Acclaimed author Richard Wagamese wants to pay it forward — and that's good news for Kamloops.
The local author of the celebrated novel Indian Horse has created a unique writing course that's been a hit at universities and colleges all over Western Canada for the past five years.
Now he's offering that same course free of charge at the Kamloops Library over seven sessions starting Nov. 6.
The first 30 people to sign up will benefit from an act of generosity steeped in Wagamese's First Nations tradition.
"Writing and being as successful as I have been, which is a gift, in Ojibway tradition, you honour a gift by giving it away," said Wagamese. "So this is my means of giving it away."
If enough people sign up for a second class, he will add it onto the schedule.
His program begins by testing students on their oral skills.
"It begins with being able to use your creative process spontaneously and telling stories out loud. Then we move onto being able to pick up pen and paper on keyboard," he said.
"That makes it markedly different than anything else that's been done."
To sign up, call 250-372-5145.
The workshop is only one of many projects underway for Wagamese. This week he was in Ontario touring remote native communities to promote reading and the establishment of First Nations libraries through First Nations Communities Read, a program run through the Southern Ontario Library Service.
And the awards also keep coming. On Wednesday, he beat out his competition for the inaugural Burt Award.
The honour, which focuses on Inuit, Métis and First Nations literature, will be handed out at a gala ceremony in Ottawa hosted by Shelagh Rogers and Waubgeshig Rice.
He's up against Free Throw by Jacqueline Guest, Long as the Rivers Flow by James Bartleman, Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson and As I Remember It by Tara Lee Morin.
First place receives $12,000, second place receives $8,000 and a third place gets $5,000.
"It would be an incredible honour because it's the inaugural award in a literary heritage that I hope to be a part of for a long time," said Wagamese.