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When: January 24-25, 2020
Where: St. Andrew’s College, 1121 College Drive, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
Cost: FREE 
No registration required

Presenters: Louise Halfe, Tim Lilburn, Casey Plett, Candace Savage and Paul Seesequasis

Writing North is a free 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 to talk about writing in Western Canada. 

This event is co-organized 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’s Dept of English, Women’s & Gender Studies and Office of the Vice-Dean Indigenous.

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

Friday, January 24, 2020

4:00 p.m. Greetings
4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Panel with Louise Halfe, Tim Lilburn, Casey Plett, Candace Savage and Paul Seesequasis on the theme of “the west” as a writing space.
5:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Free catered supper & reception (Pizza and salad buffet - vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Cash bar)
7:00 p.m. Author Readings


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Seminars on the Craft of Writing

9:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m. Snapshots and Old Things – Paul Seesequasis 
  Methodologies of building non-fiction narratives through old objects: This workshop will explore the relationship between found objects, such as old snapshots or old keepsakes, and how these items can inspire and open up new avenues of creativity for writers of historical and non-fiction narratives.
10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. Enter a Dialogue and Flush out the Story – Louise Halfe 
  Enter a discussion, loosen your tongue and share with Louise Halfe. Participants will be expected to share within the circle on how to dialogue with your journal. Composting, stirring, digging, and planting, walking and singing: it’s an exploration of tongue and voice.
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:10 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Opening the Door – Casey Plett
  “Write with the door closed, re-write with the door open" is a famous quote from Stephen King's On Writing who in turn got the lesson from an editor. King said you should begin your story with the intent of it being just for you, and then open it up for others to criticize. Was he right? When do you open the door? How do you balance the humility of seeking criticism if it conflicts with what's exciting you? In this session, we'll discuss all these questions from a craft point of view.
2:10 p.m. - 3 p.m. The Long, Long Poem – Tim Lilburn
  Often people who are not poets, and some poets as well, think of poetry as an entirely short form: one page and you are done. Then there is another page. I would like to explore another way poetry can present itself – as poetry “systems” working out through a number of books, a multi-faceted focus that reveals itself over decades of a writer’s life. These poetry systems, or hyper-extended poems, are usually encyclopedic; everything is welcome.
3:10 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Passé imparfait/Future conditional: Managing time in narrative non-fiction 
– Candace Savage 
  Narrative implies chronology. Narrative non-fiction implies a straightforward accounting of past events. But what if we are interested in the way the past bleeds into the present? What if we want to understand how the past itself (when it was the present) was conditioned by previous events? In this brief presentation, we will look at techniques for layering times-past into nonfiction narrative without losing the chronological thread.


Presenter Bios:

Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer was raised on Saddle Lake Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Louise is married and has two adult children and three grandsons. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina. She also completed two years of Nechi Training in St. Albert’s Nechi Institute where she also facilitated the program. She served as Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate for two years and has traveled extensively. She has served as “keynote speaker” at numerous conferences. Her books, Bear Bones and Feathers, Blue Marrow, The Crooked Good, and Burning In This Midnight Dream published by Coteau Publishers have all received numerous accolades and awards. Louise was award an honorary degree from Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Saskatchewan.

Tim Lilburn is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Moosewood Sandhills, To the River, Kill-site, Orphic Politics, Assiniboia, and The Names. He has been nominated for the Governor General's Award in Literature twice: in 1989, for Tourist to Ecstasy, and in 2003, when he received the award for Kill-site. His most recent book of poetry is the masque The House of Charlemagne. His essay collection The Larger Conversation: Contemplation and Place came out with the University of Alberta Press in 2017.






Casey Plett wrote the novel Little Fish, the short story collection A Safe Girl to Love, and co-edited the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. She is a winner of the Amazon First Novel Award, the ALA Stonewall Book Award Barbara Gittings Literature Prize, and a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award. She has written for The New York Times, The Walrus, McSweeney's, Maclean's, and Rookie, among other publications.

Candace Savage was born in the Peace River Country of northern Alberta but she has put down roots in Saskatoon. The author of more than two dozen books, she has won numerous awards, including the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for A Geography of Blood. Her latest works are Strangers in the House: A Prairie Story of Bigotry and Belonging and her first picture book (with artist Chelsea O’Byrne), Hello, Crow!


Paul Seesequasis is a nîpisîhkopâwiyiniw (Willow Cree) writer, cultural worker and commentator currently residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For three years, he has curated the Indigenous Archival Photo Project, an online and physical exhibition of archival Indigenous photographs that explores history, identity and the process of visual reclamation. His photo book, Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun, was published by Penguin Canada in 2019. His writings have appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Brick, and Granta magazines, among others. He has been active in the Indigenous arts, both as an artist and a policy maker, since the 1990s.


For more information, please contact:
Yolanda Hansen, Program Manager
T: 306.791.7743 | E: programs@skwriter.com

Additional funding for this event is provided by:



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