Events

Welcome to the SWG’s 2023 Conference Symbiosis! All events are held at the ParkTown Hotel in Saskatoon at 924 Spadina Crescent Ave. Events accessible by livestream are noted. Paid registration required unless the event is noted as free.

Friday, October 20, 2023

1:30 – 2:30 pm – Concurrent Talks

Country Black: Racial Identity on the Prairies, One Song at a Time with Bertrand Bickersteth

Oak Room

The Prairies have always been a space of contention for me. For most of my upbringing, I felt erased from the landscape of its contemporary culture. Agriculture, oil and gas, rural environments in general were regularly offered as essential parts of Albertan and Prairie identity, automatically disqualifying Black people from participating. In my youth, these exclusions were painful and frustrating. As an adult, though, I have found ways of forcing these “essential parts” to confront their denied black histories. In this talk, I will explore my personal confrontation with Country and Western music, a music I despise but, surprisingly, has afforded me spaces of creativity that have reaffirmed my own, unique prairie identity. 

 

OR

 

Concurrent Talk – Overcoming Obstacles and Challenges in Storytelling with Randy Morin

Maple Room

Join Randy Morin as he shares his journey as a storytelling and some of the challenges and obstacles he encountered and overcame. He will also be sharing some stories of overcoming challenging situations. 

2:45 – 3:45 pm – Concurrent Events

How Poetry Grieves panel with Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer, Katherine Lawrence, Jennifer Still and host Alasdair Rees

Oak Room

In this panel, poets Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer, Katherine Lawrence, and Jennifer Still will discuss how poetry and grief interact and intersect with host Alasdair Rees. Poets throughout time have used poetry to work through or with their grief, whether the grief is personal, cultural, communal, or global. There is no one right path to mourn, to travel in grief. So, how does poetry “travel” in grief? Is poetry a vehicle for grief? How can poetry be a work of mourning? How do poets render grief or let it manifest on the page?

 

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The Business of Combining Writing, Photography, and Publishing with Robin and Arlene Karpan

Maple Room

Writers write, photographers take photos, and publishers put the pieces together into books and other publications. But what if you were to combine those tasks? That’s what Robin and Arlene Karpan have been doing for several years. They formed Parkland Publishing specifically to publish books that feature their writing and photography, and have turned it into a successful business. Taking this path has many advantages but just as many challenges. Robin and Arlene will take us through what is involved, why they chose this option, and will outline the pros and cons of this approach to publishing your work.

4:00-5:30 pm - Writing While Black with Khodi Dill

Oak Room

In this session, participants will learn about the lived experience of writing while Black from author and spoken word artist Khodi Dill.  From writing for anti-racism to reclaiming voice and space, Khodi will lead participants through the complexities of creating Black writing and Black art in a white society.  Uncover the hidden potential of Black literacies and expand your own writing horizons in this engaging and interactive session. Open to everyone.

7:00 – 8:15 pm - 2023 Caroline Heath Memorial Lecture

What’s It All About? with Alissa York

Oak Room + Live-streamed + Available on SWG YouTube channel post-conference

This event is free and open to the public

Doors open at 6:30 pm

The 2023 Caroline Heath Memorial Lecture will be presented by Alissa York, followed by an onstage conversation with fellow writer Marina Endicott and audience Q&A. This event is free and open to the public.

Existential crises – they happen to the best of us, and we writers are by no means immune. When the abyss opens, it tends to do so in the vicinity of that which we hold dear. Questions rise from the depths: Why do I write? Does writing even matter? Is there still a place for it in this world of shifting markets and shrinking attention spans? Decades into a literary life, Alissa York takes on these and other demons, asking, What’s it all about?

8:15 pm – Post-Lecture Reception and Fast Friends: Building Connections

Oak Room

This event is free and open to the public

Please stay after our Heath Memorial Lecture to enjoy our reception with other writers. You’re welcome to socialize or participate in our fun “Fast Friends: Building Connections” event.

Do you find it easier to make up characters than to make real-life friendships? Are you so shy or new to the Saskatchewan writing community that you put the green in introvert or extravert? Do you appreciate telling stories under a deadline? We’ll help writers who’ve been waiting for an excuse to talk to other writers become Fast Friends through guided conversation that will dig beyond surface level small talk (but no stress – you control how deep you want to dive!) Part speed dating for friendships, part (adult) musical chairs, part low-stakes storytelling, this evening community building event will give you the chance to make yourself the protagonist and find your next writing bestie.

Free! Open to beginning, emerging, or established writers.   

 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

9:00 - 10:30 am – Concurrent Workshops

Symbiosis of Relationships with Marina Endicott

Oak Room

Character relationships form an interconnected symbiotic net of past and present lives. Their shared experience, co-dependencies, irritations and delights in each other gives fiction much of its pleasure. This is back-and-forth work: when we work on relationship in fiction, we dive deeper into the essence of the people in the relationships—their physical, emotional, and psychological roots and reasons for being—revealed in the causes and consequences of their ways of being with others. In opposition or alliance, in yielding and contending, in conflict or in concert, relationships are the symbiotic system of fiction. 

 

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Inside and Outside All at Once: Poetry and the Body with Jennifer Still

Maple Room

Where does the poem live when we walk away from the desk? When we step into the rhythm of our daily routines and tasks? In this workshop we will consider poetry as a physical, embodied, lived, and practical everyday act. A process of movement and muscle. Dimension and heft. A poetry that happens at heart level, daDUM daDUM, in iambic foot, as we move about our days in the ways we do--taking the stairs, lining-up for groceries, making lists, shoveling the walk. A poetry that happens inside and outside all at once.

In this 90-minute workshop we will explore tactile, rhythmic, physical composition techniques such as handwriting, typewriting, paper collage, erasure, vocalizing--embodied grammars that reveal strange and particular meaning in our work.

Please bring:

  • a poem or piece of writing you want to experiment with (yours or another’s)
  • a pen/pencil and notebook
  • a physical object, image, sound file, quote, etc., that belongs to the world of your poem

10:45-12:15 pm – Concurrent Workshops

Sense of Place: Creating a Convincing World with Alissa York

Oak Room

Whether they unfold in downtown Saskatoon or in the belly of a sounding whale, the stories we care about are grounded in worlds that feel real. This interactive workshop will focus on the art of creating clear, convincing settings. Participants will consider the dramatic and emotional potential of various environments, and engage in exercises designed to encourage writing that is rich in sensory detail. 

 

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Landscapes Within, Landscapes Without: Poetry workshop with Bertrand Bickersteth

Maple Room

Nature is a wonderful muse. But nature is also inherently contradictory. Orderly and chaotic. Systematic and haphazard. Generative and destructive. At the centre of this contradiction are humans, who are simultaneously seen as agents countering nature from without and components of nature reflecting its harmonious whole. In this workshop we will find ways of harnessing our understanding of nature to explore unexpected juxtapositions, give voice to our unvoiced selves, and honour the generative/destructive landscapes of our identities.

12:30 - 1:45 pm Lunch & Conversation

with Bob Calder and David Carpenter

Oak Room

Meal included in conference pass and will be served during the conversation event

Saskatoon writers Bob Calder and David Carpenter have had a long friendship founded in writerly conversation and connection.  Listen in as they discuss the writing life, their writing in nonfiction and fiction and the ways they get at the truth.

3-course meal included in full conference pass:

Sundried Tomato Chicken (marinated boneless chicken breast topped with sundried tomato cream sauce, served with rice pilaf & seasonal vegetables. Also includes butter & rolls, starter spring mix salad with orange, feta, sliced almonds and citrus vinaigrette dressing, strawberry shortcake dessert and coffee & tea service).

If you have food allergies or restrictions, please notify the SWG.

2:00 - 3:30 pm Youth Poet Laureate Showcase

Oak Room 

This event is free and open to the public

This exciting event showcases the bright gifts of young poets in Saskatchewan! Join host and Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan dee Hobsbawn-Smith in discussion with Youth Poets Laureate Lauren Klassen (2022-present), Alasdair Rees (2019-2020) and Peace Akintade-Oluwagbeye (2020-2021) about poetry and how they have shared their love of poetry with audiences all over Saskatchewan. Our Youth Poets will perform their poetry and invite special guest poets Danika Michael, Deziyah Nokusis and Imogen Rennie to the stage to introduce us to dazzling new talent. This event is free and open to the public.

3:45 - 5:30 pm Annual General Meeting

Oak Room

This event is free. Only SWG members in good standing may vote.

 

7:00 - 8:30 pm - 2023 John V Hicks Long Manuscript Award in Literary Nonfiction Ceremony

hosted by Jennifer Wallace

Oak Room + Live-streamed

This event is free and open to the public

Doors open at 6:30 pm

Join the SWG in celebrating the winners of the 2023 John V Hicks Long Manuscript Award in Literary Nonfiction. The first, second and third place winners will read from their work. Hosted by Jennifer Wallace. Reception to follow.

8:30 - 11:00 pm - Community Stage Open Mic and Social

with host Dash Reimer

Oak Room

This event is free and open to the public

Like a forest ecosystem, writers are constantly sharing new ideas and words, writing into an ecosystem of other creators and leaning on each other for resources and support. Perform or just listen at our Community Stage, an open mic where writers have 3 minutes to share work – new or old, unpublished or published, in any genre – with your writing community.

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