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While it’s often the big names that get all the buzz at the Vancouver Writers Festival (Margaret Atwood and Malcolm Gladwell have already made appearances in the past few weeks), the real joy often lies in uncovering a gem in one of the smaller venues where the ideas and proximity take on the life of their own. Here are three we think might fit that bill.
One of the great treats at the Writers Festival is coming across a younger author whose trajectory is just taking off and seeing them in a small venue before they start moving onto the big time. This year that’s an intimate conversation with Nigerian writer Obioma. His novel, An Orchestra of Minorites, was just shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and has a Homeric take on protagonist Chinoso as he navigates modern Nigeria.
We’re betting that you’re short on poetry for most of the year, so Writers Fest is the perfect time to inject a little lyricism in your binary life. If you’re still in the starving artist phase of your career you can duck into the Canadian Poetry Free, which refers to the costs not the verse, but consider digging deeper and taking in Indigenous legend, Lee Maracle, and her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter, engage in a tripartite free form discussion on the journey of Indigenous peoples from colonialism to reconciliation.
We know that the Writers Fest can sometimes get very engaged in capital L, Literature, but there’s populism out there too if you look. This year we’re leaning towards this love-in for the master of horror (with occasional sojourns into the aforementioned Literature) with 14 authors from across the globe who’ll opine and sometimes just plain gush over one of the world’s most impactful writers.
And if none of these three grab you, there’s no doubt that something else will. See the entire Festival line-up here.