1. What is the Saskatchewan Festival of Words?
The Saskatchewan Festival of Words (established in 1996) holds a literary festival every July with 60 events over 4 days in and around historic downtown Moose Jaw. The festival showcases literary talent from all over Canada including many award winners (approximately 30 presenters each festival.) Over the 4 days of the festival we have workshops for all ages, reading sessions, concerts, film, and panel discussions and interviews. Some previous performers at the festival have been: Margaret Atwood, Lorna Crozier, Yann Martel, Lawrence Hill, Jack Hodgins, Shane Koyczan, Dionne Brand, Charlotte Gray, Robert J. Sawyer, Denise Chong, Stephen Brunt, Patrick Lane, Steven Galloway, Sharon Pollock, and M.G. Vassanji.
We have approximately 380 members and 150 volunteers but are always looking for more. Our year round programming includes the monthly Performer’s Café open mic night, Cineview series (independent and foreign film), musical performances, as well as workshops in schools and author readings.
2. How do you become a presenter at the festival?
The Saskatchewan Festival of Words fields numerous requests from artists, publishers, and agents to consider performers for the festival each year. Any requests that come in are added to the list and given to our Program Team for consideration. The Program Team then works from this list to decide who will be invited to perform at future festivals. Unfortunately we can only invite a limited number of performers each year and there are so many talented artists applying! We usually have a list of about 150 published and award-winning authors on the list at any given time.
3. What kinds of presentations are at the festival?
The Festival features artists from a wide array of disciplines. Every year we showcase an eclectic group of performers consisting of writers, performance poets, musicians/bands, and theatre. We also have representation from numerous genres and cultures.
4. How do I register for the festival (buy passes and tickets)?
Registration and ticket purchases can be done a number of different ways depending on when you want to buy and/or how technologically savvy you are.
Option #1: If you go to the Summer Festival section on our website and then click on either "Register Now" or "Purchase Tickets (online)" the system will walk you through the process. Be careful when entering your e-mail address as the online payment system needs to send you a password to complete your online payment.
Option #2: Go to Summer Festival on our website and click on "Purchase Tickets (print). This option allows you to download and print the registration form so you can either fax it or mail it in with your cheque or credit card information. Fax: 306-693-2994
Option #3: Contact the festival office to register and pay by phone 306-691- 0557 or pop into the office and register in person (217 Main St. N. Second Floor, Moose Jaw, SK.) The building is closed on Mondays.
*Please note: the online payment system is only activated in April each year when our passes go on sale and is deactivated again in August.
1. What does the full festival pass include? Priority seating
The full festival pass includes all festival events except workshops and Friday Night Trivia. It also gives the holder priority seating at each event.
6. When and where do I pick up my pass?
Passes are available at the first event in the evening of the summer festival. Packages are made up ahead of time for full festival pass holders and tables are set up at the Mae Wilson Theatre (217 Main St N), where we can hand them out. If you are unable to make it to the film, packages are taken to the following Readception and any left over after that will be at the festival registration desk at the Moose Jaw Art Museum Theatre for the remainder of the festival weekend.
7. What is the Flex card (punch card)?
The new Flex Card is a punch card that gives you $25.00 more in punches than what you pay for the card. Each card has punch circles on it worth $5.00 each and all of our festival events are in multiples of $5.00. This card allows people more flexibility at a lower price point. We understand many people have busy schedules and may not be able to dedicate 4 full days to attend the festival. The Flex Card is also a more affordable alternative to the full festival pass. In addition, the Flex Card is transferrable to someone else. For example if you can only make it to a few events for one or two days of the festival you can hand your pass over to a friend or family member to use instead. *Please note: full festival pass holders receive priority seating. If you intend on using your Flex Card for the Saturday Night Concert please let us know at time of purchase so we can ensure a ticket is set aside in your name. The Flex Card cannot be used at Casino Moose Jaw to purchase tickets.
8. What kinds of jobs are available for volunteers?
9. Where can I find a schedule?
The Saskatchewan Festival of Words schedule is not usually released until approximately the end of June. The reason is that every year we have 30+ performers all with very busy schedules that we need to coordinate accordingly. Performers tend to arrive and depart on different days and times so, until all of these details are finalized we are unable to finalize our schedule. All events take place in and around downtown Moose Jaw. Last minute changes can occur. Here is a rough outline of events during the festival to give you an idea of how it works:
- Morning workshops from 9am to 12pm
- Afternoon workshops from 1pm to 4pm
- Storytime for Little Ones from 2pm to 3pm
- Feature Film (usually a literary theme) 6:30pm
- Readception (a selection of mini readings from festival presenters) 9pm
- 9am to 12pm Reading Sessions
- 12:15pm to 1:15pm Luncheon
- 1:30pm to 3:30pm Reading Sessions
- 4pm to 5pm Friday Feature Panel Discussion
- 5pm to 6pm Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Reception
- 5:30pm Trivia Night at Bobby’s Place Pub (meal included)
- 9am to 12pm Reading Sessions
- 12pm Lunch on your own
- 1:30pm to 3:30pm Reading Sessions
- 4pm to 5pm Feature Event (panel discussion or interview with authors)
- 5pm to 6pm Book Launch
- 8:30pm Concert Sunday
- 10:10am to 12:10pm Reading Sessions
- 12:15pm Farewell Lunch with Musical Entertainment
10. Does the festival do other events all year round?
Yes. We have the Cineview film series of independent and foreign films. We also have the Performer’s Café open mic night once a month. In addition, we have author readings, musical performances, murder mysteries, volunteer appreciation events, book sales, office open house, and workshops. Check out the events section on our website to see what’s coming up.
11. What is Cineview?
The Cineview series is one of our year-round events. The goal of Cineview is to bring independent and foreign films to Moose Jaw that otherwise would not normally come to our theatre. All screenings take place at the Moose Jaw Galaxy Cinema. There are usually 2 series each year consisting of 4 films each (one per month.) Passes to the entire series are available ahead of time through the Saskatchewan Festival of Words office or at Post Horizon Books or individual tickets may be purchased at the door the night of each screening. Films are chosen by our Cineview committee and many of them are award winning films. Galaxy Cinema is located at 1235 Main St. N. in the Town n’ Country Mall and screening start at 7:30pm sharp.
12. What is the Performer’s Café and who can perform there?
The Performer’s Café has been running for 5 years and is a free open mic night at a local café (Java Express) in Moose Jaw for emerging and established artists. We use professional “headliners” who are intended to act as mentors for these aspiring musicians, writers, storytellers, etc. The Performer’s Café provides local artists with an outlet to showcase their talent while also allowing new artists to practice performing in front of an audience and a chance to network with one another. It is a non-judgmental forum to encourage the expression of creativity with no barriers due to age, gender, race, religion, experience, artistic discipline, sexual orientation, or level of wealth. Everyone is welcome. Java Express is located at 23 Main St. Moose Jaw, SK and the event starts at 7:30pm.
13. What is the Moose Jaw Honours Award?
Presented as a tribute to a citizen, living or dead, who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the quality of life in Moose Jaw and district. A “Wall of Fame” consisting of photos of those honoured with citations in a Tribute Book are on permanent display in the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.
14. What is the Teen Writing Experience?
During the festival each year the Saskatchewan Festival of Words partners with the Sage Hill Writing Experience to offer the Teen Writing Experience. Applications (with samples of the student’s work) are submitted to Sage Hill and each Experience accepts approximately 14 promising young writers. Professional instructors (writers) lead activities which include group discussion, critiques, talks, readings, and writing assignments. The week-long event takes place at the Moose Jaw Public Library in the week preceding the festival. Students are sponsored by local donors (through the Saskatchewan Festival of Words) so the $250 tuition is covered, thereby allowing any teen to apply without financial restriction. Billets are also available for students from out of town. On the final day of the Experience, the students do a public reading of their work at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words.
15. What are the benefits of Membership?
Members receive a subscription to our newsletter (2-4 per year) as well as voting privileges at our Annual General Meeting held in June. Members are the first to know about upcoming festival events as well as the festival line- up. Finally, Saskatchewan Festival of Words members enjoy the satisfaction of supporting our literacy initiatives and one of the best literary festivals in Canada!