Saskatoon Writers' Collective

"Produce, Polish, Publish and Promote"

About the Saskatoon Writers’ Collective:

The Saskatoon Writers’ Collective is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is a non-profit organization created by writers for writers, and run by volunteers. The Collective's mandate is to offer support and stimulation to the writers of Saskatoon and area.

The Collective (formerly the "Coop") was founded in November 2001 at a meeting held in the Refinery Arts & Spirit Centre and attended by about 60 of the city's creative writers. Prompted by the energy in the room, and a strong sense of community spirit, many writers immediately dug into their pockets to give the new organization a small but welcome stash of start-up funds. Others volunteered their time and expertise. Before the meeting wrapped up, almost everyone present had announced their intention to join.

Originally named the "Saskatoon Writers' Coop", the fledgling organization was nursed to health through the hard work and dedication of a number of its members, most notably, Jim Weseen. Jim's tragic death in 2012, however, was a shock that wounded the organization to its core.

As of 2015, the Collective is growing again, and we are renewing our commitment to our loyal membership of writers by announcing our new name. We have also updated our ability to serve our members by subscribing to Wild Apricot's membership management system. This will allow future directors and volunteers to more easily perform the background work that goes into keeping an organization vibrant.

We have surveyed our members and have developed a framework for a yearly cycle of activity that we call "Produce, Polish, Publish and Promote". This covers the different areas of art, craft and business skills that make up a writer's life today. Typical activities include classes, workshops and lectures, on everything from the craft of writing to public speaking to book-making to self-publishing. (Thanks to Isabelle Joyal, Karen Millard and Cindy Clarke for their work on the new framework.)

We also hold social events and regular open mics, where you can practice reading your work . . . or just come to listen!

We encourage all readers and writers of our community to join us, no matter what skill level, whether novice, amateur, professional, or anything in between. To all those who labour and linger over the written word, we extend an open invitation.

Our events are held at different venues around the city, and we thank the Refinery Arts & Spirit Centre for providing us with a physical mailing address.

Please see our "Contact" page for more information.

The history of our name, and why we changed it:

Once Upon a Time...

... in 2001, a group of writers sat down to name the organization they had just established, Saskatoon's newest organization for writers.

The venture was clearly a cooperative enterprise. What else could they call it but the Saskatoon Writers’ Co-op? Confident that legalities were merely a formality, they sent the paperwork in to the Province.

Suddenly the sky was falling. They discovered they were not allowed to call themselves a Co-op, because that would put them under the Co-operatives Act, with a whole new set of rules and regulations. "Oh, cluck!" they said. "Who will help us hatch this egg?"

Hearing no reply, they said, “Then we will do it ourselves.” And they did. "What's one tiny punctuation mark?" they reasoned. "Nobody uses it correctly anyway, and it stands between us and legitimacy."

They dumped the problematic hyphen, and became The Writers’ Coop. And then they riffed and, within moments, the chicken emerged (unsurprisingly) as the Coop’s first occupant. Soon a whole identity grew around that cheerful fowl and its abode. A board member agreed to design a logo, and the yellow-and-orange Coop Chicken was hatched.

Despite the Coop's fowl reputation, they were proud to have no pecking order, and they shunned the phrase “chick-lit”. Their flock was happy and and their parties were a cackle.

Then, their chicken matured. He shed his coat of juvenile yellow, donned new feathers, and strutted out in understated tones of taupe. "Hector" the chicken was the winning entry in our fifth anniversary "design a new logo" contest. He, along with the inkbottle, was created by long-time Coop member A. E. Matheson and unveiled at the Coop's Fifth Birthday Party on October 12, 2006.


So why mess with a good thing? Why did we change the name?

It had become obvious to many of us that whenever we introduced the organization to anyone new, we were always asked, "Is it a co-operative?"

"No," we answered, "it's a Coop."

Blank stare.

"A what?"

And then we would inevitably have to explain the whole history of the name to them.

By then, it was often too late to discuss the actual purpose of the organization, and so opportunities were lost for networking and stimulating interest.

It became an impediment for our outreach volunteers.

So, with all due respect to Hector, we have now moved on, and have changed our name to the "Saskatoon Writers' Collective", a collective of writers, no explanation required.

(We are glad to hear that Hector is enjoying his retirement, though. Now he has more time to peck at his keyboard. Write on, Hector!)

Our Members:

Our Mission:

The Saskatoon Writers’ Collective exists to offer support and stimulation to the writers of Saskatoon and area. The Collective will achieve this objective by focusing on craft development and related business skills, by building community, and by fostering a sense of excitement about writers and writing.

Saskatoon Writers' Collective Bylaws

Meet the Directors:

Anyone wanting to serve on the Collective's Board of Directors is welcome to get involved!  Just contact us any time at
The more, the merrier!

Belinda Betker

Belinda's predilection for poetry can be traced back to receiving a gold star in Grade 3 for her first poem - which she can still recite to this day. She joined the original Coop Board during its start-up year, and is enthusiastic about being back on Board again! Her 30 year career in health care supports her passion for writing, reading, and collecting signed books. Her poetry has been published in a number of anthologies, and she is currently at work on two manuscripts. 

Al Hubbs

Al Hubbs is an actor, comedian, photographer, teacher and writer. Writing has always been a passion for him and he wrote production scripts and TV commercials for the broadcast industry. More recently, he has published poetry, short stories, a novel and a children's book. Read his full biography at

Shawna Roberts

Following her mother’s footsteps with the original Coop, Shawna became a board member of SWC in 2016, and has enjoyed working with the group, and growing her writing community. Her 80,000 word fiction manuscript is in perpetual edit status. In addition to writing workshops, and Nanowrimo, Shawna enjoys reading, painting and photography classes. Reach out any time for writing meet-ups, beta-reading, and writing roundtables.



The Saskatoon Writers' Collective Inc. is a non-profit, non-charitable corporation.
Mailing address: Saskatoon Writers' Collective c/o The Refinery, 609 Dufferin Ave., Saskatoon, SK  S7N 1C4 Canada 

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