From thecanadaproject: For a writer starting out —

A piece I prepared for Aislinn Hunter, for a workshop she’s doing…

for a writer starting out —

Renee Saklikar
how to live a beautiful life: don’t give advice
  • Do the work: seriously: Nancy Lee says that choosing to be a non-civilian and becoming a writer means saying No to things you, yes, LOVE TO DO. Yeah, like that.
  • Do the work: establish a practice by any means necessary (crib from Malcom X): try and write every day, even if only for 15 minutes. (note: I don’t do this! But I absolutely did it the first five years of outing myself as a writer and until I had my first book published).
  • Practice by reading as a writer: mimesis is your friend: copy text you love and can’t live without, by hand, into your note book. Study syntax, the sequence of language parts in a phrase or piece of narrative.
  • Practice by reading a lot, devour and go deep (again, I don’t do this nearly enough now, but I absolutely did it in the years leading up to my first book).
  • Build and sustain community by: showing up to other writers’ events and buy their books. Showing up to book launches and not buying books is tacky.
  • Seek out and find literary events: conferences, readings, writing groups, even if it means going to events where you know no one and no one speaks to you. This happened a lot. I went anyway.
  • If in writing workshops, don’t be that woman who nitpicks about grammar or spelling. The purpose of the workshop is to help your colleagues feel excited about their revision process: be generous (Wayde Compton).
  • In whatever form it works for you, pray: seriously: find help from muses and court them/Her. Don’t grovel. Sashay.
  • When other writers ask for advice on their writing, always try and find time to say yes. If you do not have time, find some other way to support the requests of your writing colleagues. Betsy Warland and Rachel Rose taught me that–
  • Commit to at least five years of extreme writing and reading, go deep. E.g. find a writer or, allow writers and their books to find you and then devour everything ever written by them. Ask questions. Even if they are dead, write to the authors you adore. Especially if they are dead, write to them. Yes, commune with the spirit world.
  • Nurture obsessions, strangeness, and write about your own writing.
    I’ve learned more from writing about my own writing, doing written
    diagnostics on what is working/not working in a piece, than almost anything else…
  • Don’t give advice about writing unless asked! The New Yorker did a
    cartoon series this year on how to live a beautiful life and the top “suggestion”
    was “don’t give advice”.


May 12: BC Library Conference 2016

BC Library Conference 2016

Looking forward to being at a session with Aislinn Hunter, Valerie Patrick, and Meghan Savage at the BC Library Conference this Thursday from 11:00am to 12:15pm. The Session is titled Reading for Change: how reading leads to action:

Far from being a solitary activity, reading has the power to transform our communities and our lives—to make us more engaged citizens and to spur us to action. In a world where global events have effects and consequences that impact our local communities, we need to consider how reading contributes to the dialogue surrounding global issues including human rights, refugees, war, terrorism, politics, racism, violence, and immigration. Reading is not just for fun. Books are often the catalysts for change and have great influence on our actions and our opinions.

To discuss this important topic, join panelists Renée Sarojini Saklikar, award-winning author of children of air india and Surrey Poet Laureate; Dr. Aislinn Hunter, award-winning author of The World Before Us and Kwantlen Polytechnic University Creative Writing Instructor; Valerie Patrick, moderator of the Vancouver Amnesty International Book Club and Information Services Librarian at Surrey Libraries; and moderator Meghan Savage, Information Services Librarian at Surrey Libraries and member of the BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the discussion.”

Click for Conference Details

April 16: Write Here Read Now Consults


Surrey Public Libraries is hosting a wonderful event for writers and readers on Saturday, April 16 at the City Centre Library. I’ll be holding Blue Pencil Writing Consults from 10:45 AM to 12:45 PM. Hope to have the chance to explore your work…

Bring a maximum of three pages of your best work (double-spaced). You will have fifteen minutes to chat about your work, or to ask questions about the most challenging problems you’re facing. Your Blue Pencil appointment is a wonderful opportunity to have the Surrey Poet Laureate, a professional writer and teacher, look at your work and give unbiased feedback.”

Learn how to register here

April 6: KPU Reads with Aislinn Hunter


…Join the the conversation about the afterlives of books with Surrey’s Poet Laureate, Renée Sarojini Saklikar and KPU faculty member and author, Aislinn Hunter as well as a special performance from the Borealis String Quartet.”

Date: April 6
Time: 2:00-3:30pm
Place: KPU Surrey Main Atrium

Click here for more info

Authors in Conversation: On Absence, Silence, and Longing

Some more details about the Nov 1 event with Aislinn Hunter (hosted by Kathryn Gretsinger) leading up to the premiere of air india [redacted]:

Authors in Conversation online
Click to enlarge.

Hope to see you at this and the Oct 28th’s Panel Discussion, hosted by Naveen Girn.

Click Here for Details