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WGA Conference 2024 – No Place Like Home (June 7-9)

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No Place Like Home

WGA Annual Conference 2024

Alberta can oftentimes feel like a land of dichotomies: polarized views on culture, politics, and the economy are just some of the ways in which we differ. But for all of our differences, there is always a resounding sense of community here, especially in the arts sector. This is what makes Alberta so unique, and what brings us to a very important theme we will be incorporating into our 2024 conference programming: literary citizenship. What is literary citizenship, what makes us active literary citizens, and how can all of us writers continue to contribute – in our own way – to the very special literary scene here in our province? 

Along with literary citizenship, our 2024 Spring conference – which will include hybrid events — will explore the nuances of writing in various genres, the business of writing, and the art of writing on timely topics like climate change and other important issues; we want to explore what it means to be an Alberta writer now. We look forward to showcasing a plethora of local voices through keynote lectures, workshops, panels, and pre-conference events. 

Please join us at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel by APA in downtown Edmonton this June 7-9th, in-person or online, to celebrate the excellence of the Alberta writing community and to help us hone in on why there really is no place like home. 


Event Overview

Here is a high-level overview of what you can expect from the 2024 WGA Conference: No Place Like Home

Choose Your Own Adventure: There are multiple workshops and panels happening at the same time, which gives you plenty of options to fill your weekend with the topics that interest you most! 

A Quiet Space If You Need To Recharge: We will have a Writers’ Lounge available on Saturday, June 8th in the Turner Room, 2nd Floor. If you need a little peace and quiet to recharge your batteries over the weekend, then you can head to the Writers’ Lounge. This area should be treated like a library space so as not to interfere with the nearby workshops.

The Alberta Literary Awards Gala Is Happening Saturday Night: If you’re interested in attending the Alberta Literary Awards Gala, then you’re in luck! The Gala will be happening on the Saturday evening in the same location as the Conference. PLUS, you can save on your Gala tickets by purchasing the Full Conference Pass. You can find more information about the Alberta Literary Awards Gala here.

WGA AGM Is Taking Place Sunday Morning: We’re making it easy and convenient for you to also attend the WGA Annual General Meeting. This year’s AGM will be happening on-site at the conference on Sunday morning. You can find more details in the schedule

Book Sales On Site: Is there any better scent than that new book smell? We’re so happy to announce that Audreys Books will provide books for purchase on-site during parts of the conference weekend!

Event Speakers

The 2024 WGA Conference would not be complete without our incredible Keynotes. This year, we're so excited for our two exceptional keynote speakers, each an inspiration in Alberta's literary community. They're both bringing insightful perspectives and inspiring discourse to the theme of the conference: No Place Like Home. 

Jessica Johns

Hybrid Keynote - Writing as Treaty People

This keynote will discuss what it means for writers to uphold their Treaty responsibilities and how these principles should guide our relationships with the broader literary community, one another, and the land we live on.

Deborah Willis

Hybrid Keynote - Nurturing our Gifts: Writing, Community, and Continuing On in an Increasingly Inhospitable World

After parenting her daughter through summers of wildfire smoke, Deborah faced an increasing discomfort with her motivations as an author. In this talk, she attempts to honestly encounter her personal privilege and to question capitalist narratives of productivity and accomplishment—then to search for values and motivations suited to the Anthropocene, and to find the active hope and gentle resilience required to continue on as a writer.

Pre-Conference Events

Get excited about the 2024 WGA Conference with these pre-conference events! 

Getting Clear On Your Intentions Workshop with Francine Cunningham

May 24th, 7-8:30pm

This workshop will help participants clarify the place within which they are writing from. We will define what their personal goals are for their writing and how to access that truthful place for their voice to live.

Participants will be expected to take part in some writing activities and hopefully feel comfortable sharing throughout the process. This is an interactive workshop that will provide sparks for creation and impart knowledge on different ways of approaching your own life story.

This event is sponsored by Read Alberta

Not an Oxymoron: Business & Poetry

June 1st, 10:30am-12:00pm

The question of money and poetry often garners laughter followed by snide remarks about not quitting your day job. While it’s true, many professional poets have other jobs to supplement their work as artists, there are ways to better position yourself and make your mark (and some money) as a poet.

Join us for this pre-conference panel discussion where we’ll delve into the business side of poetry from the perspective of professional poets across the various facets of the poet’s experience – performance and slam, teaching and facilitating, publishing, editing, building your personal brand, and leveraging social media.

Panelists: Micheline Maylor, Adetola “aloT of Poetry” Adedipe, Cobra Collins, Wendy McGrath, and Wakefield Brewster

Moderator: Jennifer Bowering Delisle

This event is sponsored by Frontenac House Ltd.

Conference Workshops

Click the workshop/panel to learn more!

Writing for Young Readers: Essentials

Saturday, June 8 at 10:45 - 12:15 IN PERSON

Presenter: Kate A. Boorman

When you’re writing for young readers, understanding publishers’ parameters is a good, first step. But a successful manuscript goes beyond appropriate word count and vocabulary— beyond, even, interesting characters or setting. The story is the thing, and creating one that resonates with a young audience isn’t easy. Welcome to Writing for Young Readers: Essentials. This session introduces five essential questions that help focus and elevate your story so that it hits the audience-mark. Whether you are new to writing for young readers or a seasoned pro, join Kate for an in-depth look at what takes a manuscript from so-so to successful.
Speaker Bio

From Drafting to Submitting: Finding Your Process with Creative Nonfiction

Saturday, June 8 at 1:15-2:45 pm IN PERSON

Presenter: Dr. William Thompson

When it comes to nonfiction, every writer has their own process. Understanding that process and making it work for you is a necessary part of reaching publication. Whether you begin with an image, a narrative, or a broader interest, the goal is always completion. This workshop will take you through the process of developing and writing a personal essay—drafting, organizing, researching, editing, and finally submitting to literary journals.
Speaker Bio

Connect and Canapé!

Friday, June 7 at 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm IN PERSON

Host: Carissa Halton

From poets to screenwriters, pantsers to plotters, published to pre-published, the writers in the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (WGA) community are a diverse crew. Connect with fellow conference participants and celebrate each other in this 90-minute scavenger hunt with “Writers” as the theme.
Host Bio

No Place: The Question of Home

Saturday, June 8 at 10:45 - 12:15pm IN PERSON

Presenter: Bertrand Bickersteth

Whether it is associated with a specific location, specific family members, or a general idea, home is central to identity. Yet, home is an assumption. What happens when you can no longer make (or have never been able to make) that assumption? Poetry. In this workshop we will use the question of home as our starting point for exploring the negative spaces of belonging. We will use a series of prompts, geographical images, figurative devices, and biographical explorations to generate our work. Where and how do we belong when “home” challenges who we are? You tell me, poets!
Speaker Bio

Storycraft Essentials

Saturday, June 8 at 1:15 - 2:45 pm IN PERSON

Presenter: Thomas Wharton

Join me as we explore some of the elements that go into a successful work of short fiction, including how to craft an enticing invitation to the reader, the shifts and surprises that keep readers on their toes, and how the right ending for your story starts at the beginning.
Speaker Bio

Beyond the Page: Writing for New Media, Video Games, Television, and Film.

Saturday, June 8 at 10:45 - 12:15 ONLINE (with viewing available at conference venue)

Panel: Alyx Bui, Susie Moloney, Raphael Van Lierop & Moderator: Ben Gelinas

Writing engaging poetry and prose are skills that constantly require practice and refinement. Are the same skills that allow one to write an effective essay or powerful poem ones that can also help one write a sizzling screenplay or powerful scripted podcast? What else is there to consider when thinking about taking talents from the page to new industries? Join guest speakers with experience writing in a variety of forms as they talk about what audiences and employers are looking for when writing for screens and new media.
Speaker Bio

Memoir: Telling the Truth is Hard

Saturday, June 8 at 1:15-2:45 pm ONLINE (with viewing available at conference venue)

Panel: Ashley Bristowe, paulo da costa, Giselle General. Moderator: Rowan Jétte Knox

Writing a memoir can be a delicate endeavour. How do we write our own stories, when they so often converge with and contain elements of others’ stories as well? How do we remain true to our own experience while taking into consideration the potential impact our words can have on those around us? Why do we choose to tell our personal stories; should we? Join our panelists as they explore the many nuances, struggles, and victories one can expect being a memoirist.
Speakers Bios

Can Land Acknowledgements Truly Achieve Anything?

Saturday, June 8 at 3:00-4:30 pm IN PERSON

Presenter: Naomi McIlwraith

In this 90-minute session, we will discuss Indigenous history in Canada from an Indigenous perspective, why Indigenous people are so critical of Land Acknowledgements, and what you can do to engage in the conversation on Truth, to craft your own meaningful Land Acknowledgement, and to move forward on your own mission of Reconciliation.
Speaker Bio

The Novelty of Novellas

Saturday, June 8 at 3:00-4:30 pm IN PERSON

Presenter: Premee Mohamed

Novellas are having a renaissance right now! In this workshop, we will discuss craft aspects of writing at the novella length (17.5 - 40K words), and how to sell and market novellas as distinct from both novels and short fiction.
Speaker Bio

Ask An: Author, Publisher, and Agent Interactive Q&A

Sunday, June 9 at 1:30 - 3:00 pm HYBRID

Speakers: Wayne Arthurson, Natasha Deen, Matt Bowes and Hosted by Kendall Bistretzan

How do I know if my book is ready for publication? Should I go with a local indie publisher or try for one of The Big Five? Do I need an agent? If so, why? If you have asked yourself any of the above-mentioned questions or are curious about the next steps to take on your literary journey, the business of writing, or simply want to pose a question from one writer to another, now’s your chance! Natasha Deen, Wayne Arthurson, and Matt Bowes sit down to discuss all things writing in this interactive Q&A. Come prepared with questions.
Speaker Bio

Writing to Effect Change Panel

Saturday, June 8 at 3:00-4:30 pm IN PERSON

Panel: Debbie Willis, Jenna Butler, Juleus Ghunta and Moderator: Bertrand Bickersteth

Words have weight. They are powerful. The state of our current world is a tumultuous one, but writers have the ability to inform, discuss, and illuminate important issues we face today: Censorship, civil rights, climate control, political and cultural divisiveness . . . these are just a few of the hard-hitting discussions happening in the literary community currently. How does one write to effect change? Is persuasion something we should be cognizant of before we attempt to tell our stories or is it something that should unfold organically? Tune in as our panelists broach these issues and more during our Writing to Effect Change Panel.
Speakers Bios

Event Schedule

Every year members can expect exciting workshops, insightful speakers, and plenty of networking opportunities throughout the WGA Conference. We're so excited for the offerings we have for you in 2024.


Click the events to learn more!


Click "Month, Week, Day" to toggle through different schedule views.


Please note that while we will try our best to keep everything as listed, life happens and the schedule may change without notice. 

Get your Ticket

BUNDLE AND SAVE! Full Conference & Gala passes include a discounted price!


Bursaries are available and typically cover 25-75% of the fee. If you would like to apply for a bursary, you can indicate that in the registration form below. Available bursaries are dependent on donations. If you would like to donate to the bursary fund, you can do so here. 


Want your ticket comped? Volunteers get complimentary tickets to the events they volunteer at. Learn more here. 

Early Bird Full Conference Pass & Gala

$280 for non-member, $175 for students

$ 250 Member pricing
  • Deadline extended to May 9th
  • All conference activities from June 7-9
  • Coffee-breaks, Lunches, & Networking
  • Access to online conference activities and recordings
  • Ticket to the 2024 Alberta Literary Awards Gala

Regular Rate Full Conference Pass & Gala

$355 for non-member, $200 for students

$ 325 Member pricing
  • After May 9
  • All conference activities from June 7-9
  • Coffee-breaks, Lunches, & Networking
  • Access to online conference activities and recordings
  • Ticket to the 2024 Alberta Literary Awards Gala

Early Bird Conference Pass Only

$230 for non-member, $125 for students

$ 200 Member pricing
  • Deadline extended to May 9th
  • All conference activities from June 7-9
  • Coffee-breaks, Lunches, & Networking
  • Access to online conference activities and recordings

Regular Rate Conference Only

$305 for non-member, $150 for students

$ 275 Member pricing
  • After May 9
  • All conference activities from June 7-9
  • Coffee-breaks, Lunches, & Networking
  • Access to online conference activities and recordings

Online Only Rate

$150 for non-member, $70 for students

$ 115 Member Pricing
  • All online conference activities from June 7-9
  • Online activities include: Both pre-conference events, both keynote speakers, the Beyond the Page Panel, the Memoir Panel, AGM, and Ask an Agent/Writer/Publisher
  • Access to online conference recordings
  • Does NOT include ticket to Awards Gala

Alberta Literary Awards Gala ONLY

$ 75
  • Attendance for one to the 2024 Alberta Literary Awards Gala
  • Buffet dinner
  • Networking Opportunities


We have an incredible lineup of speakers for the 2024 WGA Conference!

Ben Gelinas

photo credit: Manuel Carrillos

Get to the venue

The 2024 WGA Conference will be held at Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel by APA


Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel by APA

10155 105 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 1E2


A group discount rate of $124 per night is available for those who register before April 23, 2024. Those who register after April 23rd will be subject to regular rates. 

To book your room, call 1-800-663-1144 and mention "The Writers' Guild of Alberta 2024 Conference" for the discount.  Or, follow the link below and book through the hotel website, using the discount code CEP-GFC19371


At Cost Edmonton Plaza Hotel: The hotel offers secured covered self-parking for a small fee of $25 per night. This must be requested upon arrival. 

Nearby: Impark parking lot # 155 (101 Ave & 105 Street)  is directly across the street from the hotel. It has a daily rate of $19.

Cancellation Policy


On or before May 7: You will receive 100% of the registration fees refunded minus a nonrefundable $30 administration fee

May 8 to May 24: You will receive 50% of the registration fees refunded minus a nonrefundable $30 administration fee

After May 24: You will receive No refund

Thanks to our funders!

Thanks to session sponsors!

Thanks to...

Promotional materials by
Leslie Irvine Design & Marketing

Promotional support from
The Prairie Journal


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