLAS volunteer Hope Lauterbach for helping with contest administration. Please watch for our 2020 Write on! Contest launch news in January. Thanks so much, Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President

Alexander Hamilton-Brown, Non-Fiction 2nd Place. Alan Hill accepting for Bryant Ross, NF 1st Place (Top Right)

Ruth Kozak, Non-Fiction 3rd Place.

Meg Stainsby, Poetry 1st Place. Judge Jude Goodwin

Carlie Blume, Poetry 2nd Place. Judge Jude Goodwin

Chelsea Comeau, Poetry 3rd Place. Judge Jude Goodwin. Chelsea was unable to attend. The poem was read by Janet Kvammen.

Donna Terrill, Fiction 1st Place. Judge Claire Lawrence.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, Fiction, 2nd Place. Judge Claire Lawrence

Annis Teller, Fiction, 3rd Place. Judge Claire Lawrence.

Aaron Barry, Fiction HM. Raffle prize winners with Deborah White.

Upcoming Events Info: Write on! Contest Winners and Honourable mentions will be published in our RCLAS ezine. September 2019 – Poetry October 2019 – Non-Fiction

6TH ANNUAL FRED COGSWELL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN POETRY 2019 Judge: Fred Wah Call for Submissions is open for submissions. Deadline October 1, 2019. Did you publish a poetry book in Canada in 2018? This contest is for you! Complete details here:

POETRY IN THE PARK SUMMER 2019 Every Wed Evening July 3 – August 28 Location: Queen’s Park band shell in the heart of New West Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm The fabulous lineup of feature poets will be announced soon. Two features and Open Mic. Poetry in the Park Summer 2019 Schedule (so far!) July 3rd – Hasan Namir and Susan Alexander July 10th – Kirsten Pendreigh and Idrian Burgos July 17th – Jessica Johns and Malcom Van Delst New July 24th – "PIP PIP Hooray, Open Mic Contest Day!" with PRIZES!!!! July 31st – Natasha Saje and Barry Plamondon Aug 7th – TBD Aug 14th – Tolu Olurontoba Aug 21th – Elaine Woo and Kyle McKillop Aug 28th – Carlie Blume

Cat Musings Reading Series/ Variety Open Mic Featuring author/Book Launch : Louise Evans Host: Janene White. Date: Tuesday July 16, 2019 Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Doors open at 6:30 Free admission Donations kindly accepted. Location: New West Artists Gallery on 12th (beside Renaissance Books) 712C - 12th Street, New Westminster Next up: Tuesday August 13, 2019, Feature yet to be announced In Partnership with Renaissance Books, New West Artists and Royal City Literary Arts Society.

RCLAS presents “In Their Words: A Royal City Reading Series” Date: Thursday, July 18, 2019 Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Free admission Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor Host: Ruth Kozak Three Feature Presenters Karen Schauber will read from Flash Fiction writer, Mary Thompson (London, UK) Una Bruhns will read from Richard Llewellyn's "How Green Was My Valley" . British novelist. Neall Ryon will read "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse German-born poet and novelist.

Description: In Their Words happens on the 3rd Thursday of every other month. Feature speakers present their favourite author from any genre in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or drama. Presentations include a brief commentary about the author and a reading of selections that exemplify what the presenter loves about the author’s work. A short Q&A follows each presenter. Are you interested in being a reader at “In Their Words”? Would you like to find out more? Email a quick note to Ruth Kozak at

RCLAS and Silver Bow Publishing present Iain McLachlan “Moon Dancing” Book Launch Author Reading and Book Signing Host: Alan Hill, Poet Laureate Featured Author: Iain McLachlan Mini-Features: Candice James, Poet Laureate Emerita, Janet Kvammen and Cynthia Sharp. Music by Enrico Renz. Date: Saturday July 20, 2019 Time: 1:30pm Free admission Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor. Rm 417 Close to New West Skytrain Station. Wheelchair Accessible. Alan Hill, will host Iain McLachlan, all the way from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Iain will be read from his debut novel MOONDANCING, a fantasy thriller set in the lush Irish countryside.

Author Bio: Iain McLachlan was born in Scotland to a Scottish Father and an Irish mother and raised in Northern Ireland. He has been all over the world and loves to travel. He runs his own business teaching First Aid and spent nearly 30 years working pre-hospital. His interests include Reading, Rugby, Ice Hockey, Biathlon and he is a qualified Sailing Skipper. Iain is just as happy sailing as he is walking in the Mourne mountains. This book, Volume 1, is the first in a series of 3.

....and a reminder to all poets and lovers of poetry:

“Poetic Justice/Poetry New West” Sunday Afternoons (except Holiday Weekends) Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster Open Mic. Prizes, trivia, writing prompt, fun! Host: Warren Dean Fulton.

Please watch for event updates and news via our website and our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @royalcitylit)


Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine

RCLAS Members Open Call for Submissions No theme required to submit. Submit Word documents WITH YOUR NAME and Title on document to Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine Email AUGUST 1 DEADLINE FOR THE SEPT ISSUE

Poetry, Short Stories, Book excerpts, articles & lyrics are all welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work.

Thank you to our Sponsors & Venues      

City of New Westminster Anvil Centre Arts Council of New Westminster New Westminster Public Library The Heritage Grill New West Artists Gallery on 12th

Alan Hill reads at the Summer Solstice walk in Glenbrook Ravine.

See upcoming events at

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Summer 2019 Wordplay at work ISSN 2291- 4269 Contact: RCLAS Vice-President/ E-zine

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Summer 2019 RCLAS Wordplay at Work, Issue 65  

Summer 2019 RCLAS Wordplay at Work, Issue 65 ISSN 2291- 4269, 78 pages. Issue 65 features writing by our 2019 Write on! Contest Fiction W...

Summer 2019 RCLAS Wordplay at Work, Issue 65  

Summer 2019 RCLAS Wordplay at Work, Issue 65 ISSN 2291- 4269, 78 pages. Issue 65 features writing by our 2019 Write on! Contest Fiction W...

Profile for rclas