2016 CNFC Conference Schedule

Download a PDF version of the CNFC 2016 Conference Program

Thursday, April 21
4pm – 6pm outside MacLab Bistro Early conference registration
7pm – 9pm at MacLab Bistro Informal Meet-and-greet
Friday, April 22
9am – 5pm in the Kinnear hallway Conference registration
9:30am – 12pm in Kinnear 205 Master Class 1 – Putting Your Best Foot Forward (or How to Land on the Same Page as the Editor).
Join John Barton, editor of The Malahat Review, for a practical session on how to make the most of your submission process. This behind-the-scenes tour of how literary magazines make their decisions—and how writers succeed in getting their work published–will help you sustain your submission habit, and teach you a pragmatic approach to facing up to the challenge of sending your work to literary magazines, contests and more.
9:30am – 12pm in Kinnear 201 Master Class 2 – Diversifying Your Portfolio: Do More with Less.
As nonfiction writers, we generally think in two modes of production: book-length and short form. Yet there are many avenues in between and with alternatives for expanding our audiences and broadening our craft. In this session Lori A. May shows how to branch out within the genre to diversify publication opportunities, tap into multiple markets with single ideas, supplement income with spin-off opportunities, and utilize audio, video, and other e-media to further your platform and audience reach.
12:30pm 1:15pm Lunch (not included in registration fee)
1:30pm – 4pm in Kinnear 205 Master Class 3 – Performance for writers
When doing a reading, writers often mumble, shuffle pages, don’t make eye contact. A reading is a show and needs a certain kind of showmanship. Beth Kaplan brings the experience of making the journey from actor to writer, from a hugely communal job to one that is completely solitary, to a discussion about the kind of skills that make a teacher more engaging, and a writer a better performer. Drawing on her experience on stage, she’ll then create an interactive opportunity for writers to build their public reading and presentation skills. Participants should bring a small excerpt of their work or have in mind a short talk they want to give, to use for practice. Participation will be strictly voluntary.
1:30pm – 4pm in Kinnear 201 Master Class 4 – Writing in a more-than-human world
Join naturalist, birder, and award-winning author Trevor Herriot. Whether nature is backdrop, inspiration, or the primary subject in our narratives, the way we regard it and present it matters. Using examples of accomplished nature writing, we will examine successful writing practices at work: how to record and translate what you observe, how to use science, how to widen the inquiry to other ways of knowing, and how to improve listening and awareness. Participants should bring appropriate outdoor clothing, as well as a journal and pen.
4pm onwards Banff Centre room check-in 
5pm – 6:15pm in Kinnear 203 Keynote kick-off – Deni Béchard will address the importance of the narrative arts in a time of social and environmental upheaval, and discuss how writing can be activism while maintaining artistic and journalistic integrity. He will ask whether writers, by making conviction a core element of the text, can provide an organizing principle that shapes the arc of a story and infuses it with urgency. He will address how our society’s need for social innovation can be mirrored in new ways of thinking about narrative, and how, in a time when writing is increasingly reduced to entertainment, we can adapt storytelling to overcome the dangers of separateness – our growing individualism and sense of ourselves as distinct from nature, as opposed to an organic part of it. He will explore how subtle shifts in our approach to narrative frameworks can allow us to respond in new ways to the many challenges we face.

This event is open to the public for an entrance fee of $10. Tickets available at the door.

6:15pm – 7:30pm Dinner break (not included in registration fee)
7:30pm – 9pm in the Max Bell Auditorium The Banff Centre presents Wade Davis (free entry for conference registrants) – The Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass (Greystone Books, Toronto 2011)

In a rugged knot of mountains in northern British Columbia lies a spectacular valley known to the First Nations as the Sacred Headwaters. There, three of Canada’s most important salmon rivers- the Stikine, Skeena and Nass- are born in remarkably close proximity. Now against the wishes of all First Nations, the British Columbia government has opened the Sacred Headwaters to industrial development. Fortune Minerals proposes a coal operation that would level mountains. Imperial Metals is moving ahead with an open pit copper and gold mine on Todagin Mountain, home to the largest population of Stone sheep in the world; tailings from the Red Chris mine will bury Black lake and leach into the headwaters of the Iskut River, the main tributary of the Stikine. For years Royal Dutch Shell sought to extract coal bed methane gas across a tenure of close to a million acres, which would have implied a network of roads and pipelines and thousands of wells places across the entire valley of the Sacred Headwaters.

For ten years Tahltan men women and children, along with local non native trappers, guides, and writers have stood up for the land, and in a remarkable grassroots victory in 2012, Shell Canada withdrew from the valley. The struggle continues, and will continue until the entire Sacred Headwaters is protected. The resounding message of the people is that no amount of gold, copper or coal can compensate for the sacrifice of a place that could be the Sacred Headwaters of all North Americans and indeed all peoples of the world.

9pm onwards in Kinnear 105 Conference reception co-hosted by the Banff Centre
Saturday, April 23
9am – 9pm at end of the Kinnear hallway All-day professional photography booth

Been a while since your last headshot? Ready for your closeup? Now’s the time! Book a headshot session with our fabulous photographer, David Griffin Whyte. David is a Calgary photographer with professional experience in the Alberta film industry. He is a graduate of a SAIT’s film program. He has travelled the world, photographing people and landscapes with passion and sensitivity.

A photography session with David will take 20 minutes. First, he will discuss what kind of headshot you are after and offer a choice of backgrounds. Then he will show you the shots and help you select one that will be edited off-site. The large file edited photo will be emailed directly to you within three weeks. It is common practice to give photo credits for headshots.

Price is $50 (partial proceeds go to the CNFC). There are only 20 spots available. Sign up today.

9am – 12pm in the Kinnear hallway Conference registration
9am – 10:15am in Kinnear 203 In Conversation – Hal Wake with Elly Danica
Elly Danica’s striking sexual-assault and incest memoir ​Don’t: A Woman’s Word​ gained national prominence when Peter Gzowski interviewed her on CBC’s ​Morningside​ in 1988. Hal Wake produced that show and is now Artistic Director of the Vancouver Writers Fest and an accomplished interviewer. Join Elly and Hal as they connect on the stage in Banff twenty-eight years later.
10:15am – 10:30am in the Kinnear hallway Coffee break (included in registration fee)
10:30am – 11:45am in Kinnear 203 Workshop 1 – The Power and Pitfalls of Creative Nonfiction Onscreen
What can happen to a nonfiction story when you add a fictional narrator? Discover the pitfalls and benefits of this approach while viewing the 20-minute documentary A New Way: An Organic Garden Changes LivesHeather Conn, the show’s writer, producer, and co-director, shares why she made this storytelling choice about an aboriginal education project in a community demonstration garden. You’ll find out how some audience members responded to cross-cultural content and sensibilities.This workshop will reveal how creative nonfiction techniques on the page translate to the screen: what works, doesn’t work, and why. What are the similarities and differences in storytelling? Heather will screen three short films, including a five-minute personal essay and 4.5-minute inspirational poetic piece, and encourage participants to analyze and deconstruct them. The use of dialogue, structure, tone, voice, visual detail, and other elements will be examined. In addition, the workshop will include a short in-class written exercise.
10:30am – 11:45am in Kinnear 201 Workshop 2 – Writing Wild: Encounters in the Natural World,
An Intimate Q&A with
Wade Davis
What questions do you have about the art of creative nonfiction in the realm of the natural world and the power our words have to bring the wild home to our readers? Renowned author and photographer Wade Davis shares some tactical insights on what’s he’s learned as an explorer, ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker. David Suzuki calls Davis “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity”.
12pm – 1:15pm in the Vista Lounge Lunch (included in registration fee)
1:30pm – 2:45pm in Kinnear 203 Workshop 3 – Social Media: Chasing Popularity, with James Fell
James Fell has been very successful in determining what kinds of stories to write, and how to write them, to ensure that they get a lot of traffic and are shared on social media. These are stories that people talk about and refer friends to because they are provocative and unique. He will explore how to generate story ideas that will take off and increase the author’s popularity.
1:30pm – 2:45pm in Kinnear 201 Workshop 4 – Science Writing with Trevor Herriot
Join Trevor Herriot for an insightful workshop on what makes science writing work—and how you can bring your own writing into a more scientific realm. He’ll discuss examples, point out techniques, and offer advice, along with discussing his own stellar career as a naturalist and teller of scientific tales.
1:30pm – 2:45pm in Kinnear 205 In Conversation – Memoir: Wrestling with the First Person, Camilla Gibb with members Susan Olding and Jane Silcott 
How do we write about ourselves without falling into solipsism and self-indulgence? Is our role to entertain, inform, reveal, or redeem? This Q&A will look at the difficult questions about personal writing that all memoirists face while also taking a closer look at Gibb’s recent memoir, This is Happy.
2:45pm – 3pm in the Kinnear hallway Coffee break (included in registration)
3pm – 4:30pm in Kinnear 203 Plenary Session – The Writer in the World: Being a Good Literary Citizen, with Lori A. MayHal WakeCamilla Gibb, and Deni Béchard
Writing may be a solitary profession, but it is also one that relies on a strong sense of community. As writers, we want an audience. We need readers, reviewers, peers, editors, and mentors. We must also do our part to help sustain our literary communities. This discussion explores how writers—and readers—may become better literary citizens by contributing to the greater community while helping our literary circles thrive, locally and beyond.
7pm – 11pm in Kinnear 105 Members Gala Dinner – Presentation of carte blanche/CNFC Award, Literary Cabaret with a storytelling twist
The Literary Cabaret is a tradition at the Creative Nonfiction Conferences. Members, limited to two minutes, read a selection from their current work. These snapshots of one another’s writing give us insights into the range of material being explored and expressed by our members, and create networking opportunities by revealing thematic connections between writers. This year, This Really Happened will also be holding an open mic event as part of the cabaret. Alongside the 2-minute readings, storytellers will have a chance to be randomly chosen to tell a 3-minute true story.
Sunday, April 24
8:30am – 9:15am in Kinnear 203 In Conversation – Creativity & the Residency, with Devyani Saltzman and Susan Olding
A discussion about creativity and writing residencies featuring the Banff Centre’s literary arts director and other guests. This session will include information about how to apply for and get the most out of a residency as well as some history about writers who’ve worked done residencies at Banff and gone on to become renowned.
9:30am – 11am in Kinnear 203 CNFC Annual General Meeting
12:30pm-3pm at Banff Brewing Company Pub Members’ new book readings
Enjoy some lunch at the Banff Avenue Brewing Co. and hear readings by members who have published CNF writing in the past year.