Literary aficionados are in for a treat. The Fort McMurray chapter of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (WGA) will be hosting a literary conference “Shifting Creative Gears” in person and online from June 3-5. The event will be held at the Wood Buffalo Regional Library.
WGA’s local chapter began in January 2020 with Write Nights, which are “casual writing and discussion sessions suitable for adult writers of all levels.” The monthly meetings are back following a COVID hiatus. This month’s session will be held at the WBRL today, May 18, 2022 from 6-8 p.m. The next one is slated for June 15, also at the Library.
Local writer, and member at large for NorthWord literary magazine, Alisa Caswell is a volunteer with the Fort McMurray WGA, and oversees Write Nights. She encourages writers to join the Guild.
“Writers can join the Guild by visiting the memberships section at our website https://writersguild.ca/. Memberships are free for post-secondary students, and we have discounts for seniors and low-income individuals. Right now, there are only a few WGA members in the Fort McMurray, however, there are many local writers, and we are hoping with in-person events we can expand the membership.”
“Many of the Writers’ Guild events are now available online and have become very accessible to people in our region. To learn about these events such as readings, write-ins, classes, literary awards, we encourage all local writers to follow our Facebook page: Writers Guild of Alberta – Fort McMurray.”
Ashley Mann, Program and Operations Coordinator, Writers’ Guild of Alberta shares more about the conference and the group.
“The conference is a fabulous way to learn about an array of literary topics and themes from numerous authors, experts, and artists, but it is also a great avenue for connecting and networking with other local writers and groups. The hybrid format gives people the option of attending workshops, networking sessions, and/or group critiques in-person, or they can participate solely online — it is completely dependent on individual comfort level.”
Shedding light on the WGA’s background, she continued:
“The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is based in Edmonton, Alberta. It was formed in 1980. We currently have 941 members. The Guild provides a fundamental sense of community that allows members to connect and grow as writers, while staying informed about current literary events, programs, and opportunities.”
“WGA offers a variety of different programs, services, online resources, and events for its writer and poet members, including (but definitely not limited to): a mentorship program, a manuscript reading service, members-only retreats, the Alberta Literary Awards and Gala, and a virtual writer-in-residence. Most importantly, though, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta gives writers and poets the chance to network with one another and take part in a larger collective,” added Mann, who is based in Edmonton as well.
When it comes to literary arts advocacy, Mann explained, the “WGA is a member of PEN Canada, the Edmonton Arts Council, and Access Copyright. We are represented on the Alberta Partners for Arts and Culture (APAC) Coalition, the Canadian Writers’ Foundation, and the Cultural Human Resources Council, among others. We also work collaboratively with different writing organizations across the country.”
“In a world where connection is not always easy, and where being a writer is oftentimes hard — especially during a pandemic — the conference is the perfect opportunity to engage with other writers about all kinds of literary topics. Please check out writersguild.ca to learn more about all the other programs and services we have to offer, and to register for the upcoming conference. Also, if they continue to be popular, we will look at adding workshops and social events for writers in Fort McMurray,” said Mann.
Fort McMurray Write Nights information: https://writersguild.ca/fort-mcmurray-write-nights/.
About the author
Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.