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Student Essays and Photos - Canada

“One thing I particularly appreciate about writing conferences is that they help us to remember we belong to a community of writers. The act of writing itself happens in such isolation that this becomes an important and necessary reminder from time to time. This community aspect was perhaps even more powerful at Wordfest because of its international scope. To hear writers from all over the world—India, New Zealand, Mexico, England, Ireland—read their work, discuss their craft, and affirm that yes, writing does matter and does make a difference in real ways was personally inspiring and enriching.”

– Claire McQuerry

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“Our first stop was Calgary. The city possessed the kind of intimate urban setting as Seattle or Portland. What struck me most about Calgary, was its commitment to social justice—we witnessed several protests while we were there, and a surprising lack of urban poverty … Discovering Banff was the highlight of the trip. Banff’s landscape was covered with snow-capped mountains, an emerald river, and a rustic railroad line passing through. In Banff, the sky was clear enough to see the Milky Way. We hiked, went to readings, ate bison and chocolate, and watched a fawn and her doe nibble on grass. One of our waitresses said she came to Banff for a weekend and never left. I wanted to follow suit.”

– Dinh Vong

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“Being with a group of writers, many of whom are in my same position, was inspiring on its own – it’s nice to be reminded that you aren’t the only one in this situation, that you aren’t the only one spending most of your time by yourself madly typing on your laptop. Beyond this, being surrounded by all those books, all those authors and literature lovers in one area – if that doesn’t inspire you to continue, I’m not sure what will. One of my favorite aspects of festivals such as Wordfest is simply the reminder of how many people are involved, in one way or another, with literature: it brings a sense of community that, outside the MFA realm, is difficult to find.”

– Liz Wimberly

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