Writers Festival to host a remarkable literary line up

Audrey Niffenegger and Jerry Wasserman at the 2009 VIWF. Photo taken by Chris Cameron courtesy of VIWF.

The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival, rated in July by the Canadian Tourism Commission as the number one literary festival in all of Canada, will present some of the biggest names in writing in the world this year.

Over six days in October, more than 100 authors, from Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, France, Ireland, Israel, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, will join thousands of readers at the annual festival. The Writers Festival is set for Oct. 19th to 24th on Granville Island in Vancouver.

“We’ve earned our reputation because of the authors who want to come to Vancouver and the enthusiasm of our audiences,” says Hal Wake, Artistic Director of the Festival. “This year, again, there’ll be engaging conversations, panel discussions, on-stage interviews, musical collaborations and lots of unscripted surprises. We've got international stars like Europe’s top-selling author Marc Levy, award winners like Camilla Gibb, Kate Pullinger and Andrew O’Hagan, reader favourites like Emma Donoghue and Caroline Adderson. For crime fans we have authors like Gail Bowen and Quintin Jardine. We’re presenting a lineup of American authors—including Yiyun Li, Wells Tower and this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding—who are among the next generation of American writers to take the literary world by storm.”

Beloved Canadian author Jack Hodgins teams up with the award-winning men’s choir Chor Leoni on Sunday afternoon to tell stories alternating with choral selections that reflect Canada’s west coast. The Festival’s popular “intimate evenings” will feature Israel’s David Grossman, the UK’s Andrea Levy, Canada’s Jane Urquhart, Canada’s Booker prize winner Yann Martel and the UK’s David Mitchell, whose novel Cloud Atlas has sold more than a million copies worldwide. A special tribute to Paul Quarrington, novelist, musician, screenwriter and non-fiction writer who died earlier this year, will feature a documentary film made during the last months of his life. A performance by Quarrington’s band Porkbelly Futures will also take place during the Festival.

The Festival concludes after six days and 67 events with a tribute to Penguin on its 75th anniversary, publisher of pocketbook classics that brought the world’s best literature affordably to readers. Four authors currently published by Penguin will talk about the Penguin classics that have affected their lives and their writing.

“Every year brings something different to the Festival, while keeping those events that readers love, like the always popular Literary Cabaret with band leader Sal Ferreras, the Poetry Bash and the Sunday Brunch,” says Hal Wake. “You can count on great poets, spoken word artists, some film, some music, new authors whom we admire and enjoy introducing to Vancouver readers, some non-fiction writers, some graphic novelists and always the world’s best living authors.”

In addition, the first four days of the Festival feature 34 events especially for grades K – 12 students in both French and English that will bring more than 7,000 young readers to Granville Island.

Three special events will whet readers’ appetites for the Festival. John Vaillant, author of the multi-award-winning The Golden Spruce, presents his new book on Sept. 13th, and Giller-shortlisted author Alissa York and debut novelist Richard Harvell read from their new works on Sept. 20th. On Oct. 8th, hugely popular author Stuart McLean joins Hal Wake in conversation. Following the Festival week, Sara Gruen, whose novel Water for Elephants was not only an international best-seller but is also being made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, will be the guest of the Writers Festival on Nov. 4th, and on Nov. 21st, the Festival presents Gary Shteyngart, whose novels Absurdistan, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Super Sad True Love Story have earned him a place on The New Yorker magazine’s 20 under 40 luminary fiction writers’ list.

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Tickets for the public go on sale on Wednesday, Sept. 8th, through VancouverTix by calling 604-629-VTIX (604-629-8849). Tickets will also be available at the Writers Festival box office, 1398 Cartwright Street.

Complete program details are available at www.writersfest.bc.ca.

You can also follow the Festival on Twitter: @VIWF and on Facebook.

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