The 30th Annual Vancouver Writers Fest is underway and fascinating literary events crowd the calendar all week. Participants can learn more about the ideas and inspirations behind the works of local and international authors, with presentations often linked by theme—so, even if you don’t recognize a marquee name, you're assured a great time. Prepare for in-depth discussions, heartfelt stories and hilarious conversation at these recommended events.
1. Dreams and Nightmares – Thursday, October 19
Good ReadsIf you loved watching The Handmaid’s Tale this year, this is a can’t-miss event! Three Ontario authors talk about their cautionary, dystopian novels. Alison Pick goes to the past for inspiration, setting her story in 1921 Palestine, while authors Cherie Dimaline and Omar El Akkad look to a grim near-future. Hear the authors share their hopes and fears while learning more about their novels.
Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street, Vancouver; 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.; Tickets $20
2. True Confessions and Tall Tales – Friday, October 20
The Vancouver Writers FestThis mash-up night is sure to be one of the most fun of the festival. Four provocative female writers, poets and performers will take over the stage with authentic stories. Hear them jam about travelling, music, fitting in, polyamory and more!
Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston Street, Vancouver; 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Tickets $20
3. Ghosts and Spirits – Saturday, October 21
The Vancouver Writers FestAt this event, Halloween spirit abounds! Three writers use ghosts—real or imagined—as an influence in their mortal stories. Spirits haunt protagonists that are each forced to confront a secretive and mysterious past.
Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street, Vancouver; 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tickets $20
4. Trips to the Other World – Saturday, October 21
Good ReadsReaders of fantasy will love this evening as two authors discuss their unique new novels. Local author and psychologist Lydia Kwa’s latest work is set in seventh-century China, with mythology and magic coming to life in a tale of female empowerment. Author and journalist Peter Darbyshire joins the discussion to muse on his collection of interconnected short stories, which open with retired superheroes in the suburbs...and only gets weirder.
Studio 1398, 3rd Floor–1398 Cartwright Street, Vancouver; 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tickets $20
5. The Poetry Bash – Saturday, October 21
The Vancouver Writers FestThe Poetry Bash is a festival favourite and, this year, features a juicy line-up of six local and internationally acclaimed writers. This is sure to be one of the most lively events at the festival this year.
Performance Works, 1218 Cartwright Street, Vancouver; 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Tickets $26
6. Jennifer Egan in Conversation with Bill Richardson – Wednesday, October 25
The Vancouver Writers FestJennifer Egan is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of Manhattan Beach, her first historical novel. At this special event, she will talk about her latest book and about her distinguished writing career. Expect the conversation to turn to topics of female identity, research and even gangs in 1950s New York!
The Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver; 7:30 p.m.; Tickets $26
7. Waiting for First Light – Thursday, November 16
The Vancouver Writers FestThis post-festival special event features Roméo Dallaire discussing his memoir Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Struggle with PTSD. You might know Dallaire from his humanitarian efforts in Rwanda, which provided the basis for the character of Colonel Oliver played by Nick Nolte in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. This new, optimistic memoir is a touching look inside the mind of one of Canada’s top political and military figures.
St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, 1022 Nelson Street, Vancouver; 7:30 p.m.; Tickets $30 to $50