CAN CON: Ottawa’s Yearly Hub for Speculative Arts and Literature

Originally published on TheNerdistheWord September 2016

CAN CON: The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature draws to a close, after another year of bringing to light the incredibly world of Canadian imagination. Somewhat hidden in the small conference rooms of the Novotel, steps away from the buzzing weekend Rideau Centre, true Canadian book nerds met. Authors, publishers, illustrators and editors from across the country featured amazing works, discussed the theory of science-fiction, fantasy, horror and steampunk, analyzed readership markets, and drank copious amounts of hot beverages.

The convention itself was an RPG game, where activities such as getting books signed, attending panels and readings, and purchasing Canadian works allowed a player to accumulate experience points. A cozy market place allowed publishers to shine and promote their wares and many authors were present to personally discuss their novels. A variety of panels and workshops were offered, including studies in areas including scientific advancements, world building, writer’s craft, renown authors, linguistics and translation, sword fighting, and even a paper airplane DIY ;). Many special guests were present and available for Kaffeeklatsches, intimate discussions and question sessions. CAN CON is also the opportunity for many local writers to pitch their works to agents and publishers, and Blue Pencil Cafés allowed them to get their work honestly critiqued by published professionals. When convention goers wanted to relax for a while, readings were the place to gather, and get a taste of stories published in Canada, usually read by the authors themselves.

CAN CON is a great place to stock up on reading material and qualified readers are at the ready to find your exact cup of tea. After meeting such wonderful people, you’ll love to support the ambitions of local creators. The Canadian speculative literary world gets bigger year to year and is gaining greater footholds on international stages. Sadly, many Canadian authors and novels, though remarkable and innovative, do not get the attention they deserve. Next year, why not ditch the popular bookstore chains and come discover something new?

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