This Year’s Workshops and Panels

September 21, 2017

A fantastic variety of workshops and panels will be part of Word Vancouver’s free programming again this year!

The workshops kick off tonight at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch of the Vancouver Public Library with Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor with Wendy Barron, Meagan Dyer, and Susan Fitzgerald. In this session, a panel of experienced editors will discuss the benefits of working with an editor, where and how to find the right editor for your project, why a contract benefits everyone and shouldn’t be scary, how to negotiate a project contract with a freelancer, and how to make the most of the editing process once the contract is signed.

The workshops continue on Saturday at Carnegie Community Centre with Write a Book and Get Published with Megan Williams and The Self Publishing Agency. Whether you have started writing, or don’t know where to start, this workshop will give aspiring authors structure, direction, and tools to help finish their manuscripts. In Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers facilitator Carmen Ostrander will draw on post-modernism, narrative therapy, and neuroscience to help you explore different ways of putting pen to paper in service of self through short exercises and discussion. There will also be a kids’ workshop on Saturday, ArtStarts Explores: Words, at the ArtStarts Gallery! Bring the whole family for this fun workshop to explore the idea of written, spoken, and gestured words through creative art forms.

Dietrich Kalteis

Sunday will feature several workshops all day long in Port of View.

In Establishing a Digital Footprint facilitators Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman will help authors determine which digital marketing tools are right for them. Indie authors, small presses, and freelance writers will get tips and tricks to help establish their online presence and to up their engagements.

In The Art of the Response with Shazia Hafiz Ramji, you will discover your stories using techniques of response. Participants will be introduced to practices of attention using sources such as art, overheard conversations, news, and memory.

There are gifts and challenges that come with hybrid identities. We may feel that life would have been simpler if we had only one culture or group to be responsible to. And yet we see the possibilities in the weaving. Our stories are enriched by the willingness to embrace it all. Together we will write. All persons of between welcome to attend Feeling a Little Mixed—or—Do I Have a Story to Tell You? with Jónína Kirton.

Join Carollyne Haynes and Janet Dunnett for Adventures in Elder Land and be taken on a journey through Elder Land, using fiction that feels like truth, and truth that feels like fiction, to explore the challenges of life’s third act.

If you’re an aspiring crime fiction author, join Dietrich Kalteis for Writing Killer Crime Fiction where you’ll discover how to put that razor’s edge on your own words and learn how to find your voice, develop unforgettable characters, write brilliant dialogue, and create stories that will have your readers up all night turning pages.

Good stories don’t just happen, they’re built, and as architects use blueprints, writers need sound structures to create effective emotional journeys for their readers. In How to Build a Story with John Mavin you’ll explore the structural elements shared by all stories (from linear to unconventional), uncover the differences between plot and structure, and get the tools to build emotionally satisfying stories again and again.

Also on Sunday are a variety of panel discussions in Perspective Point.

More and more, we live in a society of hybridized, mixed, or blended identities. What is it like to write and read from within or beyond the hyphen or transnational identities? What creative opportunities does hybridity present? Join a group of authors for a reading and discussion of writing in fluid identity contexts in Mixed Voices Raised.

Where is Indigenous writing going in Canada? How have Indigenous writers on the West Coast resisted the colonialism of CanLit? What does this look like in today’s literary landscape? These questions and others will be explored in Resisting “CanLit”: Indigenous Writers.

How does the work of others influence us? How do other writers create space, open conversations, and remind us we’re not alone? Panelists read and discuss the work of pivotal writers whose voices and perspectives have inspired them in Writers Reading Writers: A PRISM Panel on Influence, Space, and Resources.

How has Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal stayed relevant? Join Room staff and contributors for Embracing Change: The Evolution of Room Magazine, a panel discussion and Q&A on the magazine’s history and the recent publication of their fortieth anniversary anthology, Making Room.

Local Authors, Local Settings—Mysteries Set in BC will be a lively panel discussion about creating mysteries in local settings. How have the panelists done it, what were the benefits and challenges, and what are their tips and tricks.

Community Garden will feature a panel on Vancouver Comics History. Vancouver has a long and rocky history with comics. Our journey begins in the 1940s with some short-lived experiments in publishing comic books locally, travels through the underground comics scene of the 1980s, and arrives at an unprecedented explosion of independent comic-making in the 21st century. Find out where Vancouver comics have been in the past, and where we are now.

The Quay will host Getting Started: Children’s Writers and Illustrators Discuss Getting Published. No matter in what genre or for what age group you write for, this panel of professional writers and illustrators from the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Society of BC will be sure to delight, inform, and inspire you.

Visit our website for a full listing of events for this year’s festival!


This Year’s Satellite Events

September 19, 2017

Today is the first of six days of this year’s Word Vancouver festival! We will return to the Central Branch of the VPL on Sunday for our main festival day, but there are plenty of fantastic events between now and then.

Tonight Shahla and Peter Nygaard (Decade of Discovery: A Couple’s Adventure that Spanned the Globe) will be at Banyen Books & Sound. They will discuss how they spent months walking and years on bicycles as they made their way through 77 countries on 6 continents. There is also the Poetic Pairings event presented by Pandora’s Collective at the Britannia Branch of the VPL. Listen as couplets bounce words off one another, relate their stories, and rejoice in the collaboration of expression.

Wednesday, September 20 will feature a second event at Banyen Books & Sound where Eric Bowers (Meet Me In Hard-to Love Places: The Heart and Science of Relationship Success) will discuss intimate relationships and why they give us the most exquisite and magical moments of our lives but also some of the most painful experiences we endure. Twisted Poets Literary Salon, presented by Pandora’s Collective, will be at The Cottage Bistro. Share in an evening of literary surprises. Connect, read, and enjoy presentations by Theresa Kishkan, Dan MacIsaac, and Arleen Paré.

On Thursday, September 21 is the third event at Banyen Books & Sound, which is a talk and signing with Azmina Kassam and Meharoona Ghani, contributors to The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth: Personal Stories by Canadian Muslim Women, which is a collection of 21 personal stories told by women from practically all backgrounds and persuasions. You can also learn how to work with a freelance editor at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch of the VPL during Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor, presented by Editors British Columbia.

On Friday, September 22 we return to Christianne’s Lyceum for Heroics and Heart. Curl up with a cookie and a cup of hot chocolate while you savour stories about characters who find the courage within themselves to pursue their dreams, fight for what they believe in, and find a place they belong. Historic Joy Kogawa House will host An Evening of Japanese Poetic Forms: From the Tokaido Road to the World Stage where poets Terry Ann Carter, Rachel Enomoto, and Kozue Uzawa will discuss haiku, tanka, and haibun.

There will be three venues on Saturday, September 23. The 55+ Lifestyle Show, presented by INSPIRED Senior Living magazine, is at the PNE Forum and offers entertainment and seminars, alongside products and services geared for the 55+ consumer. ArtStarts Explores: Words will be at the ArtStarts Gallery. Bring the whole family for this fun workshop to explore the idea of written, spoken, and gestured words through creative art forms! Carnegie Community Centre will host three presentations. Write a Book and Get Published with Megan Williams, presented by The Self Publishing Agency, will give you practical tools and processes to start writing your book as well as an understanding of the publishing opportunities available. At Type Up! volunteers will be on hand to take your writing materials, help you edit them, and turn them into a typed file. Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers with Carmen Ostrander will draw on post-modernism, narrative therapy, and neuroscience to help you explore different ways of putting pen to paper in service of self through short exercises and discussion.

Visit our website for full details on all of these events and more!


Read Local BC Events at Word

September 6, 2017

Word Vancouver has teamed up with Read Local BC this year to bring you some excellent BC-published programming on Sunday, September 24!

Read Local BC will present an hour of children’s author readings in The Quay from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, hosted by Leslie Bootle:

12:00 pm Nicola I. Campbell 
A Day With Yayah (Tradewind Books $19.95)
A First Nations family goes foraging for edibles in the woods, and Grandmother passes down her knowledge of plant life. This picture book is set in the Nicola Valley of BC. First Nations author Nicola I. Campbell lives in BC with her son. Her books have won many awards, including the TD, the Marilyn Baillie, and the Anskohk Aboriginal Children’s Book of the Year awards. Ages 4-7


12:15 pm Jen Sookfong Lee 
Chinese New Year: A Celebration for Everyone (Orca Book Publishers $24.95)
From its beginnings as a farming celebration marking the end of winter to its current role as a global party featuring good food, lots of gifts, and public parades, Chinese New Year is a snapshot of Chinese culture. Award-winning author and broadcaster Jen Sookfong Lee recalls her childhood in Vancouver, BC, and weaves family stories into the history, traditions, and evolution of Chinese New Year. Jen Sookfong Lee writes, talks on the radio, and loves her slow cooker. Born and raised in East Vancouver, Jen now lives in North Burnaby with her son and dog. Ages 9-12 More

12:30 pm David Starr
The Nor’Wester (Ronsdale Press $11.95)
In The Nor’Wester, young Duncan Scott must flee his native Scotland, stowing away on a ship bound for Quebec. Hired by the North West Company, Duncan is sent across the continent with an important message for Simon Fraser. Here Duncan joins Fraser on his historic 1808 journey to the sea, meeting the many Indigenous peoples of the river. Along the way, Duncan faces death, danger, and treason, and must find the courage to save his companions, the expedition, and himself. David Starr is a prize-winning author of four books, including The Nor’WesterBombs to Books, and Golden Goal. He is a high school principal who lives in Coquitlam. Visit www.davidstarr.org. Ages 9-12 More

12:45 pm Irene N. Watts and Kathryn E. Shoemaker 
Seeking Refuge (Tradewind Books $19.95)
In this follow-up to Goodbye Marianne, award-winning author Irene N. Watts and celebrated illustrator Kathryn E. Shoemaker explore the reality of a young refugee girl who flees Nazi Germany on a kindertransporte, taking Jewish children to safety in Britain. Though lucky to be alive, Marianne is terribly lonely in her new home. This story will deeply resonate with young people aware of the plight and dire situation of refugees migrating through Europe and around the world today. Irene N. Watts is the author of numerous award-winning books and plays for children and young people, among them Goodbye Marianne and No Pets Allowed. She lives in Vancouver. Kathryn E. Shoemaker is the illustrator of many books for children, among them A Telling Time and My Animal Friends. She teaches children’s literature at the University of British Columbia. Ages 8-12 More

Read Local BC will also present the annual Poetry in Transit readings in the Sunrise Suite from 1:35 pm to 2:35 pm, hosted by Evelyn Lau:

1:35 pm Poetry in Transit
Read Local BC, in partnership with TransLink and BC Transit, presents the launch of this year’s Poetry in Transit campaign at Word Vancouver. This long-running project displays the work of ten BC poets on public transit vehicles throughout the province. Featured 2017 poets Adèle BarclayWendy DonawaRhonda GanzUlrike NarwaniJeff Steudel, and Onjana Yawnghwe will read from their latest work. The Poetry Bus, on site at Word Vancouver, will display this year’s poetry cards – hop on board and share your #PoetryInTransit favourites on Twitter to be entered to win one of three prize packages (more details at poetryintransit.ca).

If you’re looking for even more readings by BC-published authors, be sure to view the official festival program or the schedule page on our website!


Under 3 Weeks Until Word Vancouver Returns!

August 31, 2017

Tomorrow is the first day of September, and that means Word Vancouver is right around the corner! This year’s festival is six days, running from September 19-24. Our satellite events will take place from Tuesday, September 19 to Saturday, September 23, and the main festival day will be on Sunday, September 24 at Library Square.

As always, the main festival day on Sunday will feature free readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, site performers, family activities, an exhibitor marketplace, and more. Below is a sneak peak at Sunday’s venues.

Community Garden will feature Vancouver history, murder and mystery titles, and comics presentations and will include readings by Eve Lazarus (Blood, Sweat, and Fear), Aaron Chapman (The Last Gang in Town), Sheena Kamal (The Lost Ones), William Deverell (Whipped), and Katherine Collins (The Collected Neil the Horse).

Sheena Kamal

Suspension Bridge will have a variety of fiction, lifestyle presentations, and YA readings. Presentations will include Ahmad Danny Ramadan (The Clothesline Swing), Janie Chang (Dragon Springs Road), Gurjinder Basran (Someone You Love Is Gone), Darren Groth (Munro vs. the Coyote), and Louise Green (Big Fit Girl).

Sunrise Suite will feature readings by established and emerging poets, including Heidi Greco (Flightpaths), Marguerite Pigeon (What I’m Wearing Now), Leanne Dunic (To Love the Coming End), Shazia Hafiz Ramji (Prosopopoeia), Jónína Kirton (An Honest Woman), and Michael V. Smith (Bad Ideas).

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Perspective Point will have panel discussions on a variety of topic, including “Mixed Voices Raised,” “Embracing Change: The Evolution of Room Magazine,” and “Local Authors, Local Settings–Mysteries Set in BC.”

Port of View will feature professional development and writing workshops such as “Establishing a Digital Footprint” with Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman, “Feeling a Little Mixed—or—Do I Have a Story to Tell You?” with Jónína Kirton, and “Adventures in Elder Land” with Carollyne Haynes and Janet Dunnett.

The two children’s venues will feature great family fun all day long! The Quay will have readings by children’s authors and illustrators, including Jen Sookfong Lee (Chinese New Year), Mahtab Narsimhan (Mission Mumbai), Julie Flett (Black Bear Red Fox), Ashley Spires (The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do), and Sarah Ellis (Waiting for Sophie). Imagination Island will have fun, interactive family activities throughout the day such as a ring toss, wishing wall, bubble station, book coin toss, trivia, and more.

Ashley Spires

In addition to our Sunday programming, we also invite you to join us on Tuesday, September 19 at Banyen Books & Sound for a talk and signing with Shahla and Peter Nygaard (Decade of Discovery) and VPL Britannia Branch for Poetic Pairings; Wednesday, September 20 at Banyen Books & Sound for a talk and signing with Eric Bowers (Meet Me In Hard-to Love Places) and The Cottage Bistro for Twisted Poets Literary Salon; Thursday, September 21 at Banyen Books & Sound for a talk and signing with Azmina Kassam and Meharoona Ghani (The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth) and VPL nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch for “Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor”; Friday, September 22 at Christianne’s Lyceum for “Heroics and Heart” and Historic Joy Kogawa House for “An Evening of Japanese Poetic Forms: From the Tokaido Road to the World Stage”; and Saturday, September 23 at the PNE Forum for the 55+ Lifestyle Show, ArtStarts Gallery for “ArtStarts Explores: Words,” and Carnegie Community Centre for “Write a Book and Get Published with Megan Williams,” “Type Up,” and “Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers with Carmen Ostrander.”

Be sure to check out the official program guide for a full listing of events, or the Schedule page on our website for presentation descriptions and the most up-to-date information.


Only Three Months Away

June 22, 2017

The 2017 Word Vancouver festival is now only three months away! The main festival day is Sunday, September 24 and will once again take place at Library Square. Satellite events will take place at venues throughout Vancouver in the week leading up to the Sunday, from September 19-23.

We have tons of exciting author readings in store for this year, including Carleigh Baker (Bad Endings), John MacLachlan Gray (The White Angel), Daniel Zomparelli (Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person), and Grant Lawrence (Dirty Windshields: The Best and Worst of the Smugglers Tour Diaries).

Readings for children will include Jen Sookfong Lee (Chinese New Year: A Celebration for Everyone), Nicola Campbell (A Day With Yayeh), and Sarah Ellis (Waiting for Sophie).

There will be poetry readings by Michael V. Smith (Bad Ideas), Heidi Greco (Flightpaths: The Lost Journals of Amelia Earhart), Leanne Dunic (To Love the Coming End) and more.In addition to the author readings, there will also be a variety of panel discussions, writing workshops, and more. Stay tuned for more details!


Word Vancouver Wraps Up for Another Year

September 29, 2016

Our 22nd annual festival has wrapped up for another year, and what a fabulous time it was!

Plenty of wonderful events were held in the days leading up to Sunday, the main festival day. The Poetry in Transit 20th Anniversary Celebration took place at The Emerald on Wednesday, September 21. Thursday, September 22 saw a presentation and book signing with Governor General Literary Award-winning author Mark L. Winston at Banyen Books as well as the Twisted Poets Literary Salon at The Cottage Bistro. Events on Friday, September 23 included “An Evening of Faerie Magic” at Christianne’s Lyceum and “Sober Second Thoughts” with Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall at Historic Joy Kogawa House. On Saturday, September 24, professional development workshops were hosted at The HiVE and Carnegie Community Centre. It was also the night of the Pandora’s Collective Literary Awards Gala at CBC Studio 700.


Authors Joy Kogawa and Bif Naked at Sunday’s main festival day

On Sunday, September 25 we once again took over Library Square at the Central Branch of the VPL with tons of free events and activities. We enjoyed readings from many authors, including Bif Naked, Joy Kogawa, Ujjal Dosanjh, Anosh Irani, Carmen Aguirre, bill bissett, Ronald Wright, and more. There were also lots of workshops and panels with a variety of topics, including comics, chapbook making, and magazine publishing. Other features included lots of activities and entertainment for families, our exhibitor marketplace, and our brand new Magazine Lounge.

We thoroughly enjoyed this year’s festival, and we hope you did too! We look forward to organizing next year’s and seeing you all there in September 2017!


Word Vancouver Satellite Events

September 21, 2016

Today is the first day of the 2016 Word Vancouver festival! Our main festival day is this Sunday, September 25, but there are plenty of great events taking place throughout the city in the four days leading up to that as well.

Tonight is the Poetry in Transit 20th-Anniversary Celebration at The Emerald. Join Word Vancouver and the Association of Book Publishers of BC in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Poetry in Transit! Readings of 20 poems featured as part of the campaign will commemorate the extraordinary contribution poets have made to the cultural fabric of BC. Hosted by Sandy Shreve, this is an opportunity to enjoy a drink, a snack, and some of the province’s finest talent.

There will be two events on Thursday, September 22. Join Governor General’s Award-Winning author Mark L. Winston for a presentation of his book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive at Banyen Books & Sound. He will discuss his experiences of over 30 years in apiaries and lessons learned from a life among bees. The Twisted Poets Literary Salon will also take place on Thursday at The Cottage Bistro. Share in an evening of literary surprises. Connect, read, and enjoy. An open mic session follows featured readings from Henry Beissel, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, and Jennifer Zilm. All are welcome to attend and participate.


Friday, September 23 will feature two more events. Christianne’s Lyceum will host An Evening of Faerie Magic where the entire family can celebrate faeries with stories, treats, and crafts. Faerie whisperers will include Tiffany Stone, Kallie George, Danika Dinsmore, and Christianne Hayward. Also on Friday will be Sober Second Thoughts with Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall at Historic Joy Kogawa House. Reading and discussion will offer an opportunity to join a conversation about our personal and sociological relationships with alcohol.

There will be three workshops and an awards gala on Saturday, September 24. Two professional development workshops will be held at The HiVEGet It Out: A Writer’s Guide to the Submissions of Literary Works for Publication with Jami Macarty will teach you about terms, networking, cover letters, submission guidelines, submission-ready work, publications, and sure ways to avoid the slush pile. Exoticizing the Domestic with Carmen Ostrander will explore the everyday and uncover compelling stories in everyday life.  Type Up! will be held at the Carnegie Community Centre. Do you have handwritten poems, stories, and letters you would like to have typed up, but you don’t have a way to do that? Well come along to Type Up! at the Carnegie Library Learning Centre, and volunteers will be on hand to take your writing materials, help you edit them, and turn them into a typed file. Saturday evening is the Pandora’s Collective Literary Awards Gala at CBC Studio 700. These awards are presented to those who, by their example and hard work, continue to maintain and foster the Vancouver literary community.

Visit our website for times and locations for all of these fabulous events! You can also find full descriptions in the program guide.