October 2 – 6, 2019
Victoria Festival of Authors

Victoria Festival of Authors 2019

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It’s happening! The fourth annual Victoria Festival of Authors launches October 2019 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.


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 2019

Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt

Sara Cassidy

M.A.C. Farrant

MAC Farrant

Adrienne Gruber

Adrienne Gruber

Kari Jones

Sarah Leavett

Darrel McLeod

Steven Price

Troy Sebastion

Yasuko Thanh

Ria Voros

Ali Blythe

Ali Blythe

Kayla Czaga

Brian Francis


Ian Hamilton

Eve Joseph

Jill Margo

Erin Mouré

Nathan Ripley

Meenal Shrivastava

Robert Wiersema

Iona Whishaw

Marilyn Bowering

Marita Dachsel

Francis Carla Funk

Carla Funk

Pauline Holdstock

Michael Kenyon

Karen McBride

Arleen Paré

Sean Rodman

Monique Gray Smith

Frances Thorsen

Michael Yahgulanaas

Kristin Butcher

Cherie Dimaline

Ariel Gordon 

Ariel Gordon

Anosh Irani

Sonnet L’Abée

Shannon McFerran

Julie Paul

Gregory Scofield

Jean Teillet

Richard Van Camp

Samra Zafar

Victoria Festival of Authors 2019

Wednesday, October 2


Opening Night | Walk the Plank

7:30pm - 1h 30m

Kayla Czaga | Julie Paul | Yasuko Thanh | Richard Van Camp 

We’ll be launching the fourth Victoria Festival of Authors in style with our opening night, a free event in celebration of our city as a hotbed of literary talent.

Victoria all-star Yasuko Thanh will read from her highly anticipated memoir Mistakes to Run With.

Long-time Victoria resident Julie Paul will read from her new book of short stories Meteorites.

Newly returned to Victoria, poet, Kayla Czaga will read from her latest collection Dunk Tank.

And UVic alumnus Richard Van Camp will read from Moccasin Square Gardens, his latest fiction collection.

There will be humour. There will be home truths. There will be a chance to mingle with the first lineup of authors in this year’s festivities.

Wednesday, October 2, 7:30pm
Victoria Arts Council Gallery | 1800 Store Street
Free Admission

Thursday, Oct 3


Crossing the Line

7:30 - 1h 30mins

Billy-Ray Belcourt | Eve Joseph | Erin Mouré

This year’s Griffin Prize-winning book, Victoria poet Eve Joseph’s Quarrels, is a collection of prose poems that trust in the logic of the illogical. Billy-Ray Belcourt’s poetry carves new forms for new subject matter in his latest collection, NDN Coping Mechanisms. Longtime student of language and translation, lover of misspellings and un-corrections, Erin Mouré’s new work, The Elements, is a polylingual drawing which parallels the uprising of Galician peasants against Napoleon’s army and the experience of witnessing her father’s dementia. Join us for an evening of poetry that asks what poetry is and what it can do.

Thursday, October 3, 7:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15 

Friday, October 4

9:30 am

The Art of Storytelling with Richard Van Camp

9:30 am - 3 hr

In this workshop, internationally renowned storyteller Richard Van Camp will share some of his finest stories and he will invite you to do the same. He will share his famous list of storytelling techniques with everyone in this workshop so dress comfortably as we will have a lot of fun.

You’re going to learn how to listen with your blood and read the audience so you can dance with them as you and your stories soar. Mahsi cho and see you soon!

Friday, October 4, 9:30am
Good | Chinatown | 536 Herald St.
Tickets: $99


Three Good Habits | The Foundation You Need for a Sustainable Writing Practice

1:30pm - 3 hr

Jill Margo

As a writer, you’re tuned into craft, but chances are nobody has taught you how to establish and maintain a sustainable writing practice. We mean a practice that includes not just writing (although that’s the most important part), but also setting yourself up for success, and building both your platform and your career (i.e. getting published).

Maybe you’re new to writing and not sure where to start. Or, you’re already established as a writer, but are stuck or stalled, despite previous success.  Or, maybe you’re somewhere in between, prone to falling out of practice when life gets too full on.

Tried and true, the three habits you’ll learn in this workshop are central to GOOD’s programs and will train you to show up for your writing like a pro. You’ll be better able to rise to your aspirations, tackle your projects, and meet your goals.  Like our other members, you’ll be amazed at how transformative these habits really are. 

Workshop includes tea & cake.

Friday, October 4, 1:30pm-4:30pm
Good | Chinatown | 536 Herald St.
Tickets: $99


The Usual Suspects

7:30pm -

Ian Hamilton | Nathan Ripley | Iona Whishaw

Or are they? On closer examination, the usual just might not be very usual at all. Ian Hamilton’s popular Ava Lee series features a heroine whose investigations into financial crimes spans Canada and Asia.

Iona Whishaw’s Lane Winslow series, set in the Kootenays following the Second World War, has been lauded for its handling of social issues that remain relevant today.

And while he writes under the pseudonym Nathan Ripley, Toronto writer Naben Ruthnum is anything but guarded about his interest in messing with the tropes of the thriller novel.

Join these three bestselling authors as they discuss their love of the genre and bringing the unexpected to bear on it. Be prepared to set aside your assumptions of what is serial, cozy, and even Canadian.

Moderator | Frances Thorsen

Friday, October 4, 7:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15


Carpe NDN Wild

7:30pm -

Billy-Ray Belcourt | Cherie Dimaline | Michael Yahgulanaas

Are there any rules left when it comes to art forms? How do we tell stories that have never been bound in book form before?

Join us for a discussion with Haida artist Michael Yahgulanaas on his manga-style novel Carpe Fin, inventor-of-forms Billy-Ray Belcourt on his most recent collection NDN Coping Mechanism, and celebrated fiction writer Cherie Dimaline whose new novel, Empire of Wild, diverges from the typical.

With three authors working in between genres, busily tossing overboard traditions that don’t work for them, this is a panel that’s bound to upend a few expectations.

Moderator | Troy Sebastian

Friday, October 4, 7:30pm
The Vic Theatre | 808 Douglas St.
Tickets: $15

Saturday, Oct 5


Improving Your Writing | Masterclass

9:30am - 2h 30m

Brian Francis

Your writing is good, but how do you make it great? In this workshop, novelist Brian Francis gives you the insider tips and tools to take your fiction writing to the next level.The workshop will cover:

  • Beats in fiction
  • Characterization and exposition
  • Finding your voice
  • Avoiding unintentional repetition
  • Points of view
  • Showing, not telling

At the end of the session, you’ll have valuable insight that will not only help you become a better writer, but also help get your writing noticed by industry professionals.

Saturday, October 5, 9:30am-12:00pm
The Coast Hotel | Fairfield Room | 146 Kingston St.
Tickets: $65


Riel Work: In conversation with Jean Teillet & Gregory Scofield — Metro

10:30am -

Jean Teillet | Gregory Scofield

Jean Teillet is an aboriginal rights lawyer, author, and great-grand-niece of Métis leader Louis Riel. Her latest book, The North-West Is Our Mother, is a comprehensive history of the Métis people up to the present day.

Gregory Scofield is an award-winning author, as well as a beadworker and collector of indigenous textiles. His latest book of poetry, Witness, I Am, includes a meditation on missing and murdered indigenous women (reports of whom he tweets almost daily).

This discussion brings together two authors whose writing informs and is informed by their work in other fields, whose role in their communities is defined by their contributions: artistic, activist, and everyday.

Saturday, October 5, 10:30am
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15


Immaculate History

1:30pm -

Sarah Leavitt | Erin Mouré | Steven Price

Follow us down the rabbit hole of what did happen, what could have happened, and what could only happen in the minds of creatives. Victoria author Steven Price’s third novel, Lampedusa, is based on the latter years and final work of Italian novelist Giuseppe Tomasi.

Erin Mouré’s new collection of poetry, The Elements, brings together early nineteenth-century Galicia and her father’s more recent experience of dementia.

In Agnes, Murderess graphic novelist Sarah Leavitt creates a new backstory for a legendary goldrush-era serial killer.

Join us for a multi-genre discussion of the past as a shape for considering unexpected parallels, and the process of creating art in which historical accuracies and deliberate inaccuracies can be equally fruitful starting points.

Moderator | Robert Wiersema

Saturday, October 5, 1:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15


Short Stories for Long Hauls

1:30pm -

M.A.C. Farrant | Anosh Irani | Richard Van Camp

M.A.C. Farrant’s The Great Happiness is the third in her trilogy of miniatures or what she calls “thinking fictions.”

With Moccasin Square Gardens Richard Van Camp makes a humorous return to the north that short-story readers know and love from his Fort Simmer collections.

Anosh Irani’s latest, Translations from the Gibberish, is a collection of stories that portray the worlds he experienced in Mumbai and Vancouver.

Come spend an afternoon steeping in a discussion of the form so aptly described by Alice Munro as “not the ‘what happens’ but the way everything happens.”

Moderator | TBD

Saturday, October 5, 1:30pm
Greater Victoria Public Library | Common Room | 735 Broughton St.
Tickets: $15


Workshop: My First Story

2:30pm -

Free Youth Programming

A workshop that aims to teach parents how to support their child’s
storytelling, by helping them to create a storybook with their child during thsession. We provide workbooks for each pair (kid/parent) to work through during the session, and our instructors coach them through the process. Fun and interactive.

Offered in Partnership with Story Studio
Ages 6-8
Saturday, October 5, 2:30-3:30


In the Beginning…

3:30pm -

Carla Funk | Yasuko Thanh | Meenal Shrivastava | Samra Zafar

…women who write their way from childhood and assumed roles into stories of their own change something.

In Mistakes to Run With Yasuko Thanh recounts her evangelical upbringing, life on the streets in Vancouver, and coming into her own as an award-winning writer.

Every Little Scrap and Wonder is poet Carla Funk’s celebration of her rural BC Mennonite childhood, both feral and traditional.

In Amma’s Daughters Meenal Shrivastava brings us the story of her mother’s life before her marriage, as one of Gandhi’s female foot soldiers in the fight against British rule in the early twentieth century.

And in A Good Wife Samra Zafar describes her journey from child bride to international speaker and entrepreneur.

Join four memoirists for what is sure to be a varied and inspiring panel on what it means to make and write a life of one’s own.

Moderator | Marita Dachsel

Saturday, October 5, 3:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15


Mine to Break

3:30 -

Billy-Ray Belcourt | Ali Blythe | Adrienne Gruber

Following on his debut Twoism, Ali Blythe’s Hymnswitch takes up questions of gender, identity, and the moving target that is simply existing in one’s own skin.

A self-described hopeless romantic, Billy-Ray Belcourt’s NDN Coping Mechanisms examines forms, poetic and documentary, for queerness and indigeneity, always circling back to the basics of bodies existing in time and place.

In her third collection, Q & A, Adrienne Gruber embraces the darkness of the postpartum experience to look more closely at the very nature of humanity.

Join us in an examination of the poetic place where the foundations of identity can be broken open and examined; in a discussion of poetry as a process of deconstruction, of getting down to fundamentals, where the results can be both playful and unflinchingly demanding.

Moderator | Darrel McLeod

Saturday, October 5, 3:30pm
Greater Victoria Public Library | Common Room | 735 Broughton St.
Tickets: $15


Author Presentation: Monique Gray Smith

3:45pm -

Free Youth Programming

A duel language (English/ Cree) presentation of My Heart Fills With Happiness / Ni Sâkaskineh Mîyawâten Niteh Ohcihà and You Hold Me Up / Ki Kîhcêyimin Mânaà with Jackie Ballentine.

Ages 5-8
Saturday, October 5, 3:45-4:30


Author Presentation: Kari Jones

4:45pm -

Free Youth Programming

A presentation by the author of Ours to Share: Co-Existing in A Crowded World about population growth and some of the inequities that happen between people when natural and social resources are stressed. What is our fair share?And how do we share more equitably? What actions can kids take to better the world from their own home, school and community?

Ages 9-12.
Saturday, October 5, 4:45-5:30
GVPL sxwe_ŋx_wəŋ _t_əŋəx_w Branch | Meeting Room | 385 Menzies St.

Registration starts early September at https://www.gvpl.ca/events/


All on a Saturday Night

7:30pm -

Cherie Dimaline | Anosh Irani | Karen McBride | Steven Price | Samra Zafar

Our final evening event is a series of readings in celebration of possibilities. Steven Price’s Lampedusa, set in southern Italy, novelizes a novelist’s epic final work.

Anosh Irani’s  Translated from the Gibberish draws inspiration from the author’s two homes, Mumbai and Canada, and examines the very nature of the self-translated.

Samra Zafar’s memoir, A Good Wife, charts her unlikely path from child bride to human-rights activist and bestselling author.

In Karen McBride’s debut novel, Crow Winter, a homecoming is complicated by visits from a demigod.

And Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild asks what happens when the husband you thought you knew becomes a tent revival preacher who seems not to know you at all. It’s all in a night’s readings, because of course in the end the possibilities are infinite.

Saturday, October 5, 7:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15

Sunday, October 6


Hand-delivered | The Power of Memoir Comics

10:30am - 6h 30m

Sarah Leavitt

In this workshop you’ll dive into the brilliant world of autobiographical comics and emerge with a sparkling piece of your own picture-writing. We’ll start with a close reading of a diverse selection of works, then move through a series of short, accessible writing and drawing exercises that will allow you to create your own 1-2 page autobiographical comic or make a start on a longer project.

Folks who aren’t experienced artists often balk at the idea of a comics workshop. But drawing skills are only one part of creating comics. Many students find that comics allows them to tell stories they weren’t able to tell with prose, or that the act of drawing helps them remember forgotten details, or think about old stories from a new angle.

There is a unique delight that comes with creating and sharing hand-drawn autobiographical comics. If that idea excites you (even as it terrifies you) this workshop is for you — whether you’re new to comics, or an old hand who could use a little boost.

Please note: In advance of the workshop, each participant will complete a short questionnaire and quick writing/drawing exercise to be shared with the group.

Sunday, October 6, 10:30am-5:00pm
Good | China Town | 536 Herald St.
Tickets: $275 | No late comers*


Words in the Woods

10:30am - 1.5h

Marilyn Bowering | Ariel Gordon | Michael Kenyon | Sonnet L’Abbé

In response to the popularity of last year’s forest walk, we’re offering it again! Same beautiful woods, same trusted guides, all-new slate of writers, including Marilyn Bowering, Sonnet L’Abbé, Ariel Gordon, and Michael Kenyon. The walk will begin at the entrance to Mary Lake, pass through riparian areas, along creeks to the lakeshore. Enjoy the beauty in one of the city’s newest nature sanctuaries while listening to words inspired by the landscape.

Facilitators | Beth Kope & Yvonne Blomer

Sunday, October 6, 10:30am
Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary | Highlands | 1772 Millstream Road
Tickets: $25 | No late comers*

*Ticket holders must be at the gate by 10:15


Wayfinding: Is that a path there?

1:30pm -

Cherie Dimaline | Pauline Holdstock | Karen McBride

The quest is one of the oldest plot devices going, but in the inventive hands of each new generation of authors, it’s anything but tired. In Cherie Dimaline’s latest novel, Empire of Wild, Hazel’s search for her husband has only just begun when she locates him in the Walmart parking lot near their home.

Karen McBride’s debut, Crow Winter, begins with a homecoming that is quickly complicated by visits from a very tricky corvid.

And in Pauline Holdstock’s forthcoming Here I Am! the death of Frankie’s mother sends him on a mission to find his father a continent away.

Join us for a discussion on finding the way, for the characters on the page and for the writers figuring it out behind the scenes.

Moderator | Robert Wiersema

Sunday, October 6, 1:30pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15


Working From Strengths | A Revision Technique to Power up Your Poetry

1:30pm -

Erin Mouré

Do the words of poems create meaning, or simply convey already existing meanings? In a world infinitely more complex and mysterious than we can express, how does a poem “mean”? How does a poem come to resonate with us? And why do some fall flat.

Join Erín Moure, author of 17 books of poetry and translator of 20 more, to work on these questions and learn a revision technique called “working from strengths.” Bring a poem (or two) you are not yet satisfied with, that you that you know has potential but can’t seem to get it to work, and some clean sheets of paper and a pen/pencil. Via a set of guided exercises, and sharing of results, participants will learn revision practices that will help power up their poems.

Sunday, October 6, 1:30-3:30pm
Greater Victoria Public Library | Common Room | 735 Broughton St.
Tickets: $85 | No late comers


Workshop: Writing Thrillers

1:30pm -

Do you want to fill your story with action, mystery and suspense? Young writers will learn how to create a page-turning tale with local author Sean Rodman. Find out how to use characters, plot and details to create a exciting thriller of your own.

Offered in Partnership with Story Studio
Ages 9-12
Sunday, October 6, 1:30-2:30
Free Youth Programming


Author Presentation: Richard Van Camp

2:45pm -

A presentation by the award-winning author of May We Have Enough to Share a book that focuses on gratitude, and celebrates the strength of connections, the nature that provides for us, and the love that is endless.

Ages 0-4
Sunday, October 6, 2:45-3:30
Free Youth Programming


Talkin’ Griffin to Griffin

4:00pm -

Billy-Ray Belcourt | Eve Joseph

It’s Canada’s most prestigious poetry prize. For the winner it can be a career-maker, opening new doors. And it continues to open the discussion of what poetry is and can be. We’re incredibly lucky to have the past two years’ Canadian Griffin Prize winners together in the same room.

Join Eve Joseph (Quarrels, 2019) and Billy-Ray Belcourt (This Wound Is a World, 2018) as they talk Griffin to Griffin about their careers, the role of the prize, and what comes after.

Moderator | Susan Stenson

Sunday, October 6, 4:00pm
Metro Theatre | 1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $15


Author Presentation: Sara Cassidy

3:45pm -

A presentation by the author of Nevers, a magical story set in France in 1799, filled with eccentric characters, mystery, and a donkey that keeps the town awake at night, braying about his narrow life.

Ages 9-12.
Sunday, October 6, 3:45-4:30
Free Youth Programming


Eventbrite - Victoria Festival of Authors

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