Alistair MacLeod in Conversation with Shelagh Rogers
Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast journalist, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the first-ever ambassador-at-large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough—because she believes we are all in the same boat. Currently she hosts CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, a program devoted to writers and songwriters.
Come listen to Rogers, one of Canada’s finest interviewers in conversation with Alistair MacLeod, one of Canada’s finest writers.
MacLeod has published two collections of stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986). In 1999, his novel about Scottish émigrés to Cape Breton, No Great Mischief, won the prestigious 2001 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Like Rogers, MacLeod is also an officer of the Order of Canada. But don’t worry—the only thing these two officers will arrest is your attention.
Excitement is building about the Words in 3 Dimensions conference, which is being co-hosted by the Editors’ Association of Canada – Prairie Provinces Branch, the Get Publishing Communications Society and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, on May 24–26, 2013.
Words in 3 Dimensions promises an amazing lineup, including editor extraordinaire Rosemary Shipton, esteemed novelist Alistair MacLeod (in conversation with the CBC`s Shelagh Rogers) and publisher Nancy Flight. Not to mention agent Hilary McMahon, the Writer`s Digest`s Chuck Sambuchino and the always on-target duo of Karen Virag and Virginia Durksen, CBC Radio’s Grammar Gals.
As well, the conference features a Pitch Camp, the Blue Pencil Café, Chat Rooms, and Marketplace — in short, a full menu of intimate opportunities to learn from those in the know. (To further whet your appetite, visit our conference website.)
Registration opened on February 1. Don’t delay. Sign up today!
Pitch Camp—Where Amazing Things Can Happen That Have Nothing to Do with Baseball!
Saturday afternoon promises an exciting event—a Pitch Camp, where conference goers have the chance to pitch their ideas to editors, publishers, and other literary professionals who can help turn their ideas into published works or, at the very least, provide valuable advice about a writing career.
So, register for Words in 3 Dimensions sooner rather than later, because Pitch Camp registration is on a “first come, first served” basis and the event fills up fast.
During the registration process, all you need to do is answer “yes” when you’re asked if you want to take part in Pitch Camp. Once the “catchers”—the folks who’ll be hearing the pitches—are all lined up, we’ll be in touch to match you with the right catcher and to schedule your 15-minute time slot with that person. Yup—fifteen minutes is all you get, so you’ll have to make them count.
The next article describes how one past conference member’s Pitch Camp experience led to a publication deal.
A Pitch Camp Success Story
In 2011, at the Get Publishing Communications Society’s conference Pitch Camp, Deborah Lawson, a writer and editor, pitched her poetry ideas. She impressed Rose Scollard of Frontenac House, and landed a contract. Deborah’s book of poetry, Reckless Toward Blossoming, will be released in the fall of 2013.
Photo credit: Mark Zeltserman
We asked Deborah a few questions about her pitching experience. Here’s what she had to say.
Can you tell us a little about what and how you pitched to Rose Scollard?
I went into the session with about 25 printed poems. Rose read through them all in five minutes, then asked if she could keep them, to read again at a more leisurely pace. I was thrilled to agree. Then we talked about poetry in general, and my hopes for publication in particular. Rose’s response to my work was extremely encouraging.
What do you think you did right—what landed the deal for you?
I took the poems that were my own favourites — poems I felt were exceptional or that had evoked strong responses from other readers.
What key piece of advice would you give to “pitchers”?
Pay very close attention to any comments your “catcher” makes. My first published poem was also the result of a pitch camp presentation! At the 2007 Get Publishing conference I pitched to Erinne Sevigny, then-editor of Other Voices literary magazine. Erinne said that if a poem had an intriguing title, she was immediately more open to what she was about to read. Acting on her advice, I retitled one of the poems she’d liked and submitted it to Other Voices after the conference. The poem was accepted and went on to win the Poetry Grand Prize in Other Voices’ 20th anniversary contest. And I’ve never forgotten Erinne’s advice.