Charitable Choices: Robin van Eck of Alexandra Writers Centre

Robin van Eck is empowering writers of every stripe as the Executive Director of the Alexandra Writers Centre. The essence of this organization is simple yet profound: to nurture the creative spirit and provide a haven where storytellers of all levels can thrive. With a mission to dissolve the isolation often felt in the solitary act of writing, the Alexandra Writers Centre offers a vibrant community where individuals connect, learn, and grow together.

Alexandra Writers Centre

Describe your organization in a few sentences.

The Alexandra Writers Centre aims to support writers and storytellers of all experience levels. We provide workshops, classes and support for the budding writing – hobbyist or novelist or memoirist – to the more seasoned writer. Anyone who wants to see their story on a page. We offer a community for writers to connect with one another and share the successes and trials of the writing process.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Writing has always been believed to be a solitary effort and for the most part it is, yet the encouragement to keep going is only found when you can connect with others to share experiences. Many people want to write a novel or short story or memoir and we provide the space and support that writers need to reach that goal.

When did you start and why?

I joined the organization in 2003 when I wanted to learn to write better. A lifelong lover of words, I had always wanted to be a writer but didn’t know how to get there. 21 years later, I have not only found my voice as a writer and individual, I have developed a strong network of friends who love the same things and I have published both a novel and several short stories.

What was the situation like when you started and how has it changed since?

I joined the board of directors in 2004 and served as President for 2 years. Even after my term was up, I had grown to love the organization so much that I couldn’t leave. I’d always believed in what the AWCS could do and what it could be, and it became a passion – just as deep as writing – to see it flourish and help all writers the way it helped me. In 2009, I joined the organization as their only paid staff. Since then, we have grown from about 100 members to more than 650 members and we now have more paid staff. We have a wonderful venue in cSpace Marda Loop after our first 35 years in Inglewood.

Of those 650 members, nearly 100 of them are youth aged 8-18.

Our programs are more in demand than ever and we continue to explore new ways to support the needs of writers in our city.

This year we took over as organizers for When Words Collide – an annual writer and reader festival held in Calgary every August. This is one of our biggest initiatives ever taken on and we are so excited with how it is shaping up.

What more needs to be done?

We need to continue to listen to our members and their needs and wants and adapt to the ever-changing landscape that we live in. Probably even more now, we need strong voices to share their stories, to create change and open minds to greater possibilities.

Alexandra Writers Centre

How can our readers help?

If you know someone who loves to write, send them our way. If you have a story burning inside of you and don’t know how to get it onto the page, reach out, we can help.

Do you have any events coming up?

When Words Collide 2024 – August 16-18, 2024

Spring Classes Still Available

Youth Summer Programs

Fall Classes Coming Soon

Where can we follow you?

Website | Facebook | Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Elephant Artist Relief (EAR) is an organization that supports professional artists and gig workers. The society provides financial, and career supports that emphasizes community wellbeing and promotes the livelihoods of artists.


About Emilea Semancik 91 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: