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Alberta Culture Days Free Workshops

For Alberta Culture Days the WGA is offering a day of free writing workshops held over Zoom. Writers of all skill levels are welcome to sign up for one or all three. Space is limited so register today!

9AM – John O’Neil – Short Fiction: Dialogue and Description
In this informal, hands-on workshop, participants will be given a number of writing prompts, and will spend some of the class time completing short prose fragments; one will involve dialogue, and another the description of a place from a specific point-of-view. Participants will be encouraged to share and discuss these pieces, all in view of improving their own work, although the real intent is simply to have some fun with the written word. Participants will also have the opportunity of asking the workshop leader questions about any aspect of writing or the publishing world. 

John O’Neill’s stories and poems have appeared in Prairie Fire, Event, The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and The New Quarterly. His fiction has won the Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize and a Manitoba Magazine Award, and his short story collection Goth Girls of Banff (NeWest Press) was a finalist for the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, was short-listed for a ReLit Award, and is a finalist for the Alberta Book Publishers Association’s Trade Fiction Book of the Year. John lives and writes in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto, but finds much of his inspiration in wilderness landscapes, especially those of Canada’s Rocky Mountains.

Due to event capacity limitations, registration for the workshop Short Story Time with John O'Neil is currently full. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12PM – Joan Crate: The Starting Point and Beyond
What is the impetus behind your writing project? Whatever started your desire to put your fiction on the page—emotion, experience, image, character, memory, plot line, concept, or a particular point of view—will be looked at and other dimensions of your project examined. Whether you come to this workshop with just an idea or an early draft, you can develop and/or examine its dimensions This could be a good workshop for those wondering how to begin or where to go next with a particular writing project. Be prepared to contribute. Open to 14 participants.

Joan Crate has published short stories, poems, essays, two novels, three books of poetry, and is now part of a playwrighting collective. Most recently, she was a winner of the Princemere Poetry Contest 2020. She won the W.O. Mitchell, City of Calgary Book Award, was short-listed for the Frank Heygi Award in 2017, and made CBC’s Ten Books You Must Read list in 2016, for her novel Black Apple. She believes experimentation and exploration are crucial for keeping writers and their creative projects relevant and dynamic.

Due to event capacity limitations, registration for the workshop the Starting Point and Beyond with Joan Crate l is currently full. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3PM – Dina Del Bucchia – Oh You’re Funny: Writing with Humour
Whether on the page or at a reading, humour is an excellent way to engage an audience or a reader. Not every project is designed for humour, but when a writer wants to infuse their work with something funny there’s no reason they should feel limited.

For writers who want to start using humour in their work or those who are looking for ways to enhance their existing comedic writing this workshop will use exercises related to joke structure, provide prompts to find the humour in a piece of writing and techniques for revising with humour. Using short examples of comedic writing participants will be able to discuss the various ways humour functions in writing, no matter the genre.

Often writers have convinced themselves that they’re just not funny. To write with humour is assumed to be something we’re born with, but maybe it’s more like Mabeylline: with techniques and a basic understanding of joke structure and the literary elements that create humour anyone can find the right place for hilarity in their writing. 

Dina Del Bucchia is a writer, podcaster, literary event host, editor, creative writing instructor and otter and dress enthusiast living in Vancouver on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. She is the author of the short story collection, Don’t Tell Me What to Do, and four collections of poetry: Coping with Emotions and Otters, Blind Items, Rom Com, written with Daniel Zomparelli, and, It’s a Big Deal! She was a senior editor of Poetry Is Dead magazine, is the Artistic Director of the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series and hosts the podcast, Can’t Lit, with Jen Sookfong Lee. Her new chapbook, Douche Process, is available online at You can check out her infrequently updated website at

Due to event capacity limitations, registration for the workshop Writing With Humour with Dina Del Bucchia is currently full. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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