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Keynote Address & Teaching the Short Story State of Mind at AWC

Get Lit Writer Series – Alexandra Writers Centre

With award-winning authors like Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, Kurt Vonnegut, there is so much to love and learn. Spend a day Getting Lit on short stories. Learn craft, process, publishing and so much more. Guaranteed to put you in that Short Story State of Mind.

May 27, 2023
AWCS Members: $150 | Non-Members: $200

Keynote & Presenters
paulo da costa | Lee Kvern | Leslie Greentree |
Sarah L. Pratt | Robert Bose

Note: Participation in Get Lit is entirely IN PERSON.
Full schedule with times will be available to participants.

Blue Pencil Sessions with Your Favourite Presenter
Submit up to 1500 words of a short story to your favourite presenter and get some valuable feedback on what’s working, what needs help, where to submit and more. If you don’t have anything to submit but would like some one-on-one time to talk about process or the trials and tribulations of the writing life, book a spot today. Book your blue pencil at time of registration.
Submissions need to be in by May 19, 2023.


Time is of the Essence – Compressed Narratives of the Future (Treehouse)
paulo da costa

In these times of diminishing leisure and compressed communication methods, short-stories lend themselves particularly well to the new portable technologies of smartphones, ereaders, tablets, etc… which serve the needs of people on the run. The advent of the new social and visual media has trained a generation of readers to hold short attention spans and to favour lean narratives with sudden impact. Short narratives will continue to gather more aficionados and likely become the more prevalent structure for written storytelling. The short form will meet the future generation’s interest for memorable fiction that explores contemporary issues relevant to their concerns.


Compelling Incantations (Treehouse)
paulo da costa

How shall I deliver a compact and compelling narrative that will brim with meaning and engage readers living under time pressures? A narrative distilled to impactful emotional moments will leave lasting impressions on a reader’s mind. I write what I know and I write what I don’t know. To surprise the reader I too must surprise myself in the writing process. I strive for characters in stories that engage with larger societal issues that matter to individual concerns and to our collective futures and will draw readers seeking insight, meaning and relevance. Do I want to be on the side of hope or despair? Do I want to inspire action or resignation? Insight or mindless entertainment? I will explore what it takes to write on the road less written.

Leslie Greentree


The Fictional Beauty of Authentic Detail (Treehouse)
Lee Kvern

Enhance the language and voice of your short stories by the use of authentic details, which include everything from google research to YouTube to utilizing the kitchen sink of your own life and others. Authenticity meets plausibility no matter the fictional aspect of your short story.

The More the Merrier: Collaborative Writing (Treehouse)
Sarah L. Pratt & Robert Bose

What do Good Omens, The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Talisman, and anything by Christina Lauren, Lars Kepler, or Nicci French have in common? They are all collaborative writing projects. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to co-write a story? What are the different approaches? The benefits and drawbacks? And whose name goes first? Take a walk through the wacky wonderful world of growing your creativity through collaboration.

On Publishing: Literary Journals, Anthologies, Collections (Treehouse)
A moderated discussion with all presenters
End the day with all our presenters and explore the variety of publishing opportunities available to short story writers and how it might pertain to you. Learn about literary journals, anthologies, story collections and so much more.


paulo da costa is a writer, editor and translator living in Canada. He is the recipient of the 2020 James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction, the 2003 Commonwealth First Book Prize for the Canada-Caribbean Region, the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize and the Canongate Prize for short-fiction. His poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published widely in literary magazines around the world and translated into Italian, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese.

Learning to Shave, Learning to Leave, a book of creative non-fiction, is forthcoming with University of Regina Press.

Lee Kvern is a Canadian author of short stories and novels. Her stories in 7 Ways to Sunday have garnered various literary awards including the CBC Literary Prize. Afterall was selected for regional Canada Reads and nominated for the Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. Lush Triumphant finalist and recent Best of the Net nominee. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, and has been published in numerous literary magazines across Canada and the US. She has currently finished her fourth novel Catch You on the Flipside, an international thriller.

Leslie Greentree is the author of four books – Not the Apocalypse I Was Hoping For (University of Calgary Press, Fall 2022), the award-winning short story collection A Minor Planet for You, and two poetry books: go-go dancing for Elvis, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Griffin Prize for Poetry, and guys named Bill. Leslie has won CBC literary competitions for short fiction and poetry, and the Sarah Selecky 2013 Little Bird short fiction competition.

Leslie is also a playwright, actor, and occasional essayist. “Tom Petty Just Isn’t There for You: Riffs on Waiting” was written before his death, and appears in Waiting: an anthology of essays (University of Alberta Press, 2018). Her essay, “Pink Smock Stories,” was shortlisted for a 2019 Writers Guild of Alberta award and the 2020 Humber Creative Nonfiction award.

Sarah L. Pratt is a curly hair gladiator, ultra marathoner, literary events wrangler, and queer fictioneer. Her stories have appeared in Vastarien, Room Magazine, Plenitude, On Spec, Shock Totem, Crossed Genres, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Vol. 2 (Red Room Press), and the Bram Stoker Award nominated Dark Visions 1 (Grey Matter Press) and Twisted Book of Shadows (Haverhill Press). She’s the author of Suicide Stitch: Eleven Tales (EMP Publishing) the blasphemous apocalyptic thriller, Infractus (Coffin Hop Press), and co-author of Wall of Fire and co-author/co-curator of Forbidden Fruit (The Seventh Terrace).

Robert Bose grew up on a farm in southern Alberta spending every free moment reading Fritz Leiber, Karl Edward Wagner, and whatever pulp and dark fiction he could get his dirty hands on. He’s the editor of a variety of books and anthologies for Coffin Hop Press and The Seventh Terrace, and the author of myriad short stories including the fiendish collection, Fishing with the Devil, Terrace VII: Wall of Fire, and Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit. When not writing, editing, publishing and running unfathomable long ultramarathons, he spends his time pestering his troublesome children, and working as a software architect for a small economic forecasting software company.

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