The festival offers a mix of readings, conversations and workshops for novice and professional writers, and brings together international, Canadian and Nova Scotia writers.
The festival will mark Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30 with a new poem by Rebecca Thomas, followed by Katherena Vermette in conversation with Janet Rogers.
We asked StÃ©phanie Domet, co-director of the AfterWords literary festival some questions about the festival:
This is your first year presenting the Virtual Writers‘ Conference at the festival. Has there been a demand from local writers to include such a conference?
âPart of our goal when we launched AfterWords was to provide writers with plenty of opportunities to be together and learn from each other. As much as we want the festival to be a place where writers and readers meet, we also want this is a place where writers and writers meet. So we envisioned the conference as another way to give writers a place to connect with each other, hone their skills and deepen their practice, âexplains Domet.
âRegistration is limited and the people lined up to teach are top notch. We’re particularly excited about the masterclasses offered by Shyam Selvadurai and Lisa Moore, but it’s all going to be great – this is the kind of conference we would like to attend, as writers! “
âAll of these names were must-haves! We are so thrilled to have an author nominated for the Booker Prize at Avni Doshi and look forward to hearing her discuss with Sheila Heti. Katherena Vermette’s new book, The foreigner, comes out the day before his event with us, and we are so happy to finally have him at the festival, âsaid Domet. âAnd we loved the book by Giller Prize winner Souvankham Thammavongsa. How to pronounce knife, so we can’t wait to hear him chat with poet Oubah Osman. “
“I think it’s a stalemate between Lawrence Hill and Mark Critch! Lawrence Hill will speak with Evelyn C. White about her book Dear sir, I intend to burn your book. I expect their conversation to be fierce, fascinating, thoughtful and enlightening. And then comedian Mark Critch celebrates the launch of his second book, An embarrassment of Critch, and he’s going to chat with Shelagh Rogers about it, and I expect to poke fun at myself during this event, so, a good lineup there! “
Another first is your foray into young adult fiction. Have you had any young writers who applied to be part of the festival? How was this component born?
âI think Nova Scotia exceeds its weight in incredible YA writers per capita, so it makes sense for us to add this element to our offering.
âPlus, we’ve known from the start that we want to make AfterWords a festival for everyone, and that includes kids and teens. And of course, lots of adults love to read YA too! We plan to expand our lineup next year to offer many more events for kids, teens and fellow YA readers, both fiction and non-fiction. Stay tuned for that! “
How do you choose your authors each year?
âIt’s a great fun process that is constantly in motion. Ryan Turner (co-director) and I are always talking about what we read, who is on our radar, who we have heard interviewed on the radio or in a podcast, and who we would love to bring to AfterWords.
âWe usually have a vague theme in mind and are thinking about authors who might fit the theme. small, from all over our region, across Canada, beyond. We are thinking about how best to reflect our community in our programming, and we are really excited and overwhelmed by the number of amazing writers. “
What do you think is one aspect of the festival or one author or book that will stay with the audience long after the festival ends?
âI hope our audience hears something that inspires them, something that makes them laugh or cry, that makes them see things in a new light, that helps them understand their own experience or that of someone from other, âsays Domet.
âBooks and stories are deeply powerful, and we need their power more than ever, I think. Stories help us expand our empathy. I hope our festival events do for our audiences. I hope. that they will come away with a deep sense of their own humanity, if that is not too high a goal. “
“And if so, I hope they come away with some great memories, and maybe some new books that they will fall in love with.”
For details on all participating writers, the full festival program and tickets, visit: AfterWordsLiteraryFestival.com.