Vancouver Writers Festival 2012 Highlights

With more than 100 writers appearing at this year's festival, it's best not to judge the festival program by its, er, covers. Here are our top 6 picks

Credit: Flickr / .brioso.

6 events you won’t want to miss at this year’s Writers Fest

Does anyone read books anymore that aren’t Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games or Wheat Belly (yes, it’s a real book)? Of course they do, and many of these ivory tower types will gather at the annual celebration of wordsmithery that is the Vancouver Writers Festival.

This year’s event takes place October 16 – 21 on Granville Island and features more than 100 authors. We’ve put on our Sherlock Holmes cap, perused the listings and found some events we think are worth checking out – and that, at publication date, had tickets left. If we left out your favourite author, feel free to cuss us out – in the cleverest language possible, of course – in the comments section below.

Credit: Benoit Levac

Life Stories (Oct. 16, 8 p.m., Improv Centre)

Four authors, including Governor General Award winner Kim Thúy, who won the award in 2010, talk about turning the raw stuff of life into books. And when the stories include fleeing Vietnam as a young “boat person,” surviving a plane crash and growing up in Scotland, you know you’re in for some good stories – or something resembling Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen skit. (You know the one: “You think you had it bad? I used to have to get up in the morning at 10 o’clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed…”

Credit: Nina Subin

An Intimate Evening with Junot Diaz (Oct. 17, 6 p.m., Performance Works)

The American author talks about, and probably reads from, his new collection of short stories, This is How You Lose Her. Diaz won a Pulitzer for his 2008 novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which also made a number of best-books-of-the-year lists.

Credit: Diane Hinds

Redemption (Oct. 18, 8 p.m., Performance Works)

Before she turned to a life of crime writing, bestselling author Anne Perry was convicted of murdering her friend’s mother (the case was made famous by Peter Jackson in the 1994 movie Heavenly Creatures). In this discussion, Perry discusses with her biographer Joanne Drayton the path her life took after serving five years’ time for the crime.

The Interviews (Oct. 19, 1 p.m., Waterfront Theatre)

The UK’s Chris Cleave has sold more than a half-a-million copies of his second novel Little Bee, which was generated from his first-person encounters with asylum seekers.

For his latest novel Gold, the former Guardian columnist visited children’s cancer wards and tried track cycling. An intimate evening with the author the night before is sold-out, but you can catch him in conversation with the Globe & Mail’s Western arts correspondent Marsha Lederman along with fellow authors Annabel Lyon and Carrie Snyder.

Credit: Charlie Kochman

Chip Kidd in Conversation with Douglas Coupland (Oct. 19, 8 p.m. Waterfront Theatre)

And so what about book design? Super-designer Chip Kidd will answer that question and more, as put to him by design connoisseur Douglas Coupland. Kidd is also a writer, and his new book is Death By Design, a graphic novel that views Batman through the filter of a 1930s Hollywood movie.

Cory Doctorow in conversation with William Gibson (Oct. 20, 2 p.m., Performance Works)

Two big thinkers (and science fiction novelists) hash out what it’s all about and the future of everything. Or at least copyright laws (the subject of Doctorow’s latest novel, Pirate Cinema).