Margaret Atwood and More at Vancouver Writers Fest, October 16-21

It’s the time of year that Vancouver book lovers live for.

The 25th annual instalment of the Vancouver Writers Fest is coming to Granville Island this Oct.16-Oct. 21.  For six days and six night, books – both Canadian and international – will take the spotlight in 77 separate events, including readings by authors, panel discussions, interviews and even musical collaborations.

The big guns at this year’s event include Canadian legend Margaret Atwood, whose novels  including The Handmaid’s Tale, poetry, short stories and essays have reinvigorated Canadian literature over the past half-century.  Also appearing are Pulizter-Prize-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz (author of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and Alistair MacLeod, the great Canadian short story writer behind The Lost Salt Gift of Blood and other collections.

The bad news for bibliophiles is that tickets to see these literary lions sold out weeks, if not months, ago.  However, there are still seats remaining for plenty of hidden gems among the 77 events planned as part of this year’s festival.

Festival organizer Hal Wake (interviewed in this great Vancouver Sun article) shared a few of his “best of the rest” picks: 

  • Humor with a Bite: A panel discussion with five authors who make us laugh: Anne Fleming, Chan Koonchung, Shari Lapena, Emily Schultz and Linda Svendsen.  Friday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. 
  • The Human Carnival: Three Canadian authors (Anne Fleming, Rebecca Rosenblum and Jessica Westhead) and one Scot (A.L. Kennedy) discuss their odd-ball characters, ranging from fake psychics to a hockey mom who imagines she’s Swiss and frail, stoic loners.  Friday, Oct. 19, 1 p.m. 

Author Madeleine Thien

  • Forgive But Not Forget: The inhumanity of humanity is the theme at this somber panel discussion with authors who have written about oppression and injustice.  Australian Kim Scott looks at Aboriginal-white conflict; South African Zakes Mda explores the legacy of apartheid and Canadian Madeleine Thien examines the killing fields in Cambodia.  Saturday, Oct. 20, 10:30 a.m.  

For a full listing of Writers Fest events and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Any other can’t-miss events at the Writers Fest?  Please let us know below.  

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