Frequently asked questions
What is the Saskatchewan Festival of Words?
The Saskatchewan Festival of Words (established in 1996) is a registered charity and non-profit organization that holds an annual literary festival the third weekend in 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. Over the 4 days of the festival we have workshops for all ages, reading sessions, concerts, film, panel discussions, interviews, music, theatre, and even a slam poetry competition!
Our year round programming includes the monthly Performers Café open mic night, Cineview series (independent and foreign film), musical performances, as well as workshops and author readings.
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. Please send your book to the Saskatchewan Festival of Words along with your bio. You can also email our Operations Coordinator, Amanda Farnel, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your bio and info about any presentations you would be willing to do. 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 300 published and award- winning authors at any given time.
Do you accept self-published authors?
As self-publishing becomes a larger part of the literary world, we want to work harder to incorporate self-published authors into our programs. Currently we work with self-published authors through our LitCon and Performers Café programs. Unfortunately, the lack of benchmarks/filters/editing for self-published works creates curatorial challenges for our program team for the Festival so we only accept a small number of self-published writers each year if they are in good standing with The Writers Union of Canada.
What kinds of presentations are at the festival?
Our main focus is on diversity, which means we also understand that not all types of people like every type of event. We try to curate a Festival that engages with all types of writing, not just the written word. We offer author readings, panel discussions, a concert, a film, Poetry Slam, Trivia, Luncheons and other features.
How do I register for the festival (buy passes and tickets)?
Our passes are sold through the Moose Jaw Culture Centre (www.moosejawculture.ca) as of our Spring Launch each year. Passes can be purchased through their website, over the phone or directly at the box office (217 Main St. N).
What does the full festival pass include?
The full festival pass includes all festival events except workshops and Friday Night Trivia. Some years we host special events which are also not included in the pass. It also gives the holder priority seating at each event.
The Full Festival Pass costs $200 but can be purchased at the early bird price of $175 if bought before June 1 each year.
What does a Student Pass include?
The Student Pass acts as a Full Festival Pass, which means it includes entry into all events except the workshops and Trivia Night at a discounted price. The Full Festival Pass costs $200, and the student pass costs $55. Some years we host special events which are also not included in the pass.
When and where do I pick up my pass?
Passes are available at the first event in the evening of the summer festival at the onsite Registration Desk. This first event takes place on the Thursday night and is a film screening at the Mae Wilson Theatre (217 Main Street North). If you are unable to make it to the film, passes are taken to the following Readception and any left over after that will be at the festival registration desk onsite throughout the remainder of the Festival.
What is the Flex Pass (punch card)?
The Flex Pass is a more affordable alternative to the Full Pass and gives our attendees more flexibility. The pass is a punch card with $5 punches. It costs $100 but allows for $125 worth of punches. It can be shared by multiple people and used to by tickets to any Festival event.
What kinds of jobs are available for volunteers?
Volunteers are always welcome! We need volunteers for the Festival itself and year-round events. Jobs may include: putting up posters, ticket taking, counting attendance at events, working at the raffle table or registration desk, decorating, baking, billeting, phoning, ushering, chaperoning, 50/50 ticket sales, etc.
Please contact 306-691-0557 or email email@example.com for more info.
We couldn't do the festival without you!
Please note that Festival volunteers are not contacted until the end of May or beginning of June as they are managed by our summer Festival interns.
Where can I find a schedule?
The full schedule will be released at our April Launch each year. It can be found on the website under the Summer Festival tab at the top of the page. If you haven't been to the Festival before, this is the general schedule:
Morning workshops from 9am to 12pm
Storytime for Little Ones from 10am to 11am
Afternoon workshops from 1pm to 4pm
Feature Film (usually a literary or Canadian theme) 6:30pm
Readception (a selection of mini readings from festival presenters) 9pm
9am to 12pm Reading Sessions
12:15pm to 1:15pm Luncheon with a Speaker
1:30pm to 3:30pm Reading Sessions
4pm to 5pm Friday Feature Panel or Interview
5:30pm Trivia Night at Bobby's Place Pub (meal included)
9pm Poetry Slam Competition
9am to 12pm Reading Sessions
12pm Lunch on your own
1:30pm to 3:30pm Reading Sessions
4pm to 5pm Feature Panel or Interview
5pm to 6pm Book Launch
8:30pm Concert or Theatrical Production
9am to 12pm Breakfast followed by panels, readings, or interviews
*Reading sessions are 50 minutes long usually with 2 authors reading for 20 minutes each (sometimes 1 author reading for 40 minutes or a dramatic reading.) After the authors are done reading there is a 10minute Q & A period. Each author will do 2-3 reading sessions over the 4 days of the festival so if you really want to see 2 authors and they're reading in separate sessions at the same time, there should be a chance for you to catch the other during a different session.
Does the festival have any year-round events?
Yes! We partner with businesses and organizations in the community to host a number of events throughout the year. Check out our event calendar to see if anything is coming up soon!
We also host monthly programs year-round:
Cineview - We partner with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to bring in foreign and independent films to Moose Jaw through the Galaxy Theatre. Often these films will not have wide distribution but still receive critical claim and wide attention. We host 4 films in the Fall and 5 films in the Winter. Passes ($25 for 4 films and $30 for 5 films) can be bought each season through the Festival of Words or in person through Post Horizon Booksellers. Individual tickets can be bought at the door for $10.
Performers Café - The Performers Café has been running for a number of years and is a free open mic at a local café in Moose Jaw for emerging and established artists. We feature ‘headliners’ who are intended to serve as mentors for aspiring musicians, writers, storytellers, etc. The Performers Café provides local artists with a venue to showcase their talents while also allowing new artists to gain experience performing in front of an audience, and an opportunity to network with one another. It is a non-judgemental forum with the goal of encouraging the expression of creativity with no barriers due to age, gender, race, religion, artistic discipline, or sexual orientation. This is a FREE Open Mic for all ages.
Book Club - The Moose Jaw Public Library and Saskatchewan Festival of Words have come together to start a book club promoting Canadian authors who have attended or will attend our summer Festival.
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. They accept approximately 14 promising young writers for Moose Jaw.
Professional instructors (writers) lead activities that include group discussion, critiques, talks, readings, and writing assignments. The weeklong event takes place in Moose Jaw 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. On the final day of the Experience, the students do a public reading of their work at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. More information can be found on the Sage Hill Writing Experience Website: www.sagehillwriting.ca/teens .
What are the benefits of Membership?
Members receive a subscription to our electronic newsletter (4-6 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. Members are also eligible to serve on Festival committees. Finally, Saskatchewan Festival of Words members enjoy the satisfaction of supporting our literacy initiatives and one of the best literary festivals in Canada!