Live Events via Zoom Webinar

Monday, August 16

10:15 a.m. CST: Opening Remarks, Conference Co-chair Wendy Roy, University of Saskatchewan
10:25 a.m. CST: Greetings from Vice-Dean Indigenous Angela Jaime, College of Arts and Science
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST: Keynote Address: Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves
"From Where We Stand: Nuance and Perspective in Speculative Literature"
Moderator: Kristina Bidwell, Department of English, U of Saskatchewan


Tuesday, August 17

2:30 - 3:45 p.m. CST: Visual Speculations
"Speculating through Visual Art," with featured artist Iris Hauser (The Plastic Age)
"Visual Fictions on the Edge of Time," with Laura St. Pierre
Moderator: jake moore, Head of University Art Galleries and Art Collection, U of Saskatchewan


Wednesday, August 18

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST: Featured Address: Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour
" 'The First Map of Everywhere': Alternate Geographies of the Black Pacific"
Moderator: Jessica McDonald, Postdoctoral Fellow, Simon Fraser University


Thursday, August 19

7:00 - 9:00 p.m. CST: Reading and Panel Discussion: Literary Speculation in Canada
with authors Saleema Nawaz (Songs for the End of the World), Anne Stone (Girl Minus X), Wayde Compton (The Outer Harbour), Tonia Laird (Poster Girl), and Cherie Dimaline (The Marrow Thieves)
Moderator: Joanne Leow, Department of English, U of Saskatchewan


Friday, August 20

2:30 - 3:45 p.m. CST: Performing Apocalyptic and Dystopian Narratives
a moderated discussion with Marlene Goldman and Dwayne Brenna about
Torching the Dusties, film adaptation of the Atwood story by Marlene Goldman and Philip McKee
The Promised Land, excerpt from the play by Dwayne Brenna, directed by Jennica Greinke
Moderator: Jeanette Lynes, Director, MFA in Writing Program, U of Saskatchewan
Note: The short film and excerpt from the play can be watched at any time during the conference week, through links sent to participants who register for the entire conference; see details below, and be sure to watch the performances before the panel discussion.
3:45 p.m. CST: Closing Remarks, Conference Co-chair Mabiana Camargo, University of Saskatchewan
4:00 p.m. CST: Informal virtual reception for conference registrants

Torching the Dusties

"It's our turn."

Protestors have appeared outside the gates of Ambrosia Manor. From behind strange baby-faced masks, they issue a chillingly simple demand: it’s time for the residents of this posh retirement home to give up their space on earth. Trapped inside as the situation worsens, Frank and Wilma struggle to respond. Despite Frank’s failing vision the two must hatch a plan to escape before Ambrosia Manor goes up in flames.

Based on the short story of the same name by Margaret Atwood, Torching the Dusties dramatizes issues arising from ageism, age-related macular degeneration, and Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Starring Eric Peterson and Clare Coulter, the 11-minute film marks the second collaboration by writing and directing team Marlene Goldman and Philip McKee.

Torching the Dusties was produced in partnership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and York University’s Centre for Research on Vision. The film remains accessible to people with vision loss through the use of audio-description, and specialized screenings are available for clinicians and caregivers. Through immersive camerawork and well-drawn central characters, the project aims to lessen stigma, increase patient engagement, and raise awareness of issues surrounding age-related vision loss and Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

Trailer 1

Trailer 2

The Promised Land (Scene 1)

During a pandemic in the not-too-distant future, a young woman escapes the quarantined city and stumbles into a farmhouse on the Canadian prairies. While the army combs the area in search of her, the young woman reveals her troubled past to the father and son who inhabit the farm, forcing them to choose between self-preservation and the need to do what they know is right.

The Promised Land by Dwayne Brenna was recently workshopped at the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre. The first scene of the play (approximately 15 minutes in length) is directed for the conference by Jennica Grienke, Artistic Associate at Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon, and features actors Emily Heinek, Liam Johnston, and Dwayne Brenna. The scene has also been published in the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild 2021 anthology apart: a year of pandemic poetry and prose.

Playwright: Dwayne Brenna
Director/designer: Jennica Grienke
Cast:  Celeste: Emily Heinek
           Gordon: Dwayne Brenna
           Rob: Liam Johnston
Props: Grahame Kent
Technical: Jody Longworth
Filmed by Myriad Entertainment in Saskatoon

Note: The film and scene from the play can be watched at any time during the conference week, through links sent to participants who register for the entire conference.

Note: Times are Central Standard Time (Saskatchewan); Saskatchewan does not use Daylight Savings Time. Use time zone converter to determine event times in your region.


Members of the public may register for individual events with featured speakers Cherie Dimaline and Wayde Compton, as well as the Thursday author reading and panel, using the link buttons above. Registration for all events is free.

Conference panelists and those who plan to participate in multiple events should register for the entire conference, which will provide access to all live events. Registration is free.

Information about Featured Speakers

Panel Presentations

Available online from August 16-22, 2021; click on the link for each panel.

Speculative Archives, Pedagogies, and Research

Chair: Jessica McDonald
Alicia Fahey: Speculative Archives
Robert McGill: Fiction as Research: A Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life


Revisionary, Reconciliatory, and Relational Speculations

Chair: Alicia Fahey
Leah Van Dyk: Re-Visioning Through Story: Storytelling in Thomas King's The Back of the Turtle
Brian Cotts: George and the Raven(s): Hope and Reconciliation in Harold Johnson's Corvus
Miasol Eguíbar-Holgado: Beyond Colonial Legacies: Empathy and Reciprocity in Black and Indigenous
Speculative Fiction
Kai Orca McKenzie: "Like a Starving Person with a Swollen Belly": Representations of Hunger and
Fulfillment in kai cheng thom's Speculative Fiction Novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir


Cherie Dimaline: Survivance, Resurgence, Relationality

Chair: Shakti Brazier-Tompkins
Erin Akerman and Kristina Fagan Bidwell: Métis Relationships in Cherie Dimaline's Empire of Wild
Gwen Rose: More Than Just Speculative: Genre, Forms, and Indigenous Resurgence in Cherie Dimaline's
The Marrow Thieves
Kirsten Bussière: Another Apocalypse: Survivance in Indigenous Science Fictions


Comparative Atwood

Chair: Kathleen James-Cavan
Andréanne Basque: Feminist Dystopias: Power Dynamics in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
and Chroniques du pays des mères by Élisabeth Vonarburg
Ian Moy: "Let Me Explain": The Controlled Use of Religious Texts for Personal and Political Control in The
Handmaid's Tale and Station Eleven
Wendy Roy: "Show Me You're Still Human": Gender and Human Connectedness in Apocalyptic Short
Stories by Canadian Women


Adapting Atwood

Chair: Annika McPherson
MacKenzie Read: Once Again, Gilead: Adaptations of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale
Joanna Szydełko: Speculative Adaptation of Canadian Female Writings: The Phenomenon of The
Handmaid's Tale


Revisiting the MaddAddam Trilogy

Chair: Shelley Boyd
Corianne Bracewell: "The Voices of Ghosts": Feminine Self and the Commodifying Collective in Margaret
Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy
Andrew McWhinney: "As a Species We're Doomed by Hope": Capitalism as the Limit of the Anthropocene
in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake
Amanda Pavani Fernandes: Narrating the Post-apocalypse in MaddAddam: Language as an Instrument
for Hope


Atwood in the 2010s

Chair: Marina Klimenko
Shelley Boyd: The Possibilities of Food in Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last
Mabiana Camargo: Feminist Utopianism in Margaret Atwood's The Testaments
Alyson Cook: The Interrelations Between Contemporary Feminist Cultural Movements and Margaret
Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments


Nalo Hopkinson's Fabulations

Chair: Christina Fawcett
Annika McPherson: From the 'Burn' to the 'Chaos' and Back: Post-Apocalyptic Re-Visions of Toronto
Sheheryar (Shero) B. Sheikh: 'Othering' Ad Infinitum: A Critical-Creative Examination of Power-Play
between the Secular and Spiritual in Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring
Jessica McDonald: Sites of Transit and Consumerism in Nalo Hopkinson's Skin Folk


Station Eleven and Pandemic Fiction

Chair: Kirsten Bussière
Jasmine Redford: Other-worlds within Other-worlds: The World-building of Miranda Carroll's Station
Eleven within the World-building of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven
Ryanne Kap: Sects and Shakespeare at the End of the World: How Faith and Art Collide in Emily St. John
Mandel's Station Eleven
Sarah Regier: "Holding Hands in the Dark": Non-traditional Apocalypse, Critical Dystopia, and Hopepunk
in Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Fiction


Speculation in Comics, Television, and Film

Chair: Jasmine Redford
Carleigh Brady: "A Reflection, But Inferior": The Interrogation of Personhood in Jeff Lemire and Dustin
Nguyen's Descender
Dunja M. Mohr: "I Am Not Your Experiment": Speculating about the Normalization of Human Diversity in
Orphan Black
June Scudeler: "What if the Natives Were Immune?": Dismembering Bad Relations in Jeff Barnaby's
Blood Quantum
Joshua W. Katz and Todd G. Morrison: Humans as Pathogens in the Time of COVID-19: The Work of
David Cronenberg (1970-1983)


Against the Grain: Rereading/Rewatching Killjoys

Panel Organizer and Chair: Andrea Braithwaite
Christina Fawcett: "When the Nights Were Long and the Days Were Deep": Fairy-tale Forms and
Feminism in Lovretta's Killjoys
Heather Snell: Leather-Clad Dominatrices, Machine-Gun Girls, and Greened-Up Bad-Ass Bitches:
Reading Prosthetically Enhanced Femme Subjects in Killjoys Against the Grain
Andrea Braithwaite: The Green as Elemental Media


Climate and Reproductive Fiction

Chair: Kai Orca McKenzie
Emma Davies: Autobiography, Quantum Physics, and the Climate Crisis: Imagining Collaborative
Futurities in Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being
William Thompson: Climate Change, Decolonization, and Reconciliation in the Dystopian Novels of
Monica Hughes
Marina Klimenko: Beyond "The Last Doubler": Reproductive Futurism and the Politics of Care in Larissa
Lai's The Tiger Flu


Creative Panel 1: Speculative Readings

Chair: Robert McGill
Amanda Dawson: "Legacy" (story)
Cynthea Masson: Alchemy and The Alchemists' Council (novel excerpts)
Jaclyn Morken: "The Pit" (story)


Creative Panel 2: Creative-Critical Speculations

Chair: Sheheryar (Shero) B. Sheikh
Nina Munteanu: The Power and Relevance of Diary in Near-Future Mundane Science Fiction
Amy LeBlanc: Something Blue: Autoimmunity and Writing Pandemic Fiction
Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty: Land-Water-Sky
Amy Farrell: Knowledge Through Storytelling, Kakendausowin peme Tibachimowin: Understandings of
STEAM through Traditional Stories and Cultural Knowledge