What’s in a name?

NorthWord celebrates the launch of Issue #14

By Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Contributor
whatsinanameWould you change your name? What does your name mean? It’s all about names at NorthWord’s “What’s in a Name?” Issue #14 launch. The free event is happening at River Station Arts on April 17 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and is open to the community.

NorthWord is the region’s only and first literary magazine. It is published twice with rotating themes, and guest editors. The launch event, just in time for National Poetry Month will feature readings, open mic, and refreshments.

Joanne Hlina, guest editor for the issue, and treasurer for Northern Canada Collective Society for Writers (NCCSW), publishers for NorthWord shared on the editing process.

“It was quick and easy; I especially liked the fact that I was judging the work on its own merits, with no name attached. There were some interesting and worthy submissions, but I found that people described naming in a way that was self-referential or “relative” to a relative. That is, they took the theme very personally, rather than generally relating to society, which is how I had originally envisioned the theme, and why I proposed the topic.

For example, the title, “Ms.” was thoroughly mocked when it was first proposed, but now is accepted throughout society. How do immigrants Canadianize/(Anglicize) their names, or not? Why can people spell Gough, but not Gandhi? McLeod but not Mikisew? It was interesting to see a “theory” become intimate rather than general.”

Hlina, who is also moving out of town later this month to take care of her elderly father in British Columbia had been in Fort McMurray for seven years.

“I wish I had come to Fort McMurray many years ago, when I first heard of it. The opportunities here for people to develop professionally are unique, in my experience. I have never seen so many young people in positions of responsibility. In any other place, they would be middle-aged before they would have had similar opportunities. As well, the community is incredibly welcoming to volunteers in any capacity, which gives people the chance to develop leadership skills and to make a profound impact in their own neighbourhoods. My experience with NorthWord is such an example: within a few months of joining the organization, I had an opportunity to serve on the board of directors, contribute to the magazine, and eventually, become a guest editor. What a joy to be able to participate in so many capacities, and to learn new things along the way. The arts continue to be a vital part of this society, and a showcase of the myriad talents here.”

Speaking of arts, NorthWord’s new collaboration with River Station Arts, the community’s newest arts hub is exciting for Suzanne McGladdery, NCCSW president.

“NorthWord is very excited to have found a new home for our monthly writing sessions. River Station Arts is providing a much-needed venue for local artists and art-lovers, in a central and accessible space. They and we both exist to provide a venue for artists and their audiences to meet, and we’re looking forward to a long and happy relationship with them.”

The group is also looking for a new treasurer and recording secretary. If interested, email: northwordmagazine@gmail.com.

River Station Arts is located on 8130 Fraser Avenue. To learn more about NorthWord, follow them on Twitter: @NorthWordYMM and like them on Facebook: NorthWord.

-Connect Weekly-