iN VIDEO: New documentary showcases lives of successful Vernon writers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: New documentary showcases lives of successful Vernon writers

Author John Lent in Why We Write: Poets of Vernon
Image Credit: Silmara Emde/The Orange Lamphouse Studio

A new documentary featuring Vernon writers will show you don’t need to live in New York or Toronto to be a successful author.

One of them is a pioneer of creative writing in the Okanagan. John Lent has had a long writing career and has authored more than 10 books. In 2005, he was short-listed for the B.C. Book Awards for his novel So It Won’t Go Away and was proclaimed Poet Laureate of the Okanagan Valley in 2009, according to his website.

He’s been living in Vernon since 1978. Back then, there weren’t any post-secondary courses for creative writers to hone their craft so he created his own and offered them at Okanagan College.

READ MORE: Vernon writer who pioneered creative writing classes in Interior giving lecture this week

“It was always my thing as a teacher to push the idea that living here and writing about here is really important,” Lent said. “Just working against that old idea that the only interesting thing that happened in the world happened in New York, London or Paris.”

The documentary, titled Why We Write: Poets of Vernon, is produced and directed by Vernon’s Hannah Calder and Curtis Emde with The Orange Lamphouse Studio. Along with Calder, it features authors Sharon Thesen, Jason Dewinetz, Laisha Rosnau, Tom Wayman, Michelle Doege and Bill Cohen.

Emde is hoping to see a theatrical premiere in Vernon in the spring of 2022 and to see the documentary make the rounds at film festivals.

Official Trailer – 'Why We Write: Poets of Vernon' from Curtis Emde on Vimeo.

“I was really thrilled to be a part of this documentary because some of the people involved are people I know really well and I’ve watched their careers blossom and to be part of that is wonderful,” Lent said. “There’s something about Vernon that is very appealing to writers because a lot of writers live here… We’re in a landscape that appreciates writers but doesn’t dote on them.”

Why We Write delves into the world of poets and bookmakers in Vernon. It explores the poetry and the lives of those who continue to assemble words far from the big city.

There’s a misconception around Vernon that you can’t make a living as a writer unless you’re in a big city, Lent said.

“I think it’s a beautiful place to live and I like living here but it’s different. It’s not like living in New York or Chicago or London and so you have to work to get your own work out there somehow," he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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