Welcome to the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival on Granville Island

Hal Wake I have to admit that I am still savouring some of the extraordinary moments from last year’s 20th anniversary Festival. All of us involved in the Festival were gratified by the warm reception that you the audience provided for our visiting writers, and the engagement and interaction that is the hallmark of our events. We broke attendance records and many of the events were sold out. As a result we are expanding the Festival this year to 69 events to provide more opportunities for you to see and hear some of the finest writers in the world on stages at Granville Island. For the first time we will present events on Tuesday evening, where you will now find our Grand Openings event. Get your tickets for your favourite events early to avoid disappointment! This guide will tell you everything you need to know. And remember, members of the Festival have advance ticket purchase privileges.

We will kick things off with a pre-Festival event on September 15 with Miriam Toews, author of A Complicated Kindness, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her new novel, The Flying Troutmans, will be one of the highlights of the fall season.

We’ve added a new late night event this year at the Backstage Lounge behind the Granville Island Stage. Join us into the wee hours for music and stories with featured performers Ivan E. Coyote, Kinnie Starr, Paul Quarrington and Willy Vlautin. Don’t be surprised if there are cameo appearances by other musically talented writers.

We are pleased to welcome back to Vancouver noted Canadian novelists Austin Clarke, Rawi Hage, Joseph Boyden and David Bergen.

Ronald Wright will deliver The Bill Duthie Memorial Lecture this year. He gave the CBC Massey Lectures in 2004 and the book based on the lectures, A Short History of Progress, was a huge bestseller. His new book, What is America?, is sure to provoke vigorous discussion about the U.S., its history and its future.

There are a number of prominent American writers joining us this year including the poet Sharon Olds, Ursula K. Le Guin and Peter Matthiessen whose new book led a reviewer in The New York Review of Books to compare him to Dostoevksy, Conrad and Faulkner.

This year will also see the return of some Festival favourites including Mark Billingham, Gillian Slovo and Linda Grant from the UK, C.C. Humphreys, Patrick Lane and Donna Morrissey from Canada and Damon Galgut from South Africa.

There will be lots of discoveries for you as well. Xiaolu Guo is a young Chinese novelist living in London whose first novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was nominated for the Orange Prize. Steven Galloway’s third novel The Cellist of Sarajevo made the bestseller lists this spring. And Shaun Tan is a graphic novelist from Australia whose book The Arrival has been described as “a beautiful and compelling piece of art filled with subtlety and grandeur”.

We have a distinguished list of international writers coming to the festival including Gail Jones from Australia, Anja Sicking from the Netherlands, Stéphane Audeguy from France, Stefano Benni from Italy and Elizabeth Knox from New Zealand.

Mystery lovers will find some new crime novelists to devour: George Pelecanos from the U.S., Qiu Xiaolong whose books are set in China and Leonie Swann from Germany whose first book was translated into 32 languages. Please join us on Granville Island from October 21–26 and enjoy the many delights on offer.

Hal Wake