Celebrate The Anita Factor at McNally Robinson on July 18

Author Anita Daher inspired writers to form group that meets bimonthly


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This article was published 07/07/2015 (2765 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Author Anita Daher hasn’t just inspired her young readers.

She also inspired a group of Manitoba writers to form a children’s writers’ group — called The Anita Factor — about five years ago.

The group originally met in a six-week workshop led by Daher and has been meeting twice a month at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Grant Park ever since.

Simon Fuller Suzanne Leclerc holds a copy of Anita Daher’s latest book titled Wonder Horse. Leclerc is among a group of writers that formed the group The Anita Factor after taking part in a six-week workshop led by Daher several years ago.

“After the six-week workshop was finished, our group had jelled really well and wanted to continue to meet to discuss our writing and, in honour of our inspiring instructor, The Anita Factor was born. She brought us together and inspired us to write,” author and publisher Suzanne Leclerc, 41, told The Lance recently.  

“We share our experiences and ideas and we critique each other’s writing. It’s been an amazing last five years and together we’ve learned the very basic to the complex — starting with the basics of building a character, of forming a plot and it’s great because we all write for young audiences. Now, we’re always looking for grittier topics.”

Leclerc — who goes by the pen name Suzanne Costigan — said the core group began with six writers and now hovers at around 10.

“In the last nine months, the majority of us have been published and the others won’t be far behind,” Leclerc said.

To celebrate the both the camaraderie and success of The Anita Factor, the group is holding an upcoming community event titled Summer Reading Blast — Book-signing with award-winning Manitoba writers.     

The event will be held on Sat., July 18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the south atrium of The Forks Market building, and guests will have the chance to meet the authors and have their books signed.  

As of July 3, the others group members scheduled to appear at the event are Jodi Carmichael; Melinda Friesen; Deborah Froese; Gabriele Goldstone; Christina Janz; Melanie Matheson; Patricia Trottier; and Larry Verstraete. MaryLou Driedger won’t be appearing at the event.

Leclerc, who lives in Normand Park, knows a thing or two about publishing as well as writing.

Supplied photo Members of The Anita Factor dressed up in tribute to the Roaring ‘20s at this year’s Manitoba Book Awards. Back row, from left: Melanie Matheson; Suzanne Leclerc (whose pen name is Suzanne Costigan); Jodi Carmichael; Christina Janz; and Gabriele Goldstone. Front row, from left: Melinda Friesen; and Deborah Froese.

Along with Friesen, Froese and Matheson, she founded St. Vital-based Rebelight Publishing Inc. last year. The company specializes in middle grades, young adult and the new adult literary categories. Her own book, Empty Cup, was published by Rebelight last fall.

“I’m ecstatic that the people at McNally’s have made space for us. All of us have launched our books there and, for local writers, you couldn’t get a better support network for local talent,” she said.

For more information, email
Twitter: @lanceWPG

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at or call him at 204-697-7111.

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