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Saturday, May 12, 2018

When Words Collide


For more information about Susan Calder's books, or to purchase visit her Books We Love Author Page.  

Three months from today I'll be hanging out at When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers -- the best deal in town for Calgary readers and writers. Where else can you get three full days and evenings of writing-related programming for $55 (less if you register in advance or qualify as a senior or student). Many writers from outside of Calgary find the trek worth making every year. I and others have been there since the festival began in 2011, seven years ago.

What has struck me the most about WWC is the energy. The multi-genre festival was inspired by science fiction and fantasy writers and readers, who know how to have fun at conventions. They aren't shy about dressing up in costumes.
Astro Hal at 2013 WWC
I also like the sense of democracy. Anyone registered can volunteer to sit on a panel or propose a panel or presentation topic. The first year I did a workshop on dialogue and was surprised by the numbers of people streaming in. Festival attendees choose from up to 10 activities each hour, including panels, presentations, blue pencil cafes, pitch sessions and book socials. Evenings feature parties and readings.

Here's an example of one panel offered this year. It is bound to draw a crowd, with these famous authors discussing this popular topic:

Historical Themed, Multi-Authored Book Collections with panelists Nancy M. Bell, Joan Donaldson-Yarmey, Victoria Chatham, Jude Pittman, and moderator Mahrie G Reid. Panel description: These collections are popular, especially in romance & fantasy. BWL Publishing Inc. (Books We Love) enlisted authors to deliver a collection called Canadian Historical Brides, 12 novels designed to celebrate Canada 150. (10 provinces and the territories) Several of the authors, including the publisher, Jude Pittman, will present a panel on the challenges and processes of planning, writing and publishing such a collection.
Nancy & Jude at 2017 WWC
Once again BWL will have a table in the Merchants Corner, with its authors' books for sale. The Merchants Corner is open to the public during the festival and is located in the Atrium building of the festival hotel, the Delta Calgary South.

Other free events open to the public are:


1. Festival Guest readings. This year's festival special guests will be reading at the Fish Creek Public Library on Thursday Aug 9 from 7-9 pm. They will also be reading at the Delta Calgary South Hotel on Friday Aug 10 from 1-3 pm in the Bonavista Ballroom (Tower Building).

2. Mass Autograph Session. The festival guests and 80+ attending authors will be signing books on Saturday Aug 11 from 8-10 pm in the Fireside Room (Atrium Building).


The mass autograph session follows the banquet, which always adopts a theme. Last year I participated in the autograph session dressed in my roaring twenties banquet costume. 



Ever since the banquet started encouraging costumes, it has sold out well ahead of the festival.

Whether it's planned or serendipity, When Words Collide has managed to find a sweet spot that combines lightness with serious learning, book promotion and networking for readers and writers. 


2013 WWC:  Jamis Paulson describes how small press publishers are born 
     


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