Category Archives: WordFest News

For all the latest happenings at WordFest

WordFest at Market Collective July 19-21

WordFest will be attending Market Collective July 19-21 where staff will be on-site to capture and share accounts of the floods in Alberta as part of an interactive art installation. Stop by and share your flood experiences by writing or drawing on the WaterBurst mural, by answering a writing prompt, or by telling your story on camera.

A collection of poetry by Jenny Eggermont will also be on display. Eggermont, a former CBC-er and poet, drew inspiration from the words of thousands of #yycflood Tweets that emerged following the disaster. Through the identification of common words, messages and themes, Eggermont created a collection of poems that captures the devotion, contribution and strength of the Calgary community throughout the crisis and moving forward.

Market Collective is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend with over 100 unique arts and culture vendors set to appear at the event taking place at the Mewata Armoury on 11th Street SE. Market Collective exists to promote local arts and culture and to engage and empower our community toward positive growth. What started off as a small market has grown into a large and exciting community event. The market is open to the public on Friday from 4pm-9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm. Admission is $5.

For more information on Market Collective, visit their website at:


1 Comment

Filed under WordFest News

WordFest Welcomes New Staff

WordFest is pleased to welcome Emmanuelle Fontaine, the new Education Program Assistant, and Cassandra Paul who is joining the team as Operations Coordinator.

Emmanuelle  Fontaine


What Emmanuelle is reading now:
Chicago: A Novel by Alaa Al Aswany

Leading up to the Festival this year, which runs October 14-20, 2013, Emmanuelle will be working closely with Book Rapport Manager Sandra Paire on the rollout of WordFest’s children’s and youth programming as well as coordinating the French-language component of WordFest — Festival des mots.

Emmanuelle speaks fluent French, having recently moved with her family to Calgary from France. She recalls fondly her hometown of St. Malo, which has a fascinating historical relationship with the early development of the fishing industry in Quebec. Perhaps a little known fact is that Jacques Cartier, the sailor and explorer who discovered the shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1534, and who also named this territory ‘Canada’ upon arrival, was born in St. Malo in 1491. During this period, the city’s economy developed thanks in part to a series of major fishing expeditions through “Terre Neuve.” St. Malo continues to celebrate this historic trade relationship to this day. As a symbol of the exchanges and friendship between Quebec and St. Malo, a House of Quebec was established in 1984 in the French city.

Emmanuelle also volunteered several years ago for a literary festival in St. Malo that was held within steps of the area’s beautiful coastline. The experience of being among fellow book lovers celebrating the art of storytelling has certainly whet her appetite for more. Now living on “the other side of the pond,” she looks forward to being part of WordFest in Calgary and Banff.

Cassandra Paul

As Operations Coordinator, Cassandra will oversee a number of key areas — from streamlining organizational systems and managing special projects, all the way to administering the box office and coordinating the Festival’s team of over 200 volunteers.

She graduated from The Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) with a BFA in painting, and recently finished a diploma in Business Administration from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). Apart from her work at WordFest, she co-runs AVALANCHE! Institute of Contemporary Art, a gallery space that is focussed on showcasing experimental practices by emerging artists. She is also an administrator at the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation.

Although her background is grounded primarily in the visual arts, writing was a focus during her early development as an artist. Now at WordFest, she is excited to reconnect with the literary arts and discover new artists and authors through the Festival.

For updates on career and volunteer opportunities, please visit often, sign up for the newsletter, and follow WordFest on Twitter and Facebook.

1 Comment

Filed under WordFest News

Book Art and the Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Week runs from February 24 to March 2 this year. It is an annual event that encourages Canadians to reflect upon and commemorate the importance of intellectual freedom.

WordFest is proud to mark this special week with a celebration at the Barley Mill Pub in Calgary on February 26, starting at 7pm. The event is free and open to everyone. But seating is limited, so I recommend arriving early. Comedian Cory Mack will host the evening, and chat about the fine-line of comedy and the significance of Freedom to Read Week.

I hope to see all of you there! Perhaps I’ll wear a bow tie. Until then, I thought I’d share my latest fascination with book art.

The freedom to do what we want…with books!

A number of sculptors and installation artists from around the world are re-purposing what we read and the books we consume into raw material for their artistic expression. Some stunning work has emerged from such experimentation.

Photo of installation by Alicia Martin

Biografias by Alicia Martin

These artists are collectively paying tribute to the book in many respects. They present books not so much as a mere medium through which stories are told, but rather as forms in and of themselves that have their own architecture, their own ways of occupying space, and their own potential for radical reinvention.

Photo of Tom Bendtsen Installation

Conversation #4 by Tom Bendtsen

It might be a cliché these days to call sculpture “a celebration of form.” But, when it’s so easy to think of reading and writing as an interaction with a two dimensional surface such as a page or screen, perhaps it’s time to broaden how we view these often-overlooked containers of our thoughts and imagination.

Photo of book sculpture by Brian Dettmer

Library of American History by Brian Dettmer; cr. Toomey Tourrell Fine Art

We’re so accustomed to the physical book vanishing from our horizon of awareness once we delve into “the story,” even as we continue to hold the object in our hands. Celebrating the possibilities of the book as a multi-dimensional form, in its own right, seems refreshing in many ways. At the very least, book art makes excellent eye candy.


Leave a comment

Filed under WordFest News

How to save the planet before David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin arrive

ImageWordFest is bringing Canadian icon David Suzuki and bestselling author and economist Jeff Rubin to the John Dutton Theatre, Calgary Public Library, on February 27, at 7pm, as part of THE ECO TOUR. These notable thinkers will discuss the vital relationship between ecology and economics in charting a path toward a sustainable future. The event is sure to sell out fast, so buy tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Working towards a greener planet can be serious business most of the time, so here’s a lighter take on the whole endeavor with some suggested ways of going to the extreme to do our part.

1. Adopt a vegan

No longer a rare breed these days, there are plenty of vegans of all ages, shapes and sizes who deserve a good home. Not only is their ecological footprint much smaller than their carnivorous counterparts, but also most are incredibly well behaved and make excellent companions. So if giving up meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy seems too drastic a measure at this point, adopting a vegan might be an option for you. And if you already happen to be a vegan…well, let’s get in touch!

2. Go off the grid

We can probably all do more to reduce, reuse and recycle our household waste, all while remembering to turn off the lights and turn down the heat when we’re not around. Why not simply go one step further, give up on the old adage “everything in moderation,” and do everything imaginable to eliminate our impact on the planet? Interpret “zero carbon footprint” literally. Why not boldly disappear for awhile, go off the grid, unplug all devices in your home, and cancel your utilities? Then bundle up, and read The End of Growth under the moonlight.

3. Get your car impounded

Sometimes curbing our addiction to fossil fuels requires something extra to prevent us from giving into the temptation to start our engines. One way to proceed is to make it impossible to drive in the first place. For instance, maybe figure out ways of getting your car impounded indefinitely. But keep in mind that you only want to get towed; you don’t want to go to jail or hurt anyone either on purpose or by accident in your quest for a car-free existence.

4. Creep the ECO TOUR speakers

Staying informed is arguably just as important as any actions we might take to save the world. Learning all we can about the speakers before the event, by “creeping” them, is one way to keep abreast on what’s important. The always insightful and authoritative Urban Dictionary defines creeping as, well, being a creep when following someone’s life a little bit too closely on the Internet and on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s “akin to stalking in the real world, but usually done to people who are your friends.” David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin can be anybody’s friend, if we let them. So creeping is technically…normal…isn’t it?

Leave a comment

Filed under WordFest News

TumbleWord Contest: “The parade”

The parade

By Lola B. and Allison F.

(Honourable Mention – Youth Category)

I traveled toward Calgary

To see the famous Stampede

I got to hear how the

Big Four agreed

After I saw the parade

I went and got some food

The pretzels tasted funny

now I’m in a bad mood

Then I saw a tough cowgirl

Riding her big black horse

in the amazing stampede

my dog just made it worse

then I saw a big brown bull

running away with beer

he scared me so much that

the owner beckoned him here

then I got terribly thirsty

after all that excitement

I got a lime flavoured slushy

For it I paid a cent

Leave a comment

Filed under WordFest News

TumbleWord Contest: “The Final Fall”

The Final Fall

By Kate L.

(Honourable Mention – Youth Category)

The horn blew, cueing me to begin. I felt Quigley below me and my breath slowed as I sank into the saddle. Quigley bent forward, taking the sharp turn perfectly. His hooves thumped against the ground, digging up the freshly raked dirt. Dust flew into my mouth. My hair flew everywhere, like it was having its own rodeo. I looked at the barrel in front of me. Quigley’s short breaths matched mine. Then, fear, as Quigley’s great hooves whacked together. His last steps were a multiple of stumbles. I braced myself for the fall and watched in slow motion, the open mouths of the crowd, the waiting riders reaching out to save me. Nobody could help me now. My head hit the dirt like a stone. I heard the buzzer and knew I was disqualified. So much time, so much money. I felt guilty; it hurt to lose it all so fast. One thought kept me moving as I struggled to my feet.

“Next year, there’s always next year.”

Leave a comment

Filed under WordFest News

TumbleWord Contest: “Roller Coaster Ride”

Roller Coaster Ride

By Katie L.

(Honourable Mention – Youth Category)

Kristen and Kasey came to visit me, from

California. Good and bad things…

On a particularly warm summer day, we went to Stampede Park. With energy, Kasey sprinted, her red converse hitting the ground. She dragged us to the scariest looking ride of all, Swooping Flyer. Kristen and I waited fearfully. When our turn came, Kasey bounded for the seat while Kristen and I took precautions. We sat silently with our seatbelts clasped. As soon as the small door was secured, the box took off like a bullet. The wind was an iceberg hitting my face. I wanted to scream but I had no voice. I wanted to cry but the wind dried my tears. We were way up high now. I couldn’t get off so I sat there with my teeth and hands clenched tight. We were zooming around in the air in all different directions. Suddenly there was a jolt and in seconds, we were plummeting towards the ground. Gravity was showing no mercy. We hit the ground hard and fast. The box landed on its side. Kasey’s side. I scrambled out of my seat groaning. I rushed to Kasey, only to find her white scoop neck shirt, soaked with sticky blood, hanging loosely around her limp body. By then Kristen had regained her

consciousness and was kneeling beside me. Tears flooded. There was silence. Then people started rushing.

Leave a comment

Filed under WordFest News