The fall edition of the 2015 Ottawa International Writers Festival begins this week. Here are my planned events, with probably a bit of divergence, depending on my mood.
I’m excited, as always, that the festival includes fiction in its programme. I have to say that Ottawa’s literary scene has for the past several years been low on fiction. This is our chance to feast. At the same time, there are some great poetry events taking place. I don’t attend most of the politics, sciency stuff, but if you’re into those, there’s a lot to attend also. I only have so much stamina.
If you’re a writer, you simply must find a way to attend this festival. If you can’t afford it, see if it’s not too late to volunteer. If you're at Carleton U or U of Ottawa, you can get in for free. I find the discussions to be of great value & the chance to chat with the writers too.
Also great for book enthusiasts…It’s a party for nerds who love reading. There’s also great food and drinks available. Last spring, I believe, saw the introduction of Bicycle Craft Brewery’s wonderful craft beers. I’m very partial to their oatmeal porter. Come buy me a drink.
As a side note, there are lots of events happening on Wednesday, October 21, but I highly recommend, no, I insist, that you come to the Sawdust Reading Series at Pour Boy, 7pm to hear the poetry of Sandra Ridley. you will be surprised, delighted & mesmerized. I promise. Oh, I should also say that tonight Chris Johnson is reading at Blue Mondays over at Café Nostalgica, 8:30pm. I’ll do my damndest to be there & so should you.
Thursday, October 22
6:30pm – First People’s, First Stories with Lee Maracle, Bev Sellars and Joseph Boyden.
8:30pm – Spotlight on Irish Fiction with Gavin Corbett, Claire Louise Bennett and Colin Barrett
Friday, October 23
6:30pm – Lost (and found) in translation with Samuel Archibald, Larry Tremblay and Kim Thuy
Saturday, October 24
2pm – All Out with Kevin and Alex Newman
Or also at 2pm: Meaning, Schmeaning, a poetry workshop with Stuart Ross
8:30pm Condemned to be free with James Grainger, Karim Alrawi, Owen Sheers, Anakana Shofield
Sunday, October 25
6:30pm Poetry Cabaret with Nick Papaxanthos, Tara Azzopardi and Stuart Ross
8:30pm The Al Purdy A-Frame Celebration with George Bowering and John Steffler; the inaugural writer-in-residence Katherine Leyton; Rob Thomas, last year’s winner of the Newlove Prize; and a host of other writers, including Susan Gillis, Charlotte Gray, David O’Meara, Sandra Ridley and Stuart Ross.
Monday, October 26
12:00pm A Writing Life-One on One with George Bowering
6:30pm the Bywords 2015 John Newlove Poetry Award with Marie-Josée Houle, the honourable mentions and the award recipient, plus a reading from Matthew Walsh’s chapbook, Heel.
8:30pm Arc Poetry Magazine’s Spoken Word Celebration with Tana Evanson, Cat Kidd, Ian Keteku and Kevin Matthews
Tuesday, October 27
6:30pm The Reason You Walk with Wab Kinew (sold out, alas)
8:30pm Sweet Emotion with Nino Ricci, David Constantine and Terry Fallis
& post festival, I’m looking forward to Margaret Atwood’s launch of “The Heart Goes Last” on November 16 & John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries on November 30.
Get tickets, buy passes, but most importantly, come! & I think I already suggested you buy me a drink. ahem. it’s going to be fun. we’re going to have a party…