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Writing North: Cabin Fever Jan 25 -26, 2019

Posted on 2018-11-29 in Events, MFA in Writing News
Jan 25, 2019 to Jan 26, 2019

Writing North: Cabin Fever January 25-26, 2019

Writing North
Cabin Fever: Breaking Down Walls

January 25-26, 2019

St. Andrew’s College
121 College Drive
University of Saskatchewan


Presenters: Jacqueline Baker, Sarah Gartshore, Laurie D. Graham, Michael Helm, Elizabeth Philips

Writing North is a two-day writers’ festival for Saskatoon`s community of writers and anyone interested in writers and books. This year’s festival features five Canadian writers from diverse genres and backgrounds. Writing North will kick off with a panel session on Friday afternoon on the theme of Cabin Fever: Breaking Down Walls, a catered reception and author readings. On Saturday, our featured authors will present free seminars on the craft of writing in different genres.

This event is co-produced by the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of English/MFA program and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. Funding is gratefully acknowledged from Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries and the University of Saskatchewan.

 The SWG will operate a book table at which the presenting authors will sell their books.

Friday, January 25, 2019

4:00 p.m.             Greetings

4:30 p.m.             Panel with Baker, Gartshore, Graham, Helm, and Philips on the theme of Cabin Fever: Breaking Down Walls

5:45 p.m.             Free catered supper (Pizza and salad buffet - vegetarian and gluten-free options)

7:00 p.m.             Author readings

Saturday, January 26, 2019


9:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.    Elizabeth Philips – The Art of Revision
This seminar will explore the mystery of the art of revision: how to take that sometimes pitiful, puny, unlovable first draft—whether of prose or poetry—and transform it, draft by draft, into something resilient, original, lively, and maybe even capable of withstanding the scrutiny of the literary world. This seminar will explore the mystery of the art of revision: how to take that sometimes pitiful, puny, unlovable first draft—whether of prose or poetry—and transform it, draft by draft, into something resilient, original, lively, and maybe even capable of withstanding the scrutiny of the literary world.

10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. Sarah Gartshore - Playwriting from the Margins
From the beginning of Sarah Gartshore’s playwriting process to the end, people are at the centre. Before she has a ‘finished’ first draft of a play every word has lived in the mouths of the people she is writing about and their involvement is encouraged throughout the entire page to stage journey. Centering the marginalized and criminalized people Gartshore writes about is necessary for her to write their stories with integrity. In this seminar, she will discuss the challenges and rewards of this process, which has taken much collaboration and trust to develop.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.   Lunch on your own

1:10 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.     Laurie D. Graham –Breaching Form: Strategies to Combat Poetic Claustrophobia
What do your poems look like? Do you gravitate toward certain forms, certain shapes? Are you in search of, or just curious about, new ways for your work to live on the page? Using some audacious formal dismantlers as guides, this seminar will focus on the meaningful breaking of poetic routines to understand new formal possibilities as both a writer and a reader of poetry. Elasticity and surprise will take precedent, and participants will uncover the extent to which changing the form of a poem can also reshape its vocal, emotional, and thematic contours.

2:10 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.     Michael Helm -Some Articles on Faith: On Writing Fiction
As fiction writers spend years at work on their practice, they come to trust certain tenets that help them with each new page and story. One might be that if enough pressure is put on the prose, then the poetry of story, character, theme, and language become the same substance. But how do we know when these elements are coming together? This seminar will consider some of the qualities of good fiction: literary language, compression, soundscape, character, interiority, counter-tone, and others.

3:10 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.     Jacqueline Baker – Loving your Characters Better
This seminar will explore the development of rich characters within the bounds of short fiction.

Presenter Bios:

Jacqueline Baker is the author of A Hard Witching & Other Stories, The Horseman's Graves, and, most recently, The Broken Hours, a literary ghost story about the final days of horror icon H.P. Lovecraft. She is the Assistant Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Sarah Gartshore is a playwright, director, actor and teacher who makes her home in Sudbury, Ontario. Gartshore’s work offers a platform for voices from the margins as well as nurtures those voices within the theatre space as future theatre creators. Aware of the power of theatre as a space of Story Telling and reclamation of human rights, Gartshore uses the medium as a space for community building in marginalized communities.

Laurie D. Graham comes from Treaty 6 territory (Sherwood Park, Alberta) and currently lives in Treaty 20 territory (Peterborough, Ontario), where she is a poet, an editor, and the publisher of Brick magazine. Her first book, Rove, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and her second book, Settler Education, was a finalist for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry. The Larger Forgetting, a collaborative art chapbook with painter Amanda Rhodenizer, was published in 2018.

Michael Helm grew up in Eston, Saskatchewan. His most recent novel, After James, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Arthur Ellis Award, and was named a Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail and Now magazine. His other novels are Cities of Refuge, a Writers' Trust finalist and a Globe and Mail and Now magazine Best Book of the Year; The Projectionist, a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Trillium Award; and In the Place of Last Things, a finalist for the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book. He's an editor at Brick magazine and the Coordinator of the Creative Writing program at York University.

Elizabeth Philips is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Torch River, as well as the novel The Afterlife of Birds, winner of the City of Saskatoon Book Award and a finalist for the First Novel Award. She’s edited over 50 books for various publishers, is a past editor of Grain magazine, has taught creative writing extensively at the Banff Centre and elsewhere, and is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Saskatoon Public Library. 

For more information, please contact:
Yolanda Hansen, Program Manager
T: 306.791.7743 | E:

Additional funding for this event is provided by Canada Council for the Arts.

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