College of the Rockies will be host, from June 25 to 28, to the 31st annual International Sport Literature Association conference. Writers and scholars with an interest in sport will be arriving from locations as far afield as Iceland.
Organizer of the conference, College of the Rockies English and Creative Writing instructor Angie Abdou, joined the association in 2006, partly in hopes of raising awareness of her own sport novel, The Bone Cage. The conference is typically hosted in the United States, and Abdou is excited to welcome her colleagues to the Canadian Rockies.
“The Sport Literature Conference provides a unique opportunity to combine academic work alongside creative sessions featuring readings by novelists and poets,” Abdou says. “This is a very diverse and stimulating group, and they’re all thrilled at the opportunity to visit our beautiful part of the world. When we’re not in session, we’ll put on our tourists hats and take advantage of all this region has to offer.”
Many of the sessions will feature analysis of baseball poetry or hockey novels or ultramarathoning memoirs. However, sport lit enthusiasts have been known to stretch the definition of sport, and conferences have included papers on birding, chess, Quidditch, and fantasy football. This year a paper entitled “The Twitterature of Sochi” will explore the use of social media in the 22nd Olympic Games.
The participants will attend a final banquet at St. Eugene Mission where they will be treated to a keynote by Jon Turk, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. “Usually our keynote tends to be a writer talking about baseball or basketball,” Abdou adds, “but for our Rockies’ adventure, I figured we needed someone a little more rugged and extreme. Turk fits that bill!”
The Friday, June 27 evening creative session, held at the College, is open to the public and will feature four poets reading from their work: Don Johnson (Tennessee), Ron Smith (Virginia), Randal Maggs (Corner Brook, Newfoundland), and Jamie Dopp (Victoria, BC). This session will take place at 7pm.