After I won my tenure-track job at Luther College in 2001, I decided that from my privileged position as a university professor I would try to share the wealth, so to speak. I wanted to create an event for writers that would treat them the way I wanted to be treated at literary events. This desire dovetailed with a request from the Academic Dean of Luther, Bryan Hillis (now President), that Luther faculty find ways to work with the other federated colleges, Campion and Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (now FNUC). Chris Riegel from Campion and Francie Greenslade from SIFC joined me in planning that first event, which I called Talking Fresh. The budget was about $3,000.00, as I recall, with which we brought in Tom Wayman, Warren Cariou and Louise Halfe, put them up at the Hotel Sask, and put them to work at a Friday panel, a Friday night reading, and a seminar each on Saturday. I tried to emphasize hospitality throughout--making sure the writers were comfortable and taken care of all weekend.
The Saskatchewan Writers Guild came on board as a partner after that first year. SIFC dropped away. Chris and I and Amy Nelson-Mile from the SWG ran the show for several years. In the last few years, Luther and Campion dropped away while Tracy Hamon and the SWG have run things.
I was delighted to have been invited to be part of Talking Fresh this year. The weekend is just over. As always after what was for me a big event, I feel a letdown which registers emotionally and physically. Maybe the latter drives the former, but anyway it's my "peak experience" theory, by which the high times are worth it, even with the inevitable slide afterwords. After words.
I drove the other three writers up the hill to view the late afternoon city. We all felt the release of no further obligations! Mieko Ouchi, Robert Sawyer, Aislinn Hunter.