A new writers’ organization has been created on the Sunshine Coast with plans to publish online anthologies, put on writing workshops and events, and mount a writing contest to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of The Beachcombers television show.
The Sunshine Coast Writers and Editors Society (SCWES) was recently registered with the B.C. government as a non-profit organization, enabling it to apply for grants from all three levels of government. The society’s intent is “to serve writers, editors and groups on the Sunshine Coast to grow and develop their skills, as well as support other writers’ groups,” organizers said in an online announcement. “SCWES will reach out to the community to hold events and launch projects to highlight the incredible talent that exists on the Coast.”
About a dozen people attended the society’s first meeting on Oct. 22, conducted online by its first president, published author Cathalynn (Cindy) Labonte-Smith.
“It’s early days,” Labonte-Smith told the meeting as she asked for volunteers to help run the organization. “We definitely need a treasurer,” she said. “I’m getting memberships flooding in and so we also need someone to help track that.”
Other board members are Rosa Reid, as vice-president, and Elspeth Richmond as secretary.
An anthology of members’ work will be published online before the end of the year, Labonte-Smith said in a later email summing up the meeting. Submissions are due Nov. 22 and can range from poetry to “short stories, nonfiction, [one-act] plays, and TV or movie scripts,” to a maximum of 3,000 words, Labonte-Smith added. A committee will jury the selections.
Labonte-Smith also announced a submission deadline of June 15, 2022, for the cash-prize writing contest to help celebrate The Beachcombers anniversary. The Gibsons-based TV series, which eventually grew an international following, broadcast its first show on CBC on Oct. 1, 1972, and then ran for 20 seasons, followed by a few TV movies featuring many of the show’s characters.
Labonte-Smith said she has already got a commitment from actor Jackson Davies, who played Const. John Constable in the show, to be a judge for the writing contest, along with musician and author Vince Ditrich, playwright Kico Gonzalez, and crime author Iona Wishaw. Coast artists Jan Poynter and Charmaine Bayntun will judge the cover art for a planned hard-copy and online anthology of the successful submissions.
Contest eligibility will be limited to full- and part-time Sunshine Coast residents. Details about the contest can be found on the society’s website, scwes.ca.
The next SCWES meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. and will be held online via Zoom.