The Vancouver’s Writers Festival returns from October 16th to 22nd at Granville Island and other venues. Featured authors include Zadie Smith, Naomi Klein, Cherie Dimaline, Michael Crummy, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Patrick De Witt, John Valliant, and Kent Monkman.
Guest curator is CBC Commotion host and bestselling author Elamin Abdelmahmoud. His curated events include Blackness as a Portal, exploring relationships of Black writers to Blackness from different vantage points. On the Edge focuses on environmental decline and inequality and Using Pop Culture examines how pop culture can serve as a connector.
A series of spoken word events and curated by Jillian Christmas, and the Word! Events are tailored to YA audiences. A new musical director, Benjamin Millman and his band the Oxymorons will lead the literary cabaret event.
A pre-festival event on October 16 presents an evening with Scotiabank Giller prize shortlist finalists at the Vancouver Playhouse hosted by Leslie Hurtig.
The opening night event on October 17 features three thriller writers, Louise Candlish, Shari Lapena, and Liz Nugent.
A number of events targeting youth include conversations with award-winning young adult authors Cherie Dimaline, John Klassen, Kirsten Pendreigh, Tui T. Sutherland, Crystal Smith, Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Ben Clanton, Alan Barillaro and Michelle Kadarusman. Other highlights include the Word! spoken word series, Spooky Stories, Storytime, and several writing masterclasses. During the festival, all youth events will be livestreamed free and public-school class subsidies will be available to ensure kids can attend the festival.
Other events include a discussion with Naomi Klein about her new book Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World which is a tragi-comic memoir with political and cultural insights. Matt Galloway of CBC’s The Current hosts a talk on climate change and Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves offers an exploration of identity, colonialism and ecology.
On October 21st, perennial favourite the Literary Cabaret combines readings by six award-winning authors and musical interpretations of their works.
An Afternoon Tea event on October 22nd at Performance Works is hosted by Bill Richardson and features readings by Jamaluddin Aram, Carmen Boullosa, Michael Crummey, Elizabeth Hay, and Darrell J. McLeod and high tea treats.
Art patron and collector Michael Audain presents Pictures on the Wall, telling the story of his art collecting and discussing the power of art with Jeannie Marshall and Max Wyman.
Local emergency medical doctor and novelist Daniel Kalla joins Robyn Harding and Amy Stuart in discussing their thrillers.
Free events include the Emerge event celebrating the latest work from SFU’s The Writer’s Studio.
BC poets Lorna Crozier and Susan Musgrave discuss family with Hal Wake. Canadian novelists Michael Crummey, Emma Donoghue and Elizabeth Hay present their latest works on October 21st.
On 90s Lyrics Night, authors read their favourite 1990s lyrics. The event is followed by a 90s dance party at Performance Works.
Event ticket prices range from free to $50, with many ticketed events in the $10 to $25 range. Tickets are available online at writersfest.bc.ca and at venues 45 minutes prior to performances.
Granville Island venues include the Revue Stage, Waterfront Theatre, the Nest, Performance Works, Granville Island Stage, and the Granville Island Hotel. The festival bookstore is at Origins Coffee. Off island venues are the Vancouver Playhouse, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Hollywood Theatre.
After the festival, an event on November 18 features Rick Mercer and Jann Arden discussing his memoir and her first novel the Bittlemores. The $60 ticket price includes signed copies of both books. On December 1, Cree visual artist Kent Monkman and media artist and writer Gisele Gordon discuss their book on Turtle Island.
If you would like to support the festival, you can become a Festival member or a member of the monthly donor club. Year-round events include biweekly conversations with authors from January to June in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library, special events, workshops, and an annual Whisky and Words fundraiser. In addition, a pilot project offers a Book Club for inmates inside detention facilities.