Hear women's stories at this intercultural event in Burnaby

Everyday life stories through a multicultural lens.

That’s how the Culture Chats B.C. Association is billing a community event on Saturday, March 9, featuring readings from its new Intercultural Women’s Writing Program. The free event is set to mark International Women’s Day, and it’s being held at 11 a.m. at the Tommy Douglas branch of Burnaby Public Library, 7311 Kingsway.

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A collection of the women’s writings will be released in the form of a booklet.

“The stories paint a vivid picture of community life,” said a press release about the event. “Many residents of our super-diverse neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver are straddling two or more cultures successfully. This has shaped their expectations and experiences in their present day-to-day lives. The writing group reflects this diversity, representing the courageous female community builders who have absorbed many new influences and discovered common ties to bond with each other.”

Participants in the writing program benefited from a number of professionals who visited workshop and writing sessions – including literary and theatre instructors, sociologists, researchers, digital content developers and authors.

Asmita Lawrence, who was responsible for the design and coordination of the program, said she’s excited about the impact of the work.

“The group is very supportive of each other. Women experience a collaborative environment and build a better intercultural understanding,” she said in the release. “We have endeavoured to provide women, particularly from minority cultures, races and ethnicities, with opportunities for self-expression and self-development.”

Participants say the program has brought many benefits.

“Culture Chats has provided me with an opportunity to feel at home in the company of women who have similar yet varied experiences; women who have an eye on their past and a hopeful outlook to their future, who are so brave to share their thoughts, challenges, aspirations and stories,” said Blossom, one of the women who took part in the program.

Adrianna, another writing group member, said the chance to meet the other participants was valuable.

“The sharing and social interaction is particularly welcome because writing can be lonesome,” she said. “It is wonderful to get together on Saturday mornings for two hours to hone our writing skills and head home buzzing with a dozen different thoughts after our intercultural conversations.”

Women with an interest in writing, reporting and community are invited to apply for the next intake of the program, which will likely happen in April or May, subject to funding.

See www.culturechats.org/events for details. To register or inquire, email culturechats@gmail.com. The program is free.

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