Please click the tabs to view individual days. The Conference at a Glance schedule will be available soon.
FRIDAY, June 1
The Fairfield Inn & Suites and Memorial Park Library are across the street from each other
1:00 - 4:00 PM
Demystifying the Path to Publishing with Nancy Lee
Do you have a complete draft of a book? Are you eager to get it into the hands of agents and editors? For most new writers, the path to publication is fraught with peril. In this practical workshop, we’ll discuss the steps every writer can take to give their manuscript its best chance. From revising and working with feedback to writing query letters and understanding the role of agents and editors, Nancy will answer your publishing questions and help you plan a path forward for your manuscript.
|Memorial Park Library (MPL), room numbers TBD|
Personal Essay and Memoir with Sharon Butala
Both the personal essay and the memoir fall under the rubric of the personal narrative. V. Gornick writes that the “Personal narrative is written by people who, in essence, are imagining only themselves: in relation to the subject in hand. The connection is an intimate one; in fact, it is critical.” Both sub-forms are characterized by their accessibility, their conversational style, the candour of the writer, and often the writer's awareness of irony and attention to tone. Both lead toward an awakening, an understanding, an insight or an acknowledged failure to reach such a moment.
|5:00 - 7:30 PM||We recommend that you grab dinner nearby at The Beltliner Diner or Native Tongues restaurants situated in the Fairfield Inn & Suites. Reservations recommended, or arrive by 5:00 for a table. Alternatively, the Hop & Brew Pub is on the same block, or explore other options in the area!|
|7:30 - 8:00 PM||Conference Registration||Fairfield Inn & Suites Dining Lounge|
|8:00 - 10:00 PM|
(Interactive!) Alberta Literary Trivia with Calgary Writer & Blogger Shaun Hunter
|Fairfield Inn & Suites Dining Lounge|
SUNDAY, June 3
9:00 - 9:30 AM
Memorial Park Library (MPL)
9:00 - 10:00 AM
Coffee/Breakfast & Headshots with Monique
10:00 - 11:15 AM
Keynote Lecture with Patrick Finn
If we are (as the saying goes) what we repeatedly do—how many of us are truly living creative lives? Join author and professor Patrick Finn for this poignant talk that will address the notion of a deliberately creative life—and why choosing to live creatively is the hardest, and most important choice we can make as writers.
11: 15 - 12:30 PM
Writers’ Guild of Alberta
12:30 - 1:30 PM
Lunch & Headshots with Monique de St. Croix
1:30 - 3:30 PM
Trauma in Fiction
How can writers dramatize trauma in a convincing and authentic way? How do we avoid melodrama, cliché and overwrought sentiment in our scenes? This lecture with authors John Vigna and Nancy Lee will explore the role of trauma (physical, emotional, spiritual) in fiction. We’ll examine how story and subtext tell us who the characters truly are through subtle actions and reactions in the face of distress, and the potential impact of writing about traumatic events on both artist and audience.
Ask an Author
This live-stream professional development event aims to connect aspiring writers to established authors. The event is free and open to the public and although geared towards emerging writers, all are welcome. Watch for updates on the lineup for this special event. Presented by the WGA Youth Committee.
Blue Pencil Café
Here is your opportunity to meet with an author one-on-one about your work. Our complete list of Blue Pencil authors, with specific instructions on how to register and submit pages will be announced in May. Watch WriteClick and the website for updates.
3:30 - 4:00 PM
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Finale Panel Discussion: Re(de)fining Our Narratives
How does our current environment—political, technological, ecological and psychological—affect the role of the writer? Join authors Chris Turner, Deborah Willis, John Vigna and Aritha van Herk for this grand finale conversation that will examine how contemporary culture is changing the way we think, read and ultimately how we write. Moderated by Patrick Finn.
Photography by Monique at Hip Image
Need to update your author photo? We are pleased to offer attendees the opportunity to obtain professional head shots. First come, first served during session breaks and pre-gala.
In 2016, she won a National Newspaper Award for long feature writing for a story about her experience as a young widow in the aftermath of her husband’s death. She is the recipient of two Alberta Magazine Publishers Association Awards and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award.
A graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the London School of Economics, Christina is always happier outside than at her desk. She’s a runner, a hiker, a cyclist — although she recently broke her hand while walking with an armload of books.
Lee’s work has been published in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. She has served as Visiting Canadian Fellow for the University of East Anglia, as well as Writer-in-Residence for Historic Joy Kogawa House, the City of Richmond and the Ville de Vincennes, France. A dedicated creative writing teacher, Nancy has taught fiction writing to students of all ages and backgrounds in Canada, the U.K. and France, and now holds the position of Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She is also the co-creator of the popular three-part EdX online education series, “How to Write a Novel”.
Described by The Vancouver Sun as, “utterly transfixing”, Lee’s latest book, The Age, is a novel about adolescence, sexual identity and nuclear war.
He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and is an alumnus of the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Vigna has served as an adjudicator for the CBC Literary Awards, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and BC Book Prizes and Alberta Literary Awards. He’s an Instructor (tenure-track) in the UBC Creative Writing program.
In her poems, Wilson uses personal narrative to address themes of personal story, social justice, lost languages, bullying, violence against women and the earth.
In 2017, she received her Doctor of Letters—Honoris Causa from Kwantlen University, after launching her new collection of poetry entitled, The Book of Sensations (U of C Press), and a full-length CD with poetry and music called Dragon Rouge.
Her tenth collection of poetry, Open Letter: Woman against Violence against Women; was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award & CanLit. Her collection, Re:Zoom (2005), won the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. She was editor of the celebrated, The Spoken Word Workbook: inspiration from poets who teach.
Recipient of: 2017 Honorary Doctorate * 2015 City of Calgary Arts Award * 2015 Writer-In-Residence (Kwantlen University) * 2013 CBC Top 10 Poets in Canada * 2009 Ted Talk * 2006 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry * 2005 SpoCan Poet of Honour * People's Choice * 2006 Woman of Vision * 5 Rosies * 2003 USA Heavyweight Title * 5 Jessie Nominations * Ace Award.
Her work has received national and international acclaim with such honours as a 2013 feature interview with Canadian icon Shelagh Rogers, a 2012 article in Chatelaine Magazine, a 2012 TED Talk, and the subject of a half-hour documentary called Heart of a Poet. In 2009 she was named one of the top ten poets in Canada by CBC. sheridwilson.com
Accommodation can be booked at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Calgary Downtown (239 12th avenue SW T2R 1H7) for a special rate of $105/night. The rooms at this rate include one king-sized bed. There are a limited number of rooms with other arrangements and cannot be guaranteed at the above rate. Please call the hotel directly and say you are attending the Writers' Guild of Alberta conference: 1 403-351-6500. Find more information about the hotel here.
Accommodation can also be booked at the Hyatt Regency Calgary (700 Centre Street SE T2G 5P6) where the Awards Gala will take place. To book a guest room at 15% off the best available rate that day, book here and use the code CR105067 under Corporate or Group Code. This rate is only available through online booking.
Parking at the Fairfield Inn & Suites is $30/day, valet only. Alternatively, parking is on the street. Parking at Memorial Park Library is on the surrounding streets.
Please click here to register. You will be taken to a registration form, and will be redirected to a payment page after submitting the form. You may make your payment online with a credit card, or select Pay Offline during checkout if you wish to pay by phone or mail.
Please visit the Conference and Gala FAQ for more information on what registration includes.