September 27-October 1, 2017
Victoria Festival of Authors

Victoria Festival of Authors 2017

It’s happening! The 2nd annual Victoria Festival of Authors opens September 27, 2017 with a fantastic lineup of local and national authors. Join us as readers and writers celebrate words and engage with ideas. Listen to inspiring readings, check out the diverse voices on discussion panels, or attend workshops to develop your own craft. Don’t miss the Festival Gala Saturday night with Zoey Leigh Peterson, Barbara Gowdy, Sharon Butala, and Gurjinder Basran. 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 2017

Carleigh Baker

Sharon Butala

M.A.C. Farrant

Anita Lahey

Julie Paul

Gurjinder Basran

Lorna Crozier

Zsuzsi Gartner

Patrick Lane

Cea Sunrise Person

Geoff Berner

Leanne Dunic

John Gould

David Leach

Zoey Leigh Peterson

Yvonne Blomer

Esi Edugyan

Barbara Gowdy

Kevin Patterson

Steven Price

Clea Roberts

Robert J. Wiersema

Jo-Ann Roberts

Clea Young

Gregory Scofield

Patrica Young

Yasuko Thanh

Zoe Whittall

Victoria Festival of Authors 2017

Wednesday, September 27


Opening Night | Victoria Butler Book Prize 2017 Shortlisted Authors

7:00pm - 1h 30m

GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.


Celebrate Victoria’s local authors on our opening night featuring the 2017 Victoria Butler Book Prize short listed authors at the GVPL central branch. Finalists will be announced in early September.

Host: Jo-Ann Roberts

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

Thursday, September 28


The Literary Twist

7:30pm - 2hrs

Vancouver Island School of Arts | Slide Room Gallery | 2549 Quadra Street


Join us for an evening of cocktails provided by local Sheringham Distillery with a dash of poetry & song by Leanne Dunic, a novel splash from Zoe Whitall, and a twist of accordion punk from novelist Geoff Berner. Hosted in the Slide Room Gallery at the Vancouver Island School of Art, this evening is drenched in fine arts of all sorts.

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

Friday, September 29


A Life of Words | The Legacy of Lorna Crozier & Patrick Lane

7:30pm - 2 hrs

Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra Street


Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane have guided and inspired writers across the nation for decades and this evening honours that journey. Special guests Zoe Whittall and Gregory Scofield were featured in the couple’s poetry anthologies Breathing Fire 1 & 2. Through poetry and conversation, join us for that magical moment where time pauses for reflection and charges ahead into the blinding future.


Beverages available for sale: cider from Sea Cider

Presented in Partnership with: Planet Earth Poetry

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Sponsored by the University of Victoria Writing Department & Canada Arts Council

Saturday, September 30


Shaking The Rattle of Poetry | Workshop with Gregory Scofield

9:30am - 3h

GOOD| 104-536 Herald Street | access via Chatham


This workshop explores the personal and autobiographical narratives of poetry, and how we use poetry as a means of self-reflection and healing. Gregory Scofield’s describes his latest collection of poetry Witness, I Am, as being “the testimony of generations of my family that were left voiceless. It’s also a ceremony of those things, of bringing the names together, of talking about the things that each of us witness.”


Includes hot beverages and a snack.


Hosted in partnership with GOOD


Character: The Heart of Plot | Masterclass with Yasuko Thanh

9:30am - 2h 30min

GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.


Over the course of the morning, participants will work individually and in groups using photographs as prompts to create fresh and multi-layered characters. The goal is to develop a plot based on characters’ hopes, fears, goals, as well as their actions and interactions with others. The class will explore how to deepen writing voice by considering unexpected POVs, and how our moral stance or vision of the world affects those characters, as well as style. There will be time for a Q&A for specific issues or queries. Bring pen and paper, laptop, or whatever you prefer to write on, and let’s have fun.


Every Happy Family

1:30pm - 1h 30m

GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.


“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina opens with this famous line. Family dynamics in all their complexities have long been a focal point of literary fiction. The authors in this panel are no exception. In The Best Kind of People, Zoe Whittall examines familial loyalty, while Next Year For Sure, Zoey Leigh Peterson’s poignant debut novel explores polyamory, and Barbara Gowdy’s stunning Little Sister navigates a mother-daughter relationship with a mother who’s in the early stages of dementia.

Moderated by Esi Edugyan


Speaking the Unspeakable

3:30pm - 1h 30m

GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.


Who among us will say what can’t be said, that which is taboo, or buried, or seemingly impossible to wrestle into words? We often think of poetry as tapping into and articulating emotion. But poetry also draws on other sources: the elemental need to witness, to question, to speak. Clea Roberts, Julie Paul, & Gregory Scofield confront and articulate personal and communal histories, political injustice, the land we inhabit—the world before our eyes in all its awfulness and wonder.

Moderated by Anita Lahey


What the Journey Brings

1:30pm - 1h 30m

Intrepid Theatre | #2 – 1609 Blanshard


Have you ever embarked on the trip of your wildest dream, only to have your own body turn against you? Have you ever lost someone whose love had become your refuge, leaving you with no place to call home? Or did you ever think you’d finally achieved a normal, happy life, then had it crumble completely? Yvonne Blomer, Sharon Butala, and Cea Sunrise Person go on these journeys, discovering truths they’d never have uncovered without writing through them.

Moderated by David Leach

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Sponsored by ABE Books


Close-Up Magic

3:30pm - 1h 30m

Intrepid Theatre | #2 – 1609 Blanshard Street


Requiring precision and economy, the short story has been said to be more akin to poetry than the novel. Neil Gaimon calls the form the “ultimate close-up magic trick—a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.” While Annie Proulx claims that a short story writer is to the novelist what a cabinetmaker is to a house carpenter. In this panel established and emerging authors discuss their debut collections, allowing you a peak into three exquisite cabinets. In Bad Endings, Carleigh Baker slices into her characters’ moments of realization, and the results aren’t always pretty. Clea Young’s stories in Teardown peal off the layers of benign reality to the pivotal moments in her characters’ lives. Bestselling novelist Robert Wiersema draws on myth and folktale, ghost stories and fairy tales in Seven Crow Stories to share a glimpse of the worlds bordering our own.

Moderated by John Gould


Voices Lifted | Where Art Begets Art | Evening Gala

7:30 - 2h 30m

The Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra Street


Through their wide circles of artists, musicians and writers the Salons of the Fin de Siècle gave birth to an extraordinary type of music—the art song: composed piano music with the poetry of a fellow poet sung as its lyrics. Claire de Lune would have never come to be otherwise. In this spirit we invited jazz musicians Jan Stirling & Barbara Black to compose a musical response to the work of Gurjinder Basran, Sharon Butala, Zoey Leigh Peterson and Barbara Gowdy. The evening will be a call and answer of writing and music.

Host: Jo-Ann Roberts

Sunday, October 1


Writing the Memoir | Workshop with Sharon Butala

10:00am - 3hrs

GOOD | 104-536 Herald Street | access via Chatham


How does a memoir distinguish itself from autobiography, journal-writing, and other modes of personal story-writing? How do you separate fact from fiction or better still, how do you integrate the two, or lift mere fact into a more meaningful strata? In engaging the reader, what is too much to tell and what is not enough and how do you decide? Some writers are simply not cut out to write memoirs, while for others, this is the most natural literary form. In our short workshop we will try to address these questions, including the big one: How do you do it?


Includes coffee, tea, and fresh baked delights.


Hosted in partnership with GOOD


In Conversation with Barbara Gowdy and Zsuzsi Gartner

2:00pm - 1h 30m

GVPL Central Branch | Community Room | 735 Broughton St.


One of Canada’s most esteemed and inventive writers, Barbara Gowdy has racked up her share of literary accolades: she was nominated for the Man Booker and shortlisted multiple times for the Giller, the GG and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Any new release by Gowdy is a literary event, and the release of Little Sister, her first book in a decade, is even more so. Join Barbara Gowdy in conversation with Giller-shortlisted author Zsuzsi Gartner as she discusses her suspenseful, supernatural novel that Publisher’s Weekly called:an inventive, spellbinding tale of loss, regret, and redemption that takes a heartfelt look at what it means to be a mother, daughter, and sister… A thrilling, captivating exploration of guilt, the female psyche, and the bonds of womanhood.”


Eventbrite - Victoria Festival of Authors

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