This is a big weekend for book lovers in Calgary -- When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. I am currently dashing from panel to presentation, trying to pack in as much as I can.
|Is that me on a WWC panel -- third person from the left?|
I've attended WWC every August since it began six years ago; the brainchild of our local imaginative fiction authors who felt their annual convention wasn't offering enough for writers interested in craft and promotion. I didn't expect much from this new event and mainly attended as a fan of science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer, one of that year's five special guest authors.
|WWC poster 2011|
Overall, I was surprised by how much I learned at the panels and presentations, even though imaginative fiction isn't my genre. Fortunately, I'm a fan of the original Star Trek series and was able to catch the numerous references to Spock and the gang.
Since that first year, WWC has grown to 750 attendees and typically sells out two months ahead. Most who come are local Calgarians, although many travel from other Canadian and US locations. They find the festival price of $45-60 (depending on when you register) a steal for three full days of programming, with 12 choices of panels, presentations, blue pencil cafes, pitch sessions and more per hour.
WWC brings in some literary stars in their genre. A couple of years ago, Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, lit up every room she entered.
|Me on a WWC panel|
With another new book out, I'm focused on panelling this year. Somehow, I've wound up on six panels, four in the mystery genre and two others titled Fragility & Mental Illness Within Story and Beyond Traditional and Self-Publishing. I'm also doing a shift at the Books We Love table in the Merchants' Room and attending the Saturday evening banquet and Mass Autograph session. This year's banquet theme is the roaring twenties.
|Me in flapper costume|
Are writers' festivals, and especially When Words Collide, worth attending? You bet!