Literary Arts

Program Details

Respecting each student’s individual aptitudes, interests and personal academic and artistic goals, the Literary Arts program seeks to strengthen the student’s creative abilities and to develop a confident, creative, independent and highly-skilled writer’s voice.

Through reading widely international, Canadian, classic and modern literature and through the detailed examination of models, students will develop an understanding of the fundamental elements and traditions of each type of writing.

Literary Arts students will do as much writing as possible. In their writing, students will explore and practice specific forms, techniques, structures styles, purposes and tones. As students progress from grade nine to grade twelve, their writing will become more technically skilled, complex and inventive in style and content.

Units of Study

Narrative: Students will examine and practice the effective use of the fundamental elements of story telling, including developing conflict, managing plot, structuring events, developing characters, establishing setting, showing theme and using tone, irony and symbolism. They will try their hand at specific forms and types of narrative, such as the post card story, the stream of consciousness story, a story within a story, the realistic story and the fantasy story

Poetry: Students will practice the effective use of the fundamental elements of poetry, including diction, image, metaphor and other poetic devices, rhythm and sound. They will also explore and practice a wide range of forms (e.g. ballad, sonnet, ghazal, renga and palindrome), tones (e.g. direct, lyrical, ironic and didactic) and structures (e.g. list, contrast and letter)

Non-fiction: Students will practice the effective use of the fundamental elements of non-fiction, including the wording of a thesis, the methods of developing an argument and the rhetorical considerations related to word choice and sentence structure. They will explore and practice a wide range of non-fiction forms specific to academic writing (e.g. the review and the research essay) and journalism (e.g. the article and the profile). They will also have many opportunities to write creative non-fiction.

Script Writing: Students will examine and practice the fundamental elements of script writing, including the handling of plot, character, conflict, setting, dialogue and time. They will explore and practice a range of structures (e.g. circular and linear) and forms (e.g. radio play, skit, stage play, film, the collective and documentary). They will also focus on issues particular to script writing, including accepted play script format, visualization and scene.

Other activities for students in the Literary Arts Program include:

  • Editing and working with drafts
  • Sharing writing with peers
  • “Workshopping” works in progress
  • Working with visiting guest writers
  • Attending readings, writers’ festivals and writing workshops
  • Collaborating with students in others arts areas
  • Submitting writing to contests and literary magazines
  • Reading work at Literary Arts coffee houses
  • Performing in a Literary Arts Soiree (grade 12)

Audition Information

Grade 8 applicants to the Literary Arts program will attend a Group Audition Writing Workshop and an Individual Audition/Interview.

Group Audition Writing Workshop (1 ½ hrs)

All applicants will participate in a group writing workshop. In groups of 15 to 20 students, applicants will be asked to participate in creative activities, to write short pieces and to do writing related activities similar to those that are often completed in a Literary Arts class. The writing produced at this time will become a required part of the applicant’s portfolio of writing. The workshop allows the audition panel to observe the students in the writing and editing/revision process and to read the work produced in a more spontaneous situation. Report to the Library Literary Arts Writing Workshop 10- 20 minutes before the time indicated and check in with the Literary Arts teacher there. If you have an IEP indicating the use of a laptop, be sure to bring it to the workshop. If you require any other accommodations please inform the Arts Coordinator well before the audition.

Individual Audition/Interview (20 min):

All students will have an interview with the panel. This will be scheduled following your online application.

Portfolio Requirements (for grade 8 applicants):

The portfolio of writing must be submitted by Wednesday, December 20th so the audition panel has the opportunity to read the material. A late portfolio may mean the student’s solo interview cannot proceed as the panel will not have had sufficient time to read the student’s work. Give yourself plenty of time before the audition to relax and get mentally prepared to answer questions about your writing and general interests. Final selection is made after portfolios, the workshop and the interview have been evaluated.

Applicants are required to submit a writing portfolio (in English) to the Arts Coordinator (Derek Eyamie) at Canterbury High School by Wednesday, December 20th. The portfolio will not be returned after the audition so please keep a copy of your work. The portfolio will be assessed for creativity, original thinking and ideas, and technical writing skills. Please do not include any of the forms required for the individual interview in the portfolio.

  • An autobiography (max. 500 words)

In this piece, your goal is to give the reader a sense of who you are by writing about the people, events and experiences that have shaped you into that person. You might mention special interests or things you believe deeply. You could also mention things you have achieved or have tried to do or plan to do, but there is no set format and no specific information that you are required to include. Feel free to use a creative approach or format to organize your work. Write in an honest, personal way.

  • Non-Fiction piece (approx. 500 words)

Choose ONE: Opinion piece OR Process piece. An opinion piece is to state an opinion and explain why you hold that opinion. A process piece explains how something is done. For either piece, choose a subject that matters to you. You may also choose to write in a serious direct tone, or to write in a humourous or ironic tone.

  • Best written piece to date submitted as a school assignment

Please select and submit a clean copy (no comments, marks or edits) of a written assignment you completed for school that you feel is your best written work to date. The piece may be a narrative, short story, book report, essay, etc. It may also have been submitted in a subject such as English, Geography, History, Science, etc.

  • Personal reflection (200-500 words)

Please write a reflection that articulates why you believe that the piece you selected is your best writing to date. Explain what you perceive to be the merits or strength of the piece.Explain your writing process for the piece. For example, what inspired the piece? Did you complete any research?

Presentation of the Portfolio:

  • All items in the finished portfolio should be clearly labeled with the students’ name, the title of the piece and which portfolio piece or draft it is. Final copies should be 1.5 line-spacing and size 12 font.
  • Please include 1-3 rough drafts for each piece. Please mark any edits or revisions to the first draft with a different colour so that the panelists reading the portfolio may see the changes made between drafts. The final copy should be on top, with the drafts behind it in a 1st draft, 2nd draft,... order.
  • The portfolio should be stapled and submitted in a large envelope with your name and “Literary Arts Portfolio” on the front. Please do not put the writing in see-through plastic covers as the audition panel needs to write comments on the work as it is being read.


Audition Requirements for Grades 9, 10, 11 applicants

Older applicants should send in two of their best written school assignments by Wednesday, December 20th at 4pm to the attention of Derek Eyamie. The assignments should be evaluated by a high school English teacher with a letter from any teacher speaking to the quality of the student's work.

The Grade 10 & 11 applicants will attend a Group Writing Workshop in the morning and be interviewed in the afternoon. Times will be assigned as soon as online application is complete. The Arts Coordinator will contact you to confirm the date and time.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL CANDIDATES!