Calgary has a new centre in the East Village where both experienced and aspiring writers can share and learn their craft.
Loft 112 is Calgary's brand new, literary arts space and organizers say it's a much-needed home for the city's increasingly dynamic and connected community of writers.
"It has the large creative space, which will be a community, creative, literary writing hub," said Lisa Murphy-Lamb, director of Loft 112. "We hope that there will be writers of all kinds. We hope that there will be writers who, perhaps, we have never heard of — who might be young, they might be new — also working alongside established writers."
The centre is a loft-style, open-concept space located in the former clothing boutique Art and Sole.
A private citizen donated the space and organizers, who work in partnership with the Alberta Writers' Guild, are in the process of registering Loft 112 as a charity.
Writing is 'collaborative': Demeanor
For Calgary poet laureate Kris Demeanor, the space represents an opportunity to help more people connect with writers and demystify the process of writing for the public.
"It's a collaborative realm, like any other, and I think the more you can bounce ideas off of people, the richer your work will be," Demeanor said. "It's important for diverse neighbourhoods to have a space like this where you have a writer practising day-in, day-out, wandering the neighbourhood ... it sort of demystifies the arts in general, it makes it seem less separate from street life, from downtown life."
Demeanor was the special guest at a monthly young writers' workshop that took place Sunday night at Loft 112.
Teen writers ranging in age from 13 to 18 came to share their poetry and excerpts from short stories while Demeanor led a discussion about the role of music in the writing process, for both writers and their characters.
"I think the character's sense of music really plays into their character — what they like, what they don't like, the things that they can relate to through music," said Caitlin Young, one of the young writers sharing her work at Loft 112 on Sunday. "It's really important."
Writer-in-residence coming soon
Over the coming months, Loft 112 will hold more workshops and meetings for those interested in writing.
It will also give writers a place to come and write, with more flexibility and accessibility than the pubs or cafes where most Calgary writing groups meet now.
In time, Loft 112 will also welcome a writer-in-residence. That's something Demeanor says could help many find their grounding in what can be a confusing and intimidating industry.
"I often get calls or emails from emerging artists asking, 'Can we meet at a pub and talk about how to write a grant or how to get involved in the business,'" he said. "A place like this allows that to happen without having to do a formal one-on-one meeting."