Activities for Kids and Families

September 14, 2016

Word Vancouver will once again have plenty of fun and activities for kids and families, with three venues on Sunday, September 25 devoted just to them!


Alpha Bravo Charlie by Sara Gillingham

The kids’ reading venue is called The Quay this year, and as always, there will be tons of author readings for kids of all ages. Kathy Beliveau and her book The Yoga Game in the Garden invites children to hum like a bee and grow like a tree with a variety of yoga poses, while Sara Gillingham‘s book Alpha Bravo Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes will inspire kids to code and decode messages using nautical flags, Morse code, the phonetic alphabet, and semaphore signalling. Other lovely picture books include In the Red Canoe by Laura Bifano, about a young girl’s adventures with her Grandpa in their canoe, and What Grandma Built by Michelle Gilman, which tells the story of Grandma and the wonderful home she built her family that bursts with toys, bunk beds, and pies. Tales for middle grade readers (ages 8-12) will include Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz, which tells the story of Kenny, who has been interned with his family following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and his mission to convert a vacant field into a baseball field, thereby giving purpose to the long days; The Case of the Girl in Grey by Jordan Stratford, which continues the story of Ada Bryon Lovelace and Mary Shelley (the Wollstonecraft girls) as they investigate a horrible hospital, a missing will, a hasty engagement, and a suspiciously slippery servant; and Notes from the Life of a Total Genius by Stacey Matson, about Arthur’s final year at Terry Fox Junior High, and how he uses his wit (and his column in the school paper) to skewer the censorship of the play he wrote. Also in The Quay will be “Dumb and Stoopid,” two drawing workshops for kids aged 8-12 lead by For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston.

Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz

Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz

The family entertainment stage, The Dock, will feature the talents of sibling phenoms Kai and Lia of Fiddlin’ Frenzy; Dixie Star Storytelling, who fire the imagination of children and grown-ups alike with their innovative and interactive shows; stories and songs from Renae Morriseau and M’Girl; and improv for all ages with Vancouver Youth Theatre.

Imagination Island is where you will find fun, interactive family activities all day long. Join the staff and volunteers of Christianne’s Lyceum and dress the trees around the library in beautiful words, hunt for word treasure to turn into a sparkling poem, or write a fortune to add to their fortune-telling machine. Compose a frameable, inspiring piece of literary art celebrating your adventures at Word Vancouver with CWILL BC members and Reading Lights contributors. Frontier College will have a bookmark-making station, a book coin toss, and a jelly-bean guess where kids can win a bundle of books. Visit the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable and contribute to the creation of a colourful paper mural background and add your own collaged animals to it. Decoda Literacy Solutions, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, the FortisBC Street Team, Kids’ Lit Quiz, and WestCoast Families will have more fun activities on Imagination Island too!

Renae Morriseau of M’Girl

Renae Morriseau of M’Girl

Other family activities at this year’s Sunday event include a colouring book activity featuring pages from locally-published colouring books; and a fairy tale scavenger hunt, where kids can search the festival site for 10 characters and answer questions about them to win a prize.

In addition to Sunday’s programming, also be sure to visit Christianne’s Lyceum on Friday, September 23 for An Evening of Faerie Magic. The Lyceum’s garden has long attracted faeries far and wide. They will be celebrated with stories, treats, and crafts for the entire family. Enjoy tea and faerie bread while making faerie sculptures and listening to faerie stories told by experts Tiffany Stone, Kallie George, Danika Dinsmore, and Christianne Hayward.

A full listing of our family events and all other programming can be found in our program guide or on our website.


Word Vancouver Workshops

September 8, 2016

Workshops at Word are always very popular, and we’re pleased to say we have another fantastic line-up again this year!

The professional development workshops kick off on Saturday, September 24 at The HiVE. Teacher, editor, and poet Jami Macarty will show you how to “Get It Out” in a session on preparing literary work for submission. You’ll learn about terms, networking, cover letters, submission guidelines, submission-ready work, publications, and sure ways to avoid the slush pile. Join Australian art therapist, facilitator, and master’s candidate in narrative therapy Carmen Ostrander and discover how to “Exoticize the Domestic.” Explore the everyday and uncover compelling stories in everyday life. Discover how rich descriptions of ordinary things can be compelling, intimate, and historically valuable. Be sure to pre-register for these two sessions to ensure your spot!


JJ Lee

Also on Saturday is the Type Up! at 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.

On Sunday, September 25, the main festival day, professional development workshop facilitators will include JJ Lee as well as Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman in Perspective Point and Naomi Beth Wakan and Marion Crook in Port of View. Join author JJ Lee for “The Hustle,” where he will talk about his journey to his memoir, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, discussing research, community engagement, platforming, and just plain luck. He’ll talk about his current forays into genre fiction and its impact on his profile as a literary writer. Discover how to “Take Control of Your Own Marketing” with Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman. This workshop will help authors establish what electronic marketing tools are right for them. Whether self-published or with a publisher, you’ll learn tools to assist with your process. Poet and personal essayist Naomi Beth Wakan will teach you about “Writing Close to Home.” Whether you keep a blog or a diary, write personal essays, or are beginning your memoirs, this workshop will give you fresh ideas and may open some personal moments you haven’t visited for a while. Children’s and YA author Marion Crook will show you how to “Start Your Story.” You may have a character in mind, or a setting, or parts of a plot but need a push to start the story. This workshop will give you practical tools to jump into the beginning, tackle the first lines, and create the first chapter. These are only a few of the workshops in these two venues, so be sure to check out our website for a full list!

©Imaging by Marlis 2012 Permission granted to Marion Crook for personal and promotional use

Marion Crook ©Imaging by Marlis 2012

Comics workshops will be found in The Underground and will include the “Chapbook Races” with Kevin Spenst, where you and your team of up to three will have one hour to make, write, draw, and collage a chapbook. You can also learn to “Draw Autobiographical Comics” with Sean Karemaker. This workshop will focus on the creation of one- to two-page autobiographical comic stories. It will cover the basics of composition, drawing with shapes, and storytelling.

This year, we will also have drawing workshops for kids in The Quay! Kids aged 8-12 can learn how to create a goofy character, how to change expressions, and how to put acting into their work from For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston.

Check out the full program guide or our website for a full listing of workshops and more!


Only Three Weeks to Go!

September 1, 2016

Now that it’s September, the 22nd annual Word Vancouver festival is just around the bend! Join us for the main festival day on Sunday, September 25 in and around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, and for our satellite events taking place throughout the city from Wednesday, September 21 to Saturday, September 24.

The big Sunday event will once again feature our exhibitor marketplace, readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, site performers, family activities, and more, but you’ll notice our venue names have changed this year!

Community Garden will feature author presentations including Mark Leiren-Young (The Killer Whale Who Changed the World), Darcy Matheson (Greening Your Pet Care), Joy Kogawa (Gently to Nagasaki), Ujjal Dosanjh (Journey After Midnight), and Carmen Aguirre (Mexican Hooker #1), as well as an eco-fiction session and the panel “Writing From Within: Memoir and Identity.”

Joy Kogawa - blog

Joy Kogawa

At The Lions you’ll find authors such as Paul Yee (A Superior Man), Anosh Irani (The Parcel), Jennifer Croll (Bad Girls of Fashion), and Bif Naked (I, Bificus), as well as a presentation by VPL Writer in Residence Sam Wiebe and the panel “Inclusive Magazine Publishing: Barriers and Strategies for Writers and Publishers.”

Suspension Bridge will have two panels, “Demystifying the Submission Process” and “Fresh Blood,” a PRISM international showcase, and author readings from Yasuko Thanh (Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains), Jen Sookfong Lee (The Conjoined), Ronald Wright (The Gold Eaters), Charles Demers (The Dad Dialogues), and more.

Our poetry venue will move back into a tent this year and is called Sunrise Suite. Here you’ll find readings by Kim Fu (How Festive the Ambulance), Garry Gottfriedson (Deaf Heaven), Carla Funk (Gloryland), Juliane Okot Bitek (100 Days), and bill bissett (th book), as well as presentations from the Dead Poets Reading Series and six of the 2016 Poetry in Transit poets.

Kim Fu

Kim Fu

The Underground will once again feature comics and chapbook programming, including “Chapbook Races with Kevin Spenst,” the panel “Comics and the Creative Process,” “Drawing Autobiographical Comics with Sean Karemaker,” and chapbook readings from Leaf Press and above/ground press authors.

You’ll find more workshops and author presentations in Port of View and Perspective Point, including “Family as Inspiration: A Fiction Workshop with Simon Choa-Johnston” and “Invitation to English Tanka with Kozue Uzawa” in Port of View; and “Chalk Talk with Lynn Johnston,” an author presentation by Erik Bjarnason (Surviving Logan), “The Hustle with JJ Lee,” and “Creating an Excellent Book with Craig Shemilt” in Perspective Point.

Children’s and family programming will be found at The Quay, Imagination Island, and The Dock. The Quay will feature readings including Ellen Schwartz (Heart of a Champion), Uma Krishnaswami (Book Uncle and Me), Jordan Stratford (The Case of the Girl in Grey), and Laura Bifano (In the Red Canoe); and drawing workshops with For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston. On Imagination Island, families and kids will find plenty of fun interactive activities, such as literary art making, book-making stations, trivia, and more. Performances at The Dock will include M’Girl, Dixie Star Storytelling, Fiddlin’ Frenzy, and Vancouver Youth Theatre.

Jordan Stratford

Jordan Stratford

In addition to our Sunday programming, we also invite you to join us on Wednesday, September 21 at The Emerald for the Poetry in Transit 20th–Anniversary Celebration; Thursday, September 22 at Banyen Books & Sound for a presentation and book signing with Mark L. Winston (Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive) and The Cottage Bistro for the Twisted Poets Literary Salon; Friday, September 23 at Christianne’s Lyceum for An Evening of Faerie Magic and Historic Joy Kogawa House for “Sober Second Thoughts with Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall”; and Saturday, September 24 at The HiVE for a day of professional development workshops, Carnegie Community Centre for Type Up!, and CBC Studio 700 for the Pandora’s Collective Literary Awards Gala.

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


Word Vancouver is Coming!

July 19, 2016

The 22nd Annual Word Vancouver Festival will be back this fall! From September 21-25, you’ll enjoy readings, workshops, entertainment, and more. All for FREE!

Our main festival day will once again take place at Library Square at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Sunday, September 25. Fiction and non-fiction author presentations will include Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Anosh Irani (The Parcel), Bif Naked (I, Bificus), Jen Sookfong Lee (The Conjoined), Ujjal Dosanjh (Journey After Midnight), Paul Yee (A Superior Man), Ronald Wright (The Gold Eaters), and Joy Kogawa (Gently to Nagasaki).

Anosh Irani cr. Nirmal Shah

Anosh Irani (photo credit: Nirmal Shah)

Garry Gottfriedson (Deaf Heaven), bill bissett (th book), Kim Fu (How Festive the Ambulance), Jordan Abel (Injun), and Kevin Spenst (Ignite) will share their poetry in the poetry venue.

Children’s authors such as Caroline Adderson (Jasper John Dooley: Public Library Enemy #1), Jordan Stratford (The Case of the Girl in Grey), Uma Krishnaswami (Book Uncle and Me), Michelle Gilman (What Grandma Built), and Stacey Matson (Notes from the Life of a Total Genius) will read from their latest books in the family area.

Bif Naked cr. Karolina Turek

Bif Naked (photo credit: Karolina Turek)

In addition to readings and author presentations, you will also find panels, workshops, entertainment, and our vibrant exhibitor marketplace in and around the library.

Leading up to the main festival day, from September 21-24, you will find plenty of other exciting literary events happening around town, including a presentation by Governor-General’s Award Winning author Mark Winston at Banyen Books & Sound on Thursday, September 22, and the Pandora’s Collective Literary Awards Gala at CBC Studio 700 on Saturday, September 24.

More festival details will be available soon. Stay tuned!


The 21st Annual Festival Concludes

October 8, 2015

Word Vancouver has wrapped up for another year. Thank you to everyone that participated and attended! We had a great time, and we hope you did too.

We enjoyed events from September 23 to 26 at venues including SFU Harbour Centre, The Cottage Bistro, Banyen Books & Sound, Christianne’s Lyceum, Historic Joy Kogawa House, CBC Studio 700, and the VPL Central Branch. The festival culminated with the main day on Sunday, September 27 in and around Library Square, where attendees delighted in author readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, entertainment, public typing stations, and more!

The 2015 festival saw the debut of our Family Stage, which featured family-friendly entertainment and activities all day long on our main festival day. Surrounding the Family Stage were plenty more kids and family activities, found under the Kids’ Lit and Kids’ Words tents. Thank you to those who donated to our Chimp campaign to help fund this new family programming!


Also new to the festival was our Underground Words + Art venue. This venue was devoted to everything comics and chapbooks and featured panels, workshops, readings, and exhibitors.

This year’s festival may have come to an end, but we’re already excited about next year’s! Look for details in the new year about the 2016 festival.


Workshops at Word

September 22, 2015

Looking to learn from the experts? Be sure to attend one of the many fantastic workshops at this year’s Word Vancouver! As with all Word Vancouver events and presentations, they are all FREE!

Alessandra Naccarato

Alessandra Naccarato

As in the past, a full day of workshop programming will take place at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch on Saturday, September 26, in both the Alma VanDusen and Peter Kaye Rooms. These workshops will include “Writing the Unexpected” with Alessandra Naccarato, “What Are the Outside Influences on Your Characters?” with Bennett R. Coles, “Wading into the Swamp: Getting Messy with Writing” with Daniela Elza, “Children’s Publishing Workshop” with Robin Mitchell Cranfield, “Non-Fiction Editing Workshop” with Scott Steedman, and “Crossing Boundaries: Writing in Different Genres” with Ian Weir. (Please note that reserving your 10-minute session for both the “Children’s Publishing Workshop” and “Non-Fiction Editing Workshop” is recommended. You can do so by emailing us.)

David Lasky

David Lasky

In addition to those on Saturday, you will also find plenty more workshops at Library Square on Sunday, September 27, the main festival day. Writing Talks workshops will include “Digital Publishing Strategies” with John Maxwell, “What Are Your Publishing Options?” with Julie Salisbury, and “How to Captivate Readers through the Senses” with Helen Polychronakos. In Word Talks you’ll find “Establishing and Growing Your Digital Footprint” with Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman; and in Magazine Words, “Pitch Perfect” with Dan Post and AnnMarie MacKinnon. You can also join comics artists and chapbook makers in Underground Words + Art for “Comics Workshop for Beginners” with David Lasky, “Visual Storytelling” with Ken and Joan Steacy, and “Poems Fit to Print and Fold: A Chapbook Workshop” with Kevin Spenst. (Please note that the participant limit for the Underground workshops is 12, so pre-registering is recommended. You can do so by emailing us.)

Be sure to check out our program guide for full details about these workshops and all the programming at this year’s festival.


Comics and Chapbooks at Word

September 17, 2015

Word Vancouver is very pleased to host lots of great comics and chapbooks programming at this year’s festival! With a whole venue devoted to comics and chapbooks this year, you’ll find programming all day long on Sunday, September 27.

I Thought I Told You to Shut UpUnderground Words + Art will be located in the Alice MacKay Room, which is inside the library and downstairs. Here you will find 20+ comics and chapbooks exhibitors, including Vancouver Comic Con, Jonathon Dalton, Colin Upton Comics, Gustafson Chapbooks Series, and Phantacea Publications. A full list of Underground exhibitors can be found on the site map page of our program guide on page 35.

In addition to visiting the exhibitors in Underground Words + Art, you can also take part in hands-on workshops, such as “Comics Workshop for Beginners” with David Lasky, “Visual Storytelling” with Ken and Joan Steacy, and “Poems Fit to Print and Fold: A Chapbook Workshop” with Kevin Spenst; join a panel of experts for “The Chapbook: For Love or Money” and “Comics: DIY and Self-Publishing”; and enjoy chapbook readings from The City Series: Number One–Vancouver and Cascadia.

Adventures of Drippy the NewsboyAdditional comics programming will be in Writing Talks, also located downstairs in the library in the Peter Kaye Room. Here you will find I Thought I Told You to Shut Up, a documentary screening with David E. Boswell, as well as readings from Julian Lawrence (The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy Vol 1: Drippy’s Mama) and Michael Kluckner (Toshiko).

For more details about all things comics and chapbooks at this year’s festival, be sure to check out our program guide and website.