Call for Presenters

When Words Collide is an annual not-for-profit, volunteer-run festival devoted to the written word, be it genre fiction, literary fiction, or non-fiction; prose or poetry; novel, short fiction, or script. A typical When Words Collide features over 300 authors, editors, publishers, and illustrators from across Canada and the U.S. who are joined by some 400 of their most passionate and articulate readers for a long weekend of intense conversation and social networking.

Each year When Words Collide honours 4 or 5 authors and 1 editor or literary agent, called festival guests, for their achievements in the publishing industry. In line with our volunteer model of operation, When Words Collide covers expenses for our festival guests, but does not provide a speakers fee. Like our organizers, festival guests volunteer their time and talents as part of the literary community.

We also encourage professionals attending the festival to participate in our program, speaking on topics of interests to the literary community. Called presenters, typically 150+ attending professionals volunteer to participate in our program each year, sharing their knowledge of literature, industry experience, and topical expertise to educate and delight their audience. Here is our program and growing list of presenters.

Our 2017 program, which runs from 1 PM Friday to 5 PM Sunday, consists of over 225 programming hours, a delectable buffet of discussions, presentations, and other activities. If you are attending When Words Collide and wish to volunteer to participate in our program, please let us know by completing our Presenter Registration Form, and returning it to If your word processor has trouble viewing the form, this simplified RTF form may be used instead.

Once processed, your bio and headshot will be added to our web site list of presenters and you will be included in program correspondence.

Presenter Opportunities include:

  1. Discussion Panels - 4 speakers discuss a set topic, offering different points of view, backgrounds and experiences, and take questions from the audience.
  2. Verbal Presentations/workshops - A single speaker or team presents a topic.
  3. Visual Presentations/workshops - A single speaker or team presents a topic with the aid of a PC projector.
  4. Book Socials - Publishers and authors host 50-minute social events around new and upcoming titles or other activities in the literary world.
  5. Pitch Sessions - A single editor takes 5 or 10 minute pitches from writers with manuscripts.
  6. Blue Pencil Café - A single editor spends 12 minutes offering feedback on manuscript first pages.

Presenters are encouraged to suggest topics they would like to speak on and to join Discussion Panels suggested by other presenters.

More information on how our not-for-profit, volunteer-run event is structured can be found in our FAQ.

Note for Attending Authors

Whether you are presenting or not, attending authors with published titles have opportunities to make them available to other attendees and the general public.

  1. The Merchants Corner - Check with our on-site book stores and publishers to see if their carry your titles. Let them know you will be promoting your titles at the festival and will be available for autographs. If they do not carry your titles, IFWA (the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association) hosts a shared author table where you can make your titles available.
  2. Autograph Session - On Saturday evening we have space for 100 authors to sign books. Let us know if you would like one of those spots.