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New West poet wins two awards in North Shore Writers Association contest

Janet Kvammen took home two awards in a writing contest that feature a “whopping” 44 entries in her category.
It's a tie: New West resident Janet Kvammen wins two second-place awards in writing contest.

A award-winning New West artist and poet has picked up two awards in a writing competition – in a year in which the contest received a record number of entries.

The North Shore Writers Association has announced the winners of its 2024 contest and presented awards to the talented and diverse winners – including New West resident Janet Kvammen.

“This year saw a record number of entries in the history of the contest with 115 entries from 73 authors, or an average of 1.5 entries per author,” said a news release from the association. “The increase in the number of entries was partly due to the addition of the new category of Writing for Children and Young Adults. However, the bulk of the entries were in poetry with a whopping 44 entries. The other factor was a lower entry fee this year to make it easier for writers to afford to enter, in light of tougher economic times.”

New Westminster resident Janet Kvammen received two awards in the Poetry category. Her poems Meanwhile and Living Wild and Precious tied for second place.

“Thanks so much to everyone at the North Shore Writers' Association. I don't think I have ever tied in a contest before – and certainly never with myself,” she said. “That is a definite first for me. How fun!”

Kvammen said she felt like she was having an out-of-body experience while reading the judges comments, as they are pretty amazing.

“I rarely have the opportunity to get feedback on my own work. I confess that I have been in a fallow period during a difficult time, and this year's judge Cynthia Sharp's generous observations have given me the encouragement and inspiration that I needed to keep on writing and creating,” she said. “Writing and other art forms are definitely therapeutic.”

Kvammen said both of her poems were inspired by one of her favourite poets, Mary Oliver and inspired by the poetic form called a glosa. She said glosa, or glose, is a form originally from Spain, featuring a quatrain epigraph, and four 10-line stanzas with the last line of each stanza being the corresponding line of the epigraph.

Here’s part of what poetry judge Cynthia Sharp had to say about one of Kvammen’s award-winning poems: “The clever construction of specific details of bird imagery are threads of mysticism rising above an undercurrent of grief. … The use of contrast creates powerful paradoxes, leaving the reader to contemplate belonging and loss, loneliness and strength, and where meaning resides beyond many types of death.”

Kvammen, a published poet, mixed media, and lens-based artist, has won awards for her poetry and artography.

Last fall, Kvammen received the Bernie Legge Artist of the Year Award at the 2023 Platinum Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations who contribute to New Westminster.

Kvammen, who is president of the Royal City Literary Arts Society, encourages everyone to be brave and to submit to the local writing contest.

The society has extended the deadline for entries in the 2024 Write On! contest until May 1. Submissions are being accepted in three categories: non-fiction (1,500 words maximum); fiction (1,500 words maximum); and poetry (one page, single-spaced maximum)

Each category includes a first prize ($150), a second prize ($100), a third prize ($75) and three honourable mentions.

Details about Write On! Can be found on the Royal City Literary Arts Scoiety’s website.