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As we head into my first Festival as Artistic Director, I’m happy to tell you that we have a fantastic line-up of authors for 2006. At a time when world events seem to be evermore perilous, it is even more important to experience the world though the words of our literary artists, who chart the voyage of our deeper selves.
I am pleased to announce that former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson will give the Duthie Lecture on Sunday, October 22nd Her new book, Heart Matters, is a memoir about her rise from humble beginnings to high office and the personalities she encountered along the way.
This year’s Festival will be truly international. The Iraqi poet Saadi Yousef is coming from London, and the Mongolian poet and shaman Galsan Tschinag is coming from Germany. Tash Aw lives in England but writes about Malaysia, José Latour lives in Montreal but writes about Cuba, and Anar Ali lives in Toronto but was born in Tanzania and writes about East Africa. Spoken word artist Lemn Sissay writes and performs about rediscovering his Ethiopian roots. Fiona Farrell and Stephanie Johnson from New Zealand will join Australians Kate Grenville and Robert Drewe. Mark Billingham, and Jon McGregor are coming from England, Louise Welsh from Scotland, and Patrick McCabe from Ireland.
Canadian talent will include many BC literary gems, including Caroline Adderson, Marilyn Bowering, Bill Gaston, Anosh Irani, Billie Livingston, J.B. MacKinnon, Michael V. Smith, Timothy Taylor, Sarah Ellis and Dennis Foon. Shane Koyczan, who brought audience members to their feet at the 2004 Festival, will return to dazzle us with his powerful spoken word poetry and impressive stage presence. The list of Canadian writers also includes Ken Babstock, Anita Rau Badami, Dionne Brand, Chester Brown, Lynn Coady, Linda Holeman, Wayne Johnston, Alayna Munce, Noah Richler, Linda Spalding, Madeleine Thien and more.
Popular events like the Literary Cabaret, the Poetry Bash, the Sunday Brunch and the Afternoon Tea will be back. Billeh Nickerson will once again host the Thursday night event (entitled Buns ‘n Roses this year), a showcase of talented emerging young writers.
I look forward to getting an early start on the celebrations with you on Granville Island this October for the 19th Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival.