LitCon is a one-day annual conference by the Saskatchewan Festival of Words that offers local writers and enthusiasts the chance to hear from industry experts, established writers, publishers, editors, and more.
LitCon 2023 is coming up on Saturday, March 18 with in-person workshops in the North Studio of the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.
Registration is open at www.festivalofwords.com/litcon.
This year the Festival of Words, with help from the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild (SWG), has arranged for four online workshops from March 1 to 9. These lead-up events will go into depth on the different stages of book publishing.
“This year, we’re adding in some online programming, starting with our industry interviews,” explained admin assistant Sara Grimes, who is heading up the programming for LitCon 2023. “We’re bringing in industry experts to talk about the process of editing and publishing. … Basically, what you should think about once you finish writing your draft.”
Participants in the industry interviews who opt in during registration have a chance to win a free manuscript evaluation from Friesen Press, typically valued at $500.
The industry experts to be interviewed are:
- Editing – Genevieve Clovis – March 1 at 7 p.m.
- Clovis is a speculative fiction novel editor and writing coach who owns a secondhand bookstore in Toronto
- Sensitivity Readers – Kai Cheng Thom – March 2 at 7 p.m.
- Kai Cheng is an award-winning author and performer based in Toronto. She will explain what a sensitivity reader is and why writers should consider using one
- Marketing – Ted Barris – March 7 at 7 p.m.
- Barris is an award-winning journalist, author, and broadcaster who recently retired after 18 years as a full-time professor of journalism
- Publishing – Elizabeth Philips and Diane Cameron – March 9 at 7 p.m.
- Philips and Cameron will speak to two different sides of publishing, namely self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Philips is the acquisitions editor and editorial director of Thistledown Press, and Cameron is a self-publishing expert with more than 15 years of industry experience
LitCon’s main event on March 18 will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. featuring the following workshops:
- Neil Aitken – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. – Into the Mirror-Verse: The Possibilities of Sci-Fi Poetry
- Heather O’Watch – 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. – Weaving Teachings Through Children’s Literature
- Mark Allard-Will – 1 to 2 p.m. – Comic Book Writing
- Helen Power – 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. – The Science Behind the Supernatural: Incorporating Paranormal Elements into Your Mystery/Thriller
The Saskatchewan Festival of Words works throughout the year to build the local writing community, focusing always on writers from Saskatchewan and Canada.
“We want to help bring in Saskatchewan writers to perform these workshops, to help local Saskatchewanians and people in the Moose Jaw area … to build that local community,” Grimes said. “My own personal experience with writing, and everything else really, is that having that community is your best support. It’s the best place to go for advice and help.”
As a bonus following in-person events on March 18, Grimes added, there will be an additional online workshop with Jillian Bell from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Ten writers will get to pick a 15-minute time slot for a one-on-one conversation with Bell.
Bell is a writer and freelance editor living in the Qu’Appelle Valley. She works for SaskBooks on behalf Saskatchewan book publishers. Bell writes across a spectrum of genres and has had her writing and blog content published nationally and internationally.
The Festival of Words itself — one of Saskatchewan’s largest literary festivals — is gearing up for July 13 to 16.