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Practicum In Publishing

Prairie Fire Press has a long-standing commitment to educating youth in the area of publishing. Over the years, this commitment has evolved into a uniquely designed seven-month practicum program that provides a hands-on, intense learning experience in all aspects of publishing with special emphasis on the interests of each student. Each year Prairie Fire hosts one or two students from September to the following April during which time we strive to provide an extraordinary experience.

Demand for the program far exceeds availability of placements. My goal is to expand the program so that we can host at least two students every year, and offer summer employment for 2-4 months at the end of the practicum, which would be of benefit to both the student and Prairie Fire. In order to fund the practicum program we host an annual fundraiser every year called “Speaking Volumes.”

If you would like to help us foster a new wave of publishing professionals, please consider making a donation to the program, and if you would like to know more about our practicum, please contact me.  Because we receive so many requests, preference is given to students from Manitoba.

We are grateful to our collaborators at the University of Winnipeg, Canadian Mennonite University and University of Manitoba for sending us so many lovely, talented and willing students.

Janine Tschuncky
Student Practicum Co-coordinator

What a Few of Our Practicum Students Say

Joel Robert Fergusson • 2017–18

I am very grateful for my time as a practicum student at Prairie Fire. Through this program, I learned all about the day-to-day operations of a literary journal. Janine, Lindsey, and Andris are all incredibly warm and welcoming individuals with whom it has been a joy to learn with. The program itself challenged me to expand my skills, while its flexible curriculum allowed me to contribute to the magazine in ways that suited my strengths. Prairie Fire’s practicum program has provided me with an invaluable experience in the publishing industry and has shown me what an integral role a magazine can play both within the local arts community and the national literary scene.

Emilie Derksen-Poirier • 2016–17

I was at ease the moment I walked into Prairie Fire, and I have Janine, Lindsey, and Andris to thank for that. Throughout the course of this student practicum, I have always felt that my input is valued, and that every question is worth asking. In addition to teaching me about writing, editing, and publishing, Janine’s unique program has provided me with an incredible opportunity for personal growth. The leadership and communication exercises, along with Janine and Lindsey’s constant support, have increased my sense of confidence in all areas of life. Andris, thank you for sharing your knowledge with me and making me feel welcome. Janine and Lindsey, thank you for your enthusiasm and encouragement, and for making me laugh every week. I am endlessly grateful for this experience, and I hope that many more students will have the chance to participate in this program. There is no doubt in my mind that they will find it as life-changing as I have.

Natalie Podaima • 2015–16

Prairie Fire’s practicum program has been an immensely meaningful experience, not only for affording me practical experience in the publishing field, but for its core emphasis on personal development. Throughout this past year, I have participated in Janine’s specially crafted training modules which along with exposing me to the industry, have helped to develop a  skill set of increased confidence, leadership abilities, and improved wellbeing. Thank you to Andris and Heidi for welcoming me so sincerely. Thank you to everyone who has supported the magazine and have made this opportunity possible. And finally, thank you to Janine for your endless guidance, kindness and support— I am so grateful for this invaluable experience and I know that future students will benefit from their time at Prairie Fire as much as I have.

Katrina Zmavc • 2015–16

Prairie Fire’s practicum program has provided Natalie and I with an incredibly valuable experience to work hands-on with the writing and publishing process. As an aspiring writer, it has been one of the best experiences for me to hone my skills and learn the editing and publishing process behind each issue of Prairie Fire. Under Janine’s tireless creative guidance and upbeat attitude each morning, I have been able to try new things with my writing and develop techniques for maintaining a consistent writing practice. Not only have I gained further insight into the writing and publishing process, but the professional and personal development portion of the practicum, based on Janine’s unique skill-set and interests, has truly changed the way I look at the world and communication. As a writer and future professional, communication skills are important and Janine has done a wonderful job with teaching us how to properly use language in sensitive conversations. Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to Heidi and Andris for their support and hospitality, as well as Barb for spending so much time with us on the poetry side of Prairie Fire. This has been the best opportunity, both as a writer and as a future professional, and has been the highlight of every week for the past few months. For the future students, I am certain they will find as much joy, enlightenment, and value in this program as I have.

Melissa McIvor • 2014–15

The practicum program has afforded Jena and me an incredible opportunity to witness and practise the processes that are vital to a literary magazine — precious experience, as there is limited access to formal publishing training in Canada. However, the occasions for personal development were perhaps the most valuable. Janine’s untiring leadership and unique training modules have taught us to be confident, emotionally centred, passionate, and always kind. I’ve not only gained a useful skill set — I’ve become a better person. To say that I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate in the program is a gross understatement. Thank you to those who support the magazine and its practicum. I owe so much to the amazing people at Prairie Fire, and I’m sure that future students will benefit from the program as much as I have.

Shanleigh Klassen • 2013–14

For a student interested in joining the literary profession, the Prairie Fire practicum has been an even better experience than I could have imagined. The support and encouragement from the staff have been the best introduction into publishing I could have asked for and I am so grateful. Prairie Fire is a cornerstone in Canadian literature, and learning all about its inner workings has been an absolute dream. Janine, thank you for your guidance, kindness and leadership. Your patience and generosity are truly inspirational. Heidi and Andris, thank you for making me feel so welcome and allowing me this great opportunity. I hope that whoever is lucky enough to be accepted into this practicum next will find as much support and guidance as I have.

Miranda Poyser • 2012-–3

The Prairie Fire practicum program has been life changing for me. Not only did I learn a lot about the publishing industry, I also learned a lot about myself. I’ve received help and support in areas I’m not so strong in, and built the necessary skills to enter this profession. Janine is amazing and has been nothing but encouraging. Heidi and Andris have also been wonderful and made me feel part of the Prairie Fire team. My time spent at Prairie Fire will be a very fond memory, and it is my hope and prayer that this program can continue so that others can have this life-affirming experience.

Wencke Rudi • 2012–13

I can’t imagine a better first practicum. Thank you, Janine, for your time, patience and energy in introducing me to the world of writing and publishing. Through this practicum, I have learned what it takes to get work published, the process behind getting a magazine on the newsstands and the enthusiastic energy needed to keep a magazine like Prairie Fire going. Thank you, Janine, Andris and Heidi for opening up your office to me and showing me that happiness is the foundation for good work and a good life. I am happy in knowing that this opportunity will be available to some lucky, creative student in the future.

Bronwyn Jerrett Enns • 2011–12

I feel very fortunate to have been able to include a practicum at Prairie Fire as part of my course of studies. It has been great to see into the inner workings of a long-standing literary journal. I am very grateful to Janine, Heidi and Andris for sharing their enthusiasm and expertise. I would also like to thank Catherine Hunter for approaching me about this opportunity. One of the highlights of my practicum was receiving feedback on my own creative work from professional editors. I also had the opportunity participate in an editorial meeting, which gave me an idea of how submissions are chosen for publication. I have gained a better understanding of the day-to-day business of running a magazine, from reading and selecting submissions to applying for grants and obtaining funding. Most importantly, I have seen firsthand the passion and creativity that goes into producing a successful journal. By sharing what I’ve learned at Prairie Fire, I hope to help other emerging authors see their work in print.

Leezann Freed-Lobchuck • 2010–11

I am thankful for my Prairie Fire practicum. Janine is a brilliant teacher who leads by example, and I looked forward to seeing her, Andris, and Heidi each week. I learned a lot about magazine editing, submissions, and events. I have always loved to read, but at Prairie Fire I was reintroduced to the joy of writing, a gift I will carry throughout my life. The Prairie Fire staff also showed me that an office can be all the more productive because sometimes you make time for laughter and celebration. For all of this I am very grateful to Janine, Andris, Heidi, and Professor Schnitzer. I am glad this opportunity will be available to other students in the future.

Lindsey Childs • 2009–10

I would like to thank Janine for her time and energy, and for the dedication she put into teaching me about the publishing industry, I really appreciate it, Janine; you are a wonderful teacher. To Andris & Heidi, thank you for letting me come into your space, and for helping me feel at home at Prairie Fire. To Margaret Sweatman, thank you for taking me on as a student, and therefore allowing me the opportunity to learn from you and from Janine. Through Prairie Fire I have learned about the inner workings of a literary magazine, as well as what it takes to get one’s work published. Janine, thank you again for the experience and thank you to the whole staff and board of Prairie Fire, who have given me a comfortable place to learn and grow as an artist and as a person.