Free Saturday Events at the Vancouver Writers Fest: A Guide

The Vancouver Writers Festival kicks off this week with powerful conversations amongst some of the most exciting writers in contemporary fiction and non-fiction. This year is extra-special for local literature lovers, because events on Saturday, October 20 are entirely free or by donation. With panels from 10:30am to 9:30pm, you can spend your entire Saturday on Granville Island, enjoying a full day of intimate, illuminating conversations with your favourite authors between browsing the local galleries or grabbing a bite from the Public Market. Here are just a few of Saturday’s many highlights:

 Illustration via  Vancouver Writer’s Fest.

Illustration via Vancouver Writer’s Fest.

The Things We Inherit
When: 10:30am - 12:00pm
Where: Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston St.

Families can be the source of unflinching love as easily as profound pain. Tackling issues of intergenerational trauma, obligation and care, four award-winning memoirists explore all dimensions of ‘family.’ Peter Gajdics, Elizabeth Hay, Chelene Knight, and Lindsay Wong will speak to the joys and griefs of familial bonds and the lifelong task of unburdening oneself from family secrets or shame.

Love Four Ways
When: 10:30am - 12:00pm
Where: Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St.

Love. Untangling that mysterious, intoxicating feeling is a struggle perhaps as old as writing itself. Dr. Mandy Len Catron, who literally wrote the book on the subject, sits down for a spectacular conversation with four beloved authors—Dionne Brand, Kathy Page, Sarah Winman, and Jordan Tannahill—who each expand the possibilities of how we understand, feel and articulate intimacy.

The Best Canadian Poetry
When: 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Where: Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St.

The title makes a bold claim, but the line-up promises to deliver. Groundbreaking poets Dionne Brand, Canisia Lubrin, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Christopher Tubbs, and Anita Lahey will discuss Canadian poetry, how it's evolved over the years, and the state of the genre today, before exploring poetry's ability to be radical, to challenge expectations, and to inspire readers to engage with the world in new ways.

The Interviews with Amber Dawn
When: 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Where: Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston St.

Brilliant local talent Amber Dawn delves into the power and potential of empathy with three exciting back-to-back interviews. Joined by genre-defying, multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya, bestselling author and ER physician Dr. Brian Goldman, and science journalist Daemon Fairless, these acclaimed writers come together for crucial conversations on prejudice, male violence, and kindness.

 Illustration via  Vancouver Writer’s Fest.

Illustration via Vancouver Writer’s Fest.

Scars of History
When: 8:00pm
Where: Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St.

How do we depict the past? What are our responsibilities to our historical subjects? To our present moment? In their newest novels, Esi Edugyan, Rawi Hage, and Alix Hawley compassionately and imaginatively confront long shadows of colonialism, slavery, and war. Together, they speak to the surprising power of fiction and its ability to help us reassess our pasts, our present and even our future.

There are more than 12 free events to choose from on Saturday, October 20 and multiple ways to enjoy them. Plan ahead by booking your ticket online, or play your weekend by ear: 25 percent of tickets for each Saturday event will be available at the door 45 minutes prior to the event for walk ups.

You can view the full day of free programming and reserve tickets (or not!) on the Vancouver Writers Fest website.