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Celebrating Five Decades of Literary Arts at Banff Centre

Posted on April 09, 2024

THIS YEAR BANFF CENTRE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF LITERARY ARTS PROGRAMMING. Since its foundation, Literary Arts at Banff Centre has become a globally renowned creative catalyst for established and emerging writers.

Initiated in 1974 by W.O. Mitchell, Literary Arts programs at Banff Centre are known to push the boundaries of Canadian and international conventions and foster growth among alumni.

This 50th anniversary milestone represents an opportunity to look back on five decades of exceptional Canadian and international writing, and to look ahead with post-secondary educational programs that are responsive to the needs of artists of today and tomorrow.

Many of the country’s award-winning writers have been residents or faculty at the Centre. Banff Centre alumni are consistently published nationally and internationally and recognized by literary awards – including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Governor-General’s Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and more.

Banff Centre continues to widen its reach to new artists. We welcome audiences to witness the act of creation and experimentation in literature: to be surprised by the high-wire act of contemporary writing and to think “Wow, I didn’t know that writing could do that!”

Recent writing residencies have included science fiction and fantasy, young adult fiction, children’s books, graphic novels, and form-based writing. Literary programs have also explored computational writing, where authors use code, computer programming, and AI to imagine new ways of considering creativity and authorship.

Dialogue and collaboration upholds both individual artistic practices and writing as a community-driven, communitarian act. It is an act of creative conversation, of inspired collaboration that reaches across demographics, languages, identities, nations, and histories.

Banff Centre creates educational opportunities for writers looking for new ways to write, new positions to take, and new perspectives on the world’s literature, responsive to the current needs of literary artists to work in an evolving field.

With the support from a vibrant writing community, Banff Centre encourages artists to take risks, learn and share, and participate in a broader, deeper artistic conversation.

“Banff Centre is a writer’s paradise – offering a safe and inspirational environment for literary artists to push boundaries and explore their full potential with the support of exceptional mentors and peers.”

Dr. Derek Beaulieu, Director of Literary Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity