Main

Menu

WGA Annual Conference 2021: Re/Orientation


JUMP TO: Pricing | Cancellation Policy | Details | Conference Schedule | Purchasing BooksRegistration  | Our Thanks  | FAQ

Writers’ Guild of Alberta – 40 Years – Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society

2021 Conference

Re/Orientation

The 2021 Writers’ Guild of Alberta virtual conference, held in partnership with the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, is a unique opportunity to learn and connect on your writer’s journey.

Pre-Conference Blue Pencil Sessions, Starting May 21st
Main Conference: May 28th to May 30th
Post-Conference Debrief June 10th & June 12th

Learn

During the main conference, enjoy live sessions with award-winning authors, first-time authors, and panelists. Recordings of all regular sessions will be available to watch until June 12th.

Learn from publishing professionals and agents, and add to your writer’s toolbox through our workshops on diverse topics covering an array of literature and literary arts: flash fiction, memoir, novel, nonfiction, poetry, film, graphic novel, and spoken word performance poetry.

Keynote presenter, Anthony Doerr, a Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, will appear on Friday May 28th along with Samantha Warwick for an In Conversation. On Saturday May 29th, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (MT), Anthony Doerr will teach a fiction masterclass, hosted by the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society.

Canadian headliners include Giller Prize winner Souvankham Thammavongsa, author of How To Pronounce Knife, Writers’ Trust winner Gil Adamson, author of Ridgerunner, Eden Robinson, author of the Trickster series, Natalie Jenner who penned The Jane Austen Society, and Jen Sookfong Lee

Alberta authors include PJ Vernon, author of Bath Haus, Naomi LewisTiny Lights for Travellers, Micheline Maylor, Calgary’s Poet Laureate Emeritus 2016-18, Joshua Whitehead on speculative fiction, and so many more.


Connect

Social opportunities are provided through Connection Cafés, virtual Happy Hour, and Discord.

Connect on social media with hashtags #WGA2021 and #AWCS2021.

Youth Connect

Youth Connect Sessions are designed to bridge our youth camps and programs with our mainstream programming. There are two Youth Connect sessions available during the main WGA 2021 Conference. They are “Creative Writing 101” on Saturday May 29th, at 1:30 PM (MT); and “Publishing 101” on Sunday May 30th, at 2:30 PM (MT). They are provided in partnership with the WGA Youth Committee, and they are free of charge. Registration for these sessions is separate, available HERE

Pricing

Re/Orientation
May 28 – 30, 2021
All sessions held online through Zoom and Discord

 

Registration PackageIncludesWGA MemberNon-MemberStudent
Full Conference Pass Early Bird (available until April 7)All conference activities except Anthony Doerr workshop on Sat. $140.00 $175.00 $115.00
Full Conference Pass (price in effect after April 7)All conference activities except Anthony Doerr workshop on Sat. $175.00 $205.00

$135.00

Click Here to Register


Cancellation Policy

 

Cancellation Policy:
If you cancel:You will receive:
On or before April 30100% of the registration fees refunded minus a nonrefundable $30 administration fee
After April 30, 2021No refund

Please contact us at [email protected] or check our FAQ PAGE if you need clarification on what your registration includes. 

 

Details

Pre Conference

Blue Pencil Cafés

Blue Pencil Cafes are an opportunity to have an experienced writer and editor look at your writing and provide feedback to help you improve. Each editor will receive ten or more writing samples a week before the main conference begins. It will be up to the writer and Blue Pencil editor to find a mutual time to discuss the writing, either through email, over the phone, or via Zoom. Writing samples may be 2,000 words or six poems, and the editor will review as much of the writing as is feasible. When you register for the conference, please indicate that you would like to submit a writing sample to a Blue Pencil editor. The spots will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis.

 

Main Conference

Zoom
 

The 2021 online conference will be held primarily through the Zoom application. In order to enter a Zoom “room” you must first download the Zoom U.S. application onto your computer, tablet, or smartphone. It is free. To ensure you are able to pass through Zoom security features, you must use the same email address for your conference registration and Zoom account.

 
Conference Sessions
 

Close to the conference start, you will be sent Zoom room links. By consulting the conference schedule, you will know what time each room will be “open” with a host. You must log into your own Zoom account before opening a conference Zoom link. Your microphone will be muted and your camera will usually be off. Most sessions may be viewed this way, but if there is a Questions and Answer segment to the session, you may be invited to turn on your camera and microphone to participate. Alternatively, you may use the “Q&A” or “chat” features to communicate without using your camera and microphone. Most sessions will be recorded.

 
Connection Cafes
 

Connection Cafes are virtual spaces facilitated through Zoom. These sessions provide social opportunities to conference attendees. As a huge bonus, the “hosts” in these Cafes are always writers and even accomplished authors, so there are sure to be good conversations around topics of interest to all writers. Be sure to have a look to see if there is a writer you would like to “have coffee” with!

 
Discord
 

Discord is a completely separate application from Zoom which may be joined free of charge by clicking on the link provided. Inside the WGA 2021 conference Discord account, there are “channels” on different topics. Similar to how an email account may have conversation streams, inside the Discord account you will see topic “channels” which you may click-on. Once you view a message by another person, you may “reply” to it with your own comments or questions to keep the conversation going. Alternatively, you may go onto Discord to read discussions by others even if you do not have questions or comments to add. Once you begin to use Discord, you will discover new features of the App, as well as enjoy a larger writing community.

 

Post Conference

Debrief Sessions
 

These social connection sessions are planned as a time and place, over Zoom, to gather with others who have attended the conference, and compare notes, much like a group of friends chatting about a joint experience. Discussion starters are: What did you learn? What have you put into practice? and How was the overall conference experience for you?

Conference Schedule

Pre-Conference Blue Pencil Café

Friday, May21st to Friday, May 28th 

Writers submit a maximum of 2,000 words of prose, or six poems. When you register for the conference, please indicate that you would like to submit a writing sample to a Blue Pencil editor. The spots will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis. If you are successful in your request, you will be contacted to confirm that you have secured a spot.

Editor

Genre

Max. Participants

Peter Midgley

Poetry, Prose

Max of 20

Vivian Hansen

Poetry, Prose

Max of 20

Rona Altrows

Prose, Playwriting

Max of 20

Lee Kvern – (Filled)

Short story, Novel

Max of 25

Natasha Deen

Children’s, YA

Max of 20

Please note, Lee Kvern’s Blue Pencil sessions are now filled.

Main Conference:

Click on a session or event block for full details about the sessions and presenters. All times listed are MDT — Mountain Daylight Time.

WGA Conference 2021:Re/Orientation - Friday, May 28

19:00
20:00
21:00
22:00
Friday, May 28
Friday, May 28
In Conversation: Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
19:00 - 20:00

Friday, May 28
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


In Conversation: Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
Host: Samantha Warwick

In conjunction with the AWCS/WGA Joint Conference – May 28-30, 2021, join us for a mesmerizing evening with Anthony Doerr as he spills the details on the writing life, why stories are so important to our cultural landscape and the wonder and awe in the world around us.

**Please Note: This event is included in full conference package. Tickets for this event on its own are available at: alexandrawriters.org/courses/spring-feature-in-conversation-w-anthony-doerr/. AWCS/WGA Members: $50; Non-Members: $75

____________________

ANTHONY DOERR was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace and All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. All the Light We Cannot See was a #1 New York Times bestseller, remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 200 weeks, and is being adapted as a limited series by Netflix. Doerr served as guest editor for the 2019 Best American Short Stories, which was released in October. His new novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, will be published on September 28, 2021. Doerr lives in in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons.

Website: anthonydoerr.com

SAMANTHA WARWICK (she/her) is the author of the novel Sage Island, nominated for an Alberta Literary Award and later named one of Canada’s top ten and most commonly taught texts to use sport in literature (AU Press, 2018). Her essays and poetry have been broadcast on CBC Radio and appeared in various literary and commercial publications including the Globe & Mail, Geist, Event, Dog Eyes Magazine and FASHION. For over a decade, Samantha directed literary events for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (Calgary), where she had the opportunity to interview dozens of authors about their creative process, including Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap, Barracuda) and Anna Porter (Kasztner's Train). In 2019, she received a leadership award from Frontier College for her dedication toward the cause of literacy in Canada. She is now at work on her second novel.

Website: samanthawarwick.com | IG @sam_and_lulu_

Anthony Doerr photo - credit Todd Meie
Sam Warwick photo - credit Monique de St. Croix of Unique Perspectives

Meet Anthony Doerr (Winners of a Draw)
20:15 - 21:15

Friday, May 28
8:15 pm - 9:15 pm


Meet Anthony Doerr (Winners of a Draw)

The lucky winners of this draw will have the opportunity to visit with the accomplished award-winning author, Anthony Doerr. Be sure to throw your name into the hat when you complete the registration form.
____________________

ANTHONY DOERR was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace and All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. All the Light We Cannot See was a #1 New York Times bestseller, remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 200 weeks, and is being adapted as a limited series by Netflix. Doerr served as guest editor for the 2019 Best American Short Stories, which was released in October. His new novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, will be published on September 28, 2021. Doerr lives in in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons.

Website: anthonydoerr.com

Anthony Doerr photo - credit Todd Meier


WGA Conference 2021:Re/Orientation - Saturday, May 29

08:30
09:00
09:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
Saturday May 29
Saturday May 29
Welcome & Land Acknowledgement. Jared Tailfeathers & Elder
08:30 - 09:00

Saturday, May 29
8:30 am - 9:00 am


Welcome & Land Acknowledgement: Jared Tailfeathers & Elder – 8:30 – 8:40

Welcome: Carol Holmes, Executive Director of the Writers' Guild of Alberta, and Robin Van Eck, Executive Director of the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society (recordings) – 8:45 – 8:55
____________________

JARED TAILFEATHERS is a bi-racial Blackfoot (Kainai) multi-media Artist, Musician, teacher, historian/researcher and Author. His practice focuses on bridging the gap between various genres/media for arts and culture, making work that is designed for large conceptual and multi-media communication and collaboration, as well as a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience as a writing and performing musician. He builds one of a kind musical instruments and uses them in interactive projects, and builds and designs working instruments for private collectors, patrons and musicians. He works with Indigenous arts and cultural groups that promote the sustainable growth for indigenous artists, musicians and youth.

Website: sinicalethics1.wixsite.com/jaredtailfeathers

Saturday Morning Keynote: The Drop, with Souvankham Thammavongsa
09:00 - 10:00
Saturday Morning Keynote: The Drop, with Souvankham Thammavongsa

Saturday, May 29
9:00 am - 10:00 am


Saturday Morning Keynote: The Drop, with Souvankham Thammavongsa
Host: Jen Sookfong Lee

Join Giller Prize winner Souvankham Thammavongsa as she delves into the writer "dropping" a reader into a story and the intricacies navigated by the author in crafting the elements to "orient" the reader. This session will be hosted by Jen Sookfong Lee.
____________________

SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and NOON. Her debut book of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, is the winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, a New York Times Editors' Choice, and one of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020. Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.

JEN SOOKFONG LEE was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, Gentlemen of the Shade, The Shadow List, and Finding Home. Jen teaches at The Writers’ Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, acquires and edits fiction for Wolsak & Wynn, and co-hosts the podcast Can’t Lit.

Website: sookfong.com | TW: @JenSookfongLee | IG: @jenleefur

Souvankham Thammavongsa photo - credit Sarah Bodri

In Conversation: The Trickster, Fantasy Series, Eden Robinson and Aritha Van Herk
10:00 - 11:15
In Conversation: The Trickster, Fantasy Series, Eden Robinson and Aritha Van Herk

Saturday, May 29
10:00 am - 11:15 am


In Conversation: The Trickster, Fantasy Series, Eden Robinson and Aritha Van Herk

Join Eden Robinson and Aritha Van Herk as they discuss Robinson's popular Fantasy-Thriller series, and her books' development into a television series.
____________________

Haisla/Heiltsuk novelist EDEN ROBINSON is the author of a collection of novellas written when she was a Goth called Traplines, which won the Winifred Holtby Prize in the UK. Her next novels, Monkey Beach and Blood Sports, were written before she discovered she was gluten- intolerant and tend to be quite grim, the latter being especially gruesome because half-way through writing it, Robinson gave up a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit and the more she suffered, the more her characters suffered. Even so, Monkey Beach won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. By the time Eden began her Trickster Trilogy, however, she had given full rein to her matriarchal tendencies. The first book, Son of a Trickster, became a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads. Trickster Drift, the second book in the trilogy, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. In 2017, Eden was awarded the Writers’ Trust Fellowship. She lives in Kitamaat Village, BC.

Return of the Trickster, by Eden Robinson – Pub date March 6, 2021

ARITHA VAN HERK (CM, AOE, FRSC) is the author of five novels, two books of criticism, and many non-fiction and ficto-critical texts, especially works investigating the perspectives of women, both contemporary and historical. She is currently researching geographical and historical temperament as tonal accompaniment to landscape. Her latest publications are Prairie Gothic, and In This Place (with photographer George Webber) and the prose/poetry work, Stampede and the Westness of West. She has published hundreds of stories, articles, reviews and essays on Canadian literature and culture. An adamant Calgarian, she teaches Fiction and Creative Writing in the Department of English at the University of Calgary in Alberta.

Eden Robinson photo © Red Works Photography 2018

Workshop: Crossing Borders—Writing Across Genre, with Jen Sookfong Lee
10:00 - 11:15
Workshop: Crossing Borders—Writing Across Genre, with Jen Sookfong Lee

Saturday, May 29
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Workshop: Crossing Borders—Writing Across Genre, with Jen Sookfong Lee

Today more than ever, authors are taking intersectionality to heart, both in terms of their personal identities, but also with the kinds of books they write. In Crossing Borders: Writing Across Genre, author Jen Sookfong Lee will discuss the benefits and challenges of writing multiple genres at the same time, and offer tips on how to do so successfully while still honouring your creative spirit. Jen will also discuss how multiple identities play in a part in combining and moving between genres. Participants will be given the opportunity to try a writing exercise and will come away with a better understanding on how genre fluidity can enrich their writing careers.
____________________

JEN SOOKFONG LEE was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, Gentlemen of the Shade, The Shadow List, and Finding Home. Jen teaches at The Writers’ Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, acquires and edits fiction for Wolsak & Wynn, and co-hosts the podcast Can’t Lit.

Website: sookfong.com | TW: @JenSookfongLee | IG: @jenleefur

Workshop: Orientating the Past—Writing Memoir, with Naomi Lewis
10:00 - 11:15
Workshop: Orientating the Past—Writing Memoir, with Naomi Lewis

Saturday, May 29
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Workshop: Orientating the Past—Writing Memoir, with Naomi Lewis
Hosted by Deborah Willis

Join Naomi K. Lewis, Governor General's Award-nominated author, in this memoir writing workshop.
____________________

NAOMI K. LEWIS is a fiction and nonfiction writer, editor, and creative writing teacher in Calgary. She wrote the novel Cricket in a Fist (2008) and the story collection I Know Who You Remind Of (2012), and co-edited, with Rona Altrows, the anthology Shy (2013). Her journalism has been shortlisted for provincial and national magazine awards, and her 2019 memoir, Tiny Lights for Travellers, won Alberta's Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, the Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature (Nonfiction), and the Pinsky Givon Prize for Nonfiction, a Western Canada Jewish Book Award. It was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Nonfiction and the W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Award.

Website: naomiklewis.com

DEBORAH WILLIS is a Calgary-based writer whose first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for fiction, named one of The Globe and Mail’s top 100 books of the year, and recommended by NPR as one of the best books of 2010. Her second book, The Dark and Other Love Stories, was longlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize, won the Georges Bugnet Award for fiction, and was named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail, the CBC, and Chatelaine Magazine. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The Walrus, The Virginia Quarterly, The Iowa Review, Lucky Peach, and Zoetrope. She is currently working on a novel.

Discord

Saturday, May 29
11:15 am - 11:30 am


Discord

Connect with other writers and discuss writing topics and the conference sessions on this unique App. The link to join will be available from May 21st until June 19th.

Workshop: Mind F***—Writing Thrillers, with PJ Vernon
11:30 - 12:45
Workshop: Mind F***—Writing Thrillers, with PJ Vernon

Saturday, May 29
11:30 am - 12:45 pm


Workshop: Mind F***—Writing Thrillers, with PJ Vernon
Hosted by Lee Kvern

Psychological thrillers allow us to explore the more sinister sides of our imagination, and even let us live as our darker selves--vicariously, momentarily and without suffering any of the consequences. These stories--and all narratives regardless of genre--hinge on tension and suspense. P.J. Vernon's workshop will explore the craft of cultivating tension, ginning up suspense, and creating compulsive tales of fear and thrills no matter what you write.
____________________

P. J. VERNON was born in South Carolina. A "rising star thriller writer" (Library Journal), Vernon's debut, When You Find Me, was both an Audible Plus #1 Listen and Top Ten U.S. Audiobook (Associated Press). His next novel, Bath Haus, pitched as "Gone Girl with gays and Grindr", will be published June 15, 2021 by Doubleday. He is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient and lives in Calgary with his husband and two wily dogs.

LEE KVERN is an award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her stories in 7 Ways To Sunday have garnered the national CBC Literary Award, Western Magazine Award, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, and the Howard 'O' Hagan Award. Afterall selected for Canada Reads (Regional) and nominated for Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. Lush Triumphant finalist 2018. Nominated for Best of the Net 2018. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in Grain, Event, Descant, Air Canada enRoute, Tishman Review, Globe&Mail, subTerrain, Loft112. On-line: Joyland.ca, Foundpress.com, LittleFiction.com

Meet Eden Robinson (Winners of a Draw)
11:30 - 12:45
Meet Eden Robinson (Winners of a Draw)

Saturday, May 29
11:30 am - 12:45 am


Meet Eden Robinson (Winners of a Draw) Host: Sue-Shane Tsomondo

The lucky winners of a draw will meet Eden Robinson and learn about her writing life and success with the Trickster series in a moderated conversation.
____________________

Haisla/Heiltsuk novelist EDEN ROBINSON is the author of a collection of novellas written when she was a Goth called Traplines, which won the Winifred Holtby Prize in the UK. Her next novels, Monkey Beach and Blood Sports, were written before she discovered she was gluten- intolerant and tend to be quite grim, the latter being especially gruesome because half-way through writing it, Robinson gave up a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit and the more she suffered, the more her characters suffered. Even so, Monkey Beach won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. By the time Eden began her Trickster Trilogy, however, she had given full rein to her matriarchal tendencies. The first book, Son of a Trickster, became a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads. Trickster Drift, the second book in the trilogy, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. In 2017, Eden was awarded the Writers’ Trust Fellowship. She lives in Kitamaat Village, BC.

Return of the Trickster, by Eden Robinson – Pub date March 6, 2021

HOST: SUE-SHANE TSOMONDO is a poet, curator and the creator of Sue’s Stokvel, a Calgary-based literary arts platform. Sue’s Stokvel highlights the work of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) writers. Sue-Shane’s poetry deals with issues of diasporan guilt, blackness, womanhood and intergenerational trauma. She has previously performed for Woolfs’ Voices and Single Onion. In 2020, Sue-Shane appeared on the cover of the Calgary Journal. Sue-Shane has also been featured in Avenue Magazine, The Calgarian podcast, In Rehearsal podcast and the Artful Conversations podcast. Her debut collection of poems A Long Way From Home is set to be published in September 2021.

Website: suestokvel.com | FB: Sue’s Stokvel |Personal IG: @whoissueshane | Sue’s Stokvel IG: @suestokvel

Eden Robinson photo © Red Works Photography 2018

Panel: The View—Crafting P.O.V. in Fiction, with host Dolly Dennis
11:30 - 12:45
Panel: The View—Crafting P.O.V. in Fiction, with host Dolly Dennis

Saturday, May 29
11:30 am - 12:45 pm


Panel: The View—Crafting P.O.V. in Fiction
Host: Dolly Dennis
Featuring: Lori Hahnel, Sabrina Uswak, & C.J. Lavigne

Have no fear. POV is not a new virus. Learn how Alberta authors Dolly Dennis, Lori Hahnel, Sabrina Uswak, and C.J. Lavigne, navigate the intricacies and challenges of their characters' perspectives.
____________________

LORI HAHNEL is the author of the novels Love Minus Zero and After You’ve Gone, and two story collections; Nothing Sacred, which shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award, and Vermin: Stories. Her work has appeared widely in journals including The Fiddlehead, Joyland and The Saturday Evening Post, and broadcast on CBC Radio. She recently served as Calgary Public Library’s 2020 Author-in-Residence.

SABRINA USWAK has worked as a prose editor for Loft on EIGHTH press, FreeFall, and filling Station magazines. Recently, she won New Forum Magazine’s 2020 inaugural flash fiction contest and had some of her short fiction selected for the Tap Press Read 1-3-5 anthology. Sabrina holds an MSc with distinction in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh and MA with distinction in digital publishing from Oxford Brookes University. All the Night Gone is her first book.

C.J. LAVIGNE is a Canadian speculative fiction author and communications scholar whose urban fantasy novel, In Veritas, was published by NeWest Press in 2020. She lives in Red Deer, Alberta.

TW: @seajaylav

HOST: DOLLY DENNIS Raised in Montreal, Quebec, Dolly Dennis has called Edmonton home since 1993. Her work has appeared in various formats. Her first play won two awards at the Quebec Drama Festival of One Act plays, and a creative non-fiction piece was shortlisted for the James H. Gray Award. In 2014, Guernica Editions published her first book, Loddy-Dah, which landed on the syllabus for first year university students in the Women’s Literature class at Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut. Her, second book, The Complex Arms, published by Toronto’s Dundurn Press was released in May 2020. She is currently working on her third book, The Quiet Wound. She has followed many paths but writing is her first love.

C.J. Lavigne photo - credit Berni Scott

(Lunch) Connection Café
12:45 - 13:30
(Lunch) Connection Café

Saturday, May 29
12:45 pm - 1:30 pm


(Lunch) Connection Café (Zoom Breakout Rooms)
Hosts: WGA Youth

Feature Presentation: Joshua Whitehead—Speculative Perspectives
13:30 - 14:45
Feature Presentation: Joshua Whitehead—Speculative Perspectives

Saturday, May 29
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm


Feature Presentation: Joshua Whitehead—Speculative Perspectives
Host: Gabe Calderon

I have long read the body of a writer as inherently and inextricably tied to the body of text produced, in which too the bodies of land and water upon which we write from are tied into this web of relations. I'm asking: can a body of text be consumed like a body? What are the ethics of and for writing, reading, and producing as or from BIPOC and/or queer writers? And, how do we as writers ethically and moralistically engage with our stories and the world beyond the page if we are continually recording and archiving for future oral use? How do we situate ourselves as people first, writers second? This talk will attempt to answer some of these questions and interrogate myself as the exemplified subject of both consumer and producer, of text and bodies, writer and reader.
____________________

JOSHUA WHITEHEAD (he/him) is a Two-Spirit, Oji-nêhiyaw member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is currently a Ph.D. candidate, lecturer, and Killam scholar at the University of Calgary where he studies Indigenous literatures and cultures with a focus on gender and sexuality. His dissertation, tentatively titled "Feral Fatalisms," is a hybrid narrative of theory, essay, and non- fiction that interrogates the role of "ferality" inherent within Indigenous ways of being (with a strong focus on nêhiyawewin). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks 2017) which was shortlisted for the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press 2018) which was long listed for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. Whitehead is currently working on a third manuscript titled, Making Love with the Land to be published with Knopf Canada, which explores the intersections of Indigeneity, queerness, and, most prominently, mental health through a nêhiyaw lens. Currently, Whitehead is premiering his newly edited anthology, Love after the End: an Anthology of Two- Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction. You can find his work published widely in such venues as Prairie Fire, CV2, EVENT, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Fiddlehead, Grain, CNQ, Write, and Red Rising Magazine.

HOST: GABE CALDERON (they/them) is nij-manidowag & îhkwew (two spirit/trans), queer and Mi'kmaq/L’nu, Algonquin/Omamiwinini, Scottish and French Canadian thriving with disAbilities and neurodivergence. They currently live in Treaty 6 territory's Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) as an author, poet, mixed media artist, activist and educator. Most notably known as the author of: Andwànikàdjigan in the anthology: Love After the End published by Arsenal Pulp Press and their first poetry chapbook: Noojimo’ nishki’ biijina published by Moon Jelly House.

TK & IG: nishingabe

Joshua Whitehead photo: sweetmoon photography, Tenille Campbell

Workshop: Dark Journeys—Writing Middle-Grade Horror During Frightening Times, with Marina Cohen
13:30 - 14:45
Workshop: Dark Journeys—Writing Middle-Grade Horror During Frightening Times, with Marina Cohen

Saturday, May 29
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm


Workshop: Dark Journeys—Writing Middle-Grade Horror During Frightening Times, with Marina Cohen

From plot to pace, character to setting, gain valuable insight, learn tips and tricks in this advanced writers’ workshop and craft your own horrific masterpiece.
____________________

MARINA COHEN is the author of several MG horror novels including, The Inn Between, The Doll's Eye, A Box of Bones and the forthcoming Shadow Grave. Her books have been nominated for multiple awards in both Canada and the United States including The Rocky Mountain Book Award, The Silver Birch Award, The Red Maple Award, The Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, Pacific Northwest Library Association Children’s Choice Award, Junior Library Guild Gold Selection, and the Sunburst Award. Marina has a Masters’ Degree in Literature and is an elementary school teacher in the York Region District School Board. She loves hot cocoa, gingerbread, mysterious doors of all shapes and sizes, and pondering life’s great mysteries.

Workshop: Distractions on the Journey—Writing Believable Sexual Tension and Romantic Elements, with Sarah Kades
13:30 - 14:45
Workshop: Distractions on the Journey—Writing Believable Sexual Tension and Romantic Elements, with Sarah Kades

Saturday, May 29
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm


Workshop: Distractions on the Journey—Writing Believable Sexual Tension and Romantic Elements, with Sarah Kades

Do you find yourself breezing over relationship elements even when it would strengthen your storyline? Do you want to include believable sexual tension, but are unsure where to start or how to make it feel real? What's the difference between sensuality and sexuality and how do you know which one could support your story? Join Sarah Kades as she shares techniques and strategies for writing believable sexual tension.
____________________

SARAH KADES writes romantic thrillers with strong environmental themes, as well as law enforcement nonfiction (writing as Sarah Graham). Her novel Kiss Me in the Rain has been optioned for a feature film and her nonfiction collaboration Skeletons in My Closet, Life Lessons from a Homicide Detective is being considered for a university textbook. In 2019, Sarah presented on the effectiveness of arts-based approaches at the British Society of Criminology conference in Lincoln, U.K., and in 2020 was a storyteller for the Energy Futures Lab Banff Summit. In her spare time, Sarah is a professional archaeologist, Indigenous Knowledge study facilitator and historical researcher.

FB: @authorSarahKades | IG: @sarahkadesgraham

Discord

Saturday, May 29
2:45 pm - 3:00 pm


Discord

Connect with other writers and discuss writing topics and the conference sessions on this unique App. The link to join will be available from May 21st until June 19th.

Panel: Reimagined Narratives, with host Peter Midgley
15:00 - 16:15
Panel: Reimagined Narratives, with host Peter Midgley

Saturday, May 29
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm


Panel: Reimagined Narratives
Host: Peter Midgley
Feat: Natalie Meisner, Ali Bryan, Genke Ferguson

Beyond typical narratives, the works of these authors explore fresh characters and unexpected conclusions. At times the writings serve as resistance to patriarchal, colonial, and capitalist forms, and at other times they are simply expressions of our changing society and ideals.
____________________

HOST: Thirty years working as a festival director, freelance editor, university lecturer, managing editor, acquisitions editor, clerk of court, bartender, janitor, and door-to-door salesman (and other unmentionable jobs), has given PETER MIDGLEY enough material for twelve books for children and adults. He also edits and translates--his editorial acumen has netted him both the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence and the Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence. He is a past president of the Writers' Guild of Alberta. His latest book of poetry, let us not think of them as barbarians (NeWest Press), was shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award.

Website: midgley.ca | FB: PeterMidgley

NATALIE MEISNER is a playwright, an award-winning multi-genre author and 5th Poet Laureate of Calgary. Her work often deploys the power of comedy for social change. Baddie One Shoe (Frontenac) is a collection of odes to renegade women who fight the powers that be with laughter. Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story (University of Calgary Press) illuminates the life of a beloved Calgary bus driver and the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality. Her play Boom Baby won both the Canadian National & the Alberta Playwriting Award. Speed Dating for Sperm Donors (Playwright’s Canada Press) was a hit at Lunchbox & Neptune. Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family (Fernwood) topped non-fiction lists and her first book for kids, My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother & Me (Nimbus) is about a two-mom biracial family finding community. Meisner is a wife and mom to two great boys and a Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University where she works in the areas of creative writing, drama and gender/ sexuality studies.

Website: nataliemeisner.com | FB: Natalie Meisner | TW: @ndmeisner | IG: natalie.meisner

ALI BRYAN is a novelist and creative nonfiction writer based in Calgary. Her first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia. Her second novel, The Figgs, was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and has been optioned for TV by Sony Pictures. She’s longlisted for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction prize, shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award and won the 2020 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, was released in March from Dottir Press. She has a wrestling room in her garage and regularly gets choked out by her family.

GENKI FERGUSON was born in New Brunswick to a family of writers and grew up in Calgary. He spent much of his childhood in the subtropical island of Kyushu, Japan, where his mother’s family still resides. Fluent in Japanese and capable of making a decent sushi roll, Genki recently completed a degree in Film Production while working part-time at Book Warehouse, an indie store in Vancouver.

Website: genkiferguson.com | TW: @genki_ferguson | IG: @genki_ferguson

Peter Midgley photo - credit Shawna Lemay

Panel: Disorientations: Writing Crime, Thriller, and Mystery
15:00 - 16:15
Panel: Disorientations: Writing Crime, Thriller, and Mystery

Saturday, May 29
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm


Panel: Disorientations: Writing Crime, Thriller, and Mystery
Host: Sue-Shane Tsomondo
Feat: C.B. Forrest, Danika Stone & Cecilia Ekbäck

Authors work to drop clues and rivet-up suspense, while making their stories believable. Listen in while these authors discuss their novels, genre expectations, as well as their strategies for keeping readers at the edge of their seats.
___________________
CB FORREST is the author of the McKelvey crime trilogy (The Weight of Stones, Slow Recoil, The Devil’s Dust). His novels have twice been nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award and his short crime fiction was shortlisted for a Shamus Award. He was Airdrie Public Library’s inaugural Writer-in-Residence in 2020.

Website: cbforrest.com | TW: @cbforrest | IG: @cbforrest25

D.K. STONE/DANIKA STONE (a.k.a Karin Gobel) is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Stone now writes novels for both teens: Switchback (Macmillan, 2019), Internet Famous (Macmillan, 2017) and All the Feels (Macmillan, 2016); and adults The Dark Divide (Stonehouse, 2018) and Edge Of Wild (Stonehouse, 2016).

When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Ms. Stone is represented by Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary Agency.

CECILIA EKBÄCK was born in Sweden in a northern fishing town. Her parents come from Lapland. After university she specialised in marketing and worked for a multinational for twenty years with postings in the UK, Russia, Germany, France, Portugal and the Middle East. In 2010, she finished Royal Holloway’s Master in Creative Writing. She is now living in Canmore, Alberta, ‘returning home’ to the landscape and the characters of her childhood in her writing. Her first novel Wolf Winter was published in 2015. It won the 2016 HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown. In the Month of the Midnight Sun, her second novel was published in 2016. The Historians, her third, in 2020.

HOST: SUE-SHANE TSOMONDO is a poet, curator and the creator of Sue’s Stokvel, a Calgary-based literary arts platform. Sue’s Stokvel highlights the work of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) writers. Sue-Shane’s poetry deals with issues of diasporan guilt, blackness, womanhood and intergenerational trauma. She has previously performed for Woolfs’ Voices and Single Onion. In 2020, Sue-Shane appeared on the cover of the Calgary Journal. Sue-Shane has also been featured in Avenue Magazine, The Calgarian podcast, In Rehearsal podcast and the Artful Conversations podcast. Her debut collection of poems A Long Way From Home is set to be published in September 2021.

Website: suestokvel.com | FB: Sue’s Stokvel |Personal IG: @whoissueshane | Sue’s Stokvel IG: @suestokvel

Panel: True North—Writing Nonfiction, with host Scott Messenger
15:00 - 16:15
Panel: True North—Writing Nonfiction, with host Scott Messenger

Saturday, May 29
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm


Panel: True North—Writing Nonfiction
Host: Scott Messenger
Featuring: Marcello Di Cintio, Trina Moyles, & Angie Abdou

Writing nonfiction may not be as straightforward as it appears. Beyond research, what are the specifics of writing a book publishers will eat-up? Learn about new releases by these authors and how their topics fill the bill.
____________________

MARCELLO DI CINTIO is the author of five books, including Walls: Travels Along the Barricades which won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, winner of the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. Di Cintio’s magazine writing has appeared in appeared in publications such as The International New York Times, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic and Afar. Di Cintio’s newest book is Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers.

FB: Marcellodicintioauthor | TW: @DiCintio | IG: marcello.di.cintio

TRINA MOYLES is a writer, photographer, potter, and seasonal smoke spotter in the northern boreal. She is the author of Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World. Her award-winning writing has been published in The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Alberta Views, Maisonneuve, Hakai Magazine, and many other publications. She lives, writes, and adventures in northwestern Alberta with her canine sidekick, Holly.

Website: trinamoyles.com | IG: @womenwhodig | TW: @trinamoyles

ANGIE ABDOU has published seven books and co-edited Writing the Body in Motion, a collection of essays on Canadian Sport Literature. Her sport novel The Bone Cage was a Canada Reads finalist. A starred-review in New York’s Booklist declared her best-selling memoir, Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, “a first rate memoir and a fine example of narrative nonfiction.” Angie Abdou is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University. Her latest book is This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Memoir.

FB: Angie Abdou | TW: @angie_abdou | IG: @angie.abdou

HOST: SCOTT MESSENGER is a writer and editor from Edmonton, Alberta, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers across Canada and in the U.K. In 2016, he kept a blog called One Year of Alberta Beer in which he began to investigate the province's craft beer boom. Through that research - which covered everything from agriculture to legislation to the passions of the people who dedicate themselves to the industry - he discovered a rich history that led to his first book, Tapping the West: How Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry Bubbled Out of an Economy Gone Flat, published by TouchWood Editions in spring 2020. He does his best to keep up with craft beer innovations in moderation, but knows there is much more research to be done.

TW & IG: @scottlmessenger

Marcello Di Cintio photo - credit James May
Trina Moyles photo © Marie Pierre Pariseau 2020

Discord

Saturday, May 29
4:15 pm - 4:30 pm


Discord

Connect with other writers and discuss writing topics and the conference sessions on this unique App. The link to join will be available from May 21st until June 19th.

Happy Hour, Alberta Beer & Book Pairings with Scott Messenger
16:30 - 17:30
Happy Hour, Alberta Beer & Book Pairings with Scott Messenger

Saturday, May 29
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm


Happy Hour, Alberta Beer & Book Pairings with Scott Messenger and Jason Norman

Beer, like wine, can be paired with food, teasing the taste buds by complementing flavours and highlighting the nuances of a dish. Can the same be done with the beverage and books? Of course it can!

Grab a drink and join Scott Messenger and Jason Lee Norman for the WGA Conference virtual Happy Hour, where the two writers and beer enthusiasts will pair up books written by Alberta authors (and conference presenters) with a sampling of the recent Alberta craft beer boom. There will be a beer for every palate and a book for every preference, and glasses will be raised in honour of the quality of both.
____________________

SCOTT MESSENGER is a writer and editor from Edmonton, Alberta, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers across Canada and in the U.K. In 2016, he kept a blog called One Year of Alberta Beer in which he began to investigate the province's craft beer boom. Through that research - which covered everything from agriculture to legislation to the passions of the people who dedicate themselves to the industry - he discovered a rich history that led to his first book, Tapping the West: How Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry Bubbled Out of an Economy Gone Flat, published by TouchWood Editions in spring 2020. He does his best to keep up with craft beer innovations in moderation, but knows there is much more research to be done.

TW & IG: @scottlmessenger

Saturday, May 29
Saturday, May 29
Meet Souvankham Thammavongsa (For Sponsors)
10:00 - 11:15
Meet Souvankham Thammavongsa (For Sponsors)

Saturday, May 29
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Meet Souvankham Thammavongsa (For Sponsors)

SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and NOON. Her debut book of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, is the winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, a New York Times Editors' Choice, and one of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020. Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.

Meet Souvankham Thammavongsa (For Sponsors)
10:00 - 11:15
Meet Souvankham Thammavongsa (For Sponsors)

Saturday, May 29
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Meet Souvankham Thammavongsa (For Sponsors)
Host: Sue-Shane Tsomondo

In Souvankham's Giller Prize acceptance speech, she said she is the product of the small press in Canada. Sponsors will have the joy of hearing about Souvankham's journey from her birth in a Laos refugee camp to her signature year as a major Canadian award-winning author.
____________________

SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and NOON. Her debut book of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, is the winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, a New York Times Editors' Choice, and one of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020. Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.

HOST: SUE-SHANE TSOMONDO is a poet, curator and the creator of Sue’s Stokvel, a Calgary-based literary arts platform. Sue’s Stokvel highlights the work of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) writers. Sue-Shane’s poetry deals with issues of diasporan guilt, blackness, womanhood and intergenerational trauma. She has previously performed for Woolfs’ Voices and Single Onion. In 2020, Sue-Shane appeared on the cover of the Calgary Journal. Sue-Shane has also been featured in Avenue Magazine, The Calgarian podcast, In Rehearsal podcast and the Artful Conversations podcast. Her debut collection of poems A Long Way From Home is set to be published in September 2021.

Website: suestokvel.com | FB: Sue’s Stokvel |Personal IG: @whoissueshane | Sue’s Stokvel IG: @suestokvel

Souvankham Thammavongsa photo - credit Sarah Bodri

Workshop: Breaking the “Pre-” off the “-Dictable,” with Anthony Doerr
10:00 - 14:00
Workshop: Breaking the “Pre-” off the “-Dictable,” with Anthony Doerr

Saturday, May 29
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
AWCS/WGA Members: $200 | Non-Members: $225


Register at: alexandrawriters.org/courses/anthony-doerr-feature

Workshop: Breaking the “Pre-” off the “-Dictable,” with Anthony Doerr

We humans need habit: habit helps us cook dinner, feel safe, and find light switches in the dark. But as an old proverb puts it, “habits are cobwebs at first, cables at last.” How often do we rely on the habitual in our writing? In this four-hour workshop, we’ll try to investigate the formulaic and the familiar—from cliches at the sentence level to cliches at the structural level—and understand how we might better recognize, utilize, and resist the habitual in our novels, stories, essays, and poems. Do we want our work to be soporific, or do we want our work to wake our readers up to the exquisite miracles of being alive? As Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us, “People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”
____________________

ANTHONY DOERR was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace and All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. All the Light We Cannot See was a #1 New York Times bestseller, remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 200 weeks, and is being adapted as a limited series by Netflix. Doerr served as guest editor for the 2019 Best American Short Stories, which was released in October. His new novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, will be published on September 28, 2021. Doerr lives in in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons.

Website: anthonydoerr.com

Photo credit: Todd Meier

Connection Cafe
11:30 - 12:45
Connection Cafe

Saturday, May 29
11:30 am - 12:45 am


Connection Cafe
Co-Hosts: Jack Richardson and Robert Proudfoot.

Drop in to discuss writing and indie publishing with these Alberta authors.
____________________

ROBERT PROUDFOOT is an Edmonton-based freelance and creative writer, and a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Robert was born and raised in Edmonton, but his life was enriched by cross-cultural experiences in Africa when, in the early 1970s, he completed high-school and studied at the University of Zambia; and later worked as an agro-forester in Nigeria for Mennonite Central Committee from 1988 to 1991. As an environmental scientist, Robert writes technical documents related to natural sciences assessments, but he also follows his passion for creative writing. Recently, he published the following: Come By Here, My Lord – Seen in a Mirror Dimly, a novel that celebrates friendships made across racial barriers in southern Africa of 1974; A Playful Policeman Meets the Citizen-Making Teacher, a biography of his grandparents’ lives and times in Edmonton (1906 to 1919); and Enduring Art, Active Faith – a collection of poetry, short stories, essays, and photographic depictions of art work created by three generations of his family. He previously researched and wrote the historical backgrounder for a DVD commemorating First Mennonite Church’s 50 th Anniversary in 2009. Robert published 35 essays in various church, community, and professional magazines between 1980 and 2010.

JACK RICHARDSON is an author from Calgary, Alberta who prioritizes family, travel, and writing. His first book, For a Daughter’s Love, is a work of purposeful fiction intended to engage and inform readers while inspiring them to consider new possibilities. For a Daughter’s Love follows a fractured father-daughter relationship for 40 years into a future defined by positivity and human connectedness, an ideal they struggle to achieve on a personal level.

Circles of Humanity, a facilitated program that promotes understanding, acceptance, and respect, is a concept that delivers the future described in the story. Jack’s current project is to recruit a diverse group of 12 Alberta writers to co-author a book based on their common experience of participation in the first Circles of Humanity experience. More information can be found on his website, circlesofhumanity.com.

Youth Connect: Creative Writing 101
13:30 - 14:45
Youth Connect: Creative Writing 101

Saturday, May 29
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm


Youth Connect: Creative Writing 101
Instructor: Caterina Edwards

It’s often difficult for young writers to find out about the professional writing market. This Youth Connect session is here to fill the gap by providing information to those interested in honing their creative writing skills.

This session is provided in partnership with the WGA Youth Committee, and is free of charge. Registration for the Youth Connect sessions is separate from the rest of the conference package.
____________________

CATERINA EDWARDS: My last novel, The Sicilian Wife was named a Best Book of 2015 by The National Post, who described it as “a masterful tale of family, murder, and the inescapable pull of the past.” The literary noir received rave reviews in Canada, the U.S. and Sicily; a French edition, L’Epouse Sicilienne, was published in 2019. I began writing my previous book, Finding Rosa: A Mother with Alzheimer’s, a Daughter in Search of the Past, as a record of my experience caring for my mother during the last years of her life; it became a work of creative nonfiction that included history, memoir, biography, and travel writing. It won the Writers' Guild of Alberta Nonfiction Award, the Bressani prize, and was shortlisted for the City of Edmonton Book Prize. The hard cover and paperback editions are currently sold out, but I hope an ebook version will soon be available. Also, the Italian edition, Alla Ricerca di Rosa, will be published in the fall of 2020.

I have also published a novel, The Lion’s Mouth, a book of novellas, Whiter Shade of Pale/Becoming Emma and a collection of short stories, The Island of the Nightingales, which won the Writers' Guild of Alberta Short Fiction Award. I wrote a play, which was produced professionally in Edmonton as Terra Straniera and published as Homeground. My radio drama, The Great Antonio, was twice broadcast on CBC Sunday Showcase and chosen to represent Canada in an international competition. I have also won several prizes for my essays, including the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Competition for Light and Space in the Piazza, which is about the Moldovan women who work in Venezia as badanti.

I grew up in Alberta but my many summers in Venezia as a child and frequent visits to Italy over the years, have shaped my concerns as a writer. I am fascinated by the themes of immigration and identity, the collision of multiple selves and cultures, private memory and public history, here and there.

Caterina Edwards: Essays on Her Work (edited by Joseph Pivato) was the first book in Guernica Editions’ Series on Canadian Writers. In 2016, I was inducted into the City of Edmonton’s Cultural Hall of Fame.

Panel: Orienting to Diverse Voices—Anthologies, with host Rona Altrows
15:00 - 16:15
Panel: Orienting to Diverse Voices—Anthologies, with host Rona Altrows

Saturday, May 29
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm


Panel: Orienting to Diverse Voices—Anthologies
Host: Rona Altrows
Featuring: Joan Crate, Janet Gurtler, & Luciana Erregue

Anthologies present unique challenges in terms of sculpting a theme, extending the "call," selecting from the submissions, and seeing the project through to publication. These Anthology editors and authors reveal the process of writing and shaping diverse narratives for cohesive collections.
____________________

HOST: RONA ALTROWS is a fiction writer, editor, essayist, and playwright. She is editor of the new book You Look Good for Your Age, an anthology on women, aging, and ageism (University of Alberta Press, spring, 2021) and co-edited the anthologies Shy, with Naomi K. Lewis, and Waiting, with Julie Sedivy. She is the author of three books of short fiction, most recently At This Juncture, as well as the children’s book The River Throws a Tantrum. Her 10-minute plays have been produced and published in Canada and the US and she is co-founder and co-producer of Gimme 10 Minutes, a celebration of 10-minute plays. Her honours include the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award.

Website: ronaaltrows.com | FB: Rona Altrows | TW: @Rona Altrows

JANET GURTLER is a multi-published author, and recent editor of You Too?, an anthology about teen sexual harassment, published by Harper Collins. Currently publishing personalized books for pets and kids under Eman Books, she is walked daily by her Golden Retriever Betty White, and joined by her Chihuahua Bruce, weather permitting.

FB: janet.gurtler | TW: @janetgurtler | IG: @janetthedoglady

LUCIANA ERREGUE is an Argentinian-Canadian art historian, writer, translator, and editor. She is the owner of Laberinto Press, Western Canada’s press for underrepresented writers and world literature in translation. Luciana is alumni of the WGA’s Borderlines Writers Circle, a former Edmonton Arts Council Artist in Residence, and a Banff Centre Literary Arts Program alumni. Her works have appeared in Canadian and international anthologies. Luciana also maintains her blog SpectatorCurator where she reflects on her professional life as a hyphened Canadian. She lives in Edmonton, AB.

Website: laberintopress.com | Blog: spectatorcurator.wordpress.com | FB: laberintopress | YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCzyja29vjy6wI4oNkalBmBQ

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.

Rona Altrows photo - Credit Lucy Altrows

WGA Conference 2021:Re/Orientation - Saturday, May 29
Saturday May 29

WGA Conference 2021:Re/Orientation - Sunday, May 30

09:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
Sunday, May 30
Sunday, May 30
Connection Café
09:30 - 10:00

Sunday, May 30
9:30 am - 10:00 am


Connection Café
Host: TBA

Did you wake up early and you're ready to go, but nothing has started yet? Drop in to this Connection Cafe to visit with the friendly host and other conference participants while you sharpen your pens and click-open your pencils.

In Conversation: Natalie Jenner, The Jane Austen Society
10:00 - 11:15
In Conversation: Natalie Jenner, The Jane Austen Society

Sunday, May 30
10:00 am - 11:15 am


In Conversation: Natalie Jenner, The Jane Austen Society
Host: Katherine Koller

Born in England and raised in Canada with a passion for all things Jane Austen, researching the Regency author with characters set in post-WWII was the perfect fit. Equally smitten by Austen's work, host Katherine Koller will explore the landscape of the Jane Austen Society with this international best-selling author.
____________________

NATALIE JENNER is the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen lived. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie is a former lawyer who also once founded Archetype Books, an independent bookstore in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. A #1 National, USA Today and LA Times bestseller, The Jane Austen Society will be translated into eighteen different languages around the world.

TW: @NatalieMJenner | IG: @authornataliejenner | FB: Natalie Jenner

KATHERINE KOLLER writes for stage, screen and page. Her first plays were for CBC radio. Her Alberta LandWorks Trilogy is Coal Valley: The Making of a Miner, The Seed Savers and Alberta Playwriting Competition winner, Last Chance Leduc. Her opera, The Handless Maiden, received a recital reading in Vancouver and Hope Soup, for radio, was recorded at the 2019 Edmonton Fringe and available at playwrightsguild.ca/edmonton-script-salon-podcasts. Riverkeeper, her new play, was a Finalist in the Jane Chambers Award. Her web series, about Edmonton youth changing their world, is at sustainablemeyeg.ca. Art Lessons, her novel, was a finalist for the Edmonton Book Prize and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. Winner of a High Plains Book Award and the Exporting Alberta Award, Winning Chance is her recent collection of short stories.

TW: @katkoll | IG: @kathscrab | FB: Katherine Koller

Natalie Jenner photo - credit Sarah Sims

Workshop: Many Hats, One Head: Building a Writing Career in the 21st Century with Marty Chan
10:00 - 11:15
Workshop: Many Hats, One Head: Building a Writing Career in the 21st Century with Marty Chan

Sunday, May 30
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Workshop: Many Hats, One Head: Building a Writing Career in the 21st Century with Marty Chan

Authors must be more than just writers. They must be marketers, publicists, and salespeople. Learn from a seasoned professional how to build the skills needed for a successful writing career.
____________________

MARTY CHAN writes books for kids, plays for adults, and tweets for fun. He’s best known for his Marty Chan Mystery Series, a funny mystery series inspired by his childhood experiences growing up in small-town Alberta. His newest book is Haunted Hospital, a ghost story for reluctant reading teens. You can learn more about Marty at his website (martychan.com).

FB: MartyChanAuthor | TW: @Marty_Chan | IG: @MartyChanWriter | YouTube: Youtube.com/martychanauthor

Panel: Literary Translation—How to get your book translated and published, with host Dr. Leilei Chen
10:00 - 11:15
Panel: Literary Translation—How to get your book translated and published, with host Dr. Leilei Chen

Sunday, May 30
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Panel: Literary Translation
Host: Dr. Leilei Chen
Featuring: Susan Ouriou & Peter Midgley

Presented in collaboration with the Association des traducteurs et traductrices littéraires du Canada / Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (ATTLC/LTAC), this session features Susan Ouriou and Peter Midgley, who will share their insights on how to get your book translated and published. Topics to be discussed include the craft of literary translation, the editing process, the role you can play in finding a suitable translator and publisher, as well as how best to navigate all of these relationships. The 75-minute session will be moderated by Dr. Leilei Chen, WGA member and LTAC’s Vice-President for Western Canada.
____________________

SUSAN OURIOU is an award-winning literary translator and fiction writer who has published numerous translations from Spanish and French for which she has won the Governor General’s Award for Literary Translation and been short-listed on several other occasions. Among her translations for publication in 2021/22 are The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pesemapeo, Resin White by Audrée Wilhelmy and Catherine Leroux’sThe Future.

Thirty years working as a festival director, freelance editor, university lecturer, managing editor, acquisitions editor, clerk of court, bartender, janitor, and door-to-door salesman (and other unmentionable jobs), has given PETER MIDGLEY enough material for twelve books for children and adults. He also edits and translates--his editorial acumen has netted him both the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence and the Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence. He is a past president of the Writers' Guild of Alberta. His latest book of poetry, let us not think of them as barbarians (NeWest Press), was shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award.

HOST: LEILEI CHEN is a literary translator, writer, and scholar. She published the Mandarin version of Steven Grosby's Nationalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) with Yilin Press (Nanjing, China) in 2017 and Oxford University Press (Hong Kong) in 2020. She is the author of Re-orienting China: Travel Writing and Cross-cultural Understanding (University of Regina Press, 2016). Her poetry and prose translations, and personal essays appear in anthologies and magazines in Canada and beyond.

Peter Midgley photo - credit Shawna Lemay

Discord

Sunday, May 30
11:15 am - 11:30 am


Discord

Connect with other writers and discuss writing topics and the conference sessions on this unique App. The link to join will be available from May 21st until June 19th.

Workshop: Writing Diverse YA, with Nadia Hohn
11:30 - 12:45
Workshop: Writing Diverse YA, with Nadia Hohn

Sunday, May 30
11:30 am - 12:45 pm


Workshop: Writing Diverse YA, with Nadia Hohn

The Hate U Give spent 80 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers’ List, showing there is a much wider market for diverse young adult narratives. What makes YA diverse— the author or the characters being portrayed? Award-winning children’s author, Nadia L. Hohn, shares what she is learning on the journey of writing her young adult novel about a first generation Black girl, as well as what to consider about this genre as a whole.
____________________

NADIA L. HOHN is a dynamic "story lady" who has presented to audiences in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jamaica, and Trinidad. From the age of six years old, Nadia L Hohn began writing stories, drawing, and making books. Her first two books, Music and Media in the Sankofa Series were published by Rubicon Publishing in 2015. Her award-winning first picture book, Malaika's Costume was published in 2016 and its sequel Malaika's Winter Carnival 2017 by Groundwood Books. Nadia is also the author of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, an early reader by Harper Collins published in December 2018. A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett-Coverley Found Her Voice, nonfiction picture book about the performer, playwright, author, and Jamaican cultural ambassador, Louise Bennett-Coverley otherwise known as Miss Lou, will be published in 2019 (Owlkids). Nadia was 1 of 6 Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018 and the first SCBWI Canada East Rising Kite Diversity Scholarship recipient in 2018.

Website: nadialhohn.com | FB: nadialhohn | TW: @nadialhohn | IG: @nadialhohn_author

Workshop: Telling Horror Stories in a Recovering World—Writing for Film, with Susie Moloney
11:30 - 12:45
Workshop: Telling Horror Stories in a Recovering World—Writing for Film, with Susie Moloney

Sunday, May 30
11:30 am - 12:45 am


Workshop: Telling Horror Stories in a Recovering World—Writing for Film, with Susie Moloney

How has real-life horror changed the way we tell scary stories? Join Susie Moloney writer of horror films for a lively and informative look at writing horror in a world that is recovering from it. Throughout history, horror has provided a reflection of political and social change, and now will not be different. With analogies-as-horror-prompts, together we'll look at what the next 10 years will say about the hellscape of 2020.
____________________

SUSIE MOLONEY is the award-winning author of several novels, Bastion Falls, the world bestselling A Dry Spell, The Dwelling, The Thirteen, and a collection, Things Withered: stories. In 2015 Moloney made the switch from novels to film and television. A couple of forays into television and two short films later, her first full-length feature film, Bright Hill Road, premiered in theatres in 2020, and a feature length production of Romi is shooting 2021. Moloney was the 2020 Writer-in-Residence for the Edmonton Public Library. Bright Hill Road is currently available on all platforms, on Demand. Susie is a controversial dog AND cat person. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as Susie Moloney.

FB: Susie Moloney | TW: @Susiemoloney | IG: @susie.moloney

Workshop: Packing a Punch: Big Stories in Small Spaces—Flash Fiction, with Katie Bickell
11:30 - 12:45
Workshop: Packing a Punch: Big Stories in Small Spaces—Flash Fiction, with Katie Bickell

Sunday, May 30
11:30 am - 12:45 pm


Workshop: Packing a Punch: Big Stories in Small Spaces—Flash Fiction, with Katie Bickell

Learn how to craft powerful narratives in as few words as possible from an award-winning short story writer. Working from a collective prompt, students will workshop a piece of flash fiction into a succinct-but-rich tale using a variety of tools. Participants should expect to leave the course with a polished piece of flash fiction.
____________________

KATIE BICKELL emigrated from England to northern Alberta in 1990. Her fiction has been published in the Tahoma Literary Review and Alberta Views and her essays have appeared in WestWord Magazine, HERizons Magazine, and on The Temper. Chapters from Always Brave, Sometimes Kind have received the Alberta Literary Award’s Howard O’Hagan for Short Story, the Writers' Guild of Alberta’s Emerging Writer Award, and won the Alberta Views Fiction Prize. Katie lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta, just outside of Edmonton.

Website: katiebickell.com | FB: author katie bickell | TW: @katie_bickell | IG: @katiebickell

(Lunch) Connection Café
12:45 - 13:30
(Lunch) Connection Café

Sunday, May 30
12:45 pm - 1:30 pm


(Lunch) Connection Café (Zoom Breakout Rooms)
Hosts: WGA Youth

Nibble on your lunch while you chat with the WGA Youth Committee on your projects for the rest of 2021. Creatives of all ages welcome.

Sunday Keynote: Using Artifacts to Plot Your Course, with Gil Adamson
13:30 - 14:30
Sunday Keynote: Using Artifacts to Plot Your Course, with Gil Adamson

Sunday, May 30
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


Sunday Keynote: Using Artifacts to Plot Your Course, with Gil Adamson
Host: Anne Logan

Gil Adamson will draw from her writing techniques for this keynote on seamlessly integrating research into fiction.
____________________

GIL ADAMSON is the critically acclaimed author of The Outlander, which won the Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the ReLit Award, and the Drummer General’s Award; was a finalist for the Commonwealth Book Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and CBC Canada Reads; and was a Globe and Mail and Washington Post Top 100 Book. She is also the author of a collection of linked stories called Help Me, Jacques Cousteau and two poetry collections, Primitive and Ashland.

HOST: ANNE LOGAN has been involved in the Canadian book industry for the past 12 years as a publicist, literary festival programmer, and reviewer. She is a Past President of the Writers' Guild of Alberta and the current Director of Strategic Partnerships for Calgary Reads. As the book columnist for CBC Calgary, she reviews books on radio and television. In addition to reviewing books online at ivereadthis.com, her writing has also been published in Alberta Views, Quill and Quire, Write, and WestWord Magazine. She was recently named one of Calgary Public Library's Reading Influencers.

Gil Adamson photo - credit to (c) Jean-Luc Bertini. 2019
Anne Logan photo - credit Monique de St. Croix

Workshop: Signposts—Dialogue as More Than Banalities, with Danny Ramadan
14:30 - 15:45
Workshop: Signposts—Dialogue as More Than Banalities, with Danny Ramadan

Sunday, May 30
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm


Workshop: Signposts—Dialogue as More Than Banalities, with Danny Ramadan
Host: Vivian Zenari

This lecture will teach you how to write dialogue and not suck at it. Dialogue can and should be seen as a tool to tell more than just the words out of your character's mouth.
____________________

DANNY RAMADAN is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ-refugees advocate. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won the Independent Publisher Book Award, The Canadian Authors Association’s award, and was shortlisted for a Lambda Award, and longlisted for Canada Reads. The novel is translated to French, German and Hebrew.

His children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef is nominated to the Forest of Reading’s Blue Spruce award, and named amongst the Best Books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews and Library School Journal. It won the Middle East Book Award 2020.

His forthcoming novel, The Foghorn Echoes, to be released by Penguin Canada and Canongate UK in Summer 2022. Danny graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing and lives in Vancouver with his husband, Matthew Ramadan.

Website: dannyramadan.com | TW: @TheDannyRamadan

HOST: A longtime member of the Writers' Guild of Alberta, VIVIAN ZENARI has published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her novel Beth and Ralph’s Children is forthcoming in fall 2021 from Inanna Publications. She lives, works, and writes in Edmonton.

Youth Connect: Publishing 101
14:30 - 15:45
Youth Connect: Publishing 101

Sunday, May 30
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm


Youth Connect: Publishing 101
Instructor: Jennifer Bowering Delisle

It’s often difficult for young writers to find out about the professional writing market. This Youth Connect session is here to fill the gap by providing information to those preparing to submit their work for publication.

This session is provided in partnership with the WGA Youth Committee, and is free of charge. Registration for the Youth Connect sessions is separate from the rest of the conference package.
____________________

JENNIFER BOWERING DELISLE is the author of Deriving, a collection of poetry, and The Bosun Chair, a lyric family memoir. She regularly teaches creative writing at the U of A Faculty of Extension, and is a board member of Edmonton’s NeWest Press. She is a settler in Amiskwaciwâskahikan/Edmonton/Treaty 6.

Website: jenniferdelisle.ca | FB: @JenniferBDelisle |TW: @JenBDelisle

Workshop: Getting Graphic, graphic novel with Jared Tailfeathers
14:30 - 15:45
Workshop: Getting Graphic, graphic novel with Jared Tailfeathers

Sunday, May 30
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm


Workshop: Getting Graphic, graphic novel with Jared Tailfeathers

How to build a story around a glimpse into an unknown narrative, even to the author. An invitation to let the story tell the author how to write it. Along with the visual/narrative building I will provide examples/images of different styles of storytelling within comic books and graphic novels.
____________________

JARED TAILFEATHERS is a bi-racial Blackfoot (Kainai) multi-media Artist, Musician, teacher, historian/researcher and Author. His practice focuses on bridging the gap between various genres/media for arts and culture, making work that is designed for large conceptual and multi-media communication and collaboration, as well as a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience as a writing and performing musician. He builds one of a kind musical instruments and uses them in interactive projects, and builds and designs working instruments for private collectors, patrons and musicians. He works with Indigenous arts and cultural groups that promote the sustainable growth for indigenous artists, musicians and youth.

Website: sinicalethics1.wixsite.com/jaredtailfeathers | IG: @jaredtailfeathers | Music: Ride The Sky: ridethesky.bandcamp.com | Daring Nomads: daringnomads.bandcamp.com

Discord

Sunday, May 30
3:45 pm - 4:00 pm


Discord

Connect with other writers and discuss writing topics and the conference sessions on this unique App. The link to join will be available from May 21st until June 19th.

Panel: Navigational Tools—Writing YA/Children’s Literature, with host Ali Bryan
16:00 - 17:15
Panel: Navigational Tools—Writing YA/Children’s Literature, with host Ali Bryan

Sunday, May 30
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Panel: Navigational Tools—Writing YA/Children’s Literature
Host: Ali Bryan
Featuring: Marty Chan, Leslie Davidson, Lucy Falcone & Danny Ramadan

Children and Youth face ongoing challenges with their own developmental stages as well as the complexities which society presents. Award-winning author, Ali Bryan, sifts through the colourful and ever-changing world of YA and children's literature to see how these authors tackle difficult subjects in their books.
____________________

MARTY CHAN writes books for kids, plays for adults, and tweets for fun. He’s best known for his Marty Chan Mystery Series, a funny mystery series inspired by his childhood experiences growing up in small-town Alberta. His newest book is Haunted Hospital, a ghost story for reluctant reading teens. You can learn more about Marty at his website (martychan.com).

FB: MartyChanAuthor | TW: @Marty_Chan | IG: @MartyChanWriter | YouTube: Youtube.com/martychanauthor

LESLIE DAVIDSON has always been a writer but it wasn’t until retirement that she found time to finally put down in print the stories that had been tapping on her consciousness during her busy years of teaching and parenting. In 2106, her first picture book, In The Red Canoe, was published by Orca Book Publishers. In The Red Canoe was nominated for a Shining Willow award. Also in 2016, Leslie won the CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction competition for her personal essay, "Adaptation." This spring, April 20121, Leslie’s second picture book, The Sun is a Shine, was released by Orca. Leslie lives in the beautiful mountain town of Revelstoke, BC.

Website: leslieadavidson.com | FB: Leslie Davidson or Leslie A Davidson | TW: @ladvidson19514 | IG: @lesliedavidson92

LUCY FALCONE is a former television writer for such series as The Littlest Hobo and Nickelodeon’s hugely popular, Are you Afraid of the Dark? She’s also a children’s author of middle-grade supernatural thrillers, comedic chapter books and, most recently, picture books. I Didn’t Stand Up won the 2019 Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario Children’s Literature Award. The Librarian’s Stories is her second emotionally-resonant picture book.

Website: LucyFalcone.com | FB: LM.Falcone | TW: @LucyFalcone | IG: @lucymfalcone

DANNY RAMADAN is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ-refugees advocate. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won the Independent Publisher Book Award, The Canadian Authors Association’s award, and was shortlisted for a Lambda Award, and longlisted for Canada Reads. The novel is translated to French, German and Hebrew.

His children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef is nominated to the Forest of Reading’s Blue Spruce award, and named amongst the Best Books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews and Library School Journal. It won the Middle East Book Award 2020. His forthcoming novel, The Foghorn Echoes, to be released by Penguin Canada and Canongate UK in Summer 2022. Danny graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing and lives in Vancouver with his husband, Matthew Ramadan.

Website: dannyramadan.com | TW: @TheDannyRamadan

HOST: ALI BRYAN is a novelist and creative nonfiction writer based in Calgary. Her first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia. Her second novel, The Figgs, was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and has been optioned for TV by Sony Pictures. She’s longlisted for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction prize, shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award and won the 2020 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, was released in March from Dottir Press. She has a wrestling room in her garage and regularly gets choked out by her family.

FB: Author Ali Bryan | TW: @AliBryan | IG: @alikbryan

Panel: Going to Market—Editor/Agent Panel, with host Marina Endicott
16:00 - 17:15
Panel: Going to Market—Editor/Agent Panel, with host Marina Endicott

Sunday, May 30
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Going to Market: Editor/Agent Panel
Host: Marina Endicott
Featuring: Kelsey Attard, Netta Johnson, Sarah L. Johnson, & Rob Firing

Three publishers and one agent make for a lively discussion of what is hot, what is not, and how to find publishing success.
____________________

KELSEY ATTARD is the managing editor of Freehand Books. She has a Master of Publishing degree from Simon Fraser University. She is currently on the boards of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and the Literary Press Group.

NETTA JOHNSON is the Publisher at one of Edmonton’s newest Publishing houses, Stonehouse Publishing. She loves coffee, tea and a story well told. In her fleeting free time, you will find her curled up with an historical novel, putting everything else on hold until she has finished. Aside from being a writer, editor, reader and lover of literature, she dabbles in bread-making and stone masonry. Netta currently serves on the board of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and the Waldorf Education Society of Edmonton.

SARAH L. JOHNSON is a curly hair gladiator, ultra marathoner, literary events wrangler, and misfit fictioneer. When not writing or teaching, she is a freelance editor as well as an editor/publisher with The Seventh Terrace, a Calgary based publisher of dark, weird, and horror literature. She is the author of two collections of short stories, Suicide Stitch and Wall of Fire, as well as one novel, Infractus.

Website: the-seventh-terrace.com | FB: TheSeventhTerrace | TW: @The7thTerrace | IG: @the7thterrace

ROB FIRING has been working as a promoter and publicist for more than 25 years, 15 of those at HarperCollins as their Senior Director of Publicity, Communications and Speakers’ Bureau. Rob has worked closely with everyone from JK Rowling to Tom Wolfe, from Margaret Trudeau to Margaret Drabble—literally hundreds of writers across many genres. He has won awards for his work from the Canadian Marketing Association and other marketing and PR organizations. He is also the co-author of The Everyday Squash Cook (HarperCollins, 2014), and the author of STEAK REVOLUTION (HarperCollins, 2018), which was a Gourmand World Cookbook Award finalist. Rob moved to Transatlantic Agency three years ago where he is a literary agent and speakers' agent. Rob works with authors of all genres but his client list is mostly populated by author-journalists writing memoir and narrative nonfiction, and by authors of lifestyle-genre books, especially food and drink.

HOST: MARINA ENDICOTT’s Good to a Fault was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads, and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The Little Shadows was short-listed for the Governor General’s award and long-listed for the Giller Prize, as was Close to Hugh. Her latest, The Difference (published in the US as The Voyage of the Morning Light), won the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton book award and the City of Dartmouth fiction prize. She teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta, Humber Writing School, and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

FB: Marina Endicott | TW: @marinaendicott | IG: @marinaendicott

Panel: Writing in your Backyard, with host Robin Van Eck
16:00 - 17:15
Panel: Writing in your Backyard, with host Robin Van Eck

Sunday, May 30
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Panel: Writing in your Backyard
Host: Robin Van Eck
Featuring: Anna Marie Sewell, Alexis Kienlen, & Doreen Vanderstoop

Executive Director of the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society and debut novelist Robin Van Eck leads this discussion on finding inspiration for writing during lock-down and through any challenge, right in your own backyard.
____________________

ANNA MARIE SEWELL, award-winning multi-genre writer/performer, specializes in collaborative multidisciplinary work. She’s MacEwan University's 2019/20 Writer in Residence, Edmonton's 4th Poet Laureate, author of poetry collections Fifth World Drum (Frontenac House, 2009), and 2018's For the Changing Moon: Poems & Songs (Thistledown). Humane is her first novel.

ALEXIS KIENLEN was born in Saskatoon, and currently lives in Edmonton. She has published two books of poetry, She dreams in Red and 13 both with Frontenac House. Her poetry, fiction and journalism pieces have appeared in numerous publications across Canada and on the world wide web. Alexis currently works as an agricultural journalist for Alberta Farmer newspaper. Her first novel, Mad Cow, examines the BSE crisis in Alberta, and the effects of the crisis on one farm family.

Website: alexiskienlen.com | TW: @alexiskienlen

DOREEN VANDERSTOOP is a writer based in Calgary, Alberta whose short fiction has appeared in Prairie Fire Magazine and online at Montreal Serai, prairiejournal.org, epiphmag.com, and Alexandra Writers' Centre, among others. Doreen's debut novel, Watershed, was published by Freehand Books in May 2020. Watershed has received critical acclaim, appearing frequently on best seller lists in Alberta. Doreen has participated in author panels at Word on the Street Toronto, Victoria Festival of Authors and the Calgary Public Library. She also appeared on the National Arts Centre’ Canada Performs series. Watershed was picked as the second book in the Alberta Reads Book Club hosted by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. Doreen also sings, plays guitar, and performs oral stories of all kinds for audiences of all ages.

FB: doreen.vanderstoop| TW: @Doreenvdstoop| IG: @doreenvanderstoop

HOST: ROBIN VAN ECK's short stories and personal essays have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies across Canada and internationally. Her debut novel, Rough, was published by Stonehouse Publishing, November 1, 2020. She has been active in the Calgary literary community for almost 20 years through her connection to the Alexandra Writers' Centre where she is currently the Executive Director.

Conference Close & Farewell

Sunday, May 30
5:20 pm - 5:40 pm


Celebrating 40 Years!

The Writers' Guild of Alberta and the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society are both celebrating their 40th Anniversaries! Join with us as we look back on all we have accomplished.

Sunday, May 30
Sunday, May 30
Panel: A Poetic Journey, with host Anne Sorbie
10:00 - 11:15
Panel: A Poetic Journey, with host Anne Sorbie

Sunday, May 30
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Panel Discussion: A Poetic Journey
Host: Anne Sorbie
Featuring: Alison Clarke, Laurie Anne Fuhr, Tyler B. Perry, & Alex Williamson

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

The poet works to orient themselves and their readers in place, mood, experience, and within larger discourses about meaning and purpose. Listen in on these poets discussing their poetic journeys through these uncharted times.
____________________

ALISON CLARKE is a poet, fantasy author, and visual artist who is also a creative writing and visual arts instructor. Alison has a Master’s degree in English focussing on Children’s literature from Hollins University. She is the author of Phillis: A Poetry Collection that has been published by the University of Calgary Press in October 2020. She is also the author of the award winning young adult fantasy trilogy, The Sisterhood. The Sisterhood, Book One, the magical tale about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend Aurie, a dragon, is the novel for which Alison won the award 2016 Writer of The Year by Diversity Magazine. Alison is also the Writer In Residence of the Alexandra Writers' Centre from March to May 2021. She has also recently won the Fil Fraser award for her contributions to literary and visual art. Alison believes that storytelling can change the world.

LAURIE ANNE FUHR is a poet, musician, and WGA member based in Calgary. Her first poetry collection, night flying, was published by Frontenac House in 2018. Her work has also appeared in anthologies such as Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man (Foundation for Public Poetry, Montreal), Shadowy Technicians: New Ottawa Poets (Broken Jaw Press 2000), and in periodicals including Bywords, Peter F. Yacht Club, THIS Magazine, and Freefall. Her poems will appear this year in Uncommon Grounds: Poems by the Espresso Collective; Alexandra Writers' Centre 40th Anniversary anthology; and the annual Stroll of Poets anthology. Currently, she’s working on a book of wanderlusty post-lyrics called DROMOMANIA and a writing reference book called Poetry, Promptly: Prompts, Encouragement, and Tips for Writers. She has been a poetry instructor with Alexandra Writers Centre Society in Calgary for the last five years, and has been a member for many more. Please see alexandrawriters.org to find and register for classes and workshops. In April, for Poetry Month, she'll start a new online open mic series called ASCEND. To sign up for updates, please email lauriefuhr at gmail dot com.

Website: birdheat.com | FB: multimodalpoet | TW & IG: @multimodal_poet or @multimodalpoet | Music: birdheat.bandcamp.com | Youtube: tiny.cc/uuwltz

TYLER B. PERRY is a Calgary poet and high school English teacher. He is one of the organizers of Can You Hear Me Now?, the Alberta provincial junior high and high school poetry slam, and has performed his poetry to audiences across Canada and as far away as Japan. He is the author of three collections of poetry: Lessons in Falling (B House Publications, 2010), Belly Full of Rocks (Oolichan Books, 2016), and Plausible Wrong Answers (Frontenac House, 2020). He holds a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

FB: tyler.perry | TW: @TBPerry | IG: @tylerbperry | YouTube book trailer: youtu.be/_CzdQk0QfLs

ALEXANDER WILLIAMSON is a Canadian living with cystic fibrosis, and he is very lucky to be in Canada while having CF. Mostly Alex only cares about books and fighting people. He writes scary stories and sad poems; he fences and boxes too. He had a BA in English from Mount Royal University, and that made a big difference, but most of what he learned came from falling off of things, getting lost, or being punched in the face. Very Bright, Almost Pretty is his first book. FB: Alex Williamson | IG: @alexander.j.williamson

HOST: ANNE SORBIE is a Scottish immigrant who has lived in Calgary since 1973. Her third book, Falling Backwards Into Mirrors, was released by Inanna Publications in fall, 2019. In 2020 she published poetry and fiction in YYC POP (Frontenac House), in the Calgary Public Library short story dispenser, and in Loft 112’s, Missing You Mondays travelling book project. In January, 2021, her poetry was translated into Farsi and broadcast on Namaashoum, PersianRadio.net in Ottawa. It was also broadcast on, Not Your Mother’s Poetry, on CKXU 88.3 FM southern Alberta.

Anne’s fiction, poetry, essays and book reviews have also been published by, The University of Alberta Press, Frontenac House, House of Blue Skies, and Thistledown Press; in magazines and journals such as FreeFall, Alberta Views, Geist, and Other Voices; and online with Brick Books, CBC Canada Writes, Geist, and Wax Poetry and Art.

Website: annesorbie.com | FB: @annesorbie | TW: @AnneSorbie | IG: @anneso3593

Connection Café
10:00 - 11:15
Connection Café

Sunday, May 30
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Connection Café
Hosts: Alexandra Latos & Sue Farrell Holler

Take a break from learning to connect with other creatives.
____________________

SUE FARRELL HOLLER is an award-winning author who writes for children of all ages – from preschool to young adult. Her YA novel, Cold White Sun, was a 2019 finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award, won the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature and a U.S.-based High Plains Book Award. Her newest release is Raven, Rabbit, Deer a picture book inspired by her love of nature and her daily “thinking” walks. Written in English, Raven, Rabbit, Deer introduces words in the First Nation’s language of Ojibwemowin as it tells the story of a boy and his grandfather. Sue lives in Grande Prairie.

Website: suefarrellholler.com | FB: suefarrellholler | TW: @sfarrellholler

ALEXANDRA LATOS is the author of the young adult novel Under Shifting Stars (HMH Teen, 2020), which takes place in Calgary during the 2013 flood, and the romance novel Instalove (Bloomsbury USA, 2016). Under Shifting Stars was a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection. She lives in Calgary with her husband, their three young children, and two black cats.

IG & TW: @alexandralatos

Workshop: The Divine Carnal Experience—Poetry with Micheline Maylor
11:30 - 12:45
Workshop: The Divine Carnal Experience—Poetry with Micheline Maylor

Sunday, May 30
11:30 am - 12:45 pm


Workshop: The Divine Carnal Experience—Poetry with Micheline Maylor

Poet Alan Ginsberg shouted “HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!” and the author Mary Karr said, “Carnality sits at the root of show don’t tell. In this workshop we will apprehend the senses to create an experience for the readers through writing poem or micro-memoir that allows the reader to feel rather than be told. We will engage with imagery as a way of engaging the five senses through prompts and readings.
____________________

DR. MICHELINE MAYLOR is Calgary’s Poet Laureate Emeritus 2016-18. Her latest poetry collection, The Bad Wife, is due in 2021, and Little Wildheart (U of Alberta Press) was long listed for both the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster awards. She recently won the Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence in Alberta. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University.

Connection Cafe - Ask a Historian
11:30 - 12:45
Connection Cafe - Ask a Historian

Sunday, May 30
11:30 am - 12:45 am


Connection Cafe - Ask a Historian
Host: Shaun Hunter & Dr. Hugh Gordon

With two amazing historians in the house, no-one should leave this conference without their historical questions answered-- or at least an idea of where to find answers. Shaun Hunter, as Calgary Public Library's 2020 Historian in Residence, and Dr. Hugh Gordon, university professor, the depth of knowledge in one space will be vast.
____________________

SHAUN HUNTER is the author of Calgary through the Eyes of Writers, a literary tour of the city from its frontier beginnings to contemporary times. Her latest project, a digital literary map of Calgary, marks more than 500 sites in the Calgary’s storied landscape. Shaun served as the 2020 Historian in Residence at the Calgary Public Library, co-curated the exhibit “Storied City: Early Calgary through the Eyes of Writers” at the Lougheed House, and helped bring Project Bookmark Canada’s national literary to Calgary. Shaun shares her passion for Calgary’s literary landscape on guided walks, talks, and on her website shaunhunter.ca.

Workshop: Rough Writing to Raw Reciting, Spoken Word with Wakefield Brewster
14:30 - 15:45
Workshop: Rough Writing to Raw Reciting, Spoken Word with Wakefield Brewster

Sunday, May 30
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm


Workshop: Rough Writing to Raw Reciting, Spoken Word with Wakefield Brewster

“putting hard words down, putting hard words out”
____________________

Since January 1999, WAKEFIELD BREWSTER has been known as one of Canada’s most popular and prolific Performance Poets.

He is a BlackMan born and raised in Toronto, by parents hailing from the island of Beautiful Barbados and has resided in Calgary since 2006. He has spoken across Canada, several States, and makes countless appearances on a regular basis in a variety of ways, for a myriad of reasons throughout each and every single year.

Facebook, Facebook Fan Page, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, radio, online, in pictures, in video, in print, Wakefield Brewster is accessible and everywhere.

FB: Wakefield Brewster | FB FanPage: Wakefield Brewster aka da lyrical pitbull | TW: @lyricalpitbull | IG: @Wakefield Brewster

Connection Café
14:30 - 15:45
Connection Café

Sunday, May 30
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm


Connection Café
Hosts: Josephine Boxwell & Alisa Caswell

Have you taken time to connect with other writers yet? Here is your chance to visit with Josephine Boxwell, author and recent transplant to Alberta, and Alisa Caswell who runs a writers' group in Fort McMurray.
____________________

ALISA CASWELL is a writer, engineer, and gardener living in Fort McMurray. She has had creative non-fiction published in “NorthWord” magazine and has published short stories in two anthologies. She enjoys writing small-town mysteries and speculative fiction. She has also taught business writing at Keyano College.

JOSEPHINE BOXWELL's first novel, Unravelling (Guernica Editions) was released in October 2020. Her short fiction and creative nonfiction essays have appeared in several publications including the anthologies, Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception & Adoption Stories (Dagger Editions) and Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women (Caitlin Press). Originally from the UK, she has lived in Toronto and the BC Interior, and now calls the Edmonton area home.

TW: @JoBoxwell | IG: @joboxwellwrites

Workshop: Social Media & Marketing Your Book, with Kat Flannery
16:00 - 17:15
Workshop: Social Media & Marketing Your Book, with Kat Flannery

Sunday, May 30
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Workshop: Social Media & Marketing Your Book, with Kat Flannery

Learn how to navigate marketing your book and yourself in a social media dominated world. Kat will teach you the right and wrong way to market online, what platforms work the best, websites and blogs you should be watching and how to get your book in front of thousands of eyes!
____________________

A bestselling author, KAT FLANNERY has been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career and continues to write for blogs and online magazines. Her books have been on Canadian, USA and International bestseller lists.

Two of her books hit 63 and 68 beating out over 750,000 other titles on Amazon.com Top 100 Paid Bestseller List. The BRANDED TRILOGY is Kat’s award-winning series. With seven books published, and a new book being released in June of 2021, Kat continues to write and market her books.

Kat’s also a Digital Marketer and Freelance Writer. She’s been an avid Social Media Marketer and Blog Writer for more than eight years and is CEO of Picco Press Marketing Agency. Kat teaches classes on social media marketing, writing, and publishing. She’s been a presenter and keynote speaker helping to inspire those around her.

Website: katflannery.com | Facebook: Kat Flannery, author | TW: @KatFlannery1 | IG: @katflannery| Kat’s Newsletter: eepurl.com/cQmCzL

Panel: Detours on the Journey—Meeting Interesting Characters, with host Anne Logan
16:00 - 17:15
Panel: Detours on the Journey—Meeting Interesting Characters, with host Anne Logan

Sunday, May 30
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm


Panel: Detours on the Journey—Meeting Interesting Characters
Host: Anne Logan
Featuring: Gil Adamson, PJ Vernon, & Candas Jane Dorsey

How have these novelists risen to the challenge of populating their stories with interesting and arresting characters? Don't miss this entertaining session with anecdotes and strategies on welcoming unforgettable characters into your story.
____________________

GIL ADAMSON is the critically acclaimed author of The Outlander, which won the Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the ReLit Award, and the Drummer General’s Award; was a finalist for the Commonwealth Book Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and CBC Canada Reads; and was a Globe and Mail and Washington Post Top 100 Book. She is also the author of a collection of linked stories called Help Me, Jacques Cousteau and two poetry collections, Primitive and Ashland.

P. J. VERNON was born in South Carolina. A "rising star thriller writer" (Library Journal), Vernon's debut, When You Find Me, was both an Audible Plus #1 Listen and Top Ten U.S. Audiobook (Associated Press). His next novel, Bath Haus, pitched as "Gone Girl with gays and Grindr", will be published June 15, 2021 by Doubleday. He is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient and lives in Calgary with his husband and two wily dogs.

CANDAS JANE DORSEY is the award-winning author of Black Wine, A Paradigm of Earth, Machine Sex and Other Stories, Vanilla and Other Stories, and Ice and Other Stories. She is a writer, editor, former publisher, community advocate, and activist living in Edmonton, Alberta.

TW: @CJDwriter

HOST: ANNE LOGAN has been involved in the Canadian book industry for the past 12 years as a publicist, literary festival programmer, and reviewer. She is a Past President of the Writers' Guild of Alberta and the current Director of Strategic Partnerships for Calgary Reads. As the book columnist for CBC Calgary, she reviews books on radio and television. In addition to reviewing books online at ivereadthis.com, her writing has also been published in Alberta Views, Quill and Quire, Write, and WestWord Magazine. She was recently named one of Calgary Public Library's Reading Influencers.

Anne Logan photo - credit Monique de St. Croix
Gil Adamson photo-credit to (c) Jean-Luc Bertini. 2019
Candas Jane Dorsey photo - credit Sima Khorrami

WGA Conference 2021:Re/Orientation - Sunday, May 30
Sunday, May 30

 

Post-Conference

Conference Debrief

 

Thursday June 10th,
7 PM – 8 PM (MT)

Meet with others to discuss the conference.

Compare notes on what you have learned and put into practice, as well as which sessions you liked best.

Saturday June 12th,
10 AM – 11 AM (MT)

Purchasing Books

Independent booksellers in Alberta are partnering with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta to offer the most recent books of presenters and hosts of Conference 2021, at a discounted rate.

For those interested in obtaining copies of the conference presenters’ books, information about where to purchase those will be sent out prior to the conference, including details about how to access the following discounts from participating book sellers.

 
  • Shelf Life Books – 10% Off (shelflifebooks.ca) – We are here for in-store browsing, online/phone/email ordering, contactless curbside pick-up & free local delivery (with minimum). Browse our conference inventory at Shelf Life Books.
  • Owl’s Nest Books – 10% Off (owlsnestbooks.com) -Please include WGA21in the Purchase Order field on all online orders to receive your discount. Discounts will be added to your order manually at time of processing.
  • Glass Bookshop – 15% Off (glassbookshop.com) – Please use promo code WGA15 when you checkout to receive a 15% discount on books by conference presenters. This discount is valid in April and May 2021. Find the online catalogue on the Glass Bookshop webpage.
  • Audreys Books (audreys.ca)
  • Pages on Kensington (pageskensington.com)


Registration

Please click the button below 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.

Click Here to Register

 

Our Thanks

Re/Orientation funding from the following:


Re/Orientation promotional materials by Leslie Irvine Design & Marketing.

Thanks to the following for their support:

Comments are closed.