Annual Conference and AGM


The League’s 2020 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting will be taking place May 28 – 30, 2020 at New Residence Hall, 3625 Park Ave. in Montreal, Quebec.

Montreal is a city unlike any other — historic, vibrant, and undeniably dynamic. It’s no wonder award-winning writers and emerging creators alike are drawn here. What better place to dig into the craft and business of writing this spring?

Join the League of Canadian Poets and The Writers’ Union of Canada for Connect & Collaborate, a weekend of workshops, panel discussions, and literary networking. This year’s conference features even more opportunities to discuss business and craft, meet with industry professionals, and connect with fellow writers. Don’t miss out — register now to guarantee your spot!


Register now to guarantee your spot at Connect & Collaborate. Members of the League of Canadian Poets, The Writers’ Union of Canada, Quebec Writers’ Federation, and Editors Canada can register for the discounted price of $245. Non-members register for $275.

Register Today! Click here

Please note:

  • Registration deadline: April 24, 2020. Advance registration is required; there is no onsite registration.
  • Cancellations before May 4, 2020, may be subject to a $25 administrative fee. No refunds available after May 4, 2020.
  • Connect & Collaborate registration includes access to programming on May 30. Conference events on May 28 and May 29 are free and open to the public.

The AGM is free to attend. Members of the League attending the AGM only (not registering for the conference) must let us know they are coming by April 24, 2020. Please email Natalie Czerwinski at to let us know if you will be attending.


Events take place at New Residence Hall (3625 Park Ave) unless otherwise noted. 


Thursday, May 28

Anne Szumigalski Lecture: Louise Bernice Halfe
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Reception to follow.

Each year, the League of Canadian Poets invites a distinguished Canadian poet to deliver the Anne Szumigalski Lecture. Award-winning poet Louise Bernice Halfe will deliver the lecture in Montreal.

This event is free and open to the public.


Friday, May 29

Margaret Laurence Lecture: Lee Maracle
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Reception to follow.
Moyse Hall Theatre, McGill University

Each year since 1987, Canada’s most prominent authors have shared insights into their work on the profession of writing in a lecture on the topic of “A Writer’s Life.” Lee Maracle, one of Canada’s most prolific writers, will deliver the 34th annual Margaret Laurence Lecture in Montreal.

This event is free and open to the public.


Saturday, May 30

Morning Mixer
9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

Connect with your writing colleagues and browse the Book Table over light refreshments.


Speed Networking
Session 1: 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.

Session 2: 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Session 3: 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Speed Networking is your chance to meet one-on-one with an industry professional. Remember, these are quick-fire informational interviews (not pitch sessions) so come prepared with your best questions! Speed Networkers include:

  • Stephanie Azoulay, Literature Program Officer, Explore and Create, Canada Council for the Arts
  • Carolyn Forde, Senior Agent, Transatlantic Agency
  • Whitney French, Acquisitions Editor, Dundurn Press
  • Leila Marshy, Associate Publisher, Linda Leith Publishing
  • Greg Santos, Editor-in-Chief, carte blanche
  • Jason Saulay, Affinity Programs and Business Development, AFBS (Writers’ Coalition Program)


What Readers Want
9:45 – 10:30 a.m.

It’s not always easy to reach readers, as many writers have discovered. As we work on a manuscript and consider our potential readership, we may ask ourselves what readers want. One difficulty is that there are almost as many answers to the question as there are readers. Linda Leith proposes a different approach to the relationship between readers and writers.

Presented by Linda Leith, President of Linda Leith Publishing


Children’s Writing as a Collaborative Practice
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Marie-Louise Gay is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator. David Homel is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and translator. Together, they created the Travels with my Family series of books based on their real-life family adventures with their two children. Join Marie-Louise and David in conversation with picture-book author and playwright Bonnie Farmer for a discussion about creative processes, collaborative versus independent writing, and more.

With Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel. Moderated by Bonnie Farmer.


Authors Online: How to Manage Your Digital Presence
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Authors are expected to have a robust digital presence. But between running social media accounts, a website, and a newsletter, how much time is left to actually write? Author and online communications specialist Mia Herrera provides a primer on the many digital tools available to writers and helps you understand which tools are best for you.

Presented by Mia Herrera


LCP Feminist Caucus Panel
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

A panel organized by the LCP Feminist Caucus.


Dayne Ogilvie Prize Presentation
12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Gallery Gora

Celebrate the announcement of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers just down the street from the conference venue at Gallery Gora (279 Sherbrooke St W). This prize is presented to an emerging Canadian writer from the LGBTQ community who demonstrates great promise in the early stages of their career through a body of work of exceptional quality. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public.

Presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada


Readings Info Session
12:05 – 12:45 p.m.

Questions about readings? Join us for a review of TWUC’s and LCP’s readings programs. Valerie Laws will provide an overview of the Union’s National Public Readings and Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools programs. Nicole Brewer will provide an overview of the League’s Canada Poetry Tours and National Poetry Month Program.


The Future of Writers’ Rights
1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

As we enter a new decade, join us for a discussion about the challenges and opportunities for writers’ rights.


Mastering the Art of Book Research
1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Diving into research for your next book can be a daunting prospect. Join Taras Grescoe, award-winning author of seven nonfiction books, for a seminar covering best practices and common challenges. Using case studies from his own work, Taras guides attendees through successful research strategies for a range of nonfiction styles.

Presented by Taras Grescoe


Balancing Writing with Another Career
1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

It can be difficult to make a career of writing full-time, and many of Canada’s best writers also work in another field. This session will provide tips, tricks, personal insight, and tools that can help writers keep up their practice, even when busy with other work.


First Page Challenge
3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Back by popular demand! Hear from a panel of judges as they share their on-the-spot expertise reviewing first pages of submitted manuscripts. Participants submit the first page of a fiction or nonfiction piece. Submissions are read aloud, and the judges share their impressions of strengths and weaknesses. This is your risk-free chance to see what agents look for in a potential client’s work and why editors put down manuscripts or choose to read on.

Click here to submit your first page. Deadline to submit: April 30, 2020. All submissions are anonymous — if your work is evaluated during the session, you will not be identified.

With Carolyn Forde and Whitney French. Moderated by Peter Dubé.


Mental Wellness for Writers
3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

When it comes to mental wellness, the writing life presents a unique set of challenges — from writer’s block and rejection letters to self-promotion and building a public persona. Discover strategies to keep you feeling balanced and on track, and get helpful tips for general self-care. Farzana Doctor brings over 15 years’ experience as a working writer and psychotherapist to lead this discussion.

Presented by Farzana Doctor

Sponsored by Dundurn Press


Spontaneous Poetry Writing
3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Writing a poem can be a long and arduous process. But the art of writing spontaneous, personalized poetry is becoming a much more popular practice. Join Kate Marshall Flaherty and other poets in this hands-on workshop dedicated to spontaneous poetry writing and translating personal conversation into poetry. This session is an excellent developmental practice for any writer interested in sharpening their writing skills.

With Kate Marshall Flaherty


Heather O’Neill in Conversation with Arizona O’Neill
4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Heather O’Neill is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little CriminalsThe Girl Who Was Saturday NightDaydreams of Angels, and The Lonely Hearts Hotel, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize in two consecutive years, and has won CBC Canada Reads, the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. She is the latest recipient of the Writers’ Trust Fellowship.

Explore the influences that shape Heather’s writing — the city of Montreal, an expansive reading list, her own fictional characters — in this wide-ranging conversation with filmmaker, artist, and Heather’s daughter, Arizona O’Neill.


LCP New Member Reading & Open Mic
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Wrap up the day with readings from the League’s new members and an open mic.




Friday May 29

LCP Feminist Caucus Business Meeting

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Open to LCP members.


LCP Awards Presentation

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Followed by LCP Social Hour

Take a break from business to celebrate poetry at this midday reception. The League of Canadian Poets will announce the winners of three book awards for poets at various stages in their career, as well as a spoken word lifetime achievement award and a young poets’ prize. LCP and TWUC members participating in the AGMs are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.


LCP Annual General Meeting

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Open to LCP members.

Register for the AGM and OnWords Conference



A block of rooms has been reserved at New Residence Hall for AGM and conference attendees. Standard rates begin at $129/night. To reserve:

  1. Contact New Residence Hall at 514-398-5200 or (online booking is not available).
  2. Quote “The Writers’ Union of Canada” to access the block booking.

Click here for more information about New Residence Hall.



The volunteer-run Book Table gets more popular every year. This is your chance to show off your latest books and check out the work of your fellow writers.

The Book Table will operate:

  • Friday, May 29, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 30, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Learn more about the Book Table.

We are looking for volunteers for the Book Table. Are you interested in donating some of your time to support book sales of LCP and TWUC members? Email with “Book Table AGM Volunteering” int he subject line.



All AGM and conference venues are wheelchair accessible (including New Residence Hall, Moyse Hall Theatre, and Gallery Gora). Click here for detailed accessibility information.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know on your registration form. If you have questions or concerns about accessibility, please contact the Union’s Office Administrator Valerie Laws at or 416-703-8982 x 224



The League of Canadian Poets would like to thank the companies and organizations whose generous support helps us provide writers with vital opportunities to learn from industry leaders, develop professional skills, and — most importantly — connect with one another. If you are interested in supporting Connect & Collaborate in Montreal, please contact Natalie Czerwinski at