Four days from now marks the beginning of the best time of year: the Vancouver Writers Fest (VWF). Six days of eighty-nine events with (if I counted correctly) 109 authors. If you have a few spare hours next week and you’re in the Vancouver area, I highly suggest heading to Granville Island and catching a couple events.
The VWF is in its 28th year and every year seems to be getting better and better with more authors, more events, and even duplicated events, which is fantastic because so many are sold out right away! If you’re pining to get into a sold out, you can always show up to the box office and put your name down for no-shows. Or, better yet, you can volunteer! The VWF has over 300 volunteers every year and it’s the best way to see the festival. I’ve been volunteering for the festival for six years and I’ve always had a great time. The diversification of jobs is impressive: food & beverage, book sales, production, author assistance (you get to pick authors up from the airport!), and box office to name a few.
With so many events to choose from, here are three events that PRISM is excited about:
Friday, October 23 10:00am-11:30
Chris Gilpin hosts a panel of six poets, with varying methodologies and processes, from around the world. Here’s the description of the event from the VWF website:
“Poetry is everywhere, if you just listen hard enough. Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel uses a process called erasure to create his conceptual writing. Governor General’s Literary Award winner Nicole Brossard favours modernism and the avant-garde. Métis poet Marilyn Dumont uses free verse and metre to recreate Riel’s Red River Resistance period. Denmark’s Ulrikka S. Gernes finds effect by zooming in and out of places and states of mind. Wales’ Owen Sheers is an instinctive poet who draws inspiration from what he hears. Vancouver’s Sheryda Warrener often uses fine art and photographs as ways into poetry.”
Why we’re excited: Look at all those amazing and talented poets! Need I say more?
Saturday, October 24th 5:00pm
“Critic, author, editor and Festival favourite John Freeman lives and breathes books and writers. The former president of the National Book Critics Circle, editor of the UK-based Granta and author of How to Read a Novelist has a new project. Freeman’s is a biannual magazine of unpublished fiction, non-fiction and poetry built around a theme. The inaugural issue showcases “The Best New Writing on Arrival,” and Freeman, along with two of the authors featured, Daniel Galera and Laura van den Berg, will launch it in Vancouver tonight. Freeman says the magazine’s ideal readers are ‘people who are curious, crazed for fiction, morally engaged, disturbed by the status quo, and who want a reliable guide for the best writers alive.’ Sounds like you, right?”
Why we’re excited: PRISM considers themselves to be morally engaged and disturbed by the status quo, so we’re hooked and eager to see this new magazine with these talented authors.
Sunday, October 25th 10:30am
“As Isak Dinesen said, “To be a person is to have a story to tell.” Yet that story is not always easy to tell. “Writing about oneself requires brutal honesty and self-assessment,” says Camilla Gibb. Her memoir, This Is Happy, reveals her intense grief as well as tangled moments of sadness and joy, alienation and belonging. In Elaine Lui’s Listen to the Squawking Chicken: a Memoir (Sort of), she contemplates her mother’s unique parenting style in all its awesomeness and imperfection, and how it has affected the person Lui is today. And Michael V. Smith writes with intimacy and vulnerability in his memoir, My Body Is Yours, about his struggle to create his own definition of masculinity. Three brave stories from three brave authors.”
Why we’re excited: All four of the editors at PRISM write creative non-fiction, a genre that can be so intimate in how writers mine their personal pasts. We’re thrilled to hear three writers and their stories, processes, and challenges.
We hope to see you at the festival! It’s a great opportunity to bump into one of your favourite writers in a Granville Island coffee shop or at the market!