If there’s one thing for which Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are known, perhaps it is their top-notch storytelling skills. Just about everyone can name at least one person who can expertly spin a yarn or “tell a tale, so tall by half a mile.” And it’s little wonder. From our breathtaking scenery to an infinite cast of colourful characters, a boundless source of inspiration lives here. But even so, sometimes even the best storytellers can use an extra bit of inspiration and motivation.
For the past seven years, the annual Piper’s Frith Writers’ Retreat (to be held this year from October 10-15) has been helping up-and-coming and established writers from around the province to pursue their creative projects by offering mentorship and fellowship all in one spectacular setting. The retreat takes place at Kilmory Resort in Swift Current, tucked away in the scenic Piper’s Hole River Valley, and offers participants the chance to get advice and guidance from award-winning writers through group workshops and private sessions. This year’s mentors are Don McKay (poetry); Piper’s Frith founder Leslie Vryenhoek (fiction); and Robert Chafe (playwriting).
Thanks to the support of businesses and organizations like Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union (NLCU) Charitable Foundation, three local writers have recently won free attendance (valued at $825 each) to this year’s retreat. Aley Waterman, musician and co-editor of literary arts journal Paragon, is working towards her English MA at Memorial University; Stuart Simpson is a theatre student in Corner Brook; and Maggie Burton is a musician, poet and mother.
Since its inception in 2002, NLCU Charitable Foundation has donated over $1-million to over 200 charities throughout the province. This will be the third year that NLCU has supported the Piper’s Frith Writer’s Retreat, which falls under the Foundation’s mandate of supporting charities that aim to “improve social programs and services in the areas of youth, education, health, arts, culture and the environment.”
“NLCU CFC knows that inspiring youth to pursue their passions and dreams is incredibly important in perpetuating the culture of our province. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have always been storytellers and artists, and we want to encourage and empower the next generation of writers and artists to achieve their goals,” says Allison Chaytor-Loveys, CEO of NLCU and Chairperson of the CFC Board.
The work of the Foundation, Chaytor-Loveys says, allows NLCU to contribute to the growth and success of the province.
“When people see NLCU CFC in the community, our hope is that they realize that NLCU is a local business with local decision-making and a strong sense of social responsibility,” she adds.
“As members of the business community in Newfoundland and Labrador, we understand the importance of giving back to our communities and assisting those in need. Our support of the arts contributes to the vibrant arts community in the province, provides NLCU with visibility within the arts community, and sends a clear message: We are from Newfoundland and Labrador, for Newfoundland and Labrador.”