News & Events

Science, Sanity, and the Sematic Environment II: An Online Symposium” “Coincidence: Orwell, the Labyrinth, and the End of Times”

25th June 2022


Presented by TAPS at NFLA

To register email s_burton@nflabc.org


Weaving Our Stories of Loss Into Life: A Bereavement Memoir Writing Course by Carol Matthew – Course runs Tuesdays from May 5 to June 9 at 5-6:30 pm PST.

Memoir writing is a way of exploring, reflecting on and revisiting a wide range of moments and significant
experiences from our lives. Writing a bereavement memoir opens up the possibility of bringing our stories of love, of loss and grief, to life. These stories may be ones we wish to share with our children, our grandchildren, our family members, our colleagues or our friends. Or we may simply want to write them for ourselves.

This course is an introduction to writing a bereavement memoir which can help to keep our loved ones with us in meaningful and life-affirming ways. The people we love always remain part of us, even after their death, and their ongoing presence can bring us lasting joy.

Published author and award-winning educator Carol Matthews will offer a map for writing about loss as one phase of an ongoing relationship. This six-week course will include an overview about memoir-writing and reflections on what such writing can offer us as a tool for coping in times of grief and “re-learning our world” after the death of a loved one. Participants will have opportunities to explore various writing prompts and exercises and to share some of their work with one another if so desired.

Bio: Carol Matthews is the author of five books of memoir, and a collection of short stories, Incidental Music (Oolichan Books). Her latest book, Minerva’s Owl: The Bereavement Phase of my Marriage, was published by Oolichan Books in 2017. A new edition of Questions for Ariadne was published by Oolichan in 2019. Carol has worked as a social worker, community worker, and was the Dean of Human Services and Community Education at Vancouver Island University between 1988 and 1999. In 1999 she was awarded the Association of Community Colleges National Award for Excellence in Leadership. In addition to teaching and consulting activities, she has served as a director on a number of local and provincial boards and committees. In 2008 Carol was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degree from Vancouver Island University (VIU). In 2012, she was awarded the Order of B.C. in recognition of achievement and commitment to her local community, and in January of 2013, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

Tuesdays from May 5 to June 9 at 5-6:30 pm PST.



Memoir Writing Workshop Series (online)

Tuesdays starting January 18, 2 – 3:30 pm by Zoom through Nanaimo Family Life 

Writing memoir is a way of exploring and revisiting times and experiences from our lives. The American writer Alex Haley, author of the book Roots, once said that “Every time an old person dies it’s as if a library burns down.” This course opens up the possibility of saving something from the internal libraries we all carry within us. These stories may be ones we wish to share with our family or friends, or we may simply want to recall and write about them for our own pleasure in reminiscence.

Local author Carol Matthews will lead folks through a six-week workshop series designed to stir up stories. Participants are asked to commit to all six weeks.

To register for sessions, please email: s_burton@nflabc.org



Solstice Reflections 2021

An Afternoon with Carol Matthews, hosted by Nanaimo Family Life Association. December 21, 2021 2-3 PM

Email S_BURTON@NFLABC.ORG to register.





November 2021
Excited to be part of a virtual panel at Kaleidoscope 2021 with writers Donna Morrissey and Beth Powning:

Friday, November 19 (12:30pm-2:00pm), Carol will participate in the keynote session Love, Loss, Life: Special Panel of Award-Winning Canadian Writers, alongside Newfoundland’s Donna Morrissey and Beth Powning from New Brunswick.

On Sunday, November 21 (1:30pm-3:00pm), Carol will present a one-hour workshop Introduction to Writing the Bereavement Phase. Carol will discuss the ways in which a bereavement memoir can help to keep loved ones with us in meaningful ways. There will be a brief overview, a few short written exercises, and some general tips on writing memoirs.

You can read about the online convention and, if you’re interested, register for online sessions at https://lumarasociety.org/kaleidoscope2021/.

Lumara is a charitable organization that helps children, youth, adults, and families cope with serious illness, grief, and bereavement. umarasociety.org/kaleidoscope2021/



November 2021

Excited to be part of a virtual panel at Kaleidoscope 2021 with writers Donna Morrissey and Beth Powning:

https://lumarasociety.org/kaleidoscope2021/
And also leading a workshop on writing about grief at this conference.



October 2021
Giving Thanks

I’m very thankful to Freehand Books for their distribution of Minerva’s Owl since Oolichan Books closed its doors a few years ago:

Please consider ordering a copy. If the leftover stock is sold, Freehand may publish a new edition! I still hear from a lot of people that the book has been meaningful to them.



October 2021
New edition of Questions for Ariadne

I’m currently working on a new edition of Questions for Ariadne which will include a section on Lockdown Labyrinths and some exploration about the ways in which Covid has affected our use of the labyrinth and caused many of us to think further about the metaphor of the labyrinth and its significance over time.



September 2020
Preserving your library: A memoir writing course for seniors by Carol Matthews

Writing memoir is a way of exploring and revisiting times and experiences from our lives. The American writer Alex Haley, author of the book Roots, once said that “Every time an old person dies it’s as if a library burns down.” This course opens up the possibility of saving something from the internal libraries we all carry within us. These stories may be ones we wish to share with our family or friends, or we may simply want to recall and write about them for our own pleasure in reminiscence.

This mini-course will consist of 3 two-hour sessions delivered by Zoom, one in the fall and one in the spring, for a total of 6 weeks. The focus will be on producing short works of memoir about specific times, relationships and situations participants want to explore in writing. It will begin with an overview about why we write memoir and what such writing can offer us and will involve writing tips and exercises for each participant to produce her or his own work.

Sessions may involve some sharing of work between participants if desired. The period between the two sessions will provide time for more writing and editing, with further
revisions and new projects continuing in the spring session.

Carol Matthews has worked as a social worker, as Executive Director of Nanaimo Family Life and as instructor and Dean of Human Services and Community Education at Malaspina University-College (now VIU). She has published a collection of short stories (Incidental Music: Oolichan  Books, 2006)) and four books of non-fiction or memoir (including Reflections on the C-Word, Hedgerow Books, 2006, Questions for Ariadne: The Labyrinth and the End of Times, Outlaw Editions, 2011.)  Most recently, Minerva’s Owl: The Bereavement Phase of My Marriage was published by Oolichan Books in December, 2017. Her short stories and reviews have appeared in literary journals such as Room, The New Quarterly, Grain, Prism, Malahat and Event.



March 5, 2020
Writers on Campus – Carol Matthews

Join writer Carol Matthews for a reading and discussion of her creative nonfiction writing. All welcome.

Sponsored by Arts and Humanities and the Department of Creative Writing.

Carol Matthew’s writing has appeared in a number of educational and literary publications. Articles published in the Journal of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice were collected and published as The First Three Years of a Grandmother’s Life (2006). A collection of short fiction, Incidental Music was published by Oolichan Books (2007), Reflections on the C-Word: At the Centre of the Cancer Labyrinth, a cancer memoir, was published by Hedgerow Press (2007). And Questions for Ariadne: The Labyrinth and the End of Times was published by Outlaw Editions (2011) and her most recent book is Minerva’s Owl: The Bereavement Phase of My Marriage (Oolichan 2017). She is a regular book reviewer for Event Magazine and The Malahat Review.



January 2019
Patricia Young and Carol Matthews

Enjoy an afternoon of reflection with two Vancouver Island writers.



January 2019
Minerva’s Owl

January 22 – 7pm at Massy Books
(229 E. Georgia St, Vancouver BC)

Such a pleasure to read at this wonderful bookstore! They frequently have readings and other events. It’s well worth a visit any time you are in Vancouver.

It was an especial honour that Darlene Marzari and Fred Wah — and so many other friends and family — joined us for the event.