8 Events to Visit at the 2023 Vancouver Writers Festival

The 36th annual Vancouver Writers Festival is October 16 to 22.

The Vancouver Writers Festival is back for its 36th year. From October 16 to 22, head down to Granville Island, turn your phone on silent, and enjoy listening to the sweet words of New York Times bestselling author Lauren Groff (plus many more).

Here, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to navigate this year’s 80+ events.

The Beginning (Oct 16 and 17) 

Here are two must-see events at the beginning of the week.  

Two books laid on pink backdrop.
Credit: Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Between the Pages: An Evening with the Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalists (Oct 16, 7:30 p.m.)  

This is an opening event for a reason. For $30, the literary fangirl in you can get up close and personal (I may be lying about that) with the five finalists for the Giller Prize. I’m most excited for Dionne Ivring and her stories, The Islands.

The Storm Inside Us (Oct 17, 6:00 p.m.)

Join Alicia Elliott (And Then She Fell) and Carrie Mac (Last Winter) as they discuss the process of writing about mental health. If you’re a writer, bring a notepad and pen as I’m sure they’ll reveal some gold. Both Elliott’s and Mac’s books are in my Amazon cart as we speak.

The Middle (Oct 18-20) 

Halfway through the fest, prepare for more great authors… and a dance party! 

Three photos side by side of women with their books underneath.
Credit: Vancouver Writer’s Fest.

The Company We Keep (Oct 18, 6:00 p.m.)

This is a great event to attend with a friend. Three authors speak about how good company has the potential to change someone’s life and how surprising friendships are usually the best ones, as featured in their latest works. And guess what?! My very own university prof, Robert J. Wiersema is moderating the event.

Blackness as a Portal, Blackness as the Frame (Oct 18, 8:30 p.m.)

This event will feature a powerful discussion on writing the Black experience from the viewpoints of Aisha Harris, Suzette Mayr, Jasmine Sealy, and Christina Sharpe. Fun fact, Sealy lives in Vancouver.

Smells Like… 90s Lyrics Night (Oct 19, 8:00pm)  

Thursday is the new Friday, right? And to think us writers are boring. NOT. Join some celebrated authors as they read their favourite ’90s lyrics. The highlight of the event? Elamin Abdelmahmoud hosts a dance party immediately following the event.

The End (Oct 20-22)  

Here are the last few events that made my wish list.  

Six books laid on a red and white background.
Credit: Vancouver Writer’s Fest.

The Poetry Bash (Oct 20, 8:00 p.m.) 

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget you poetry lovers. The Poetry Bash is a fabulous way to discover some new poets while also listening to some of your favourites.

Michelle Good in Conversation (Oct 21, 5:00 p.m.)  

Cancel your Saturday night plans. I’ve got something better for you to do. Michelle Goode’s Five Little Indians won the Canada Reads, a Governor General’s Literary Award, an Amazon First Novel Award, a Kobo Emerging Author Prize, and was a Giller finalist (and so on and so on). Goode will speak about her new work and the Indigenous experience in Canada.  

Not Too Late: The Climate Conversation (Oct 22, 7:30 p.m.)  

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about climate change. End your writer’s fest journey with an informative talk on climate crisis with non-fiction writers Matt Galloway, Rebecca Solnit, Chris Turner, and John Vaillant. The question of the evening: How can we truly engage with what’s happening to our planet?

Click here for the full list of events at the 2023 Vancouver Writers Fest.