HITTING THE ROAD: SASKATCHEWAN

Photo credit: Nicole Brewer
Photo credit: Nicole Brewer

Today on our virtual road trip we continue into the prairies, through endless skies and existential-dread-inducing amounts of beautiful expansive space. (A note from the author: I recently took a bus trip from Toronto to Whitehorse, and it was my first time in the prairies as an adult. I expected to be bored, because everybody told me to expect to be bored. But we left Winnipeg just before sunset and it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. Later, I woke up in the middle of the night as we were driving through a perfect lightning storm in Saskatchewan, and this remains one of the most incredible scenes I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. The sky in the prairies is incomprehensibly large–infinite–and there is something truly magical about the space this allows in your mind. I grew up at the bottom of three mountains. I didn’t know the power of the horizon.)

Saskatchewan certainly has more literary offerings than the few we’ve been able to round up here, so if you’re looking for something in your area we recommend starting at your public library! College and university writing programs are also a great resource for connecting with writers and finding local events. We also recommend checking out the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, a provincial cultural organization that represents writers in all disciplines and at all levels of achievement. It acts as an advocate to improve the status of Saskatchewan writers, encourages the development of writers of all ages and levels through educational opportunities and strives to improve public access to Saskatchewan writers and their work. Membership is open to writers and those interested in Saskatchewan writing.

READING SERIES & FESTIVALS

Founded in April 2008, Tonight it’s Poetry was built to create a premier performance destination for poets in Saskatchewan and poets touring through the prairies. As well, it aimed to create cohesion among emerging poets living in Saskatoon in a site that celebrates poetic and cultural diversity. Tonight It’s Poetry has created a significant stir in the Canadian Performance Poetry community, bringing in poets from all over the country to feature every week. The Saskatoon poetry community has also expanded to include a monthly youth series: Write Out Loud. Their monthly shows take place on the last Wednesday of each month at The HoneyBun Cafe(2nd Ave).

The Vertigo Series is a series for writers and musicians of all genres, and all levels of accomplishment, to share their work with an audience and sell their wares.  Artists receive an honorarium for sharing their work and keep 100% of their sales. Some events take place once a month at Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar, 1925 Victoria Ave, in Regina. There are generally three to four readers and one musical act per event.

The Creative City Centre is a vibrant cultural hub that brings together artists of diverse disciplines and experience levels in a central venue to foster collaboration, innovation and creative development. Located in a recently restored heritage building in Regina’s downtown core, they offer affordable artist studios, an intimate performance venue, a visual art gallery, and meeting and workshop space. The space is run by artists, with an aim of nurturing a lively, inclusive and sustainable creative community in Regina. The Centre offers a variety of regular programming in our performance space, including music concerts, a monthly poetry slam, play readings, and a songwriters’ circle.

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words (established in 1996) is a registered charity and non-profit organization that holds an annual literary festival the third weekend in July with 60 events over 4 days in and around historic downtown Moose Jaw. The festival showcases literary talent from all over Canada including many award winners. Over the 4 days of the festival there are workshops for all ages, reading sessions, concerts, film, panel discussions, interviews, music, theatre, and a slam poetry competition.

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Photo credit: Nicole Brewer

The Performer’s Café has been running for a number of years and is a free open mic at a local café in Moose Jaw for emerging and established artists. They feature professional ‘headliners’ who are intended to serve as mentors for aspiring musicians, writers, storytellers, etc. The Performer’s Café provides local artists with a venue to showcase their talents while also allowing new artists to gain experience performing in front of an audience, and an opportunity to network with one another. It is a non-judgemental forum with the goal of encouraging the expression of creativity with no barriers due to age, gender, race, religion, artistic discipline, or sexual orientation. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome.

Talking Fresh is a two-day writers’ festival that targets Regina and a wider Saskatchewan community including aspiring writers and anyone interested in writers and books. Now in its 14th year, Talking Fresh tackles the role duality in it’s many forms has in and on writing, and writing careers.

Writing North is a two-day writers’ festival that targets Saskatoon and a wider Saskatchewan community of aspiring writers and anyone interested in writers and books.

The Cathedral Village Arts Festival is a creative celebration of community through the arts. From May 23 to May 28, 2016 Cathedral area residents invite their neighbours in Regina and visitors from afar to celebrate the gifts that arts and culture bring to our community. The six-day festival features performing, visual and literary arts, crafts, and other performances. It offers professional artists the opportunity to present their work to new audiences; emerging artists a venue to introduce themselves; and avant-garde artists a supportive arena to share their talents. The Festival invites children, youth and adults to create, participate, and enjoy the arts in all of its diversity.

OUT Saskatoon is an organization that provides peer support and counselling, queer-specific education and resources, outreach, social gatherings and events. This year at Saskatchewan’s first Gay-Straight Alliance Summit in Saskatoon, they hosted a YXE Queer Poetry Slam in partnership with Tonight It’s Poetry.

WRITING OPPORTUNITIES

Founded in 1975 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and currently operating out of offices in Regina, Coteau Books‘ mission is to publish and present to the world markets new voices and works of literary excellence from the Canadian literary community, with an emphasis on Saskatchewan and prairie writers.

Jury Junkie nightstandThistledown Press was founded in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1975 to publish and promote the writing of both new and established prairie writers. It was one of a number of Canadian publishers who developed publishing programs in the mid-1970s as a response to a proliferation of quality poetry and fiction being written by Canadian writers, especially young writers, throughout the western provinces of Canada. Thistledown’s early programs consisted entirely of poetry; however, by the time it had joined the Literary Press Group in the early 1980s, its list had expanded to include fiction and poetry by writers beyond the prairies.

JackPine Press helps artists and poets publish chapbook projects in limited editions. They produce literary and artistic book works in smaller print-runs to keep it weird, handcrafted, or built out of unique fine or found materials. Founded in 2002, JackPine Press provides writers and artists a venue to engage in visual and textual dialogues. Its mission is to publish chapbooks whose form and content are both artistically integrated and unique. The result of these collaborations between writers and artists are handmade books that are as interesting as art objects as they are as engaging works of literature.

Hagios Press is an award-winning publisher of literary non-fiction, art books, short fiction, and poetry, with a particular focus on books that advance a spiritual connection to the world. A regional publisher with a national reach, Hagios Press has attracted some of Canada’s best and established writers, including three poet laureates. We are proud to acknowledge established writers, including Lorna Crozier, David Elias, Allan Safarik, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Robert Currie and Don Kerr – to name but a few of our many exceptional writers. Historically known for its poetry, Hagios Press has now diversified its list to include short fiction and literary non-fiction, and as a visionary publisher, continues to embrace innovative, and essential new works.

Grain, the journal of eclectic writing, is a literary quarterly that publishes engaging, eclectic, and challenging writing and art by Canadian and international writers and artists.Grain is published by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and appears in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

The Fieldstone Review is an online literary journal based at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK. TFR publishes poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and reviews from Canada and abroad.