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Festival of Words staff back in the office as year-round literary events continue

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words staff are busy organizing events for the culturally obsessed
Amanda Farnel, executive director of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words, stands in the festival's temporary bookstore in the basement of the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words is the province's largest multi-day literary festival and represents a big draw for Moose Jaw, but what many people don't know is that the festival staff continue to organize events for the culturally obsessed year-round.

"So, just this week, we've restarted our Cineview film series, which brings in films from the Toronto International Film Festival, and we've got three more films to show before the end of the year," explained Amanda Farnel, executive director of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. Farnel and her staff returned in September from a much-needed summer break following the 2023 Festival of Words

The first Sask Festival of Words Cineview this fall was Sep. 20. Farnel noted that recent upgrades to the projector, screen, and sound system at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre's Mae Wilson Theatre makes film viewing better than ever. Cineview is a way to bring movies to a big screen that might otherwise never show in Moose Jaw.

The September 20 film was The Lesson, directed by Alice Troughton and starring Richard E. Grant, Julie Delpy, Daryl McCormack, and Stephen McMillan.

"We're also starting back up our Performer's Cafe Open Mic Night at the Hive (at 23 Main Street), which is 7 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month except December," Farnel continued, "and those nights start with headliners, after which it's just an open mic where people can share their writing, music, and creativity.

"That's really just a fun little gathering, and the community there is welcoming of anyone new showing up to perform. Everyone is always very encouraging of the performers."

On October 19, the Festival of Words will host BC author Deryn Collier for a live storytelling event. Collier's latest book A Real Somebody, is based on the life of her Aunt June, but her performance goes further to delve into the pressures of family history and obligation, the unsolvable mysteries of the past, and how stories come together.

The festival's Writers in Schools program, which brings published authors into schools in the area to talk creative writing, poetry, spoken word projects, and more, starts back up in November. 

Finally, the Festival of Words LitCon event is a one-day conference/workshop for local and emerging writers. LitCon usually happens in February and serves as a prequel for the Festival of Words itself, which takes place in July. 

"The LitCon conference is geared more towards genre writing, rather than the kind of literary fiction that the regular festival tends to cover," Farnel explained. "We have fantasy, children's writing, we've had cookbook writing, all sorts of things. We've had a retired police officer come in to talk about crime writing and making it accurate, for example. 

"There's more coming, too — we're just getting back into the swing of planning things for next year!"

Follow the Festival of Words online to stay up to date with their happenings. They are at and can be found on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

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