Joëlle Anthony moved to Gabriola Island in 2007.

Joëlle Anthony moved to Gabriola Island in 2007.

Writing circle benefits teenagers

Bi-weekly get-together intended to encourage Gabriola’s youths to explore their creative side.

Every other Thursday, author Joëlle Anthony can be found hanging out with teenagers at the library.

“There are benefits to hanging out with teens,” she said, laughing. “I learn a lot from them.”

Since mid-November, Anthony has been leading a teen writing circle at the Gabriola Island library. The relatively new bi-weekly activity, which will run again on Thursday (Dec. 18), provides teens and tweens the opportunity to practise writing, receive feedback and share ideas.

“It is a place where teens can come and write and share and also bring in things if they want,” Anthony explained.

Following Grade 7, tweens and teens on Gabriola Island do not receive any creative writing courses until they reach Grade 10.

Anthony said she is hoping that the new writing circle will keep kids interested in writing.

“There is a gap there and a lot of kids really like to write,” she said. “I think this could keep them interested.”

Anthony, who moved from Tennessee to Gabriola Island with her husband Victor in 2007, is the author of two young adult novels, Restoring Harmony and The Right and the Real. Restoring Harmony was long-listed for the American Library Association’s Best New Young Adult Fiction in 2010 and was selected for Cincinnati’s Teen on the Same Page Festival in 2012.

As the leader of the writing circle, Anthony is has been able to receive feedback from the students on her own writing.

“I primarily write for teens … just hanging out with teens and hearing what they think and getting to know them is useful,” she said.

Anthony was born and raised in Portland, Ore., where she attended David Douglas High School and became involved in acting, writing and the arts.

“The reason I started writing young adult was because that’s what I prefer to read,” she said. “Also, unlike many young adult writers or people, I really had a great time in high school. I loved high school with a passion.”

After high school, Anthony became involved in theatre, comedy and has appeared in a couple of movies, including What The Bleep Do We Know?

She explained that going from theatre to writing for young adults was a simple transition.

“They are very much linked,” Anthony said. “Everything you learn in theatre goes to writing, from building characters to plots and dialogues.”

Although the writing circle is fairly new, Anthony said she’s impressed at how open the students are to sharing their work.

“It makes me realize how brave they are,” she said.

The teen writing circle runs every other Thursday at the Gabriola library from 5-6 p.m. The circle, which is free, is open to anyone between the ages of 12 and 19.

For more information on the circle, please visit For additional information on Anthony, please visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police in Nanaimo are turning to the public for help identifying two men suspected of a break-and-enter attempt at a Nicol Street apartment building. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP looking for two men suspected of a break-and-enter attempt

Security camera snapped images in Nicol Street apartment building parking lot

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 case reported at Nanaimo’s Mountain View school

School district advises of March 2-3 exposure dates

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Island Health opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo school district headed toward 26-per cent overcapacity in next 10 years

Using B.C. Assessment and municipal stats, consultant projects more than 18,300 students in 2030

A Nanaimo man is offering a $300 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who broke into his SUV and stole components from his drone. (News Bulletin file photo)
Drone owner offering reward after components stolen from his vehicle in Nanaimo

Vehicle break-in happened last month on Departure Bay Road

A sports car crashed into a lamp standard and rolled down the hill behind Country Club Centre mall on Sunday night. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Sports car crashes into lamp post, rolls down hill behind Nanaimo mall

Driver uninjured in incident Sunday night on Norwell Drive

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read