Blog Post #191
The last weeks of October is always a favourite time of mine. The air is cooler and it is rainy with the occasional glorious sunshiny day. The trees are resplendent in their red, gold and yellow foliage.
The end of October is also the time when authors, poets and readers from across the globe descend upon Vancouver for the widely acclaimed Vancouver Writers’ Festival.
The festival is a week-long extravaganza of readings, performances, intimate talks and special events. The only problem is choosing which events to attend and getting tickets before they sell out.
After poring over the festival schedule, my good friend and fellow Novel Thinker, decided on two events that we most wanted to go to — This Really Happened, an event that we loved from last year and The Literary Cabaret, one of the most popular events.
The first event, This Really Happened, featured five authors who spoke, not about their work or their latest books, but instead gave a short talk about something that, you guessed it, really happened. The rules around this talk is that the story must be true and the author give it without the aid of any notes. The authors: Iain Reid, Zoe Whittall, C.C. Humphreys, Lisa Charleyboy, and Omari Newton, stood up in front of the audience in turn, microphone in hand, and shared with us a moment in their lives that heralded their coming of age. Some of the narratives were hilariously funny, some were sweet and some were incredibly sad and heart-breaking. The audience was honoured with a glimpse of the writers’ personalities in a way that was more intimate and personal than if they had shared a passage from their work instead of a piece of their own history.
For a taste of this event, listen to TJ Dawe’s story from the Vancouver 2015 Writers’ Festival.
At the Literary Cabaret, six authors read selections from their latest works, accompanied by music led by Sal Ferreras and his band, Poetic License.
Over the summer, Mr. Ferrerars reads each author’s book and chooses music to complement each author’s selection. He and his band have 30 minutes to rehearse with the authors before the show. The result — a mesmerizing performance unlike any other. Each reading, unique and powerful, enhanced by music that transported us to the heart of the authors’ words — it was magical.
The authors that were showcased at this year’s Lit Cab, were Anosh Irani, reading from his new novel, The Parcel, journalist and novelist, Susan Perly reading from her book, Death Valley, Irish Poet, Billy Ramsell, sharing poems from his collection, The Architects Dream of Winter, Madelien Thien, reading from her novel, Don’t Say We Have Nothing, Alexander Chee, reading a passage from his new novel, Queen of the Night and Iain Reid, related a funny story that had been cut from his non-fiction book: The Truth About Luck — What I Learned on My Road Trip With Grandma, instead of his new novel.
I remarked to Michelle on our way home, that she and I should provide all the choices for next year’s book club picks as we certainly had a long list of must reads gleaned from this festival. Lol!! For sure, the stack by my bedside will grow by more than eight books!