Founded in 1988, the Vancouver Writers Fest (October 21 to 27, 2019) offers a way into the world of contemporary writing in Canada. Located on Granville Island and thoughtfully put together each fall, the festival features authors from Canada and abroad. This event is a way for literature lovers of all kinds to get close to innovative writing and keep up with what’s hip. Literary fandom has largely moved online, but this week in Vancouver, the community comes together. With so many sharp minds in conversation, the insights will surely be novel and worthwhile.
We’ve put together a brief list of highlights to help you choose which events to attend.
Chigozie Obioma in Conversation with Sirish Rao
Monday, October 21, 7:30 p.m.; The NEST (1398 Cartwright Street)
Since the release of The Fishermen in 2015, Chigozie Obioma has been all the rage among the literati. An assistant professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the Nigerian novelist and academic is currently promoting his new book, An Orchestra of Minorities. This new novel covers themes that will be familiar to readers of The Fisherman: the travails and joys of life in Africa, prophecy, healing, and the effects of poverty and colonization. Now living in Vancouver, Sirish Rao is highly regarded in his home country, India, and abroad. This conversation between the two, backed by the strong literary traditions of both of their nations, shouldn’t be missed.
A Tribute to Stephen King
Thursday, October 24, 8:00 p.m.; Performance Works (1218 Cartwright Street)
This event speaks for itself. Few contemporary authors are as prolific or beloved as Stephen King. While the author himself won’t be at the event, writers and audience members will gather to discuss (and nerd out about) King’s work. Whether it be It, The Shining, or The Green Mile, there’s sure to be something in the conversation for everyone who enjoys the Stephen King.
Friday, October 25, 10:15 a.m.; Performance Works (1218 Cartwright Street)
A long-time guardian of the creative in Vancouver, Jerry Wasserman will host Anosh Irani, Ruby Porter, Marina Endicott, and Steven Price at this event where variety and craft are the primary motivations. Perfect for those who enjoy seeing experienced writers and rising stars in conversation, Buzzworthy Books is perfect for those looking for their new favourite author.
Sunday, October 27, 2:00 p.m.; Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright Street)
Ian Williams, fresh off the success of his novel Reproduction, will moderate a conversation between Billy-Ray Belcourt and Eve Joseph, both of whom are Griffin Poetry Prize winners. Belcourt has made waves with work that focuses on the Indigenous experience in Canada by weaving ancient themes with a fresh, sharp style. Eve Joseph is celebrating her recent book Quarrels, which brings the surreal to familiar Canadian settings in serene and often hilarious poems. These are some of the greatest minds in contemporary Canadian literature. Poets Talking is a great way to wrap up your Vancouver Writers Fest experience.
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