Award-winning authors dazzle at Writers Festival

The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival wrapped up this week, with 60 per cent of events at near capacity attendance and more than 13,000 people in the audiences over the six days of the Festival.

“Vancouver’s love affair with great writers reached new heights this year,” says Hal Wake, the Festival’s artistic director. “Events with David Mitchell, Ali Smith, David Grossman, Andrea Levy and Lynda Barry left audiences moved and enthralled. People want to see and hear the world’s best writers—and the world’s best writers want to come to Vancouver’s literary festival. We were named the number one literary festival in all of Canada in July by the Canadian Tourism Commission and this year’s Festival will definitely support that rating.”

A record number of 305 volunteers were involved in this year’s Vancouver International Writers Festival. More than three-quarters of those volunteers had donated their time to the annual event in other years. Ticket sales were down slightly from last year, when the Writers Festival had record-breaking attendance.

Close to 100 national and international authors appeared at the six-day event, coming to Vancouver from Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, France, Ireland, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. Internationally acclaimed author David Mitchell’s evening event was sold out to Writers Festival members before tickets even went on sale to the public. He agreed to appear at an additional event, which was also sold out.

The Festival attracted nominees and winners of all the major literary prizes, including the Man Booker, the Giller Prize, the Rogers Trust Prize and the Governor General’s literary awards.

The Writers Festival attracted a large number of school groups as well. Thirty-three events for school groups took place over the first four days of the Festival, with school groups coming from throughout the Lower Mainland to see authors talking about writing and reading in both French and English.

Two more special events follow in November. Sara Gruen, author of the best-seller Water for Elephants, is in Vancouver Nov. 4 and Gary Shteyngart appears Nov. 21 in conversation with Eleanor Wachtel. Both events are at the Norman Rothstein Theatre.

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