Literary festivals in Canada

Canada is largely famous for autumn leaves, maple syrup, ice hockey, polite people, and its breathtaking landscapes. However, another thing that Canada takes immense pride in is its literary festivals. For a long time, we have been cracking the “name a famous Canadian” joke, but in reality, the country is overflowing with talent and scope.

Canada has a fairly long list of literary festivals that keep us on a journey throughout the year. In this article, we will embark upon it and enlighten ourselves with the literary aura of each of these festivals. 

The word on the street

The word on the street was held for the very first time in 1990 and since then has kept attracting the audience to its joy. The festival takes place in Toronto each September where they celebrate Canadian literacy and writing. This free book and magazine festival is arranged to share new imaginations and ideas with utmost zeal and zest. Visitors are welcomed to the festival with sheer hospitality and are fully encouraged to sprite up the author inside them. The event attracts numerous authors for author readings, together with arts performers and workshop presenters. The festival also takes place in Halifax, Vancouver, Kitchener, Saskatoon, Calgary, and Lethbridge. For a booklover, it is the best festival to grab all your favorite books from. 

When words collide

Calgary is one of the most vibrant cities in Canada and holds a literary festival that is magic on its own. WWC is a festival held yearly that makes an incredible attempt at bringing the readers and writers together. The two-day festival provides endless opportunities to learn, interact, and socialize. The festival takes a solid hold of a vibe that is amicable and extremely pleasant. Around 800 authors, readers, publishers, editors, and artists attend the festival offering an extensive range of genres. Many literary celebrities such as Jack Whyte, Terresa Maillie, Steven Owad have attended the festival. If you want to fill up your shelves with books that you’ve been looking for for ages, August is the time of the year. 

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

Banff presents a literary festival on yearly basis providing a unique learning and visual experience for all its visitors. The festival revolves around short films, documentaries, remote journeys, and expeditions, based on the mountain culture of Banff, by the people who lived them. You can smell creativity in the air of this festival and is one of the best literary events to attend. Authors, photographers, filmmakers, and adventurers from all around the world attend the festival and express their warmth for the arts. 

Elephant mountain literary festival

EMLF takes place in Nelson, British Columbia every year in July since 2012. The fest provides a great opportunity to inspire young readers and writers to find their future in the field of literature. The festival doesn’t only encourage new talent but embraces it with utmost sincerity. The discussion panels and readings with the Canadian authors is the highlight of the event. Great authors like Sarah Louise Butler and James Moye have attended the event and shared their precious thoughts with the engaging audience. 

Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival

Denman island has been creating a lively literary festival since 2003 that brings together the writers and readers, and not only for a session but with a great opportunity of intermingling. They call themselves a “deliberately small” festival that engages the audience in an informal dynamic. It offers various fests from solo readings to panel discussions and writing workshops. The main purpose of the festival is to motivate the emerging, innovative writers and maximize their share in the world of literature. Authors like David Chariandy, Jack Knox, Andrew MacLeod, Beverley McLachlin graced the event with their presence last year. 

Word Vancouver

The literary festival was inaugurated twenty-five years ago when it contributed to the literature world for the first time. Today, it organizes a five-day event at different places in Vancouver where it celebrates the power of words. The festival collaborates between the local community and the writers, permeating an air full of creativity, innovation, and connection. Their programs include discussions, indigenous programming, writing workshops, editing consultations, and poetry learnings. If you’re interested in getting tips and tricks on a wide range of literature avenues, Word Vancouver should be on your attending list. The festival featured many renowned authors and speakers in 2020 including Loretta Todd, Justin Neal, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Isabella Wang, and Tara McGuire to name a few. 

Victoria festival of authors

Victoria festival of authors has been celebrating the art of reading and writing for four years and has continued to intrigue interest in their audience. Their exciting sessions of readings and discussions are thought-provoking. Other than this they also cherish the artistic achievements through the portrayal of dance, music, and visual arts. They have a long list of featured writers that include John Barton, Serena Lucas Bhandar, Jenna Butler, Jessica Johns, Sheena Kamal, and many more. It is a thoroughly enjoyable event that is guaranteed to help you embrace your inner writer. 

Into Thin Air: The International Winnipeg Writers’ Festival

Into thin air is one of the most smooth-running festivals that have specialized in the concurrent streaming of French and English languages. The festival has been running for more than two decades where they invite writers from Canada and all across the world, and engage them in an enthusiastic week of readings, interviews, conversations, book launches, and many more events. The event piques on the literary culture and makes sure that the audience enjoys the portrayal of quality writing every September. A wide variety of writers have interacted with the audience over the years including Alex A., France Adams, Jordan Abel, George Amabile, Kim Anderson, and Margaret Atwood. 

Sidney Litfest

Sidney is famously known for being Canada’s book town as the city holds numerous independent book stores. For the same reason, Litfest organized a wonderful literary festival for the city’s booklovers in 2013 for the first time. The festival holds discussions, readings, writing workshops, and a very famous breakfast with the authors. Authors of best sellers Karen Lee White, Ian Furguson, and Michael Christie are to provide their gracious presence in the next holding of the event. The festival is not to be missed out so make sure to book your tickets beforehand. 

Voices of today

Voices of today is a four-day literary festival that takes place in Toronto in August. The event is arranged by the youth and for the youth that indulges them in workshops, open mic sessions, and showcases. The festival brings up poets from all across the country to vocalize their opinions and learn from each other. It is a great platform for young poets to showcase their talent and progress forward. It empowers young writers and supports emerging poets to drive their talent to a recognized position. If you live in Toronto and haven’t attended the festival then you’re missing out on a lot. 

Read by the sea

It is a wonderfully unique festival that takes place at River John, NS in early July. It was first inaugurated in 2000 and has continued to captivate a large number of audiences ever since. Its innovative literary shenanigans include wordplay, open mic sessions for new authors, Pitch the publisher, writing workshops, campfires, storytelling walks, books for sale, and meeting the authors. One of the interesting parts here is that an author reads their work and a local author gets to ask them questions which widen their scope of learning to a great margin. Some of the famous previous attendees are Kim Thuy, James Laxner, Margaret Atwood, Sheree Fitch, and Linden Macintyre. 

Writers at woody point

This is an interesting festival that takes place at Woody Point, NL that symphonizes the celebration of literature and music. The festival was first held in 2004 and since then have been providing entertainment to jam-packed audiences every year. The event isn’t only surrounded by musical sets, writing workshops, and discussions, but takes full liberty to enjoy the beautiful landscapes around through nature classes, sea dips, hikes, and much more. If you are someone who wants to elevate his learning skills with a dose of laughter, then joining this event should be a must. The authors and musicians that are lined up for the next event include Jesse Thistle, Ian Williams, Eva Crocker, Corb Lund, Anita Best, Ken Dryden, Stan Dragland, Sandy Morris, Jackie Sullivan, and a few more.

Frye festival

The festival was inaugurated in the year 2000 in Moncton and was named in the loving memory of the renowned literary critic Northrop Frye who spent his early years in the city. The festival carries on with the usual reading, writing, and musical sessions in which they work on their mission of broadening the thinking capacity of people and uplift the spirits of young authors to come forth with their ideas and imaginations. This is a bilingual festival that has featured more than 850 authors in the festival. Kayla Geitzler and Jean-Philippe Raîche will be seen at the next event. 

Saskatchewan festival of words

The long-running festival takes place in Moose Jaw, SK, and celebrated its 24th anniversary this year. There is a vast variety of more than 50 events in the festival including writer’s session and slam poetry competition. Presenters for the next year’s festival are Angie Abdou, Sharon Bala, Farzana Doctor, Will Furguson, Harold Johnson, Sylvia Legris, Lyndon Penner, Jael Richardson, Linda Spalding, and Guy Vanderhaedge. 

Telling tales festival

Looking for a light-hearted story festival for your kids? Telling Tales is the one for you. Based in Rockton, the festival attempts to intermingle children with authors, illustrators, and storytellers to enhance their love for reading. Telling tales hold a strong belief in the fact that stories shape the children’s future and only by inculcating imaginative creativity in them, the awareness of our literary culture can be raised. The festival aims to spark the love of reading and writing in all children. Aimee Reid, Alisa Seigel, Andrew Larson, Andrea Curtis, Annie Webber, Anoosha Syed, Chris Farias, and many other big names have presented at the festival. 

Toronto International Festival of Authors

TIFA is one of the oldest festivals in Canada that completed 41 years in 2020. The festival doesn’t only cherish the art of literature but cultivates and promotes it all around the globe. This festival is a huge forum for showcasing Canadian talent and connecting with international authors of all genres. The event takes place from October 22 – November 1 that includes various activities such as book signings, conversations, readings, book clubs, writing workshops, launches, and international touring. The festival fosters new writing and provides a great opportunity for all writers to learn from the finest literary artists around the world. Francesca Ekwuyasi, Annabel Lyon, Kaie Kellough, Margaret Atwood, Desmond Cole, Grada Kilomba, and many others presented their valuable views to the audience.  

Ottawa International Writers Festival

Taking place in Ottawa since 1997, OIWF is one of the greatest literary festivals in Canada that nurtures the love of reading and writing. The festival encourages people to thrive on the resource of imagination and broaden their spectrum of ideas in every possible genre. For this purpose, they bring authors to schools so that children can learn and trigger creativity in their minds. The festival holds programs of Poetry Cabinets, The big Idea, Fiction, New Science, Film/TV, and History/Biography. Many Authors have honored the event with their presence such as Andy Hargreaves, Steven Heighton, Tommy Orange, David Bergen, Anita Lahey, Lisa Ray, and many more 

Wild Writers Literary Festival

WWLF is held in Waterloo, Ontario every year in November. The festival completed celebrated its 9thanniversary of celebrating literature. The invigorating event brings the writers and readers face to face and help them engage in discussions, workshops, and mentorship sessions so that they can explore the art of imagination together. Lamees El Ethari, Ashley-Elizabeth Best, Erin Bow, Susan Bryant, Katherine Bush, and many others promoted the art of literacy in the event this year. 

Sources: 

https://www.canadianbucketlist.com/canadas-best-literary-festivals/

https://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/a-guide-to-canadian-literary-festivals-1.4723741