Some storytellers begin with “once upon a time,” but Ottawa South resident Tara Ogaick hopes to teach young writers at Carleton University’s new creative writing camps to tell their stories in different ways—by mixing things up rather than sticking to the “tried and true.”
“I think the creative process gets interesting when we play with stories and break them into chunks,” she explains. “Storytelling is like making a puzzle and campers will have the chance to create original tales by rearranging their pieces or ideas and by using a variety of tools like comics and videos.”
Tara Ogaick (pictured here) is a graphic artist and illustrator and has two master’s degrees from Carleton—one in literature and the other in design. She combines these two loves by creating short comics (both digitally and in print) such as her new one featuring Charlotte the pug (see cartoon above) and based on a short poem by local poet Chris Johnson, another instructor at the Carleton creative writing camps this summer. But she also reads comics, graphic novels and plays video games (Minecraft™ and Child of Light™ are two of her favourites).
She is “super excited” to be one of the instructors at this summer in Carleton’s first creative writing camp program. The four week-long camps will give participants a chance to work with Ottawa area writers such as Ogaick and graphic novelist Jay Odjick. Campers will compose a poem, tell stories, pen a comic, and work on a video game narrative plus have a chance to share their work with other participants. The camps will be held this July and August in Carleton’s new Discovery Centre, located in the MacOdrum Library, with two weeks for campers aged 8 to 12 and two weeks for those aged 13 to 16. Registration is $250 and includes a daily lunch.
The Carleton Creative Writing Camps are sponsored by various groups at Carleton (including the MacOdrum Library, the English Department, the Discovery Centre and the Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education) as well as the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Neil Wilson, the festival’s development director, is happy to be involved—partly because he thinks that the camps contribute to Ottawa’s growing reputation as an innovative national capital but also because the festival is devoted to inspiring kids.
“The heart of the Ottawa International Writers Festival has always been our commitment to young readers and writers,” says Wilson. “We appreciate that there is so much competition for the imaginations of our young people [but] if we can hook these imaginations on the power of the story, and the written word as soon as possible, then this love of reading and creativity will last a lifetime.”
For more information about the camps, visit the website at creativecamps.library.carleton.ca or email coordinator Andrew Connelly for details at firstname.lastname@example.org