1. What was the most memorable part of being the Writer in Residence? The most memorable part of my time as writer in residence: I loved the whole experience but I must say that what was most striking after a year at that post was realizing that absolutely everyone has a fascinating story to tell. I felt very privileged to get a glimpse into the lives of some of the writers I met with, to read about their secrets and passions and incredible real life adventures.
2. Did your year of working with writers change the way you approach your writing? If so, how? I’m not sure that the experience changed my approach to my own writing but it definitely influenced the way I respond to other writers’ work in mentorship and teaching situations. I’ve learned to listen a little harder in order to discern what kind of feedback would be most useful. In fact, some of the writers I met through the EPL residency didn’t necessarily want a “critique”; they just wanted to know their work had been read.
3. What projects are you currently working on? Current projects? I’m developing a new play called The Invention of Romance which will be produced next year. Local filmmaker Geraldine Carr and I are co-producing a short film that I wrote, (entitled Voila!) which should be finished before the end of the year. I’m also developing a television series with local writers Curtis Gillespie and Scot Morison.
4. Where can readers find your latest work? It’s Road Tripping:On the Move with the Buffalo Gals and folks can find it at bookstores and libraries. Readers can also track down the published versions of my plays: The Aberhart Summer, Gravel Run, The Myth of Summer, & Homesick.
5. What is your advice to writers? The usual stuff, which doesn’t mean it’s any less sincere! Never give up. Write a lot, read a lot. Roll with the rejections and don’t take them personally. Did I mention that you shouldn’t give up?
Conni is an award-winning writer with numerous credits in theatre, film, television and radio. Recent stage work includes the hit comedy The Myth of Summer, premiered by Alberta Theatre Projects, Ooga-Booga, commissioned by Concrete Theatre for their annual Sprouts Festival of theatre for young audiences, and an adaptation of W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid, commissioned by Theatre Calgary. Several of Conni’s short fiction and non-fiction pieces have been published and broadcast on CBC Radio; she is currently writing a book-length memoir about road trips.
In addition to her work as a free-lance story consultant, Conni teaches both playwriting and screenwriting in the University of Alberta’s Department of Drama. She has previously served as playwright-in-residence at Theatre Network, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, and the National Theatre School of Canada.