2023 Writing Conference

Get inspired by successful writers at the Fenlands Recreation Centre in Banff, or Online

Keynote: Will Ferguson – Travel Writing & Fiction


Travel memoirs and novels share many of the same features — sense of place, the telling detail, an overarching journey, characters revealed through dialogue — and I will be talking about how the two can enrich each other.

I began in travel, moved to fiction, and found that the principles I learned as a travel writer helped my novel writing immensely, and vice versa.


Will Ferguson is a travel writer and novelist whose memoirs include Hitching Rides with Buddha, about an end-to-end journey across Japan by thumb; Beyond Belfast, about a long walk across Northern Ireland; and Road Trip Rwanda, about a journey into the heart of Africa.

His novel 419, a literary thriller that spans continents, won the 2012 Giller Prize. He has been nominated for both a Commonwealth Award and the IMPAC Dublin Award, and received the Pierre Berton Award from Canada’s National History Society. His novel, The Finder, won the Crime Writers of Canada Best Novel Award. He’s newest novel, a comedic mystery titled I Only Read Murder, was written with his brother Ian Ferguson and was published in June 2023.

Samples of some of his magazine feature travel writing can be found here: https://www.everythingzoomer.com/author/will-ferguson/

The Anatomy of a Flash Fiction Story – Finnian Burnett


Writing flash is its own reward, but it’s also a great practice for novelists, memoirists and every other kind of writer. Writing flash loosens creative muscles, hones deep character development, and gives sanction to skipping the boring in-betweens.

While not all flash is structured, understanding the anatomy of a flash piece can help writers nail a perfect piece every time. This workshop will offer an in-depth look into the structure of a flash piece along with generative writing to practice using that knowledge. Geared toward first timers and experienced flashers alike.


Finnian Burnett is a doctoral student and a college instructor who teaches creative writing and English literature. Finn has published several novels, but their true writing love is flash fiction. They’ve shortlisted or won with Bath Flash, Bridport Prize, Blank Spaces Magazine, The London Story Prize, Reflex Press and more.

The Clothes Make the Man, a flash fiction collection about Arthur, a trans man navigating academia, was recently released by Ad Hoc Publishing and their next collection is forthcoming through Off Topic Publishing. Finn’s passion is mentoring emerging writers and helping others find their own passion for writing.

In their spare time, Finnian watches a lot of Star Trek. Finn lives in BC with their wife and Lord Gordo, the cat. 

Break – 11:00-11:30am

[Title TBA] – Jennifer Mariani


Details TBA.


Jennifer Mariani was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. Her poetry has been featured in Mosi oa Tunya Literary Review, Uproar (The Lawrence House Centre For The Arts), The League of Canadian Poets and Wingless Dreamer. Jennifer writes about Africa; both the landscape and being white in post-independent Zimbabwe. She also writes about women’s issues including domestic violence and eating disorders. Jennifer currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, with one partner, two daughters, three cats and numerous volumes of Pablo Neruda’s poetry. She teaches ballet and her favorite poems are written for her children. Her first poetry chapbook, All Forgotten Now, is available from Off Topic Publishing.

Lunch- 12:30-2:00pm



Details TBA.

Copyright Law for Writers – Andrew Shaughnessy


Everything you want to know about copyright, but were too afraid to ask? We all have those questions about copyright, the ones that constantly pop up on social media group sites, the ones that make us nervous when we are editing, the ones that cause distraction or worry? Do I need to register my copyright?

Is there copyright in a title? Can I use someone else’s song lyrics in my work? Should I mail myself my work to prove I wrote it? How long does copyright last in someone else’s work? How can I assign or license my works? What are moral rights?


Andrew Shaughnessy is an intellectual property litigation lawyer who has handled copyright cases in the past.