Memories of our Spring Luncheon & AGM

While the weather didn’t exactly cooperate, looking rather wintry with clouds, a cool temperature and plenty of snow-covered ground from the previous weekend’s devastating blizzard, inside the elegant surroundings of the Calgary Golf & Country Club was a different story. Spring was all around us thanks to our programs featuring blue hydrangeas complemented by the beautiful floral centerpieces on each table, also featuring blue hydrangeas arranged to perfection by our President Doloris Duval, and even a sprinkling of gorgeous Spring dresses worn by some of our more intrepid members. Any club that can keep meeting throughout two world wars isn’t going to let the weather get the better of it!

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The Comedian by Clem Martini is being presented by Literary Kaleidoscope Wednesday, Oct 17

You can never have enough of a good thing! Here’s a chance to join Clem Martini (before he is our own guest speaker) on a very timely book for the Club! Mary shared this upcoming community event. Click on the link below for the Calgary Herald review by Eric Volmers.

On Wednesday, October 17th, Literary Kaleidoscope will present The Comedian, by Clem Martini. The Comedian is a witty and fast-paced story of the nascent days of theatrical comedy in early Rome. As he recounts the (mis)adventures of the protagonist – one of Rome’s most notable playwrights – the author also creates a vivid picture of daily life in the Eternal City more than two thousand years ago. 

Clem Martini is a prolific writer: an award-winning playwright, novelist, and professor of drama at the University of Calgary. He is a three-time winner of the Alberta Writers Guild Drama Prize, winner of the W.O. Mitchell Award, and was a nominee of the Governor General’s Literary Award in Drama.

Please join us at the Marda Loop Community Centre, 3130 16thStreet S.W.; Admission is $10 (coffee and cookies included). The lectures begin at 9:30 am. You are welcome to arrive early to enjoy a coffee and allow us to start on time.  We look forward to seeing our old friends and hopefully some new ones too.


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.

Calgary Women’s Literary Club Celebrates 110th Birthday!


CTV’s crew did our Calgary Women’s Literary Club proud, with Ina Sidhu’s fine report aired Tuesday.

We have some “film naturals” in our midst! Check out the interviews with Dorothy Little, Lillian Tickles, Margaret Sparkes and author Clem Martini.

Many guests joined us for this celebration, including our speaker, author Clem Martini, and representatives from the Calgary Public Library and the Glenbow Museum.

What’s a birthday party without a cake? This one was (almost) too beautiful to eat! Thanks, Doloris! As March 1st is also St. David’s Day, we were treated to Welsh Cakes from Janet Samber.


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.