Growing Room Event Guide:  Resilient Words

Growing Room 2018, photo by Joy Gyamfi.

Growing Room 2018, photo by Joy Gyamfi.

The third annual Growing Room Festival kicks off this Friday, March 8. The first feminist literary festival in North America, Growing Room is committed to inclusion, diversity and accessibility and their 50+ panels, workshops, dance parties, readings – and more! – all showcase perspectives that often go ignored by the mainstream.

With over 100 authors and artists participating at events across the city, your calendar is bound to fill up quickly! To get you started, here are five events centred on topics relating to resilience and mental health, each of which promises to leave audiences empowered to pursue their creativity against any odds.

Tender Rage: Keeping the Flame

Red Gate Revue Stage

Saturday, March 9, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

A part of Indigenous Brilliance’s all-day anniversary celebrations, this special panel features all-star guests Eden Robinson, Valeen Jules, Katherena Vermette, and Arielle Twist for a cathartic conversation about how to balance anger and compassion. Together, these incredible creators explore resonant questions, including how do you get your rage fuel your work – without letting it consume you?

The Vast Inscape: Writing About Mental Health

Native Education College

Sunday, March 10, 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Writing can be a profoundly healing act, but it can also be fraught with anxiety and vulnerability. Meghan Bell, Amanda Leduc, Shazia Hafiz Ramji and Lindsay Wong join moderator Lydia Kwa for a nuanced discussion on the intersections between mental health and art. Together, they explore expectations of both 'sanity' and 'madness,' interrogate concepts of 'self-care,' and share strategies for overcoming barriers.

Textual Tactics for Growing Words and Stories out of Difficult Situation

Red Gate Revue Stage

Wednesday, March 13, 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Sometimes the stories we want to share aren't the easiest ones to tell. Juliane Okot Bitek and Elee Kraljii Gardiner join Maureen Medved for a practical, thoughtful panel, addressing different approaches to bring extreme and unusual circumstances to life with potency, respect and care.

The Might of the Pen: Writing as a Political Act

Native Education College

Saturday, March 16, 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Are all writings political? What counts as a political act? How does writing across genres help us resist or combat injustice? Literary powerhouses Alciia Elliott, Elizabeth Renzetti and Festival keynote speaker Canisia Lubrin lead this conversation on how effectively combine the creative with the political and craft stories that drive social change.

Launch Party: Whatever Gets You Through

Native Education College

Saturday, March 16, 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Whatever Gets You Through is a groundbreaking collection of personal essays from celebrated Canadian authors, each illuminating the realities of life after sexual assault. More than a single moment of violence, each author attends to experiences that often go ignored: the long days, weeks, months and years after assault. With strength and without judgement, these lyrical essays share the complicated and diverse paths each individual may take to survive and heal – offering a message of hope for anyone looking for a way forward in the wake of unthinkable violence. Join some of the contributors for an unforgettable evening of resilience and celebration.

Growing Room takes place March 8-17, 2019 on the traditional, unceded, and ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples (Vancouver, British Columbia). In the spirit of accessibility, most events are by donation or pay what you can.

For the full line-up of events and to book your tickets please visit the Festival website.