Literary Festivus for the rest of us
WordFest is back, bringing some of the world’s best writers to Calgary
Every October, WordFest attracts renowned writers and eager readers alike to a seven-day festival celebrating literature. With events happening in venues throughout Calgary and Banff, WordFest will bring together more than 65 writers from across the globe — including Chuck Palahniuk, Calgarian Sara Tilley, and festival veteran Margaret Atwood.
For established writers, this event is a chance to share their work and experience. It is also an opportunity for writers to learn and improve their craft, and for avid readers to engage with and explore some of their favourite literature. This year, the literary festival boasts more than 60 unique events – including discussion panels, performances, workshops, in-depth interviews, readings and more.
For those unfamiliar with WordFest, or unsure of which events to put on their must see list, here is a quick run-down of what WordFest has to offer:
Wednesday and Thursday Night Showcases
Reading and conversation combine in these miniature sessions spotlighting some amazing authors. Taking place at Central Library’s John Dutton Theatre, the two-night showcase event features readings by authors such as Wayne Johnston, Douglas Glover, Michael Winter, and Todd Babiak. After a reading, authors will provide insight into the writer’s lifestyle and technique in a casual interview. Tickets are $25 per evening, and the events begin at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 17.
These invigorating discussion panels feature specific topics regarding the endless literary choices authors make. From characterization to controversy; personal inspiration to genre; authors must make decision after decision throughout the writing process. Some of the most eye-catching of these panels include: “Afternoon Delight”, which blends erotica and comedy, “Blokes and Brawls”, an analysis of the buff and brooding of contemporary literature, and “The World as We Know It”, a discussion of the fine line between reality and fiction. Tickets are $15 for each of the ten panels, which take place at various locations around Calgary and Banff.
For aspiring authors, WordFest offers four evening seminars to enhance and encourage writing skills. Hosted by acclaimed authors of various genres — these workshops give insight into the art of writing, the industry, and the process behind creating publishable stories. Featured genres include children’s literature, fiction, mystery, and young adult fiction. Workshops are on Oct. 15, 17 and 19. Tickets are $25 for each night.
For attendees looking for fun for the whole family, WordFest features two free reading circle events: one in English and another in French. Renowned children’s authors Marie-Louise Gay (Stella) and Eric Walters (Trapped in Ice) host the events — which includes group story-time, face painting, book signings and more. The English event begins at 11 a.m. and is followed by the French event at 1 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Shawnessy Library.
WordFest celebrates the 50th anniversary of Clifford the Big Red Dog on Oct. 20 at Owl’s Nest Books. The birthday celebration begins at 11:30 a.m. and admission is free.
The festival runs Oct. 14-20. Passes range from $45 to $200, with varying prices for individual events. Check the website for more details: www.wordfest.com.