Calgary Young Writer’s Conference

The Calgary Young Writer’s Conference is an amazing event. Over 1000 kids, in grades 4 – 8, converge on a local high school (conveniently 10 minutes from my house). Over 50 writers, illustrators and story tellers arrive to work with them.

Michael Kusugak was the key note speaker; he regaled the kids with stories from his childhood in the north, living in igloos and riding dog sleds, listening to his grandmother’s stories.

Then we broke into sessions. I worked with two groups of 30 kids, teaching how to use a wild What If as a launch point for creating a story. They seemed to find it a great way to get started, to jump right into a story without all the usual trauma. And it seemed to provide enough momentum to keep them going, asking more questions and working their way deeper into their stories.

I had a wonderful host, who kept me from getting lost over and over and over. There were volunteers everywhere, helping contain the chaos and get everyone where they needed to be. We ended with a massive book and notebook and bookmark signing session, with some kids determined to get every author’s signature.

Then I went home and collapsed, pleased and exhausted.

Next Saturday: the book launch for Crow Boy.


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