Creative Writing at the Vancouver Writers Fest

We’re pleased to be a sponsor of the 2018 Vancouver Writers Fest, with an exciting event planned on Thursday October 18th, and we’re delighted to announce our faculty, students and alumni who’ll be appearing at the festival.

PROGRAM-SPONSORED EVENT

Readings and Conversations from UBC Creative Writing
Thursday, October 18
6:00pm – 7:15pm
Revue Stage
Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Ian Williams, Keith Maillard, Andrea Bennett, Timothy Taylor, Kevin Chong, Alix Ohlin, Jasmine Sealy

In a dynamic interplay between established and emerging writers, UBC faculty and students engage in a series of paired readings and conversations. Faculty work talks to student work. Student work talks back. They talk across genres. They talk over time. In addition to these linked readings, the pairs engage in conversations about working together. How does work connect them? Why is the university a great place for an aspiring writer? What place does our work have in building and rebuilding communities? Join us as we talk work.


EVENTS WITH OUR FACULTY, STUDENTS AND ALUMNI (NAMES IN BOLD)

TUESDAY OCTOBER 16

Write Your Heart Out
Tuesday, October 16
10:15am – 11:45am
Granville Island Stage
Patrick deWitt, Lisa Moore, Eden Robinson

With five Scotiabank Giller Prize nominations between them, and a stream of other accolades behind their work, Patrick deWitt, Lisa Moore and Eden Robinson are undoubtedly three of Canada’s most-celebrated and -decorated contemporary fiction writers. What makes a story a bestseller? How did these writers go from keen amateurs to award-winning storytellers? How do they identify what makes a compelling tale? The alchemy of the perfect read is hard to define, but students and aspiring writers alike will be inspired by this unforgettable panel sharing insights and infectious humour.

A Couple of Writers
Tuesday, October 16
6:00pm – 7:15pm
Studio 1398
Wayne Grady, Merilyn Simonds

The Grady-Simonds household is a productive one. These married novelists, between them, have written more than thirty books and countless articles and essays. During a congenial conversation with former Artistic Director Hal Wake, they discuss their new books, creative processes, and how their close relationship contributes to the writerly life

The Alma Lee Opening Night Event: It’s a Family Affair
Tuesday, October 16
8:00pm
Performance Works
Carrianne Leung, Tommy Orange, Eden Robinson

Loyalty and feuds, love and dysfunction: family dynamics inevitably mould our lives in complex, sometimes unrecognizable ways. Is this why families make for such riveting fiction? In this first event from our inaugural Guest Curator, Cherie Dimaline, three of fiction’s most compelling voices read from their work and discuss how these bonds shape both perspective and story.


WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 17

Alternate Realities
Rachel Hartman, Ashley Little, Paula Morris, David A. Robertson

Wednesday, October 17
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Performance Works
1218 Cartwright St, Vancouver

Four young adult novelists share their brave new worlds with students and ponder how they both create and sustain these wildly creative locations.

All Roads Lead to Writing
Wednesday, October 17
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
Billy-Ray Belcourt, Dave Bidini, Kate Harris, Sarah Selecky

Each of these writers share reflections of first jobs and their journey to the writing life. Their conversation offers an original perspective on the age-old question “What should I be?” and underlines that while we may not know what our careers will be, passion is paramount for both good writing and good living.

Good Weeds
Wednesday, October 17
8:30pm
Performance Works
Ian Boothby, Julie Bruck, Kevin Chong, Jackie Kai Ellis, Michael Hingston, Andrew Larsen, Dana I.D. Matthews, Liz Nugent, Shazia Hafij Ramji & more

From Oscar Wilde’s nights with the absinthe “green fairy” to Coleridge’s crippling laudanum addiction, writers’ relationships with mind-altering substances have been a source of intrigue for centuries. Here in Canada, our cannabis consumption already rivals that of our wine, with an estimated $6 billion spent on the ubiquitous herb every year. On the first day that marijuana is legal in Canada, favourite local and international authors take to the stage in an open-mic event to share their harrowing, hilarious or downright trippy stories about Mary Jane. We won’t be selling grab bags of chips, but we do guarantee you’ll get the giggles during this playful story swap.


THURSDAY OCTOBER 18

Stars of the Page
Thursday, October 18
10:15am – 11:45am
Granville Island Stage
Christopher Paul Curtis, Rachelle Delaney, Susin Nielsen

What do these three panelists have in common except for a great eye for riveting children’s stories? They’re all major award-winners. Newbery Medal–winner Christopher Paul Curtis’s new novel, The Journey of Little Charlie, follows the perilous adventures of a young boy in the American South and offers an important lesson on the roots of racism. CLA Book of the Year Honour Book winner Rachelle Delaney shares a charming middle-grade story of wannabe journalist and reluctant astrologer, Clara Voyant. Susin Nielsen, Governor General’s Award–winner and much-loved regular of the Festival, brings us back to the modern world with No Fixed Address, a tale of homelessness. Discover the personalities behind these decorated names.

Sharing Truths
Thursday, October 18
10:15am – 11:45am
Performance Works
David A. Robertson, Monique Gray Smith, Katherena Vermette

Stories are a powerful way to share truths—especially those that have been ignored or silenced in the past. Three acclaimed Indigenous authors of children’s books read from their new works before talking about the important messages they carry and why it’s paramount to share both their own truths and those of others.

Graphic History in the Making
Thursday, October 18
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Studio 1398
David A. Robertson, Katherena Vermette

David A. Robertson (When We Were Alone) and Katherena Vermette (The Break) are both lauded Indigenous storytellers whose tales weave together a greater understanding of Canada’s past and the repercussions of that history still felt today. But what happens when these authors use not just their words but also bold visual art to explore the lives of Indigenous peoples then and now? Today they share what it’s like to work with a graphic artist, as shown in Robertson’s Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story and Vermette’s Red River Resistance, which documents Métis history in the 1860s through the eyes of a young girl, Echo.

An Intimate Evening with Eden Robinson
Thursday, October 18
8:30pm
Studio 1398

Read enough articles about CanLit’s adored Eden Robinson and you will find out about her laugh. It’s remarkable, bold and embracing, and it stays with you for a long time. Her writing could be described in much the same way. The Giller Prize–shortlisted novelist mesmerized readers with Son of a Trickster: a gritty, elegant tale of magic interwoven through teenager Jared’s harsh life in a small town, now continued in the follow-up, Trickster Drift. Robinson’s depictions of Indigenous traditions and modern realities place her firmly in the ranks of Thomas King, Lee Maracle and Richard Wagamese. Hear where her inspiration to keep writing comes from—and the secret of what she shares with Edgar Allen Poe.

Fresh Fiction
Thursday, October 18
8:30pm
Revue Stage
Dionne Brand, Craig Davidson, Carrianne Leung, Sarah Selecky

Just when you think your bedside reading list is balanced precariously enough, a fresh set of irresistible titles release, none more irresistible than the four featured in this focus on fiction.


FRIDAY OCTOBER 19

Three-Degrees-from-Normal
Friday, October 19
10:00am – 11:30am
Waterfront Theatre
Kevin Chong, Claudia Dey, Rabindranath Maharaj, Waubgeshig Rice

A North American metropolis held quarantine at gunpoint. A small town in the fields with cult-like behaviour. A remote Anishinaabe community faced with urban refugees. An adjacent land full of misfits. These places three-degrees-from-normal press us to ask questions of our own environment, zero in on the fragility of society, and probe what it means to be a good person in the face of isolation and disintegration.

Purely Poetry
Friday, October 19
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Studio 1398
Billy-Ray Belcourt, Julie Bruck, Canisia Lubrin, Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Poetry fans, this afternoon with some of Canada’s most exciting new voices, as moderated by celebrated professor and poet, Aislinn Hunter, is for you!

Lives Off-Road
Friday, October 19
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
Kate Harris, Jan Redford, Joanna Streetly

The world stops and your heart is in your throat: often it’s staring down our deepest fear that we discover ourselves. Facing the wilds, or the open road, is exhilarating, life-affirming—and life-changing. Few know this better than these three female authors whose memoirs share revelations of adventure travel.

Richard Wagamese’s Starlight: A Tribute with Shelagh Rogers and Friends
Friday, October 19
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Granville Island Stage
Cherie Dimaline, Waubgeshig Rice, Eden Robinson

“I ask for nothing. I only offer thanks.” – Embers

Richard Wagamese’s passing in 2017 was felt across nations. The acutely generous, insightful, lyrical author was deeply loved for his body of work and fearless exploration of traumas faced during residential school and beyond. Wagamese continues to be missed. Please join us to celebrate a man who reminded us all of humanity, humility and the beautiful ability of art to heal.

Starting Over
Friday, October 19
6:00pm – 7:15pm
Studio 1398
Jackie Kai Ellis, Jan Redford

At least once in our lives, we reach the end of our rope. Relationships that once broadened our world feel narrow and tight. Careers contain more chores than dreams. A dark ennui begins. During moments of crisis, where do we find the resilience to walk away? What is the catalyst that leads to the brave reshaping of a life? Such questions are behind our insatiable demand for boundary-defying memoirs from writers whose journeys so often help us face our own trials.

The Writing Life
Friday, October 19
6:00pm – 7:15pm
Waterfront Theatre
Cherie Dimaline, Sabrina Mahfouz, Eden Robinson, Vivek Shraya

For passionate readers, the minds behind our favourite works are often just as intriguing as the books themselves. Yet, despite celebrating the finished books, less so do we praise the courage and fortitude required to create them, especially when they bloom from difficult subjects or personal experiences.

Crossing Genres
Friday, October 19
8:00pm
Revue Stage
Amber Dawn, Claudia Dey, Jaap Robben, Jordan Tannahill

Some writers’ talents traverse form. Four of these unusual polymaths engage in a discussion about their work. Do their stories always manifest in a particular medium, or does deciding how to use an idea come later? How does the evolution of their work in one area impact the others? Do they ever feel hindered by their cross-industry approach? Creativity runneth over during this intelligent conversation.

The Poetry Bash
Friday, October 19
8:00pm
Performance Works
Billy-Ray Belcourt, Julie Bruck, Shane Koyczan, Sabrina Mahfouz, Katherena Vermette, Javier Zamora

There’s a palpable sense of anticipation for The Poetry Bash. 2018’s lineup is no exception, hosted by beloved local poet Billeh Nickerson. Their styles may vary, but their talents do not.

Told with Humour
Friday, October 19
8:30pm
Studio 1398
Randy Boyagoda, Rawi Hage, Maureen Medved

“Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine,” explains zeitgeist comedian, Hannah Gadsby. These popular authors use laughter to face—and understand—the bitter moments of life.


SATURDAY OCTOBER 20

The Things We Inherit
Saturday, October 20
10:30am – 12:00pm
Granville Island Stage
Peter Gajdics, Elizabeth Hay, Chelene Knight, Lindsay Wong

The lives of our parents are an inextricable stream running through our own, whether we like it or not. This brook of memories may include psychological trauma or complex interactions or the physical burden of unwell aging. Most often, it includes profound love. Four writers from varied backgrounds share the insights offered in their beautifully balanced, and intricate yet raw, memoirs that speak to family history and the lifelong task of unburdening ourselves from a yoke of family secrets or grief.

The Interviews with Amber Dawn
Saturday, October 20
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Revue Stage
Daemon Fairless, Dr. Brian Goldman, Vivek Shraya

Three compelling authors showcase their new non-fiction works that, in different ways, focus on the need for acceptance and empathy in consecutive on-stage interviews with local author and teacher, Amber Dawn.

The Best Canadian Poetry
Saturday, October 20
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
Dionne Brand, Canisia Lubrin, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Christopher Tubbs

In 2018, the Best Canadian Poetry series marks the start of its second decade, each anthology featuring the top 50 poems by Canadians published in print and online journals in a given year. This year’s edition, guest-edited by Hoa Nguyen, includes Dionne Brand, Canisia Lubrin, Shazia Hafiz Ramji and Christopher Tubbs, who, alongside series editor Anita Lahey, will discuss the ongoing evolution of Canadian poetry.

YA Rising
Saturday, October 20
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Studio 1398
Rachel Hartman, Uzma Jalaluddin, Kim Purcell

It’s the worst-kept secret in publishing that many—if not most—fans of young adult novels are not as young as one might expect. This addictive genre not only encourages a love of reading in future generations but also captivates older minds with its riveting plot lines and immersive new worlds.

Kate Atkinson in Conversation with Alix Ohlin
Saturday, September 29
7:30 pm
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church
1022 Nelson Street

From the international bestselling and award-winning Kate Atkinson comes Transcription, a new novel that explores the repercussions of one young woman’s espionage work during World War II. She will speak with UBC’s Chair of the Creative Writing Program, Alix Ohlin, about her latest work, her inspiration and her career to date.

The Literary Cabaret
Saturday, October 20
8:00pm
Performance Works
Amber Dawn, Aminatta Forna, Emma Hooper, Sabrina Mahfouz, Waubgeshig Rice, Vivek Shraya

It’s the first event to sell out each year, and for good reason. Acclaimed writers from across the globe collaborate live with some of the best jazz musicians in Vancouver, Sal Ferreras’s Poetic License. We’re repeating this favourite recipe in 2018—with a twist. Working with a local DJ, Fererras’s band will bring even more originality to each piece. Candlelit tables and wine service will add to your glow. Multimedia collaborations of this quality don’t happen often. Come see what the fuss is about.

Would You Rather
Saturday, October 20
8:00pm
Revue Stage
Uzma Jalaluddin, Carrianne Leung, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Lindsay Wong, Beni Xiao

Would you rather spend your Saturday night with Netflix or in the company of six of the funniest young writers Canada has to offer? We know what our answer is. A delightful cacophony of recent works, anecdotes and opinions, this evening will go faster than you can say “six hilarious writers.”


SUNDAY OCTOBER 21

The Sunday Brunch
Sunday, October 21
11:00am – 12:30pm
Performance Works
Kevin Chong, Jackie Kai Ellis, Uzma Jalaluddin, Deborah Levy, Maureen Medved, Joanna Streetly

What could be a more blissful way to spend a Sunday morning than sipping mimosas and eating freshly baked pastries with good friends? Why, listening to internationally acclaimed authors read to you live, of course. This year we offer another all-star collection of authors to provide musings with your muffins.