The Illustrated Life – Guest Speaker Teresa Wong

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On April 5th, 2022 the Club welcomed a marvelous guest speaker, Teresa Wong. She is the author of the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression, a finalist for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2020. Her comics have appeared in The Believer, The New Yorker and Event Magazine. She teaches memoir and comics at Gotham Writers Workshop, and is the 2021–22 Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary. Read more at:

The author gave an beautiful and engaging illustrated reading from her pandemic narrative #tantrumseries. This narrative started on Instagram, and will be part of the anthology Good Moms on Paper, which presents the challenges and rewards of being a mom while authoring creative works. During the early days of the Covid 19 pandemic, she recorded her 4 year old son’s morning tantrums with photo’s and watercolours, which she then posted. In total, 20 watercolour portraits of her son were completed – visit her Tumbler blog or search #tantrumseries on Instagram to view these lovely images and more.

While recording these moments, she pondered her motivation: Was she recording these moments for herself, for others, for her son in the future? Was this an intrusion into her son’s privacy? Was her motivation to present a more realistic portrait of toddler parenting and to show it can be funny? Or was she looking for affirmation or “likes”? The series ended when her son told her “stop taking my picture”. Two years later, he sometimes scrolls through the pictures and recognizes himself. Her concluding comment on #tantrumseries was that the creative work was “fully alive and fully itself, like a child in my care”.

The author was going through a crisis herself at the time of the #tantrumseries, and found she could relate to her son’s frustration and feeling of helplessness. In early 2020, she was trying to get Dear Scarlet into the world, along with the daily work of parenting 3 children. To quote her: “mothers have guilt rather than the space and time to do creative work”.

Next, she presented Piano Lessons, short comic published by Believer magazine , illustrating her 10 years of piano lessons and what classical music means to her. To quote “music took me somewhere… elegant, refined, orderly”.

After the presentation, there were a number of questions from members about Ms. Wong’s development first as a writer and then as a graphic memoirist. Ms. Wong said that she was always a writer, but began painting after she had children. She described the graphic genre as more poetry than prose, bringing out ideas with phrases and imagery. Personally, I am a fan of graphic memoir, history and fiction and hope to read more from Teresa in the future.

Shawna M.

Next week, member Helen T. will be presenting the works of Tash Aw. Interested in joining us? Click here:

Spilling the Beans

I was lucky to get the yummiest book at our Christmas book exchange! It’s by Calgarian cookbook author Julie Van Rosendaal and her friend, former Calgarian Sue Duncan. My Secret Santa chose a cookbook full of tempting recipes for my newly-vegan son and his rather bewildered Mom. Secret Santa has amazing powers of intuition and wisdom!

Here’s my Aloo (Potatoes) Gobi (Cauliflower) with Chickpeas!

Thanks to my Secret Santa, from Janet H.

Special Invitation from WordFest to CWLC members for March 23

We (WordFest) are having an event next Thursday evening in our Engagement Lab at Memorial Park library and wanted to extend an invitation to your members.  Cecilia Ekback is a Swedish mystery writer, whose first book was published to wide acclaim. She’ll be at Wordfest presenting her new novel, The Midnight Sun.

To obtain WordFest’s complimentary tickets for CWLC members, please email

Thanks, WordFest!

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

As we are just leaving last season’s theme of Calgary writers, here is Anne Logan’s  Review of Fishbowl by Calgarian Bradley Somer.

Anne’s always fun-to-read book reviews are a click away, in CWLC’s Blogroll (bottom right of our Website)

and one last, important thing… Share your own reading finds with other members online, by clicking on Leave a Reply (on any post) or send a note to cwlc

I’m going to find Fishbowl a.s.a.p.!

2015-16 Program: Prize-Winning Calgary Writers

To record this for posterity on the web, here’s our past 2015-16 season. 

Stay tuned for our 2016-17 season, to be published on the Page, above!


October 6 —– W.O. Mitchell Archives (University of Calgary, Taylor Family Digital Library)

October 13 —- Lillian Tickles presents Christopher Wiseman

October 20 —- Janet Halls presents L. R. Wright

October 27 —- Doloris Duval presents Suzettte Mayr

November 3 — U of C’s Writer-in-Residence, Nick Thran

November 10 — Flora Spackman presents Will Ferguson

November 17 — Calgary Public Library’s Writer-in-Residence, Lee Kvern

November 24 — Holiday Party


March 1 — Guest Author Clem Martini, and celebration of our 110th Anniversary

March 8 ———- Mavis Marteinson on Aritha Van Herk

March 15 ——— Guest Author Wendy Froberg, on CWLC founder Annie Davidson

March 22 ———- Judi Lee presents Karen Connelly

March 29 ———- Pat Klinck presents Sheri-D Wilson

April 5 ————— A panel of club members, on the art and craft of writing

April 12 ————- Lyn Koltutsky presents Fred Stenson

April 19 ————- Ritta Vladut presents Andrew Nikiforuk

April 26 ————- Annual General Meeting and Luncheon with Max Foran

Lee Kvern, Calgary Public Library’s Writer-In-Residence

Lee Kvern was our honored Guest Speaker on November 17, 2015. Click on this truly delightful blog for more information)

Lee Kvern was born in Red Deer, the daughter of an RCMP officer.  She earned a Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.  Lee will finish her residence with the CPL shortly, but starting in April, she will be the Writer-in-Residence at the Alexander Centre, a writer’s workshop/retreat in Calgary.

Lee Kvern was an interesting and engaging speaker.  She started writing in 1990 and had some early success followed by 10 years of rejections, during which time she accumulated a husband and two children.  Later, she enrolled in writing classes and courses which were valuable to her in honing her craft.

From 2000 until the present, Lee has published three books:

  • After All, which she calls “my funny book”
  • The Matter of Sylvie, which she says needs to be read with a box of tissues at hand.  It is loosely based on her severely disabled sister.  Lee revealed that her sister is a resident of the Mitchener Home.  Lee became an activist, fighting to keep the home open.
  • 7 Ways to Sunday is a collection of 16 short stories, sort of the “best of…” Lee’s writings.

Lee then read from The Matter of Sylvie and After All, following which she participated in a lively question and answer session with the Club members.  She mentioned that she dreamt The Matter of Sylvie and that she wrote it for her mother.  She said she is a “seat-of-the-pants” writer and doesn’t use an outline.  She just knows the beginning and where it will end.  She said writers are readers and her early influences were Alice Munroe (hugely inspirational), Flannery O’Connor and Ernest Hemingway.  She mentioned that her husband, an artist, designed her first book cover.  Lee still exercises her artistic side by paining on furniture.



Calgary Women’s Literary Club Features Author Clem Martini

As part of our 110th Anniversary Celebrations, we had a very special guest, Calgary author and playwright Clem Martini. He focused on sharing his special insights into how writing becomes therapeutic… for the writer and the audience.

For more about Clem Martini, click here

Clem Martini has been awarded three Alberta Writers Guild Prizes and has won the National Playwriting Competition.  In 2008,  he was appointed head of the drama department at the University of Calgary, and teaches playwriting, screen writing, and theatre for young adults.  He writes fiction, non-fiction and plays.

Mr. Martini’s presentation focused on the therapeutic aspects of writing. He read excerpts and discussed his works from two of his books:  Too Late – a novelette written while working with Wood’s Homes, a residential treatment centre for troubled youth, where he taught drama and playwriting, and One Hundred Stories for One Hundred Years – an anthology that also reflected his time spent working at Woods Homes. During his 15 years there, Martini met and worked with marginalized young people who were often at odds with their families and frequently felt trapped in criminal lifestyles. The imprint of these troubled youth appears in Martini’s writings, which frequently features conflicted characters seeking release and struggling to discover their true selves.

In 1987, while at Wood’s Homes, he was asked to create a summer stock theatre in association with the Canadian Mental Health community.  His mandate was to create plays that the Wood’s Homes kids could write, produce and perform.  He explained how very successful this summer stock was for the youth who not only had come from dysfunctional backgrounds, but who were experts at failing in every aspect of their lives. We were delighted to hear stories about how these troubled youth were able to use this theatre experience to reconnect with their families and feel good about themselves through their writing, producing and performing “their” play.

In 1977, Mr. Martini’s youngest brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and then committed suicide.  10 years later, his older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  In 1987, the director of the National Film Board of Canada asked him to talk about schizophrenia publicly in a film. His whole family would have to participate and he would have to write the narration.  All of his family agreed to talk except his dad because mental illness was considered so shameful.  His mother was apprehensive because of the guilt inflicted on the mothers of those suffering with mental illness. The film, “Shattered Dreams,” was a good experience both for his immediate family and for those around the world who were impacted by the honesty and open dialogue of their family’s story.

Mr. Martini read an excerpt from Upside Down – a guide to dealing with mental illness for junior high youth.

Writing has the capacity to understand and can heal hurts. His book, Bitter Medicine chronicles his family’s 30-year struggle with schizophrenia, and is illustrated by his brother, Olivier, who suffers from schizophrenia.   Bitter Medicine was part of the Common reading program – every first year student coming into U of C in 2012 was required to read it.  The students then had the opportunity to participate in online and group discussions, enter contests and participate in various programs over the rest of the summer and during Fall Orientation. At the launch of Bitter Medicine for this Common Reading Program, with 300 people in attendance, Olivier was super nervous,  but when they applauded, he was delighted.  After they got a standing ovation, Olivier said, “This is great; this is the best experience of my life.”

Martini explained that he has learned much about mental illness over the years – some intentional and some unintentional.  But the biggest thing he has learned is that mental illness changes the family dynamics.  He has learned that schizophrenia is a like a wrecking ball that hits everything – and it keeps swinging.

MARCH 1st starts at 1:30!

A warm “hello” to everyone.

As February unfolds, I’m beginning to anticipate our CWLC program and the opening meeting for 2016.


As usual, we will gather at the Memorial Park Library on Tuesday, March 1st. We’ve scheduled this meeting to begin at 1:30pm thus allowing time to celebrate the 110th anniversary of our club which began in 1906.

As listed in the program, Clem Martini from the U of C will be our guest speaker. A Calgarian by birth, he is an award winning playwright and novelist. You can find out more about him by clicking here.

Following his presentation, we will enjoy tea/coffee and birthday cake from 2:30-3:00pm and hear a brief overview of our club’s history given by Ruth Hilland.

I hope you have reserved the date to be with us. Bring a guest and/or just come and be part of getting 2016 off to an auspicious start.