Inaugural Canadian Writers’ Summit Unites 14 National Writing Organizations

The Writers' Union of Canada
Press Release

Fourteen Canadian writing and reading organizations have joined forces to present the inaugural Canadian Writers’ Summit (#CWS2016), a four-day super-conference for writers and publishing industry professionals. The largest national gathering of its kind, #CWS2016 presents a unique opportunity in terms of programming, ideas, and networking for the Canadian writing community, and efficiencies for the participating organizations. The conference features more than 200 panellists and speakers in more than 75 events and is expected to draw over 500 writers and readers from across Canada. #CWS2016 takes place from June 15 to 19 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

#CWS2016 sprang from discussions at the National Summit of Writers’ Associations (NSWA), a gathering organized by the Writers’ Trust of Canada in 2014 that brought together national, provincial, and territorial writers’ organizations to share initiatives and explore collaborative ways to better serve writers across Canada. For the organizers, the resulting #CWS2016, which replaces in alternate years the individual conferences of many, delivers improved efficiencies, broader and higher-quality programming, and greater cross-pollination opportunities than the groups could achieve in isolation. For attendees, there are many more events on offer as well as more opportunities to meet and collaborate with their fellow Canadian writers across disciplines.

Conference attendees will choose from events including professional development sessions, keynote talks, pedagogy and policy discussions, scholarly presentations, public lectures, and social gatherings, as well as plenary and annual general meetings of organizing groups of which they are a member. Discussion topics range from how to write a successful grant application, with Canada Council Director and CEO Simon Brault, to opportunities for Canadian writers overseas, to the writer’s craft. #CWS2016 also includes Book Summit, an annual one-day conference focusing on book-publishing issues and trends.

“What began as an idea at the National Summit of Writers’ Associations has emerged as an extraordinary collaboration among the many groups representing and championing Canada’s writers,” said Mary Osborne, executive director of the Writers’ Trust of Canada. “The opportunity for the country’s playwrights, children’s authors, poets, novelists, nonfiction writers and more to come together at such a richly programmed professional-development event is a boon for writers and will be a gift, ultimately, to readers.”

The participating organizations are: Book and Periodical Council (BPC), Canadian Authors Association (CAA), Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP), Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), Creative Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC), The Humber School for Writers, International Festival of Authors (IFOA), League of Canadian Poets (LCP), National Reading Campaign (NRC), Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ), Writers’ Trust of Canada (WT), The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC).

Large contingents of members of these organizations are expected to attend, but #CWS2016 welcomes anyone interested in writing and publishing in Canada to participate. The program is designed to be flexible to allow participants to attend events most relevant to their interests. Information on how to purchase single or multi-day passes is available at

Included in the more than 75 lectures, discussions, and presentations that make up #CWS2016 are a limited number of marquee events open to those not attending the conference. Ticketed events include keynote addresses by Lawrence Hill, Nalo Hopkinson, Kenneth Oppel, and Jean Little; free events include play and poetry readings, and a literary award presentation. A mini book fair will also be on site. Information about attending these individual events is available at

#CWS2016 is grateful to a number of sponsors and supporters without whom the event would not have been possible. A full list of supporters can be found at


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Becky Toyne