Fall is for Festivals
Hitting the books come September isn’t just about going back to school, there’s also a lot of literary action on the festival front as well.
Billing itself as the TIFF of CanLit, because it often serves as a jumping off point for many fall releases that go on to be nominated for literary awards, the Fog Lit Festival in Saint John, New Brunswick will be held from September 27 to October 1. Since its beginning in 2013, Fog Lit has brought more than 80 authors to the Saint John area to participate in readings, poetry slams, progressive dinner, story-time activities, school visits, teen coffee house, lunch & learn, panel discussions and a brunch featuring an open mic for emerging writers. The festival also provides author-run workshops for attendees that enable them to better their storytelling skills and expand their writing portfolio. This year’s festival includes a diverse lineup ranging from former Halifax Poet Laureate and children’s author Shauntay Grant to food travel memoirist Jan Wong.
The Lunenburg Literary Festival, running September 29 and 30, is only in its second year. But it’s already making big waves. Administered by the South Shore Public Libraries it blends up-and-coming local writers with bigger names from away. The festival includes a guided literary tour of Lunenburg, a free children’s story mob and readings Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening. This year’s writers include two time Leacock Medal winner Terry Fallis and two-time Governor General’s Award winner Nino Ricci.
Atlantic author Stephen Kimber leads the non-fiction panel. “You get to meet and chat with people who like to read! What could be better for any author? I immediately said ‘yes’ when they asked me to do a reading,” he says.
Tickets for individual sessions or for the entire festival are available from the participating libraries and online.
The Cabot Trail Writers’ Festival, which bills itself as “distinctly unstuffy,” takes place at the foot of St Anne’s Bay on Cape Breton Island and runs from September 29 to October 1 at the Gaelic College. One of the things that makes this festival, now in its ninth year, special is the fact that all the writers give a short reading on the opening night and then, if possible, stick around for the entire weekend, giving attendees plenty of opportunities to chat, eat and have a drink with them. This year the lineup includes Wayne Johnston, Katherena Vermette and Sheree Fitch.
To cap off the event Douglas Gibson will be presenting his new stage performance, 150 Years of Great Canadian Storytellers. The show moves from decade to decade and features music and art of each ten-year period as well as one novelist or short-story writer in English and French.