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Wordstorm, founded in 2007, has grown into a society that promotes the written arts through events and venues, inspiring workshops, festivals, and publication opportunities.​ We are responsive to and supportive of authors, poets, and writers of all literary genres who live and create in our region which includes all communities on Vancouver Island and within the Salish Sea Basin.

The Philosophy of Wordstorm

  • to provide a venue for new and emerging writers of prose, poetry, dramatic presentations, storytelling, and lyrics

  • to support the development of new work

  • to assist writers in developing literary and spoken word skills

  • to promote and enhance the self-esteem of regional writers

  • to entertain, have fun, share ideas

  • to be inclusive in terms of demographics, style, skill level, celebrity

  • to put Nanaimo on the map for literary events comparable to larger urban centres such as Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, or Toronto

  • to create a new form of entertainment for Nanaimo

  • to inspire and encourage our audience to participate in literary community

Wordstorm’s Commitment to Inclusivity

Wordstorm Society of the Arts is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for its members, the public, and all individuals who want to participate in the literary arts. This includes creating spaces that are free from harassment, bullying, or discrimination. As an organization, Wordstorm is dedicated to making its programming and activities respectful of and open to all peoples regardless of their age, culture, abilities, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity/expression, sexuality, nationality, race, religion, education, and socioeconomic status.

Language or behaviour that diminishes Wordstorm's efforts to support creative endeavours through providing inclusive and welcoming spaces at events and open mics, whether these are online or in person, will not be tolerated. Wordstorm reserves the right to reject work that does not acknowledge the above goals from its publications. Individuals who act in ways that detract from establishing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere at all Wordstorm events will be asked to leave or removed from online platforms.


Creating literary community
across Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea Basin.

The Board of Directors

Carla Stein
President/Artistic Director

Amber Morrison
Vice President/Assistant Artistic Director

Aviva Stein-Wotten


Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Director at Large

Director at Large

Founding Members

David Fraser is a poet, spoken-word performer, publisher and editor. He lives in Nanoose Bay, on Vancouver Island. He is the founder and editor of Ascent Aspirations Magazine. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry (Mother Tongue Press), Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press), Walk Myself Home (Caitlin Press) and recently in 2015 Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen. He has published five collections of poetry; Going to the Well, 2004, Running Down the Wind, 2007, No Way Easy, 2010, Caught in My Throat, 2011, Paper Boats, 2012 and After All the Scissor Work is Done, 2015. In addition, David has co-authored with Naomi Beth Wakan, On Poetry, an inspirational book on poetics and poetry and has completed a response poem collection, Maybe We Could Dance, (2014) with poet, Pat Smekal. He participated in Random Acts of Poetry, a national poetry program that brought poetry to the streets of Canada. David is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and has performed his poetry in British Columbia, Ontario, U.S.A. and Switzerland.
Harvey Jenkins was born and raised on the prairies but moved to Vancouver Island in 1989. He has had poetry published in the Western Producer , in Manitoba Myriad: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose and the April 2008 edition of Ascent Aspiration Magazine. Harvey has also had some recognition for haiku with an honourable mention in the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and two haiku published in the December 2007 Gabriola Island edition of The Imperfectionists Monthly. Harvey has retired and has move back to Winnipeg, with his wife, Sharon.
Judith Millar is a writer of short stories, personal essays, poems, song lyrics and magazine articles. With over 100 published pieces, she has won awards for her creative writing in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Judy says she gets her biggest kick from writing humour and she especially enjoys giving readings of her humorous works. Judith is an artist and former corporate communications manager, she moved to Nanaimo from Kitchener, Ontario in 2007 ­and was delighted to discover WordStorm!
Mary Ann Moore is a poet and a writer of fiction, personal essays and book reviews. She is currently working on a non-fiction book called Writing Home. Mary Ann has taught creative writing classes; creativity and poem making workshops; and lead workshops for the mental health community, adult literacy programmes, a First Nations reserve and conferences and retreats. Mary Ann's poem "Unpacking" won third place in the Federation of B.C. Writers poetry contest in the fall and she has recently returned from a master poets retreat with acclaimed Vancouver Island poet, Patrick Lane. Mary Ann has hosted at WordStorm and is ready to do so again as is needed.
Cindy Shantz has been published in several newspapers including The Globe and MailThe Vancouver Sun, and The Times Colonist. Her stories have won awards at The Santa Barbara Writer's Conference. In Switzerland, her works have appeared in newspapers, magazines and in an anthology of short stories, essays and poetry. In 1990 Cindy moved from Nanaimo to Switzerland to marry a Swiss. She lived in the German part of Switzerland for nine years where she taught English conversation and literature classes, wrote stories, essays, poetry, and learned Swiss German which, she is convinced, is even more difficult than yodelling! She returned to Nanaimo with her husband in 2000, and In 2004 wrote and produced her first play: Cat Tales: "What's in a Name?" She loves to encourage people to display their talents and to provide a supportive venue for them to do this.
Pat Smekal has always loved words. She would write more of them if she didn't spend so much time with other loves, including Yoga, hiking, travel, kayaking and grandchildren. Nonetheless, during the past five years she has won a number of prizes across Canada for her poetry, and has had work published in Island Writer, Reportage, Love the Main Course, Ascent Aspirations Anthologies (1 & 2), and A World of Words 2006. Pat and her husband George live next to the sea, on Vancouver Island.
Fran Thiessen has emceed WordStorm since its inception. No stranger to speaking in public, she has been a Toastmaster for over 20 years and has achieved the highest designation of Distinguished Toastmaster. She has given a workshop on Storytelling at the BC Toastmasters Conference. Fran also has a love of theatre and has been in two local productions in Port Alberni. Storytelling within Toastmasters as well as Creative Magic and WordStorm has whetted her appetite to do some writing. Her stories are inspired by everyday occurrences - perhaps with a touch of whimsy?
Melanie Boulding finds peace in her role as WordStorm's "Meeter and Greeter" after tangling with the downtown disenfranchised population. A former Yukon Bush-rat, she appreciates her friend/neighbour, Cindy, dragging her into the fun/thespian/literary/cultural sphere of Nanaimo. Melanie is taking a rest from participating but is ready to fill in at anytime.
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