Photo of the book: 40th Anniversary Anthology, WonderShift
40th Anniversary Anthology, WonderShift | Photo by Alexandra Writers Centre

Alexandra Writers Centre Society

By Meghan Power

The Alexandra Writers Centre Society (AWCS) was established in 1981, by a local Calgary writer, Michael Fray.  For over 40 years the centre has been committed to supporting writers in Calgary and Alberta.

They offer a wide range of services for new and emerging writers and offer opportunities for teaching and further development to professional writers. AWCS is probably best known for the quality of classes they offer to their membership and the supportive community that they have cultivated over the last 4 decades.

In 2021, AWCS received funding to assist with the publishing of an anthology and a public-facing launch to celebrate the anthology and the centre. “The 40th Anniversary Anthology and launch was a chance for our organization to celebrate four decades of being in the Calgary literary community,” says Executive Director, Robin van Eck. “And to celebrate those who have made it possible for us to keep going. And even though we didn’t know it at the time, it would end up being the first chance for us to get together, in person, in more than a year and half.”


During her time with the AWCS, Robin has seen how the centre supports and nurtures new and emerging writers. “AWCS provides a space where writers can connect and learn their craft and find the power in their voice. We give them the necessary tools to put their work out into the world without fear.”


Robin sees literary arts as a relatively small part of Alberta’s arts and culture sector. “Writers fight to be seen and heard alongside our theatre and visual arts communities, because writing a book or story takes much longer and the path to publication is challenging.” On the path to becoming a writer, one of the biggest challenges a writer will face is being published.


As a published writer herself, Robin knows and understands the challenges that many emerging and even professional writers face in getting their work published: “Despite all this, writers keep plugging away, struggling to make their marks locally, provincially, and nationally. Anything we can do to elevate writers and storytellers in our province will give new wings to collaborative potential with other artists. By receiving this funding, we were able to showcase the great work of our local literary talent in a way that may not have been as accessible to them. The funding strengthens our membership and supports our community that is ever-growing.”