The Northern Lights Writers’ Conference 2017


Join us January 20 – 22 for the second Northern Lights Writers’ Conference. Great speakers, workshops and evening events in one very short weekend. Our featured presenters are George Elliott Clarke, the Poet Laureate of Parliament, Andrew Westoll, author of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, and Nino Ricci’s literary agent Martha Webb.

Workshop registration at Well-Read Books.
Wine-tasting tickets at Corked.
Poetry Cabaret tix available at Dean’s.

Friday January 20, 2017

wineBooks and Bubbly!
A wine-tasting kickoff celebrating local writers and our conference authors. Readings by Jamella Hagen, Kirsten Madsen, Leonard Linklater, Andrew Westoll and George Elliott Clarke.  Jeremie Matrishon of Corked wine store “pairs” each author with a wine. 7:30 pm. Tickets $30. Baked Cafe. Tickets at Corked, next to Baked Cafe in Horwoods Mall.

Saturday January 21, 2017 

Workshops at Yukon College. Register and pay at Well-Read Books. Please bring exact amount. The College cafeteria is closed over the weekend. There will be refreshments but lunch is not provided.

Workshop with George Elliott Clarke: Taking Your Poetry to the Next Level
You will work through ‘catalogues’ and ‘freefall’ to learn how to invigorate your poetry with passionate diction and radical autobiography. You will also discuss and practice some formal poetry, including advice on metre and a welcoming of rhyme. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. $50.  This advanced level workshop is open to everyone.  Location: Glass Class C1440.

Photo by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.
Photo by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.

Workshop with Literary Agent Martha Webb:
The Attention-Getting Query
Queries and pitches are the sales tools to get an agent or editor’s attention. Martha will discuss effective query letters and avoiding the common mistakes writers unintentionally make. She will also discuss how to present your work in person.This workshop provides a foundation for the one-on-one pitch sessions. Workshop and Saturday pitches take place in Glass Class C1440.

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. $25. Pitch session from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. $20 for 15-minute pitch.

Jazz Cabaret with George
A stellar evening! George Elliott Clarke in reading, with music by Sauna Music duo Jordy Walker and Micah Smith. In partnership with Jazz Yukon. jazz
7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Old Fire Hall.

Tickets $25. Tickets at Dean’s. On sale now!

Sunday January 22, 2017
bio-photo-mindy-abramowitzWorkshop with Mindy Abramowitz:
Taxes for Writers
Note: This workshop is presented by Skype
Wonder if there’s a deduction when you donate your books? Can’t figure out what to do with the sales commission from your online sales? Get answers at this informal Q&A with literary industry accountant Mindy Abramowitz appearing via Skype. Location: Glass Class C1440
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. $25. Mindy appears courtesy of Jessica Simon and Friends of the Whitehorse Public Library (FOWL). Register at Well-Read Books or email
Workshop with Andrew Westoll:
Story + Style: A Beginner’s Guide to Creative Nonfiction. 

All good creative nonfiction shares this characteristic: the story being told must be true. This workshop will introduce a framework for thinking about works of creative nonfiction and analyzing why they work or don’t. You will feel more confident about transforming true happenings into true prose and have fun in the process. Participants will get the most out of the workshop if they come with an idea for a nonfiction story.
Andrew, a creative writing professor at the University of Toronto, was named Professor of the Year in 2014.
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. $40. Location: Glass Class C1440. Update: THIS WORKSHOP IS SOLD OUT AS OF JAN. 19. THERE IS NOW A WAITING LIST.


Pitch Sessions with Martha Webb — SOLD OUT!
Pitch your manuscript to one of the top literary agents in the country! In sessions of 15 minutes each, writers get the chance to present their work or get feedback about their query letter.You could even bring a book idea for feedback.
9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also Saturday 3 to 4:30 p.m. $20. Location of Sunday pitches: C1530

Yukon Science Institute Lecture with Andrew Westoll:
Chimps in Space: A Century of Apes in Research

In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced that it would retire the last of its laboratory chimpanzees to sanctuary, bringing to an end nearly a century of biomedical research on our closest evolutionary relatives. Join Andrew Westoll as he traces the medical research community’s complicated relationship to the chimpanzee, from early experiments by renowned psychologist Robert Yerkes, to the chimp’s central role in the US Space Race, to the ultimately vain hope that the chimpanzee model might hold the key to reversing the devastation of HIV/AIDS.

7:30 p.m. Beringia Centre. FREE.

Just Who Are These Fabulous Speakers?

George Elliott Clarke is the 7th Poet Laureate of Parliament and one of Canada’s most beloved poets. He pioneered the study of African-Canadian literature. His 2001 collection, Execution Poems, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and his verse-novel, Whylah Falls, was chosen for the CBC’s inaugural Canada Reads competition in 2002.  He holds eight honorary doctorates and appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and Order of Canada. George currently teaches at the University of Toronto.

Andrew Westoll is the bestselling author of two nonfiction books, The Riverbones and The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, and a novel, The Jungle South of the Mountain, which was published in 2016. The Chimps won the 2012 RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction and was a finalist for several other major awards. Andrew teaches Creative Writing and English at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Martha Webb is a literary agent, director and partner at The McDermid Agency in Toronto. Her list focuses on literary fiction, narrative non-fiction and ideas-driven nonfiction. Her clients include Caleb Behn, Nino Ricci, Andrew Westoll, Michael Crummey and Alison Pick. Martha also works with emerging authors and excels at placing debuts with major houses.

Mindy Abramowitz is a member of the Certified General Accountants of BC and has offered bookkeeping and accounting services to literary magazines and writers in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland for over 10 years.

Sauna Music has been creating live improvised music since 2012. With forest fires burning in nearby valleys, Jordy Walker and Micah Smith retreated to Micah’s home with guitars, synths, electro-acoustic percussion, and guitar pedals to create music that escaped a place and reflected it back at them. Sauna Music has has opened for Bry Webb and Chad Van Gaalen and performed live improvised film accompaniment.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Library of Parliament, Cultural Industries Training Fund, Yukon College, Westmark Hotels, Mac’s Fireweed Books, Well-Read Books, Baked Cafe, Corked Fine Wine, Beer and Spirits, Jazz Yukon, Aasman Brand Communications, Yukon Science Institute, Midnight Sun Coffee, Michael Dougherty and Jennifer Mauro.

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