Last weekend, I went to When Words Collide in Calgary with my wife, Caroline. It’s a great place to meet readers, writers, editors and publishers, and there are lots of workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
The trip out on WestJet was uneventful, and my suitcase, despite containing books, squeaked under the weight limit. I spent the flight listening to the opening chapters of the audio proof of Avians. That’s right, an audio book is coming soon!
We arrived at the hotel to register just after noon. I’d like to offer a shout-out to the WWC volunteers; they run one of the smoothest registrations I’ve seen, and they always get my name-tag and desk-card right.
It was hot and smoky in Calgary. The afternoon temperature rose to 37ºC!
We went for lunch at Jack Astor’s, because it’s a walk of barely two blocks. We had salads, and they were good, but I cannot seem to link to their full menu, so they will remain shrouded in mystery.
My schedule this year was light, with no obligations Friday or Saturday, so I was free to take in some panels. For Friday afternoon, I selected three from a full-to-bursting schedule: Shifting from Writer to Author; Now What?, The Best Advice I Ever Received, and Agency for Women in Fantasy / Feminism in Fantasy.
That last one was my favourite of the day, because the panelists were passionate. One main point was about numbers. It’s not enough to have one woman in the role of spaceship captain: half of her crew should be female, too. Fonda Lee defended the point that by this measure, Black Panther is a more feminist movie than Wonder Woman, because while the latter has one woman who is exceptional, Black Panther, despite having a male lead, has lots of women in different significant roles.
Double standards came up, too. Write a male character with deep flaws, and he’s “complex”. Write a female with quirks, and she’s “unsympathetic.”
WWC has a great dealership room, where a dozen or more different booksellers and presses set up tables of books for sale. This is one of the best places in Canada to go book shopping if you’re looking for Canadian authors in almost any genre. I popped in to see Myth Hawker, because they’re good about selling my book, Avians. I left a few signed copies with them.
While I’m thinking about book sales, one book series I buy on sight is Brave New Girls. This is a set of anthologies of short stories about girls in STEM* and the third volume, subtitled Tales of Heroines Who Hack, has just come out.
That was it for my WWC attendance on Friday.
Dinner Debriefing: I joined Caroline, and we headed out to Broken Plate for dinner. It’s walking distance (about ten minutes) from the Delta Calgary South, and it’s become our regular first-night restaurant when we’re at WWC.
We love their calamari, so we started with that, and a glass of Seven Peaks Chardonnay. Caroline went for a Scallop dish, one of the daily specials, and I picked the Roast Lamb. Menu link. It was tasty. I recommended it to the table that sat down next to us.
(I’m one of those people that talks to strangers on the elevator, and in the line at the grocery store. I can never go back to New York.)
For wine with dinner, Caroline stayed with the white and I ordered a glass of an Argentine Malbec, Flechas De Los Andes Aguaribay. It paired well with the fragrant lamb.
We finished with a Baklava Cheese Cake. The sour cherry compote was striking.
That’s all for Friday. I’ll do separate posts for each day.
*Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.