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WGA Annual Conference 2023 – Origins: A Return to Networking, Publishing, Genre, and Craft
Origin is defined as the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived, but what does that mean for a writer?
The WGA looks forward to facilitating a return to networking, publishing, genre, and craft in another hybrid-focused conference. Our hope is that participants are able to make new connections, foster old ones, and network with other writers and industry professionals over the course of an entire weekend. We look forward to presenting panels, workshops, and masterclasses that will allow literary folks to delve into a plethora of themes and genres.
As writers we have the ability to examine alter egos, create and destroy worlds, and establish origin stories for ourselves — and for our characters — when and where we see fit. Let’s explore these ideas and more, in-person and/or virtually, from June 2 – 4 at Fort Calgary. Spotlight speakers include Alice Major and Waubgeshig Rice, who will be joining us in-person for keynotes on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and Emily St. John Mandel, who will be joining us virtually on Sunday for an in-conversation chat to discuss craft and her novel, The Sea of Tranquility (Random House, 2022).
Details and Pricing
WGA 2023 Annual Conference – Origins: A Return to Networking, Publishing, Genre, and Craft
June 2 – 4, 2023
Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB
|INCLUDES||WGA / AWCS MEMBER||NON-MEMBER||STUDENT|
|EARLY BIRD RATES (Before May 7, 2023)||All in-person and online conference activities from June 2-4, as well as recordings (excludes Gala)||$200||$250||$125|
|REGULAR RATES (After May 7, 2023)||All in-person and online conference activities from June 2-4, as well as recordings (excludes Gala)||$275||$325||$150|
|ONLINE ONLY||All online conference activities and recordings from June 2nd – 4th (excludes Gala)||$145||$170||$95|
|ALBERTA LITERARY AWARDS GALA||Gala attendance only||$50||$50||$50|
**Please note: Bursary applications are available, but please be advised that due to funding limitations bursaries cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to apply for a bursary, you can indicate that in the registration form below.
|IF YOU CANCEL:||YOU WILL RECEIVE:|
|On or before May 1, 2023||100% of the registration fees refunded minus a nonrefundable $30 administration fee|
|May 2 to May 15, 2023||50% of the registrations fees refunded minus a nonrefundable $30 administration fee|
|After May 15, 2023||No refund|
**Please note: If you become sick and are unable to attend in-person, refunds will be available to adjust your conference package to Online Only
Click on a session or event block for full details about the sessions and presenters!
All sessions and events will take place in-person at Fort Calgary or online as noted in the individual event details. There will a separate room at Fort Calgary for in-person attendees to watch online events.
WGA Conference 2023: Origins - Friday, June 2
Check In & Networking Event: Developing Your Networking Superpower Friday, June 2 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm MDT Canapés, snacks, and non-alcoholic refreshments will be available Friday evening for participants attending conference events in-person. More info coming soon! This event will be in-person exclusive
Welcome Keynote with Alice Major On Not Being an Action Figure: Can a Poet Make a Difference? Friday, June 2 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm MDT Our world is increasingly conflicted and disaster-prone. Behind wars and pandemics lurks the even-larger shadow of climate change. How can a writer (or a poem) make any difference at all? Through her own journey in writing 13 books of poetry and essays, Alice Major examines the role of writers. Do we have a responsibility to promote hope in an anxious time? How do we even do that without dissolving into facile Pollyanna-ism? (Spoiler alert: We do have a superpower as writers: community.) This event will be held in-person, streamed for online participants, & recorded for viewing after the conference ______________________________ ALICE MAJOR has just released her 12th collection of poetry, Knife on Snow, from Turnstone Press. Her subjects range from the personal lyric to the big ideas of physics, history, mythology, and environment. Her work has been praised in publications as diverse as Alberta Views and American Scientist, as well as literary magazines across the country. Her numerous awards include the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award, and the WGA’s Golden Pen. A constant community builder, she served as Edmonton’s first poet laureate, founder of the Edmonton Poetry Festival, and president of the League of Canadian Poets among many other volunteer roles. Website: alicemajor.com Photo of Alice by Shawma Lemay
Casual Q&A/Discussion with WGA Staff & Board: Friday, June 2 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm MDT More details coming soon! This event will be in-person exclusive.
- Check In & Networking Event: Developing Your Networking SuperpowerCheck In & Networking Event: Developing Your Networking Superpower16:30 - 18:00
- Welcome Keynote with Alice Major - On Not Being an Action Figure: Can a Poet Make a Difference?Welcome Keynote with Alice Major - On Not Being an Action Figure: Can a Poet Make a Difference?18:00 - 19:00
- Casual Q&A/Discussion with WGA Staff and BoardCasual Q&A/Discussion with WGA Staff and Board19:00 - 20:00
Saturday, June 3
Keynote Address with Waubgeshig Rice The Community Roots of Speculative Fiction Saturday, June 3 9:30 am - 10:30 am MDT Join author Waubgeshig Rice as he discusses how growing up in an Anishinaabe community helped create a storytelling foundation that informs and influences the speculative fiction he writes today. He’ll talk about how community history and cultural teachings guided him through writing his 2018 post-apocalyptic novel Moon of the Crusted Snow, and its sequel Moon of the Turning Leaves, to be published this fall. This event will be held in-person, streamed for online participants, & recorded for viewing after the conference This session is sponsored by the Alexandra Writers' Centre. ______________________________ WAUBGESHIG RICE is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from the journalism program at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and three sons. His forthcoming novel, Moon of the Turning Leaves, will be published in October 2023.
Coffee Break / Discord Saturday, June 3 10:30 am - 10:45 am MDT Snacks and non-alcoholic refreshments will be available throughout the day on Saturday for participants attending conference events in-person. For opportunities to discuss the conference with other participants and network online during the conference weekend, you can join the conference Discord channel using the link provided in your conference registration email. If you have any difficulties accessing the Discord channel or setting up an account, please contact us at [email protected] and one of the staff will contact you to offer assistance.
Memoir Masterclass with Jacqueline Baker Inner Monologues Saturday, June 3 10:45 am - 12:00 pm MDT Of creative nonfiction, a student recently wrote: “In The Antigonish Review, outgoing editor Thomas Hodd notes that ‘nonfiction is about what you discovered, not just what you did’.” Memoir, a subcategory of the genre, asks not only what you discovered, but who you were, what you understand now that you did not understand then, and why any of it matters. Accessing both interiority and objective distance while trying to shift the personal to the universal demands a great deal of the writer. In this masterclass, you will use examples of the genre and guided writing exercises to enter more deeply into your own inner monologues. This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference ______________________________ JACQUELINE BAKER is the author of A Hard Witching & Other Stories, The Horseman's Graves, and most recently, The Broken Hours, a ghost story about the final days of horror icon HP Lovecraft. TW: @jakerback | IG: jacqueline__baker
Romance Workshop with Rayanne Haines: Romance Across Genres Saturday, June 3 10:45 am - 12:00 pm MDT Romance is as varied as the people who read it. And the way we share our stories of Romance are as varied as the relationships we, the author, chose to write. Many writers and readers are familiar with Romances written with more traditional expectations around theme and trope, but today’s Romance touches on political and social justice issues just as much as more lauded literary work does. What is often lost in stereotyping this genre is the value romance, or love narratives, bring to literary fiction. Further to this, writing across genres is becoming more and more popular as writers branch out into new and exciting territory, all while rebelling against categorization. Poetry for example is the ultimate love language. And with CNF, writers often probe the personal and profound depths of impassioned narratives. In this class, we will rebel against expectation of form as we discuss relationship building, inclusive narratives that exist both within formal romance writing structures and without, and the way to approach your story. You will be invited to write Romance while focusing on the story, not the genre. This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference ______________________________ RAYANNE HAINES (she/her) is an award-winning hybrid author of a four-part Urban Fantasy/ Romance series (The Guardians) and three poetry collections. Her most recent collection, Tell The Birds Your Body Is Not A Gun (Frontenac, 2021) won the 2022 Stephan G. Stephansson Alberta Literary Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for both the Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry, and the National ReLit Award for Poetry. She hosts the literary podcast Crow Reads in partnership with Read Alberta and is the Vice-President for the League of Canadian Poets. Recent work has been published in The Globe and Mail, Minola Review and The Fiddlehead. Website: rayannehaines.com | TW: @inkrayanne | IG: rayanne_haines
Panel: Writing Character: Respecting the Worlds Outside Our Own Saturday, June 3 10:45 am - 12:00 pm MDT Featuring: Stuart Ian McKay, Nisha Patel (more panelists coming soon) Moderator: Coming soon! They say “write what you know,” but does that mean you should never write a character that is outside your realm of experience? With proper research, respect and a healthy dose of sensitivity, no character has to be off limits, or do they? In this panel, authors from diverse backgrounds share their take on how authors can respectfully represent their communities in their writing. ______________________________ STUART IAN MCKAY is a Calgary poet. His poetry and nonfiction have been published in many Canadian journals and anthologies. Stele of Several Ladies-a long poem and a cognate of prayer, his first two books of poetry, were published in 2005 and 2013 by Passwords Enterprises, an independent Calgary press. Even the idea of maya is maya, a poetry chapbook, was published by Frog Hollow Press in Victoria as part of its Dis/Ability Series in 2019. AOS Publishing in Montreal will publish his new book of poetry,the commune of our waking later this year. Stuart is the editor of the poetry chapbook, the way out is the way in, published by the League of Canadian Poets in 2022. This chapbook celebrates the work of Canadian poets with disabilities. He and fellow Calgary poet/noise and sound artist Matt Smith comprise the poetry creation and performance team "the thornlake endeavour." Stuart serves on the poetry editorial collective of filling station. Stuart is the Alberta/North West Territories representative for the League of Canadian Poets, and serves on the Board of Directors for the League. In January 2022, he was the Writer in Residence at the Wallace Stegner House in Eastend, SK. In September 2023 Stuart will be the Writer in Residence at the Penny Lou Cottage at the Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island,British Columbia. IG: canadianpoet2020 NISHA PATEL is the Poet Laureate Emeritus of the City of Edmonton. An award-winning disabled and queer artist, she is a Canadian Poetry Slam Champion and holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from Queen's University. Her debut poetry collection, COCONUT (NeWest Press) was a finalist of the ABPA Regional Book of the Year. She is currently finishing her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, where she is writing her first graphic novel. Nisha’s latest works include multimodal inquiries into disabled life. She is currently working on promoting her newest chapbook, How to get a Thigh Gap (Collusion Books). Website: nishapatel.ca | FB: anothernisha | TW: @anothernisha | IG: anothernisha | LI: anothernisha
Panel: Writing as a Career: Expectation vs Reality Discussion Saturday, June 3 10:45 am - 12:00 pm MDT Panelists: Natasha Deen, (more panelists coming soon)
Moderator: Jason Lee Norman Navigating a career in writing can mean many things to different writers, but how sustainable is it, really? Fresh off the completion of a first draft, a first novel, a first degree, we’re prone to assume the world is at our fingertips, that anything is possible: How do we force ourselves to plant our feet back on the ground and check our expectations? Every writer’s journey will vary, there is no rule book in place or coveted guide to follow, but we can explore what it means to be aware of -- and to balance – our expectations with reality. ______________________________ Guyanese-Canadian NATASHA DEEN is a best-selling author, with novels for kids, teens, and adults, and she’s a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. Her novel, In the Key of Nira Ghani, won the Amy Mather Teen Book Award and her most recent YA title, The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad was a Globe & Mail's Top 100 Books for 2022. When she’s not writing, she teaches Introduction to Children’s Writing with the University of Toronto’s SCS and spends an inordinate amount of time trying to convince her pets that she’s the boss of the house. Recent works: The Spooky Sleuths series, Book three, Don’t Go Near the Water! was recently released. Website: natashadeen.com | TW: @natasha_deen | IG: natasha_deen Natasha is on a social media pause, so TW and IG pages may not be showing up at this time.
Lunch Saturday, June 3 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT Snacks and non-alcoholic refreshments will be available throughout the day on Saturday for participants attending conference events in-person. Lunch will also be provided.
Poetry Masterclass with Alice Major: Listening In: How to Hear Your Poem’s Voice Saturday, June 3 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm MDT We often speak of a poet’s ‘voice’ – the constellation of interests and diction that make a poet’s work distinctive. But every poem has its voice too, and being able to listen attentively to that voice is part of crafting not only your individual poems but also a coherent collection of your work. In this master class, Alice Major will help you look at poems through a lens borrowed from fiction—who’s telling this story, and to who? You’ll leave with another device to tuck into your poet’s toolkit. This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference ______________________________ ALICE MAJOR has just released her 12th collection of poetry, Knife on Snow, from Turnstone Press. Her subjects range from the personal lyric to the big ideas of physics, history, mythology, and environment. Her work has been praised in publications as diverse as Alberta Views and American Scientist, as well as literary magazines across the country. Her numerous awards include the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award, and the WGA’s Golden Pen. A constant community builder, she served as Edmonton’s first poet laureate, founder of the Edmonton Poetry Festival, and president of the League of Canadian Poets among many other volunteer roles. Website: alicemajor.com Photo of Alice by Shawma Lemay
Presentation: Adapting Oral Storytelling to Literature, with Waubgeshig Rice Saturday, June 3 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm MDT Passing stories down orally from generation to generation is a foundational cultural practice for people around the world. Today, writers capture, adapt, and document spoken stories in many ways. Join author Waubgeshig Rice as he discusses how the oral stories of his Anishinaabe heritage influence his writing, and how he writes them in fiction. He’ll share tips on adapting oral traditions to written forms, with a focus on dialogue and character development. This event will be in-person exclusive. ______________________________ WAUBGESHIG RICE is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from the journalism program at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and three sons. His forthcoming novel, Moon of the Turning Leaves, will be published in October 2023.
Panel: The Enduring Power of the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Saturday, June 3 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm MDT Panelists: Aminder Dhaliwal, Teresa Wong & Faith Erin Hicks Moderator: Josh Rose It’s no secret that the literary merit of comic books and graphic novels has routinely been called into question -- and probably always will be -- but their continued popularity through decades of origin stories, re-imaginings, countless characters, and ever-changing worlds tells another tale: What is the secret behind the enduring power of the comic book and graphic novel? Can we hold these forms to the same standard we hold other literary forms to? Do we even need to, or are they part of a system all their own? What is it about graphic novels and comic books that resonates with audiences so deeply, generation after generation? This event will be held online, streamed at Fort Calgary for in-person attendees, and recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________
AMINDER DHALIWAL is a native of Brampton, Ontario, and received a Bachelor of Animation from Sheridan College. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she is a Writer and Director in Animation. She has worked at Disney TV as a director on The Owl House, as well as Cartoon Network, Sony, Netflix, and Nickelodeon. She has serialized her comics Woman World, Cyclopedia Exotica, and A Witch's Guide to Burning biweekly on Instagram since March 2017 and has garnered over 240,000 followers. Website: aminderdhaliwal.com | IG: aminder_d TERESA WONG is the author of the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression, a finalist for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2020. Her comics have appeared in The Believer, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s and Event Magazine. A teacher of memoir and comics at Gotham Writers Workshop, she was also the 2021–22 Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary. TW: @byteresawong | IG: by_teresawong FAITH ERIN HICKS is a writer and artist living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her published works include The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Friends with Boys, The Nameless City trilogy, Pumpkinheads (with Rainbow Rowell), One Year at Ellsmere and the young adult novel Comics Will Break Your Heart. She has won two Eisner Awards, and Pumpkinheads was a New York Times bestseller. FB: faitherinhicks | TW: @faitherinhicks | IG: faitherinhicks (MODERATOR)JOSH ROSE is an editor and writer from Southern Alberta, currently residing in BC. Josh was a contributor and book editor for a pop culture website before switching from reviewing comics to making his own. He has worked on comics such as Captain Canuck, the best-selling Alberta Comics Anthology, and the award-winning indie series Auric of the Great White North, which was turned into an award-winning beer by Full Beard Brewing Co. Website: joshwrose.ca | IG: joshw.rose
Coffee Break / Discord Saturday, June 3 2:15 pm - 2:30 pm MDT Snacks and non-alcoholic refreshments will be available throughout the day on Saturday for participants attending conference events in-person. For opportunities to discuss the conference with other participants and network online during the conference weekend, you can join the conference Discord channel using the link provided in your conference registration email. If you have any difficulties accessing the Discord channel or setting up an account, please contact us at [email protected] and one of the staff will contact you to offer assistance.
Workshop with Julie Sedivy: Mining Your Language History as You Develop Your Voice Saturday, June 3 2:30 – 3:45 pm MDT One of the most important aspects of a writer’s development is finding their own unique voice. We’re sometimes hampered in this process by our expectations, often reinforced by literary gatekeepers or teachers, of how our writing should sound. In this session, we’ll explore how a writer’s voice springs from their accumulation of experiences with language. Maybe your first and most emotionally rich language is a language other than English. Maybe you are most expressive in a style of English that is deemed “nonstandard.” Maybe you have formative experiences with language that lead you to value a spare style of writing or maybe you love to sink into lush language. Together, we’ll explore how we can arrive at our most resonant voice by tapping into our personal language histories. This event will be in-person exclusive. ______________________________ JULIE SEDIVY is a writer, editor, and language scientist whose work ranges from the scientific to the poetic and everything between. Her essays have appeared in magazines such as Nautilus, Discover, Scientific American, Literary Hub, the Literary Review of Canada, and Politico, as well as in numerous anthologies, and she has taught linguistics and psychology at Brown University and the University of Calgary. Her fourth and most recent book, Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self was a finalist for the Eggleston Prize for Nonfiction and for the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. She is a citizen of three countries and now makes her home on the achingly beautiful lands of Treaty 7. Website: juliesedivy.com | TW: @JulieSedivy
Workshop with Conni Massing: Introduction to Playwriting Saturday, June 3 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm MDT This session will focus on creating great dramatic characters who can power the action of a play, as well as techniques for developing their unique voices through dialogue. Come prepared to write. This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference. This session is sponsored by Alberta Playwrights' Network ______________________________ CONNI MASSING is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film and television. Recent stage credits include Fresh Hell (Shadow Theatre); Matara and The Invention of Romance, premiered by Workshop West Playwrights Theatre; Oh! Christmas Tree (Roxy Performance Series), and her widely produced stage adaptations of W.O Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid and Bruce Allen Powe’s The Aberhart Summer. Conni’s published credits include essays, short fiction, a comic memoir, Roadtripping: On the Move with the Buffalo Gals (Brindle and Glass Publishing), and seven of her plays. Her writing has been recognized by AMPIA, the Academy of Cinema and Television, the Betty Mitchell Awards, the Writers' Guild of Alberta and the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards. Conni is a proud member of the Playwrights' Guild of Canada. Website: connimassing.com | FB: conni.massing
Panel: Independent Booksellers and Their Impact on the Industry Saturday, June 3 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm MDT Panelists: Ryan Smith, JoAnn McCaig, and Richard Young Moderator: Coming soon! The convenience of Amazon is hard to resist, but if you really want to support local authors, buying from independent bookstores is the way to go. As cornerstones of the literary world, independent bookstores do so much to enhance community and provide invaluable support to authors and readers alike. In this panel, representatives from Calgary indie bookstores Owl’s Nest Books and Shelf Life Books discuss the importance of independent bookstores and their impact on the industry. This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ RYAN SMITH has always been a reader. While at the University of Lethbridge, a professor asked Ryan to oversee the creative writing magazine Whetstone. Inspired by the experience, he signed up for the publishing certificate program from the Toronto Metropolitan University. After working several years as an editor, Ryan wanted to experience other parts of the publishing industry. In 2020, Ryan joined the Owl’s Nest team. When it came time for one of the owners to retire, Ryan jumped at the chance to make Owl’s Nest Books his lifelong home. Always ready to talk about books, Ryan is perpetually looking for that next great read. FB: @owlsnestbooks | TW: @owlsnestbooks | IG: owlsnestbooks JOANN MCCAIG is the author of The Textbook of the Rose and An Honest Woman. She is currently at work on a new novel called The Vigo Reaction. Since 2010, she has been the proud owner of Shelf Life Books, an independent bookstore located in her hometown of Calgary. She co-founded the literary press Freehand Books in 2007, and in October 2020, she purchased the venerable Saskatchewan literary publisher Thistledown Press. RICHARD YOUNG has been a bookseller for over a decade, and is part-owner of three bookstores. Currently on paternal leave from managing Pages Books in Calgary, Richard works as a mentor for bookstores across Canada and the US on the road to opening their doors, as well as performs editorial work with local authors on the road to publishing.
Presentation: The Great Debate: Self Publishing vs Traditional, with FriesenPress Saturday, June 3 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm MDT Presenter: Jamie Ollivier (FriesenPress) Attending this webinar gives you the opportunity to Win a Free Manuscript Evaluation (valued at $499) with FriesenPress! The publishing industry today looks much different than it did a decade ago. In that time, self-publishing has outgrown its longstanding 'vanity' stigma and become a viable publishing option for many writers. The traditional publishing industry has also experienced great changes and just isn’t what it used to be – even for those who’ve found success within the system. This workshop will outline the ways in which self-publishing differs from traditional publishing, and how the unrestricted nature of this path might align better with your publishing needs. We’ll also discuss the process of preparing your manuscript for publication and offer advice on how to successfully navigate the industry. This event will be held online and recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ Who is FriesenPress? FriesenPress is the world's only 100% employee-owned publishing services provider. Since 2009, we have helped thousands of authors publish over 8,000 titles. Part of Canada's largest independent book printer, Friesens Corporation, FriesenPress offers professional editing, design, distribution, and promotional support to those seeking to self-publish their books. Find us online: Facebook: @friesenpress, Twitter: @friesenpress, Instagram: @friesenpress JAMIE OLLIVIER is a Publishing Consultant at FriesenPress – the largest publishing services provider in Canada. He brings over 8 years experience to his role supporting authors with self-publishing the best books possible. From touring North America as a stand-up comedian to running his own media company, Jamie's unique and varied background has helped over a thousand authors successfully produce and release their books to the world.
Fiction Workshop with Ben Berman Ghan Saturday, June 3 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm MDT This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference.
More details coming soon! Check back for updates! ______________________________ BEN BERMAN GHAN is a writer and editor living in Mohkinstsis/Calgary, treaty 7 land and home of the Blackfoot Confederacy, where he’s a PhD student in English literature at The University of Calgary. He’s the author of the collection What We See in the Smoke (Crowsnest Books), and the novella Visitation Seeds (845 Press). His novel The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits is forthcoming with Wolsak and Wynn for spring 2024. His recent work can be found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Wrongdoing Magazine, and The Temz Review. Website: inkstainedwreck.ca | TW: @inkstainedwreck | IG: ink.stained_wreck
Spoken Word Poetry Workshop with Wakefield Brewster: PiPP: A Professional Interactive Poetic Presentation from Page2StageProductions Saturday, June 3 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm MDT Fact: the greatest way to receive answers is to posit questions. I have found that many who attend workshops do so without specific and invested questions. Many come to a workshop just expecting to receive 'the way' or 'the ways' of writing. When I present, it is powered by the people. Who What When Where Why and How - we all have them about everything, curious creatures are we. It is time to come to a PiPP to obtain answers on how to engage and improve your poetic works in deeper and more personal ways - as opposed to gathering in a room full of others to 'work' on Poetry. That is the inception of attending a PiPP with Page2StageProductions - to have you drill down with very personal questions ahead of time, so that the answers relate and resound deeply within. I will perform pieces of Poetry and also relate them to the Q&A and further interaction. The answers I possess are in my Poems and in my person. Please attend a PiPP and ask questions. This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ In January 1999, WAKEFIELD BREWSTER (He/Him/His) stepped onto his first stage as a Poet and Spoken Word Artist. Today, he is known as one of Canada’s most powerful Professional Performance Poets. A BlackMan raised in Toronto by parents from Barbados, he has resided in Calgary since 2016, and it is in the New West where Wakefield has been able to truly flourish as a Poet and as a Person. Throughout his career, Wakefield has been published in several Anthologies: • T-Dot Griots, Trafford on Demand Publishing, 2004 • The Great Black North, Frontenac House, 2013 • The Calgary Project, Frontenac House, 2014 • The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology, Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2019 Since moving to Calgary, he has produced two Professional Recordings to his credit: • Wakefield Brewster, da lyrical pitbull (Produced by Kill Whitey Records, 2007) • east2west (Produced by Spanish Fly Music, 2008) Here is a list of roles he is currently enlisted in: • Professional Poet & Spoken Word Artist • Professional Poetic Interpreter™ • 3-Time Calgary Poetry Slam Champion & Team Captain; 2006, 2008, 2009 • Inaugural Poet Of Honour, People’s Poetry Festival, 2011 • Calgary Poet Laureate Shortlist/Finalist 2012, 2020 • Inaugural Resident Poet & Spoken Word Artist of The Grand Theatre 2019 – 2022 • Inaugural TD ARTIST INCUBATOR at Arts Commons, Poet-In-Residence, 2021-2022 • Canadian League Of Poets Member • Elephant Artist’s Relief Society Board Member • Peter Gzowski Foundation For Literacy Calgary Poet Laureate, 2021 • Registered Massage Therapist and owner of WakeFull Wellness Registered Massage Therapy & HealingSpace • Community Builder by engaging in Volunteering, Leadership and Mentorship for Youth and through The Arts • Advocate for Literacy and The Humanities; Healing Arts & Alternative Medicine; Alcoholism & Addictions; Mental Wellness & Recovery • In 2019, he was appointed as The Resident Poet & Spoken Word Artist of The Grand Theatre House in Calgary, Alberta. • In 2021, Wakefield joined The League Of Canadian Poets in order to become a more integral part of Canada’s Literary scene, while representing the standards of Diversity and Representation. After all that the stage has given him, he has discovered other ways that he may repay his beloved Poetry and Arts Communities by performing silently, backstage, for them. Wakefield finds that underneath the many hats and the many hoodies he wears, resides a wonderful life. He would like to sincerely Thank You all for being a part of it. Website: wakefieldbrewster.com | FB: wakefield.brewster | IG: wakefield_brewster | TW: @lyricalpitbull | TBLR: da-lyrical-pitbull | LI: wakefield-brewster
Panel: A Taste of Food Writing Saturday, June 3 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm MDT Panelists: Wendy McGrath, Mila Philipzig, Tazeen Hasan, and Kathryn Lennon Moderator: Luciana Erregue-Sacchi Have you ever written a family recipe? A restaurant review? Is there anything beyond these well-known types of food writing? How can food be a conduit to intercultural dialogue and the basis for memoir, journalistic, and other types of writing? Mila Philipzig, Wendy McGrath, Kathryn Lennon, and Tazeen Hasan will join Luciana Erregue for an entertaining discussion on the increasing importance of food writing across a variety of genres, and how writers can incorporate the language of food in their own writing. This event will be held online, streamed at Fort Calgary for in-person attendees, and recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ WENDY MCGRATH is a Métis writer/artist based in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 Territory. Her latest poetry chapbook, The Orange Scribbler, is forthcoming from Jack Pine Press (Fall, 2023). This chapbook is a poetry collection that incorporates memoir, fragments of old recipes, letters, and photographs. McGrath’s writing and artistic practice embraces multiple genres—including creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and spoken word. She has written four novels and two poetry collections. Her most recent novel, Broke City (the final book in her Santa Rosa Trilogy—which includes North East and Santa Rosa), is a prairie gothic novel that chronicles the struggles of a working-class family and is told through the eyes of a child-narrator. McGrath is also a printmaker and creates artist’s books. She has a Masters’ Degree, English from York University, Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts, English (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta. IG: wendyannmcgrath MILA PHILLIPZIG has published five children's books, four of which are bilingual (Filipino-English). She also translated two children's books from Filipino to German which were included in the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022. Mila also has poetry, personal essays, and articles published in various magazines, anthologies, and podcasts in the Philippines, Canada, and Germany. In May 2019, she was the featured artist by Edmonton Arts Council for Asian Heritage month. From 1982 to 2007, Mila managed to bounce around and live and work in 16 different countries. She is forever grateful for having had so many opportunities to discover and enjoy so many different cultures, languages, and cuisines. KATHRYN LENNON is the co-creator and co-editor of Hungry Zine, a food-focused publication that centres voices missing in mainstream food media. Her poetry and writing has appeared in Living Hyphen, the Globe and Mail, Ricepaper Magazine, the Ethnic Aisle, Spacing Magazine, Alternatives Journal, and the 2010 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. She sees the acts of growing, cooking and sharing food as ways of honouring those who have come before, imagining just and sustainable futures, and cultivating relationships to people and place. Website: hungryzine.com | TW: @hungryzine | IG: hungryzine (MODERATOR) LUCIANA ERREGUE-SACCHI is an Argentinian-Canadian writer, publisher and cultural worker from Amiskwachikahican. She is the director of Laberinto Press, 2022 Emerging Press of the Year (BPAA) and a Banff Literary Arts alumna. Luciana has been the coordinator of the WGA Horizons Writers Circle (2021-2023). Her works and translation have appeared in academic and literary publications and anthologies worldwide. In 2023 her work was longlisted for the Susan Crean nonfiction Award.
Alberta Literary Awards Gala Saturday, June 3 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm MDT Tickets: $50 Please join us for an evening that celebrates literary excellence and Alberta's writing community! We will present awards in nine categories that include fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry, memoir, and children's literature. Tickets are available for the gala through the registration form below or at alberta-literary-awards-gala-2023. More details coming soon!
- Keynote Address with Waubgeshig Rice: The Community Roots of Speculative FictionKeynote Address with Waubgeshig Rice: The Community Roots of Speculative Fiction09:30 - 10:30
- Coffee Break/DiscordCoffee Break / Discord10:30 - 10:45
- Memoir Masterclass with Jacqueline Baker: Inner MonologuesMemoir Masterclass with Jacqueline Baker: Inner Monologues10:45 - 12:00
- Romance Workshop with Rayanne Haines: Romance Across GenresRomance Workshop with Rayanne Haines: Romance Across Genres10:45 - 12:00
- Panel: Writing Character: Respecting the Worlds Outside Our OwnPanel: Writing Character: Respecting the Worlds Outside Our Own10:45 - 12:00
- Panel: Writing as a Career: Expectation vs Reality DiscussionPanel: Writing as a Career: Expectation vs Reality Discussion10:45 - 12:00
- LunchLunch12:00 - 13:00
- Poetry Masterclass with Alice Major: Listening In: How to Hear Your Poem’s VoicePoetry Masterclass with Alice Major: Listening In: How to Hear Your Poem’s Voice13:00 - 14:15
- Presentation: Adapting Oral Storytelling to Literature, with Waubgeshig RicePresentation: Adapting Oral Storytelling to Literature, with Waubgeshig Rice13:00 - 14:15
- Panel: The Enduring Power of the Comic Book and Graphic NovelPanel: The Enduring Power of the Comic Book and Graphic Novel13:00 - 14:15
- Coffee Break / DiscordCoffee Break / Discord14:15 - 14:30
- Workshop with Julie Sedivy: Mining Your Language History as You Develop Your VoiceWorkshop with Julie Sedivy: Mining Your Language History as You Develop Your Voice14:30 - 15:45
- Workshop with Conni Massing: Introduction to PlaywritingWorkshop with Conni Massing: Introduction to Playwriting14:30 - 15:45
- Panel: Independent Booksellers and Their Impact on the IndustryPanel: Independent Booksellers and Their Impact on the Industry14:30 - 15:45
- Presentation: The Great Debate: Self Publishing vs Traditional, with FriesenPressPresentation: The Great Debate: Self Publishing vs Traditional, with FriesenPress14:30 - 15:45
- Fiction Workshop with Ben Berman GhanFiction Workshop with Ben Berman Ghan16:00 - 17:15
- Spoken Word Poetry Workshop with Wakefield BrewsterSpoken Word Poetry Workshop with Wakefield Brewster16:00 - 17:15
- Panel: A Taste of Food WritingPanel: A Taste of Food Writing16:00 - 17:15
- Alberta Literary Awards GalaAlberta Literary Awards Gala18:00 - 22:00
WGA Conference 2023: Origins - Sunday, June 4
Coffee & Mixer Sunday, June 4 9:00 am - 9:30 am MDT Coffee and brunch will be available Sunday morning for participants attending conference events and the AGM in-person.
Keynote: In-Conversation and Q&A with Emily St. John Mandel (Virtual) Sunday, June 4 9:30 am - 10:30 am MDT HOST: Dorothy Bentley Join us for an in-conversation chat with host Dorothy Bentley and featured author Emily St. John Mandel, where Dorothy and Emily will discuss the nuances of craft and Emily’s most recent novel, The Sea of Tranquility. Afterwards, we will open the floor to a 15-minute Q&A where participants can have the opportunity to ask Emily their literary-related questions. This event will be held online, streamed at Fort Calgary for in-person attendees, and recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Glass Hotel, Station Eleven, and Sea of Tranquility. Her novel Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and was adapted into a limited series for HBO. A previous novel, The Singer's Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Photo of Emily by Sarah Shatz. For more information on Emily St. John Mandel, please visit: prhspeakers.com. (HOST) Growing up in Southern Ontario gave DOROTHY BENTLEY a love of nature, books, and scribbling words. Transplanted to Alberta, she is a freelance writer and workshop presenter. Her picture book, Summer North Coming, was published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside in 2019, her YA novel, Escape from the Wildfire, was published by Lorimer Kids & Teens, 2022; and her poetry was included in the M(othering) Anthology, Inanna Press, 2022. In the time period BC (before children), she won the WBRL Excuses Excuses contest. Recently, she was a winner of the RMWB Words in Motion poetry contest (2016), and she was short-listed for an Excellence in the Arts Award, Literary Arts category, by Arts Council Wood Buffalo (2022). She lives with her family in the Alberta Foothills which are never too quiet with their excitable sheltie, Clay, and a cat named Whitney Mewston who likes to sing. Website: dorothybentley.ca | FB: Dorothy Bentley | IG: dorothydbentley | LI: Dorothy Bentley
WGA Annual General Meeting Sunday, June 4 10:45 am - 12:15 pm MDT This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference. More details coming soon! Check back for updates!
Lunch Sunday, June 3 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm MDT Coffee and brunch will be available Sunday morning for participants attending conference events and the AGM in-person.
Ask an Agent and Publisher Interactive Talk/ Q&A Sunday, June 4 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm MDT Featuring: Kelsey Attard (Freehand), Stacey Kondla (The Rights Factory) More details coming soon! Check back for updates! This will be a hybrid event: held in-person and streamed online. This event will be recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ KELSEY ATTARD is the managing editor of Freehand Books, a literary publisher in Calgary. She has a master of publishing degree from Simon Fraser University, and she has worked for fifteen years in Alberta's writing and publishing industry. TW: @kelseyattard A life-long bibliophile, STACEY KONDLA's experience includes working as a Field Representative for Scholastic Book Fairs, managing at Chapters/Indigo stores, freelance editing, and serving on the organizing committee of When Words Collide (A Festival for Readers and Writers). She joined The Rights Factory in 2018 and represents fiction and nonfiction authors across age categories and across genres. Stacey is drawn to strong narrative voices, innovative storytelling, feeling all the feels, laughing all the laughs, and also the dark and the weird. TW: @StaceyKondla | IG: 101minerva
Panel: The Relevance of Speculative Fiction in a Real Scary World Sunday, June 4 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm MDT Panelists: Jaqueline Baker, Deborah Willis, and R.M. Olson Moderator: Eric Choi As we navigate our way through a changed world post-pandemic, we might ask ourselves what bearing speculative fiction has in our writing when there are so many real, immediate, and downright scary events occurring presently across the globe. Why does speculative fiction continue to be a relevant, almost fundamental vehicle many writers use to tell their stories? Is it easier to talk about real-life issues through the guise of otherworldly tales? Can exploring alternative worlds, histories, and possibilities enhance our ability to understand our own world better, ultimately making us better writers? This event will be held online, streamed at Fort Calgary for in-person attendees, and recorded for viewing after the conference. ______________________________ JACQUELINE BAKER is the author of A Hard Witching & Other Stories, The Horseman's Graves, and most recently, The Broken Hours, a ghost story about the final days of horror icon HP Lovecraft. TW: @jakerback | IG: jacqueline__baker DEBORAH WILLIS is a writer based in Calgary, Alberta. Her 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 best work of fiction published in Alberta, and was named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail, the CBC, and Chatelaine Magazine. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in The Walrus, The Virginia Quarterly, The Iowa Review, Lucky Peach, and Zoetrope. Her novel, Girlfriend on Mars, is forthcoming this June from Penguin (Canada), W.W. Norton (U.S.), and Serpent's Tail (U.K.). R.M. OLSON writes space opera science fiction that features queer and neurodivergent characters, found families, friends-to-lovers, and a whole lot of action. They've published fourteen novels, along with various novellas and short stories, and have two more series currently in the works. R.M. loves space opera as a genre, because it gives them freedom to flesh out their characters and relationships (platonic and romantic) while still having all the wild mile-a-minute action scenes that they love. In 2021 R.M. quit their job as a lawyer to become a full-time author, and hasn't looked back since. Besides writing, R.M. has ridden the Trans Siberian railway, jumped off the highest bungee jump in the world, gone cage-diving with great white sharks, faced down a charging buffalo bull, and knows how to milk a goat. Currently they reside just outside of Calgary, Alberta with their four children, multiple cats, and a dog the size of a small bear. They go hiking and skiing more often than they probably have time for, eat more chocolate than is probably good for them, and read more books than is probably prudent. Website: rmolson.com | FB: rmolsonauthor | IG: rolson_author | YT: rmolsonsci-fiauthor9303 (MODERATOR) ERIC CHOI is a Hong Kong born writer, editor, and aerospace engineer based in Toronto. He was the first recipient of the Isaac Asimov Award (now the Dell Magazines Award) for his novelette “Dedication,” and he has twice won the Prix Aurora Award for his short story “Crimson Sky” and for the Chinese-themed speculative fiction anthology The Dragon and the Stars (DAW) co-edited with Derwin Mak. With the late Ben Bova, he co-edited the hard SF anthology Carbide Tipped Pens (Tor). Eric’s work has appeared in more than thirty publications in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Japan. His first short story collection Just Like Being There (Springer Nature) was released in 2022. Website: aerospacewriter.ca | Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/aerospacewriter | FB: aerospacewriter | TW: @aerospacewriter | IG: aerospacewriter | LI: linkedin.com/in/eric-choi-91969514
- Coffee & MixerCoffee & Mixer09:00 - 09:30
- Keynote: In-Conversation and Q&A with Emily St. John Mandel (Virtual)Keynote: In-Conversation and Q&A with Emily St. John Mandel (Virtual)09:30 - 10:30
- WGA Annual General MeetingWGA Annual General Meeting10:45 - 12:15
- LunchLunch12:15 - 13:30
- Ask an Agent and Publisher Interactive Talk/ Q&AAsk an Agent and Publisher Interactive Talk/ Q&A13:30 - 14:45
- Panel: The Relevance of Speculative Fiction in a Real Scary WorldPanel: The Relevance of Speculative Fiction in a Real Scary World13:30 - 14:45
Accommodations and Parking
A group discount rate of $169.00 per night is available at Alt Hotel Calgary East Village. 4-person rooms and upgraded rooms are also available for $199. Visit our booking page to book online (discount code is pre-filled). Or guests can call (587) 441-6635 to make their booking by referencing “Alberta Literary.”
The RiverWalk Parkade (zone 8340) is located directly underneath the hotel. Rates are $20 between 6:00AM – 6:00PM with in-and-out access, and $30 per 24 hours.
Alternate parking options include:
- Lot 74 (zone 9074) is a surface parking lot beside the hotel. Rates are $13.50 between 6:00AM – 6:00PM with in-and-out access, but parking can fill up throughout the day.
- On-street parking can be found around the hotel block. Rates approx. $2.50 per hour, but are limited to three hours maximum during the day. All on-street parking is free from 6:00PM – 9:00AM daily and without the 3 hour limit.
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