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Maple Ridge writing group loses their home at The ACT lobby nights

Golden Ears Writers have announced their next writing retreat while they look for new venue
Katherine Wagner (pictured) is a co-founder of the Golden Ears Writers group, along with Ronda Payne. (BlackPress file)

Local writing enthusiasts group, Golden Ears Writers, have suddenly found themselves out of home now that The ACT has made the decision to cancel the lobby nights program.

Prior to the pandemic, The ACT had regularly put on lobby night events where various artists and artisans could occupy the facility and invite members of the public to experience or participate in their art-making process.

READ MORE: The ACT Centre brings a variety of entertainment in the new year

One of the many groups who took advantage of this opportunity was the Golden Ears Writers, who invited guest speakers, held local author readings, and put on writing feedback groups on the third Tuesday of every month, except for June and July.

Now that this program is no longer being offered, Golden Ears Writers co-founders Katherine Wagner and Ronda Payne have suddenly found themselves scrambling to figure out what’s next for the group.

“The ACT Maple Ridge has decided to cancel its popular lobby nights program and therefore we will not be returning to The ACT,” said Wagner. “It’s a blow and we wish to thank The ACT for the ten years that it supported us.”

But Wagner and Payne want to make it clear that they have no intentions of disbanding the 300-plus members Golden Ears Writers group just because of this setback.

“Golden Ears Writers has not folded, but Ronda and I need some time to regroup,” said Wagner. “We will be considering options and will likely have an announcement for the new year.”

Wagner also expressed a desire to keep their annual Golden Ears Writers and Readers Festival going, which was largely possible through their partnership with The ACT. According to Wagner, The ACT has stated that they are still interested in putting on another festival, but are unable to commit to a timeline for it.

READ MORE: Golden Ears Writers and Readers festival returns to Maple Ridge

In the meantime, Golden Ears Writers have announced their 7th annual Ghost Story Writing Retreat event at Loon Lake, which will take place in November. These annual retreats involve writers from in and around the community gathering at a local secluded venue and focusing on writing and critiquing material over the couple of days.

“Loon Lake is a great place to be inspired, to write, and an opportunity for writers to connect, support and socialize with each other,” said Wagner.

This upcoming retreat will run from Nov. 14-16 and will be hosted at Loon Lake Lodge & Retreat Centre, which is just north of Maple Ridge in the UBC forest.

“At Golden Ears Writers we are looking forward to transitioning back into more in-person events but first we will need to secure a suitable venue(s),” said Wagner. “Given that no one knows what to expect from this third fall/winter of the pandemic, we are proceeding cautiously, but optimistically.”

To get more information about the retreat or Golden Ears Writers group, contact Katherine Wagner at

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