Friday, October 24, 2008

Vancouver Dreaming

The Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival continues through October 26th, bringing together 100 authors and 14,000 readers in an eclectic collection of programmed events.

A recent Vancouver Sun article recalls the history of the 21-year-old Festival, now one of Canada’s most important literary events:
Alma Lee invented the Vancouver extravaganza. While attending a packed reading by Margaret Drabble elsewhere, it occurred to her that she should create a writers' festival here. At the time, such events only existed in Adelaide, Australia, while in Canada there was the somewhat exclusive but renowned Harbourfront in Toronto. Edinburgh's had begun in 1983 but was sporadic.

Not many members of an audience would decide to create a festival, but Lee is made of different stuff. Today the world is crawling with writers' festivals and Vancouver's is among the most popular. That's because it was conceived not just as a showcase for writers -- it puts major emphasis on readers. That's you.
Authors participating in this year’s Festival include Mariko Tamaki, Mary Swan, Anne Simpson, John Ralston Saul, Austin Clarke, Jonathan Raban, Donna Morrissey, Nam Le, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rawi Hage, Gail Jones, Mark Billingham, Damon Galgut and even yours truly.

The Festival Web site is here. Event tickets can be purchased here. Check in with Festival bloggers here.


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