SFU To Host Indigenous Writers Conference

A two-day, participant-driven conference on the reality, representation and recognition of Indigenous writers in Canada.

Publishing@SFU is set to host the inaugural National Indigenous Writers Con­ference, October 19-20, 2013.

The two-day conference will feature panels, round-tables, keynote speakers and a series of writing and publishing workshops.

Emerging, mid-career and established writers will have the opportunity for peer-to-peer discussions, as well as to learn about the publishing process, develop more extensive net­works, and be introduced to writers’ circles from across the country.

Co-founder Paul Seesequasis, writer and editor-in-chief of Theytus Books, says, “This conference is an historic opportunity for Indigenous writers to meet, dialogue and inspire each other. There is much talent across Turtle Island but often distance hinders communi­cation and the internet can only go so far. Now is a time to honour the creators who have blazed trails and hear the expressions of a new generation carrying a creative spark for the future.”

Suzanne Norman, Director of the SFU Publishing Workshops and co-founder of the con­ference is thrilled that SFU will host the event.

“SFU has a long history of community engagement, and BC is internationally recognized for its vibrant Indigenous writing community. It is the perfect fit. Publishing@SFU has moved forward on many special initiatives including the Mini-Tools of Change and BCre­ative conferences in 2012. We love to partner with people and associations who want to explore new ideas in writing and publishing and hope this conference will be the start of an ongoing dialogue and the beginning of a series of gatherings.”

Background: Recent discussions among Indigenous writers about the relative lack of representation in The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC) and why this was so, led to more conversations.

Subsequently, a working group has formed to organize a national conference, which will combine professional workshops for Indigenous writers as well as networking and readings on the first day.

Hosted by Publishing@SFU, the conference will be held at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue and the Harbour Centre campus of SFU, in downtown Vancouver.

Day one begins at 9:00 am and takes place in room 320 of the Wosk Centre for Dialogue (580 West Hastings Street). It will feature an all day conference (with panels and break out sessions) based on an agenda set by those attending. Some of the ideas being talked about include:

  • a national network – relationship with TWUC;
  • a website as a communicative hub;
  • international linkages;
  • sharing resources and support across the country (workshops, training);
  • theory and issues specific to Aboriginal writers.

Professional development sessions will take place on day two at the Harbour Centre Campus of SFU (515 West Hastings Street). There will be four workshops, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Participants who sign up for the workshop day will be able to attend a choice of one workshop in the morning and a choice of one in the afternoon.

Workshop topics will include: Getting Published: A publisher outlines tips, tricks, and pitfalls; Writing from the community: Authenticity, Protocol, Power; and Best Practices in Self-Publishing.

Theytus Books’ editor-in-chief and writer Paul Seesequasis has been compiling suggestions for the confer­ence. He notes, “Input has already come in from Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto, Saskatoon and Vancouver. In the past two months, a national Working Group has come together to organize the event and it is working hard to insure we have representation from across the country.

“This is only the beginning. I hope you share my enthusiasm for this conference. Let’s hear people’s ideas. Let’s start the dialogue. Let’s make it happen.”

For further information contact conference producer Suzanne Norman at 778.782.5241 or snorman@sfu.ca, conference director Paul Seesequasis at 819 892 8939 or creeboy007@gmail.com or visit the conference website.



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