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A gold ouroboros surrounding the number of days to the festivalThere are
8 days

When Words Collide is a festival for readers, writers, artists and publishers of commercial and literary fiction, including genre, YA, children's books, poetry, and much more. Would you like to know more?

Our festival actively welcomes all lovers of the written word regardless of age, background, citizenship, disabilities, sex, education level, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity, experiences, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

We respectfully acknowledge that we are gathered in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy, including the Siksika, Piikani and Kainai Nations; the Stoney-Nakoda, including the Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley Nations; and the Tsuut’ina Nation. Southern Alberta is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

Guests of Honour

★ Cathy Ace ★ Vicki Delany ★ Steena Holmes ★ Fonda Lee ★ Dave Reynolds ★ Morgan Rhodes

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Sentry Box Books

Guests of Honour

★ Cathy Ace ★ Vicki Delany ★ Steena Holmes ★ Fonda Lee ★ Dave Reynolds ★ Morgan Rhodes

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Pulp Literature


The August planning meeting will be held online (virtual) on August 8 starting at 10 AM.

Important and Emergency Notices

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• Thursday 2021 August 5 •

Link to COVID-19 information.


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• Wednesday 2021 July 14 •

Well, it's a virtual banquet, but we think you'll have fun. The banquet details are now available, including food orders from the Detla Calgary South Hotel.

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Awakening to Social Sensitivity

• Tuesday 2021 July 6 •

The latest addition to our podcast library is 2019 020 Awakening to Social Sensitivity dealing with inclusion, culture, gender and exploitation.

"You must acknowledge you live in a world that is diverse yet you don't want to be seen as exploiting the very communities you are being asked to acknowledge you live with." Brandy Ackerley, Diane Terrana, Erin Weir, Jay Martin. Listen to the podcast.

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Where in the World?

• Saturday 2021 June 12 •

How can a single detail of place ground that location in reality? What research strategies are best if the story is in Greece, Hong Kong, Los Angeles or the Torrington gopher hole museum? Moderator Robert Bose leads authors Jonas Saul, Jayne Bernard, Jim Jackson, and Axel Howerton in pursuit of the answers.


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Does It Have to be Murder?

• Tuesday 2021 May 11 •

Is that all you have? What about Big Fraud? Biological terror? Cryptocurrency swindles? Weaponized disease? In the age of instant news, mass shootings and bombings, felonious assault seems as common as bread and butter at breakfast. Panelists Axel Howerton, M.H. Callway, P.J. Vernon and Alice Bienia discuss murder and other crimes in the 21st century. Link to the podcast

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Edgy, Realistic Fiction for Teens, How Much Is Too Much?

• Tuesday 2021 April 13 •

When you're little, you're in a hurry to grow up. That's why young people like to read about those just a few years older. But the difference between 12 and 16 or 14 and 18 can be dramatic. Are those younger readers ready for the more adult themes, language and situations? Panelists Diane Terrana, Jenna Greene, @RhondaParrish & Steve Swanson discuss #TriggerWarnings #Ratings #themes #context #BadLanguage and #BadBehaviour. (Note language.) Hear the podcast

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Festival Master Classes

• Wednesday 2021 March 31 •

When Words Collide is pleased to announce its festival master class series! This year's festival guests (and some returning past guests) are offering intensive master classes on various topics.

These 10 master classes have limited seating and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, so act fast if you wish to attend one of them.

For those writers looking for an intimate, hands-on master class experience with our festival guests, this is your opportunity.

Download the full details.

Note: Due to the pandemic, all 2021 Master Classes will be held online. We are also using Eventbrite to manage registration.

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2021 Registration

• Tuesday 2021 March 30 •

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the When Words Collide Festival will be held this year as a free online event. No paid pass is required, but we do require registration via Eventbrite.

Our regular free public events are also impacted by the pandemic:

1. Festival Guest readings. Normally held at the Fish Creek Public Library and repeated as part of the festival at the festival venue, this year’s festival readings will be held as an online webinar on Thursday August 12th from 7 to 9 pm. Festival guests Cathy Ace, Steena Holmes, Fonda Lee, Dave Reynolds, and Morgan Rhodes will read from recent works. Access information for the webinar will be posted on this page closer to the festival.

2. The Autograph Session is, unfortunately, cancelled.

3. Merchants Corner. Normally held at the hotel, our Merchants Corner will be online this year, with links to vendor websites as well as links to books by our attending authors.

4. Hidden Art Show. Normally held at the hotel, our Art Show will be online this year, with art images and links to artist websites.

As the festival is free this year, we encourage you to consider attending. Here is our program in development.

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Getting the Character's Emotion on the Page

• Sunday 2021 March 14 •

Emotion can be shown in thoughts, body action and visceral cues, but interacting with setting can symbolize the emotion, especially if the setting is important to the character. Panelists include Angela Ackerman, Jonas Saul, Merilynn Ruth Liddell and Susan Calder. Getting the Character's Emotion on the Page

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A new podcast is available for your dining and dancing pleasure

• Wednesday 2021 February 3 •

2019 014 Armchair Travel Through Fiction: Can a writer understand a locale like a local simply by travelling there? Is it possible to portray a place accurately, vividly and with sensitivity without ever having been? These are some of the questions explored by panelists Diane Terrana, Elissa McColl, Jay Martin and Rena Mason.

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Another Podcast!

• Sunday 2020 November 8 •

We've been posting a lot of the panels from the 2020 virtual festival to YouTube, but we've saved some of the sessions from 2019 which you will see as we wait for 2021.

If you're in the mood for reminiscing (and staying out of the cold) spend an hour with 2019 Festival Guest James Alan Gardner as he talks about how publisher algorithms are impacting authors, the difference between description and point of view, super heroes and reads a snippet from his take on Sleeping Beauty.

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Thank You One and All

• Monday 2020 August 17 •

On March 11, 2020 a global pandemic was declared that changed the world, and not for the better. Part of that change was the cancellation of large gatherings, including our annual When Words Collide festival.

Then, on August 14 to 16, 2020, a miracle happened. The WWC community came together and put on a three-day virtual festival. None of us knew what we were doing, but we reached out to the community, and the community reached back.

With five tracks of programming, there was lots to choose from. Add to that opportunities to socialize and participate in Blue Pencil Cafe, Pitch Sessions, and one-on-one consultations. It was almost like being at the in-person festival.

We even hosted the Aurora Awards. Congratulations to the winners and finalists!

Thank you everyone who contributed to the festival, whether it be as a program participant, online host, or attendee. Thank you for making possible the festival that otherwise wouldn't have happened.

One of the benefits of a virtual festival is that most of the sessions were recorded. Some are available now. The rest will be made available over the coming days and weeks as they are processed. The Hidden Art Show and Merchants Corner will also remain open for the next little while. Download the Where 2 Watch PDF.

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2020 Aurora Awards Video

• Sunday 2020 August 16 •

For those who missed it, here's the 2020 virtual Aurora Awards ceremony video. Congratulations to all the winners!

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That's All, Folks!

• Sunday 2020 August 16 •

Another year, and another When Words Collide has wound to a successful conclusion. Thank you to everybody who went above and beyond to make this year's festival a success despite the pandemic! Inspirational Music