The Short Poem

Facilitator: Catherine Graham

Description: Compression, image, metaphor, voice—there are many routes to the short poem. How does it accomplish so much in a little arena? In this workshop we’ll explore the elements behind the short poem. Through examples, exercises, discussion, and reflection, we’ll explore the landscape of the small. The opportunity to read your drafts will be part of the process. This workshop is suitable for all levels—from beginner to advanced.

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 2:15 – 4:45 pm

Everything Including the Kitchen Sink: Shaping Character (Fiction)

Facilitator: Dennis Bock

Description: Writing three-dimensional characters is one of the toughest challenges facing a fiction writer. How does a writer turn an idea into a character that a reader wants to believe in? How do we turn names on the page into characters who seem to live and breathe and capture our full attention? This workshop will address this question and attempt to offer some good clear advice to writers about how to develop their characters.

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 2:15 – 4:45 pm

The Sixth Element: Developing and Integrating Speculative Elements in Genre Fiction

Facilitator: Leah Bobet

Description: What makes a genre story good? Ask twenty people and you’ll come up with thirty-five answers, but all of them will touch on one thing: the quality of what makes that story genre after all, the speculative element. This interactive workshop, incorporating editor Stanley Schmidt’s concept of speculative integration, will talk about what makes a speculative element, developing interesting speculative concepts, and building genre fiction with your speculative element at the centre of—and woven through—your themes, characters, worldbuilding, language, and plot. Come prepared to write, analyze, make terrible jokes, and have a very serious talk about the nature of unicorns.

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 2:15 – 4:45 pm


Plot Geometry or Pythagoras Was Wrong – Don’t Solve for Angle A

Facilitator: Richard Scrimger

Description: Stories are shaped by conflict with other or self, but that conflict is not a simple straight line. In fact, it is shaped more like a triangle. Awareness of the third point in the triangle—the character, object or secret – gives your plot shading and depth. The focus of the workshop is on the triangle element in story. The workshop is interactive and mostly humorous. There will be exercises, but no handouts. You will become a better writer.

Date / Time: Saturday, June 24 from 2:15 – 4:45 pm

Rejuvenating the Fictional Impulse

Facilitator: Cordelia Strube

Description: Fiction is a platform, a dream or a nightmare, an idea—a device that allows the writer to vent, analyze, reflect, entertain, construct or deconstruct, possibly even to effect change. The act of writing is a tool for psychological survival, so this workshop will encourage participants to swim against the current, take chances, make mistakes and try new approaches. Combining the essential elements of prose (theme, narrative, voice, setting, characterization, dialogue and syntax) with the raw material of life experience, we hope to renew the fictional impulse, sparking the creation of new and unexpected work.

Date / Time: Saturday, June 24 from 2:15 – 4:45 pm

Story & Style: The Truth About Creative Nonfiction

Facilitator: Andrew Westoll

Description: True stories, vividly told. This is my favourite definition for creative nonfiction, a genre of literature that has consistently defied easy categorization. But while this definition is elegant and concise – only four words long! – the work of telling true stories is often messy and never straightforward. In this workshop you will explore a true story that you are dying to write through a useful framework that will simplify the process and inspire your creativity. Whether you want to write memoir, adventure, biography, an exposé, a humourous rant, or some wild mixture of forms, this class will provide you with the tools you need to transform true happenings into true prose. Think of this workshop as a practical guide to the weirdest genre on Earth.

Please arrive with a rough idea of a true story you would like to write about. This story can be about anything at all. The only stipulation is that it must be true.

Date / Time: Saturday, June 24 from 2:15 – 4:45 pm


A panel presentation is a moderated session available to all conference attendees and provides an opportunity to hear a range of perspectives on a variety of topics related to the publishing industry by a group of industry experts. Come with a list of questions – you’ll have an opportunity to ask them if they haven’t already been addressed.

Agent Panel

Panelists: Megan Beadle, Carolyn Forde, Martha Webb,

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Publisher Panel

Panelists: Amanda Bett, Jim Gifford, Hazel Millar

Date / Time: Saturday, June 24 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm


A pitch session is a 10-minute opportunity to sit down with an agent or a publishing executive one-on-one to pitch your book – and yourself. If you impress them, they might ask to see more of your manuscript. However, you should look on this as a chance to practice your pitch and an opportunity to get expert feedback on your pitch and the saleability of your concept. If you have booked a pitch session, be prepared to submit a one-page query letter and a 10-page manuscript by May 31. You will be contacted with the details and the time of your 10-minute session.

Friday Morning Pitchees: Martha Webb, Carolyn Forde, Megan Beadle

Date/Time: Friday, June 23, from 9:30 – 11:30 am

Saturday Morning Pitchees:  Amanda Betts,  Jim Gifford, Hazel Millar

Date/Time: Saturday, June 24, from 9:30 – 11:30 am


Writing circles at CanWrite! are moderated gatherings of like-minded writers getting support inspiration for their work through a combination of writing exercises and informal peer feedback.

Genre: Poetry

Facilitator: James Dewar

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 9:30 – 11:30 am and Saturday, June 24 from 9:30 – 11:30 am


Genre: Fiction/nonfiction

Facilitator: Sue Reynolds

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 9:30 – 11:30 am and Saturday, June 24 from 9:30 – 11:30 am

Genre: Fiction/Nonfiction

Facilitator: Ruth Walker

Date / Time: Friday, June 23 from 9:30 – 11:30 am and Saturday, June 24 from 9:30 – 11:30 am

Special Clinic

Culturebuilding Clinic with J.M. Frey

Facilitator: J.M. Frey

Description: Every memorable speculative fiction story has a world we wish we could live in – from Hogwarts to Middle Earth, from the USS Enterprise to Panem. The geography of your secondary world is key, but the culture and the way it influences your characters is even more important. This session will focus on the nitty gritty of the influence of culture, values, and hegemony on your societies, people, places, and plot. We encourage authors to bring their ideas for their own worlds and cultures to the table, as well as note-taking materials.

Date / Time: Saturday, June 24 from 9:30 – 11:30 am