The Community Arts Council of Williams Lake invites you to our upcoming workshop series, 1001 Recipes for Ashes. In partnership with poet, spoken word artist and facilitator, Sonya Littlejohn, the CACWL will host three creative workshops at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre throughout June.

Photo by Nang K'uulus

Photo by Nang K'uulus

With Sonya as our guide, the aim of 1001 Recipes for Ashes is to gather the stories that emerged from a summer of fire. We will create a welcoming space in which you can explore and share your experiences. Why? Perhaps filmmaker Sarah Polley says it best: “Stories are our way of coping, of creating shape out of the mess.” Our goal is to create a document, an anthology, of our time being held to the fire, an embodiment of recovery and a document filled with diverse perspectives and teachings.  We will accept submissions of poetry, prose, interviews, art, photography and oral storytelling for the publication.

Sonya is a dedicated writer and educator. She is currently a Poet in Residence at Vancouver Poetry House, and is a facilitator with their initiative WordPlay, where "Contemporary active poets give relevance and immediacy to poetry in the classroom."  The underlying intention for Sonya on this series is to create a tangible record of our shared experiences. She explains, "The community spirit of support and care many saw triggered during the fires and evacuations was something hopeful I experienced. It stretched from the center of the fires out as far as the rest of the world. It brought firefighters from all over the map into our wilderness to work together with our own, saw young people take on leadership, saw people form bonds with neighbouring communities and families whose lives might not have touched otherwise, and even saw cats come back from months away. This is all grounds for poetry." 

Working through charged emotional material can prove daunting to some.  The vision of a community gathering where writers and storytellers can support one another in the process is at the heart of our workshop series.  By attending, participants will have the opportunity to delve into new territory as we explore together, with the goal of producing polished submissions for the published anthology.  "I intend to guide the participants with imagery of the home and our natural surroundings, to explore the ideas of safety, support, and stewardship as we move forward recognizing what we passed through and what may be on the other side, " Sonya details. "I expect that imagery like sudden snapshots of fleeing, flight, return, homecoming, land reclamation, rescue, mercy, kindness will come up, among many other themes and ideas."

Our workshops will be held on Saturday June 2nd at 10:30 am, Wednesday June 13th at 5 pm, and Saturday June 23rd at 10:30 am. For more information or to reserve your spot, contact Venta at, or phone 250-790-2331.