HITTING THE ROAD: ALBERTA

Lake Louise, AB. Photo credit: Arina Kharlamova (https://akharlamova.com/)
Lake Louise, AB. Photo credit: Arina Kharlamova

We continue our virtual road trip today, cruising through BC into the Rockies–what’s up, Alberta? There are tons of festivals and literary goings-on here at the edge of the prairies, and as usual we will barely be scratching the surface of what they have to offer. We recommend checking out the Writers’ Guild of Alberta for a variety of resources, included an events calendar! All writers who are residents or former residents of Alberta are welcome to join the Writers’ Guild of Alberta–members include professional writers, aspiring professionals, and hobbyists.

Before we dive in, we’d like to congratulate all the writers shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Awards! Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 4, 2016 in MacDonald Hall at SAIT in Calgary. The celebration will take place alongside the WGA 2016 Conference, “Creativity and Happiness.”

READING SERIES & FESTIVALS

Calgary Slam runs on the last Monday of every month, starting at 8:00 pm at Wine-Ohs.

The Edmonton Poetry Festival takes place annually in April, working with all sorts of partners to build Edmonton’s vibrant poetry scene: publishers, writers’ organizations, community organizations, schools and literary groups. The Festival kicked off in 2006, with the help of Edmonton’s then-poet laureate Alice Major and an organizing committee representing a wide range of poetry groups in the city.

When Words Collide is an annual non-profit festival designed to bring readers and writers together in a celebration of the written word. Up to 10 tracks of programming, beginning at 1 PM on Friday and running through 5 PM Sunday, offer informational, educational, and social activities covering a wide spectrum of literature including Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Literary, Script-writing, Poetry, Comics, and Non-fiction. Roughly 650 readers, writers, editors, publishers, agents, and artists attend with over 200 presenters in our program.

Calgary, AB. Photo credit: Arina Kharlamova
Calgary, AB. Photo credit: Arina Kharlamova

Wordfest sparks lively, illuminating and meaningful conversations between Calgary’s readers and the world’s most engaging writers. The year-round literary events culminate in a 10-day festival every October, and are programmed to inspire Calgarians to live more creative and empathetic lives. Wordfest’s trademark events include readings, workshops, panel discussions and in-school presentations from authors writing in every genre and for all ages.

The Single Onion is Calgary’s longest-running spoken word series, bringing Canada’s finest poets to a dedicated audience at Shelf Life Books. Events take place the third Thursday of each month, and often feature an open microphone!

The Haven Reading Series is an opportunity for members of The Stroll of Poets to share their poetry in front of a supportive audience in an atmosphere both friendly and inviting. The two host venues are the Upper Crust Café and Audreys Books in Edmonton. The  series runs from September to March on Mondays from 7-9 pm and some Sundays from 2-4 pm. Each Haven event features four member readers who have signed up for their 10-minute reading in advance. Each Haven event also features a two-minute open mic, open to any and all poets. A $5 fee is charged at the door Monday nights at the Upper Crust to cover the venue cost and some snacks. Sunday readings at Audreys Books are free of charge.

flywheel Reading Series is a FREE monthly reading event curated by filling Station Magazine. It is held the 2nd Thursday of the month at Pages Books on Kensington in Calgary, Alberta, 1135 Kensington Road NW. It’s a diverse series that welcomes the participation of writers of all kinds of literature; however, like filling Station Magazine, they are especially interesting in innovative and original work.

Now into its sixteenth season, The Olive Reading Series is one of Canada’s longest running live literary events. Since 2000, poetry lovers in Edmonton have gathered on the second Tuesday of the month from September to April, to enjoy featured poets from Edmonton and across the country, as well as across the globe. The Olive Reading Series has been honoured to host Award Winning Literary masters alongside brilliant up-and-coming poets. Once the headline poet has read, they open the stage to hear what some of the local talent has brought.

Every Tuesday evening, join Rouge Poetry Nights for an incredible night of poetry and music. Unlike what you might have imagined happening at poetry reading, this night will change your perspective towards poetry completely .The night is infused with emotion and celebration. This poetry night will leave you inspired,  enlightened and uplifted. Come check out Edmonton’s finest poets.

WRITING OPPORTUNITIES

The Banff Centre‘s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. Arts programs are at the core of The Banff Centre. Programming supports the commissioning and creation of new work by individual artists and arts collectives, and provides resources for collaboration and applied research. Training and professional development is offered at the post-graduate level in more than a dozen art forms including, music, theatre, dance, opera, Indigenous arts, literature, ceramics, print-making, painting, papermaking, photography, sculpture, audio engineering, digital film and video, and new media. Work is showcased in public performance, events, and exhibitions throughout the year, culminating in the annual Banff Summer Arts Festival; and is disseminated beyond Banff through Banff Centre LIVE. The Centre also partners with national and international arts institutions to bring art incubated in Banff to stages and concert halls around the world.

Frontenac House is a dynamic publishing house based in Calgary, Alberta. Since its launch in 2000, they have published a wide variety of titles in categories like poetry, aviation, political satire, fiction, art and photography. Frontenac is best known for an annual Quartet of poetry books which launch in September.

Canmore, AB. Photo credit: Arina Kharlamova
Canmore, AB. Photo credit: Arina Kharlamova

Freehand Books was established in 2007 as the literary imprint of the academic publisher Broadview Press with a very simple mandate: to publish excellent Canadian literature. In 2016, after publishing forty titles, Freehand became independent. Their list is an aesthetically diverse, award-winning collection of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by both established authors and exciting new voices. “We pride ourselves on our careful attention to detail throughout the editorial process, the high production quality and innovative design of our titles, and our creativity in the marketing and promotion of each book.”

NeWest Press is one of Canada’s first independent literary publishing houses. NeWest publishes literary fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, and drama, as well as a line of mystery novels, with a particular interest in books by Western Canadian authors. Its Nunatak imprint is the longest-running first-fiction series in Canada.

Eighteen Bridges is a magazine concerned with people, politics, culture, and ideas, its articles substantial and grounded in the tradition of narrative journalism. It was founded in 2010 by Curtis Gillespie and Lynn Coady with the goal to produce a magazine with the narrative power of The New Yorker, and the research standards and story scope of magazines such as Granta and Harper’s. In the past five years, Eighteen Bridges has won multiple awards for its works of narrative journalism, essays, profiles, poetry, fiction and art.

filling Station Magazine is a literary and arts magazine publishing innovative poetry, fiction, non-fiction (creative non-fiction, reviews, articles, interviews, live event reviews, photo essays, etc), and presenting a featured visual artist each issue. Created in Calgary in 1993 by a group of University of Calgary students who wanted a magazine independent from the University and separate from Dandelion, and with more freedom about what, and whom, they could publish, filling Station has been pushing the boundaries ever since.

FreeFall is a literary magazine based in Calgary, AB. FreeFall was published by the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society until 2008, when Micheline Maylor and Lynn C. Fraser created the FreeFall Literary Society of Calgary, a non-profit group, and took over publication of the magazine. Today, FreeFall publishes three issues a year with one issue dedicated to the Annual Prose and Poetry Contest.

Glass Buffalo is a literary magazine in search of mythic power, collecting the words and stories of emerging writers at the University of Alberta in order to cultivate a creative literary community. Glass Buffalo won Best New Magazine at the 2014 Alberta Magazine Awards and was nominated for Best New Magazine at the 2014 Western Magazine Awards.

NōD Magazine is the University of Calgary’s sole creative writing publication. Founded in 2005 by now-doctoral candidate Colin Martin, NōD has spent the last ten years fostering a community and publication for emerging undergraduates and established artists. NōD exists as an all-inclusive publication, open and available not only to students at the University of Calgary, but also to an international literary community.