September 25-October 1, 2018
Victoria Festival of Authors

Victoria Festival of Authors 2018

It’s happening! The third annual Victoria Festival of Authors launches September 25, 2018 with a fantastic lineup of local and national authors. Join us for seven days of readers and writers celebrating words and engaging with ideas. Listen to inspiring readings, check out the diverse voices on discussion panels, and attend workshops to develop your own craft.

Don’t miss La Palabra en el Tiempo, a locally inspired and produced flamenco performance with the poetry of Garth Martens at its core; The Literary Twist, our own concoction of the Arts—Literature, Music, & Visual Arts—with a twist of artisanal local cocktails; Friday Night’s legendary Pure Poetry; and Saturday Night’s Dream | Love | Leap | Transcend. It’s all right here in downtown Victoria.


Our evening readings can be thought of as poetry and story time for adults. Meet your favourite authors from at home and away, close your eyes, and let their words jump from the page into your imagination.

Discussion Panels

How does it all begin? Find out what drives authors to write and where the words come from. Listen to them speak candidly about their struggles, successes, and inspirations. Engage with writers from across the nation in panels crafted around diverse literary themes.


The Victoria Festival of Authors offers master classes and workshops for writers at all levels who want to enhance their skills crafting poems or telling stories. All you need is a pen and a desire to write.

Connect, Celebrate, Inspire

The Victoria Festival of Authors celebrates great books, great writers, and great readers. We’re here to connect book-makers and book lovers. The Victoria Festival of Authors hosts readings and discussions, as well as workshops and master classes, to inspire both developing and established writers.

Authors from across the country share their writing, their ideas, and writing techniques at the annual Victoria Festival of Authors each September. Between festivals, local and visiting authors read at regular salons, and coach writers of all levels in our inspirational island city.

The Victoria Festival of Authors embraces poets, fiction and creative non-fiction writers, and other storytellers who come from a spectrum of communities and from all levels of a writing career.

We are a community-based group devoted to literature in its many forms. The not-for-profit Victoria Festival of Authors Society incorporated in 2016, to bring sustainability to the ongoing efforts of the Festival.

Read more about our organizers on our staff page.

Victoria Festival of Authors 2018

Kate Braid

Joe Denham

Carla Funk

Annabel Howard

Beth Kope

Dan MacIsaac

Julie Paul

Vivek Shraya

Tom Wilson

David James Brock

Wendy Donawa

Bill Gaston

Daniel Heath Justice

Sonnet L'Abbé

Darrel J. McLeod

Eden Robinson

Yasuko Thanh

Katherena Vermette

Dina Del Bucchia

Esi Edugyan

Daniel Griffin

Sheena Kamal

Chelene Knight

Amanda Merritt

Laisha Rosnau

Sarah Weinman

Daniel Zomparelli

Marita Dachsel

Erin Fisher

Lee Henderson

Jónína Kirton

Eamon McGrath

Palabra Flamenco

Sarah Selecky

Robert Wiersema

Jan Zwicky

Victoria Festival of Authors 2018

Tuesday, September 25

Wednesday, September 26


Opening Night | Victoria Butler Book Prize 2018 Shortlisted Authors

7:00pm - 1h 30m

Discussion Panel

Celebrate Victoria’s local authors on our opening night. This free event features the 2018 Victoria Butler Book Prize short-listed authors TO BE ANNOUNCED FALL 2018! Which five will it be this year?


Moderated by Julie Paul

Tuesday, September 25, 7:00pm
GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.
Free Admission


GreaterVictoriaPublicLibrarySponsored by the Greater Victoria Public Library
in partnership with the Victoria Book Prize Society


La Palabra en el Tiempo | The Word-in-Time: Poetry and Flamenco

7:30pm - 2h 30m

Denise Yeo | Garth Martens | Gareth Owen | Veronica Maguire

Palabra Flamenco presents La Palabra en el Tiempo (The Word in Time), a 75-minute depth-charge of frenzied dance and guitar, troubled song, and English-language poetry: raw, proud, poised. Flamenco is an Andalusian art form associated with incessant emotion and restraint, percussive rhythm, and improvisation. Whether they speak, strum, sing, or knock it out on the floor with a shoe, the artists summon grief and praise that soak their way to dark corners. How to confront what’s buried? Hold death near, yet affirm life? Invite duende? This myth-inflected encounter honours what we’ve lost, what we’re going to lose.


Following the performance, writer, philosopher, and musician Jan Zwicky will moderate an on-stage conversation with the artists.


Wednesday, September 26, 7:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $25

Thursday, September 27

12 Noon

Thursday Noon-Hour Author's Fare

12 Noon - 1 hr

Jan Zwicky | Bill Gaston | Erin Fisher

Thursday, September 27, 12:00pm

GVPL Central Branch | Courtyard | 735 Broughton St.

Free Admission


The Literary Twist

7:30pm - 2hrs

Eamon McGrath | Vivek Shraya | Tom Wilson

For the second year running, The Literary Twist takes its title to heart with the combination of music + literature + cocktails + art by three talented performers, local artisans & artists. Singer/songwriter Eamon McGrath wrote Berlin-Warszawa Express while on tour to explore the feared cliché should you suffer for your art? As a writer, musician, performance artist, and filmmaker, Vivek Shraya is not afraid to try new forms, the latest of which is the nonfiction work titled I’m Afraid of Men. Three-time Juno winner, Tom Wilson shows a surprising knack for storytelling in his autobiography, Beautiful Scars. Witness the journey these three creative talents share as they perform individual sets that combine their work and music—with a glass of Sheringham in hand and the beauty of the Bateman Centre as a backdrop. The magic hour ready, waiting.


Emceed by Yasuko Thanh


Cocktails by Sheringham Distillery


* Please note, as this is a cocktail-style event there will be minimal seating.
**Photo ID is required.


Thursday, September 27, 7:30pm
Robert Bateman Centre | 470 Belleville St.
Tickets: $35

Red Door Logo
Panel Sponsored by Red Door Landscape Services Ltd.

Friday, September 28

10:30 am

Poetry & the Music of Language | Full-Day Workshop with Jan Zwicky

10:30 am - 6.5 hrs

What is free verse? How does it differ from prose? How is it related to formal verse? These questions form the foundation of this workshop. Its aim is to heighten awareness of rhythm and sound through close readings of sample poems by established authors and through exercises that participants can take home.


This workshop will explore exercises that focus on punctuation, aural resonance, and the nature of the line. Each participant will submit work in advance, to enable Jan to look at the poems before the workshop and so that copies can be included in the workshop folder. We’ll look at individual poems by participants.


Suitable for all levels of experience, from beginners who are interested in acquiring new techniques and ideas, to practised writers who feel their ear could use a tune up.


Deadline for registration: Friday, September 7th. Participants will receive further instructions in early September.


Lunch: Participants will be on their own for lunch between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. There are a number of good cafés within walking distance of the library.


Friday, September 28, 10:30am – 5:00pm
GVPL sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ Branch | Meeting Room | 385 Menzies St.
Tickets: $250

12 Noon

Friday Noon-Hour Author's Fare

12 Noon - 1 hr

Darrel McLeod| Wendy Donawa | Daniel Griffin

Friday, September 28, 12:00pm

GVPL Central Branch | Courtyard | 735 Broughton St.

Free Admission


Pure Poetry

7:30pm - 2 hrs

David James Brock | Laisha Rosneau | Katherena Vermette

David James Brock returns to poetry with Ten-Headed Alien where he draws from sci-fi and poli-sci, prog rock and politics, climate fiction and ancient mythology to create poems that are at once global and personal. In Our Familiar Hunger, Laisha Rosnau tests and confirms the will, struggle and fortitude of generations of women, rallying memories of a reclaimed history with the fractured reality of trickled down inheritance. Governor General’s Award–winning Métis poet and acclaimed novelist Katherena Vermette’s second work of poetry, river woman, examines and celebrates love as postcolonial action. Join us for a golden hour, or two, of poetry & poetics.


Hosted by Victoria Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer
Discussion moderated by Marita Dachsel



Friday, September 28, 7:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount


Cider available for sale from Sea Cider

Saturday, September 29


Deep Noticing for Distracted Writers | Workshop with Sarah Selecky

9:30am - 3h

To write honestly is to write mindfully. Writers access authentic knowledge about the world through a practice of deep noticing — the practice of being receptive to what connects everything around us.


You’ll learn how to develop this skill through guided contemplative writing exercises. This workshop will help you develop a practice of your own; all of the writing exercises will be taught with the intention of building a personal practice, and generating a bed of detailed scenes and images for your next piece. Writers of all genres are welcome.


Workshop includes coffee/tea and a goodie.


Saturday, September 29, 9:30am

GOOD| 104-536 Herald Street | access via Chatham

Tickets $120


Hosted in partnership with GOOD

12 Noon

Saturday Noon-Hour Author's Fare

12 Noon - 1hr

Amanda Merritt | Joe Denham | Sheena Kamal

Saturday, September 29, 12:00pm

GVPL Central Branch | Courtyard | 735 Broughton St.

Free Admission


We Are the Weirdos, Mister

1:30pm - 1h 30m

Dina Del Bucchia | David James Brock | Daniel Zomparelli


How does a writer know what form their writing should take? A poem, short story, a play, lyrics, opera, a personal essay, a hybrid? The divisions of genre make it easy for marketers, but more frustrating for writers wanting to bust out of the mold. Often writers work in many genres, borrowing from one as they write in another. As cross-genre writing moves into literary territory, we see sad monsters in modern gay bars, an alien invading the landscape of poetry, hilarious small-town crime fiction where the protagonist is a young woman, and even many literary forms used within one work. As Canlit weirdos and writers who remix and defy genres Daniel Zomparelli, David James Brock and Dina Del Bucchia will talk about the limits of genre, and how it can inform their creative process.


Moderated by Lee Henderson

Saturday, September 29, 1:30pm

GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.

Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount


Who Was the Real Lolita?

1:30pm - 1h 30m

Sarah Weinman in conversation with Annabel Howard


Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner. Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, journalist and crime fiction authority, Sarah Weinman, uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita. Listen to Sarah Weinman discuss the research and writing of the book which David Grann calls “a tour de force of literary detective work.”


Saturday, September 29, 1:30pm

Intrepid Theatre | 1609 Blanshard St.

Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount


Poetry is All Around Us

3:30pm - 1h 30m

Jonina Kirton | Dan MacIsaac | Laisha Rosnau | Katherena Vermette


In An Honest Woman Jónína Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love, and marriage. In his debut collection, Cries From the Ark, Dan MacIsaac takes us to the brink—where humankind has breached floodgates that have only been breached before in ancient stories of angry gods, or so far back on geologic and biological timelines as to seem more past than past. Fresh with insight, the profound, the political and the personal are ablaze in Laisha Rosnau’s latest collection Our Familiar Hunger. Like the river they speak to, Katherena Vermette’s poems in river woman return again and again to the same source, love as postcolonial action, in search of new ways to reconstruct what has been lost. Join us for an afternoon discussion on how far poetry can take us in exploring new realms, whether they be deep within us or transcending the bounds of the flesh.


Moderated by Carla Funk
Saturday, September 29, 3:30
Intrepid Theatre | 1609 Blanshard St.
Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount


This is My Story, Not Me

3:30 - 1h 30m

Chelene Knight | Darrel J. McLeod | Vivek Shraya


Ben Okri once said, “We live stories that either give our lives meaning or negate it with meaninglessness. If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives.” Vancouver-based writer, Chelene Knight, uses a variety of forms, including essays and poems, to reflect on her childhood through a series of letters addressed to all of the current occupants now living in the houses she moved in and out of with her mother and brother in Dear Current Occupant. In spite of the traumas of his childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped Darrel J. McLeod survive and thrive: Mamaskatch is a moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties, and the shared history that both binds and haunts them. Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. Her latest memoir, I’m Afraid of Men, explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a woman. Join us for a discussion that explores these stories of resilience and how art can be an act of strength.


Moderated by Sonnet L‘Abbé
Saturday, September 29, 3:30pm
GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.
Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount


Dream | Love | Leap | Transcend

7:30pm - 2h 30m

Esi Edugyan | Sheena Kamal | Darrel J. McLeod | Sarah Selecky | Sarah Weinman


In Washington Black, Esi Edugyan brings us once again an electrifying story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, in a novel that asks the question, “What is true freedom?” Beautifully written, honest, and thought-provoking, Darrel J. McLeod’s memoir, Mamaskatch — named for the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared — is an account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles. Sheena Kamal’s It All Falls Down, the deadly sequel to The Lost Ones, takes us from the hazy Canadian Pacific Northwest to the gritty, hollowed streets of Detroit. Radiant Shimmering Light, Sarah Selecky’s sharply funny and wise debut novel about female friendship in the age of social media, is a satire with heart, and a touch of the miraculous. In The Real Lolita, Sarah Weinman uncovers the truth of the kidnapping that inspired Nabokov’s iconic novel. Join us for this fantastic line-up of stories by an internationally celebrated panel of authors.


Emceed by Dina Del Bucchia


Saturday, September 29, 7:30pm

Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.

Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount

Sunday, September 30


Forest to Poet | Tree Walk

10:00am - 1h 30m

Beth Kope | Yvonne Blomer | Kate Braid | Joe Denham | Wendy Donawa | Katherena Vermette


Enhance the sensory experience of a forest walk with poetry inspired by our West Coast landscape. Beginning at the entrance to Mary Lake, part of the Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society and a new Nature Sanctuary in the Highlands north of Victoria, poets will guide you through unique riparian diversity, along creeks to the lakeshore, past imperiled coastal Douglas fir. Led by Yvonne Blomer and Beth Kope, poets Kate Braid, Joe Denham, Wendy Donawa, and Katherena Vermette will share their work connecting to natural habitat, blending celebration with the urge to listen to the land to underscore our poetic vision.


Sunday, September 30, 10:00am

Mary Lake Sanctuary | 1772 Millstream Road

Tickets: $25 | No Late Comers


Being Here. Where? Here! Poetry Workshop with Kate Braid

1:00pm - 3h

These days we’re all in such a rush (the e-mails, the FB, the Twitter, the kids, the…) that we’ve forgotten — or have no time — to pause, take a deep breath, and pay attention to the detail of what’s around us. Yet this is the meat and bones of a writer’s work.


Take a few hours for yourself to settle into a beautiful, quiet space in the woods, and write.  Bring your favourite pens, pencils, notebook, and a small object that means something to you. No previous experience writing poetry is necessary.


Sunday, September 30, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Mary Lake Sanctuary | 1772 Millstream Road

Tickets: $95 | No Latecomers


This Life, Here

1:30pm - 1h 30m

Erin Fisher | Esi Edugyan | Sheena Kamal | Sarah Selecky


The human desire to belong is at the heart of each story in this panel of brilliant authors. Erin Fisher’s debut collection, That Tiny Life, explores life in eight exquisitely crafted stories. Washington Black, Esi Edugyan’s latest novel, takes us to the blistering cane fields of Barbados, the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, the mud-drowned streets of London and the eerie deserts of Morocco, in search of the all-elusive meaning of freedom. Sheena Kamal explores the thrilling mysteries of finding out who ones parents truly are. Radiant Shimmering Light, Sarah Selecky’s debut novel, looks at friendship, kinship, and individual strength. Join renowned author and critic Robert Wiersema in a discussion that looks at these questions and answers, and more.


Moderated by Robert Wiersema

Sunday, September 30, 1:30pm

Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.

Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount

Monday, October 1


The Trickster in Literature | Eden Robinson in Conversation with Daniel Heath Justice

7:30pm - 2h

The Trickster is a powerful figure of transformation, usually identified as an animal with supernatural abilities. In the second book of Eden Robinson’s trilogy, Trickster Drift, we are taken back into the world of Jared, son of a Trickster & a magnet for magic — an inherited trait he finds less than ideal. The fact that he hears his father’s voice in his head isn’t great either. Jared quits drugs and alcohol and does every rational thing he can think of, including running away to the city, to avoid this reality until inevitably he faces a crisis.


What do we do when something out of the ordinary happens — something magical? Do we rationalize it away or are we brave enough to bear witness? Art, story, song, and poetry have been used since time immemorial to translate the magical into a form that can be experienced through imaginative empathy. Join Daniel Heath Justice, author of Why Indigenous Literature Matters, for a conversation with Eden Robinson on the Trickster in literature.


Monday, October 1, 7:30pm

Ambrosia Event Centre | 638 Fisgard St.

Tickets: $15 | Students 20% discount


Eventbrite - Victoria Festival of Authors

Sign up for our newsletter

Be the first to know the 2019 Festival Schedule. Sign up for our Newsletter! You’ll also get updates throughout the year about our offseason Salons, monthly readings & discussions with Canada’s top authors.