National Novel Writing Month returns to Kootenays

The largest writing event in the world returns to the Kootenays this November

The largest writing event in the world returns to the Kootenays this November, when National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) participants around the globe hit their keyboards. The challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

“NaNoWriMo challenges writers,” says NaNo Municipal co-Liaison Deb O’Keeffe. “The best way to learn to write a novel is by plunging in and just doing it!”

There are no entry fees, no judges and no prizes. Just a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to finally getting that novel written. Last year, 63 Kootenay residents joined 400,000 people worldwide (including one very chilly writer at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station) to write their stories in November. Typing away at home, in coffee shops or in libraries, those 63 intrepid writers managed to produce a staggering collective total of 1,524,426 words.

“We’ll be making things more exciting this year,” says Karina Kram, the Kootenay’s veteran Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo. “Thanks to the NaNo website’s Kootenays Regional Forum, we’re able to virtually connect with participants throughout November.  This year on the forum there’ll be online chats, weekly draws for prizes, writing challenges — lots to make NaNoWriMo fun for the whole Kootenays.”

O’Keeffe agrees. “NaNo writers in the region are always spread out.  The regional forum keeps us all connected.  Last year, someone in Rossland won our NaNo Champion mug for most words written by a Kootenay writer.  This year, we want to get even more people from more places involved.”

Although NaNoWriMo emphasizes creativity over literary masterpiece, more than 250 projects begun during NaNoWriMo have gone on to become published works, including bestsellers such as Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. To read a complete list of published works, learn more about NaNoWriMo and the Kootenays Regional Forum or to register, go to, or contact Deborah  at or Karina at