Author Laura Sturgeon, with an armload of books written by Alberni Valley-based authors—is launching a writers’ expo to promote the literary talent in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Alberni Valley author organizes writers’ expo

A dearth of venues to sell self-published books led author to create her own

A new writers’ expo planned for Port Alberni on Saturday, March 21 will give writers in the region a place to promote their written work.

The expo is the brainchild of Laura Sturgeon, a relatively new resident to the Alberni Valley who published a young adult book in July. When she moved here two years ago she was surprised at the amount of literary talent living in and around Port Alberni.

“After publishing my (youth) novel, The Big Ugly Sweater, I started connecting with and encouraging other local authors and was inspired to create an event where we can all come together,” Sturgeon said.

“I was really surprised at how many authors there were here and that they like to share their writing.”

Sturgeon became acquainted with the monthly Words On Fire event, held at Char’s Landing, where writers of all ilk and genres gather to hear each others’ work and give feedback if asked. She appreciated the concept of encouraging others, and the camaraderie the event creates. “That’s really important.”

When starting the process of promoting her novel, Sturgeon realized there were numerous places to sell food and craft items, but books didn’t really fall into the farm market, craft fairs or Seedy Saturday format. She, like numerous other authors, chose to self-publish her book, which meant she was responsible for promoting and selling it as well.

Building on friendships and contacts she has made, she decided to create a writers’ expo where people could gather to meet local authors and buy their books.

Port Alberni authors Jacqueline Carmichael (Tweets From the Trenches) and Kim Cormack (Children of Ankh series) have already confirmed their presence at the event. Carmichael is working on another book, while Cormack expects the fifth book in her Children of Ankh series, Tragic Fools, to be released in June 2020.

READ MORE: Port Alberni poet shares ‘little true stories’ of First World War

Cormack has released a number of books in her Children of Ankh series, which cross over from young adult to new adult: Sweet Sleep, Enlightenment, Let There Be Dragons (for older audiences) and Handlers of Dragons. She calls Children of Ankh a “darkly twisted epic paranormal romance series.”

A spin-off, the C.O.A. Series, features the same universe of characters in Wild Thing, Wicked Thing and Deplorable Me. Her third series starts with Bring Out Our Dead.

Her wicked sense of humour plays out in the pages of her books, as does her passion and dedication to writing. “I began writing this series shortly after my MS diagnosis,” she writes on her website. “I had many reasons to fight. I had incredible children, a wonderful family, and amazing friends, but this series gave me a purpose.

“Whenever things become dark, I use my imagination to find the light within myself. No matter what life throws your way, you are stronger than you believe. My hope is that my characters’ strength becomes an inner voice for the readers that need it.”

Sturgeon will be there with The Big Ugly Sweater, which is her second published book: her first, a collection of short stories for women, called In Bloom, was published a number of years ago. She is rewriting it in the hopes of reissuing it with fresh material. Her third book, a children’s rhyming story, is at the publisher’s now.

Derek Hanebury, a Port Alberni-based author and writing instructor will MC the event. Guitarist Dan McMillan and a pianist will provide background music. There will be readings from authors throughout the day, a children’s reading and writing area, swag and snacks.

Tables for authors cost $20 each.

Sturgeon is hoping for 30 authors or groups to host tables at the writers’ expo. So far she has about a dozen, with feelers out to other authors. For more information on booking a table, Sturgeon can be reached by phone at 250-510-4015 or e-mail

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

authorliteraryPort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

The Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Infamous Arrowview Hotel is gone, opening up a new view in Port Alberni

Derelict hotel has had a dubious history in the past few years, from fire to demolition delays

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Alberni stores lend a hand to Girl Guides by selling cookies

Local store owners come forward to sell cookies when in-person sales halted over COVID-19

City of Port Alberni answers questions about COVID-19

Radio show will feature Mayor Sharie Minions and Dr. Paul Hasselback

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read