New Shoots Writers captured after reading their work at Room Magazine’s 2018 Growing Room Festival: Candace Genesis, Levi Saunders, Piper Trounce, Cate Freeborn, Ravi Soni and Grace Park

Prompts helped me better refine my writing when under a time limit. Though the final product wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to always share, I was happy with my increased ability to just get my thoughts down.

– Student at Winston Churchill Secondary, 2018

The opportunities offered were really interesting and useful and I genuinely appreciated the ability to ask my mentor questions at the end of the workshop.

– Student at Lord Byng Secondary, 2018

New Shoots gave me the opportunity to share my passion for creative writing with young students and help nurture their emerging voices. The students loved having a mentor come in to show them elements of craft and give feedback on their projects. They gained more confidence in their artistic talent, developing a love for creative writing. It was one of the most exceptional experiences I’ve ever had. 

– New Shoots Mentor, Tommy Partl (2017-2019) 

I was, so very long ago, a student at Kitsilano Secondary School and two of my short stories were published in the New Shoots anthology. As a grade 11 creative writer who struggled with dyslexia, this was a huge accomplishment. And, unbeknownst to me, it was a career sealer. Now, nearly 30 years later, I am signing my first book deal for two of my novels.

– Aviva Bell, New Shoots Anthology 1989

I first began to think of myself as a writer because of the New Shoots program, which I signed up for at Templeton Secondary in the 1980s. My mentor there was Leo McKay, Jr., a Nova Scotian writer who has since gone on to great acclaim. Working with him, and with other students, opened up an entire world of possibilities to me, and began a life-long passion for writing. I was able to gain some skills, and saw my writing in print for the first time, both of which were invaluable experiences. But more than that, it was through New Shoots that I saw how one might seriously become a writer — how a life might be lived in a way that foregrounded literature, and what pleasures awaited someone who went down this path of perpetual self-discovery, thought, and creation. I will be forever grateful that New Shoots existed when I needed it most. It was the perfect sandbox for a self in formation.                      

-Wayde Compton, Writer and Educator

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