CNFC Annual Conference

Chief Bev Sellars at the CNFC's 10th Anniversary Conference, Calgary, Alberta

Chief Bev Sellars at the CNFC’s 10th Anniversary Conference, Calgary, Alberta


We are a group scattered across Canada. Every spring we hold our annual Conference, a weekend event filled with sessions and workshops geared to help our members develop and enrich their professional skills. This Conference brings us together for a lively, convivial weekend of readings, talks, workshops, discussions, and our Annual General Meeting.

A feature of each Conference is the Keynote Speaker. Previous Keynote Speakers have included such distinguished authors as Ronald Wright, Karen Connelly, John Vaillant, Sarah Leavitt, Andrew Nikiforuk, Heather Robertson, Charles Foran, and Erna Paris. Workshop and Plenary sessions have covered such topics as copyright, self-marketing, the memoir, hybrid forms of CNF, travel writing, the nonfiction novel, and creative nonfiction in international contexts. It’s a weekend not to be missed.

2015: Victoria, BC

This year, we head to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Our 11th Annual Conference is scheduled for April 24-26, 2015 at the gorgeous Inn at Laurel Point. To book accommodation at our special negotiated reduced rate, please click here.

Registration for the 2015 Conference will open soon. Here are the Program details available to date:

Pre-Conference Events:

Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 PM. An evening with Brenda Miller presented by the University of Victoria. Location: TBA. This event is free and open to the public.

Friday, April 24: 1:30 – 4 PM:

Beginner CNF Class with Kim McCullough: Finding the Universal in the Personal. At Victoria Public Library. Free Event.

Two master classes, running concurrently. Registration is separate from the Conference and is limited to 25 people.

Master Class with Betsy Warland: Courting the “C” in CNF. Inn at Laurel Point. Fee: $25 Members, $40, Non-members.

Master Class with Julija Sukys: Filling in the Gaps – Dealing With the Unknown and Unknowable. Inn at Laurel Point. Fee: $25 Members, $40 Non-members.

Conference Events:

Friday, April 24:

4 – 6 PM: Hotel and Conference check-in.

4:15 – 5:45 PM: Fast Pitch, Agents and Publishers.

7:30 – 9 PM: Blessing

Keynote Address by Alison Wearing: Dances With Truths: The Music and Mythology of Creative Nonfiction. Inn at Laurel Point. This event is open to the public. Admission is free for Conference Attendees. Public: $15.

9 PM: Keynote reception. Cash bar.

Saturday, April 25:

9:00 – 10:15 AM: In conversation with Hal Wake and Eve Joseph.

10:30 – 11:45 AM: Workshops. Concurrent sessions. Attendees will choose between these two:

Workshop 1: Q & A with Michael Harris.

Workshop 2: Inject Life Into Nonfiction Scenes with Jeannette Taylor and Annette Yourk

12 – 1:15 PM: Lunch.

1:30 – 2: 45 PM: Workshops. Concurrent sessions. Attendees will choose between these two:

Workshop 3: Tell All or Do No Harm: Finding the Line in Nonfiction with Judy McFarlane, Susan Olding, and Carol Shaben. This session will also include a Memorial Tribute to Claire Festel.

Workshop 4: TBA

3 – 4:30 PM: Plenary session with Charlotte Gill, Brenda Miller, and Michael Harris. How do we find privacy as writers?

7 – 11 PM: Buffet Dinner, the announcement of the carte blanche writing contest winner, and the famous CNFC Literary Cabaret.

Sunday, April 26:

8:30 – 9:30 AM: Coffee and pastries.

9:30 – 11 AM: AGM.

12:15 – 1:45 PM: Literary walk. This event is free and open to the public. Finishing at The Bard and Banker pub, where lunch will be available for purchase.

3 – 4:30 PM: Member readings at The Bard and Banker Pub. Members will have their books for sale.

Don’t miss a minute!


2014: 10th Anniversary Conference, Calgary, Alberta

Our 10th Anniversary Conference was held at Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser Hotel from May 2-4. We added a Friday afternoon Master Class for the first time. Our keynote speaker was Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress. Our expanded lineup of presenters included Denise Chong, Bev Sellars, Mark Abley, Peter Midgley, Sharon Butala, Marjorie Doyle, Madeline Sonik, Lauren Fath and Joanna Eleftheriou. For the first time, we had pre- and post-Conference readings at a local bookstore. To top it all off, we hosted our first ever Literary Walk.

2013: The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

In 2013, the ninth annual CNFC Conference was held at the beautiful Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta from Friday to Sunday, April 26-28.

Events of the weekend included a Welcome Reception, the Friday Night Reading Cabaret, and the Readers’ Choice Awards on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, award-winning author Karen Connelly presented her Keynote Address, “New Instrument, Another Music: Moving from Fiction and Poetry to CNF” to an appreciative audience that filled the room.

Saturday workshops included “Ownership: Stories and Lies” presented by Tyler Trafford and Kate Braid, “Writing History into Your Work” presented by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, “Stories from the Road: Travel Writing” presented by Glenn Dixon and Marcello Di Cintio, and “Perspiration Leads to Inspiration” presented by Lynne Bowen.

Our Plenary Session, “What the Heck is Going On?” was an informative panel discussion about the current status of digital publishing that featured industry experts Don Sedgwick, Stephen Ross Smith, and Allison McNeely.

The weekend finished off with our Annual General Meeting on Sunday morning followed by a farewell lunch.

2012: Vancouver, British Columbia

Our 2012 Conference took place at the Carey Centre on the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver, BC, from May 23-24, 2012. The first day featured a CNFC Business Meeting and an evening of Cabaret Readings and the Readers’ Choice Award. The second day was a full program. John Vaillant gave the Keynote Address, “Backseat Driving: Building Character and the Narrative Engine in Long-form Non-fiction.”

Workshops included “Dealing with Time in Creative Nonfiction” presented by Christin Geall and David Leach, “Writing from the Archives” presented by Julija Sukys, “Literary Cross-Dressing” presented by Alisa Gordaneer and Cathy Ostlere, and “Writing About Politically or Socially Charged Topics” presented by Deborah Campbell. The day finished off with a Plenary Session titled “The Latest on E-books” presented by Michelle Demers.

2011: The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

Our 2011 Conference was held at the Banff Centre from April 29 – May 1.

Sarah Leavitt, author of Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Motheer and Me, delivered the Keynote Address, “The Graphic Memoir and Creative Nonfiction.” Workshops in 2011 included “The Trouble with ‘Momoirs’presented by Christin Geall, “Read the Fine Print: The Perils of Author Contracts” presented by Don Sedgwick, “Going Over the Edge: Sex and Creative Nonfiction” presented by Monica Meneghetti and Mette Bach, “Who Judges the Judges?: Behind the Screen of Canada’s CNF Contests” presented by Andreas Schroeder and David Leach, and “Tricks and Tweets: How to Build an Author Platform,” presented by Don Sedgwick.


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