Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Interviews, Recommendations, and More

2011 Literary Festival Guide

To help you navigate your literary festival season, celebrating books from coast to coast.

Literary Festival season starts early here in Canada, with events such as Salon du Livre du Grand Sudbury, Niagara Literary Arts Festival, Whitehorse Poetry Festival, the Frye Festival in Moncton NB, and the Festival littéraire international de Montréal Metropolis bleu already behind us. Now that summer is officially here, however, things will be kicking into high gear, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a Canadian summer weekend without a literary festival in it. And so to help you navigate that busy calendar, we're pleased to bring you the 2011 Literary Festival Guide, celebrating books from coast to coast.


The Scream Literary Festival runs in Toronto from July 6-11. It's the last hurrah for this legendary fest, which culminates in an event in the middle of High Park with readers including Christian Bök, Dani Couture, Sheila Heti and Misha Glouberman. The Saskatchewan Festival of Words takes place in Moose Jaw from July 14-17, featurning Helen Humphreys, Susan Juby, Charlotte Gray, Ryan Knighton and Robert J. Sawyer amidst an absolutely stellar line-up. And then there's the Lakefield Literary Festival, in Lakefield ON, which happens July 15-17, with readers including Sarah Selecky, Trevor Cole, Alexander MacLeod, Merilyn Simonds, Suzanne Desrochers, and Lisa Moore.


The Leacock Summer Festival kicks off in Orillia ON from July 19-30, with Stuart McLean and Trevor Cole. Books by the Bay takes place in Callendar ON on July 22, featuring Lynn Johnston, Don Clysdale, and Ken Strange. On July 23, you can Read by the Sea in River John NS,with Jill MacLean, Frieda Wishinsky, Alexander MacLeod, Shandi Mitchell, Johanna Skibsrud and Richard B. Wright.


The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts happens in Sechelt BC from August 4-7, with a fantastic line-up including Zsuzsi Gartner, Lorna Goodison, Timothy Taylor, Margaret Trudeau, Sylvia Tyson, John Vaillant, Robert J. Wiersema, Ivan Coyote, Terry Fallis and Judy Fong Bates. Back to the middle of the country for the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival on August 14, with guest authors Elizabeth Duncan, C.B. Forrest, R.J. Harlick, and Howard Shrier. On the other coast, the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival takes place in Eastport Peninsula, NL from August 12-14, with Alexander MacLeod, Sarah Selecky, Johanna Skibsrud, Samuel Thomas Martin, Russell Wangersky, Michael Winter, Michael Crummey, Jessica Grant, Randall Maggs, and a stage adaptation of Lisa Moore's February. And then the next weekend is Writers at Woody Point in Bonne Bay South, NL, from August 17-2, featuring Kathleen Winter, Emma Donoghue, Ed Riche, and Richard Wagamese.


Wordstock takes place in Collingwood ON September 9-10, with confirmed authors so far including Giles Blunt, Randy Boyagoda, Trevor Cole, Camilla Gibb, and Wayne Johnston.The OGAMAS Brandon Aboriginal Literary Festival in Brandon MB runs September 15-17. At the Eden Mills Writers Festival in Eden Mills ON on September 18, catch Alissa York, Robert J. Wiersema, Alison Pick, Hal Niedzvecki, Claire Tacon, Jill Murray and Kevin Sylvester. Also on September 18 is the Words Alive Literary Festival in Sharon ON, featuring Jacob Scheier, Kate Taylor, K.D. Miller and Nino Ricci. And it's also the kick-off for Thin Air, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, which runs until September 24, with readers including Robert J. Sawyer, Dany Laferriere, and Anita Daher. From September 22-25, you can catch everything "from Auster to Zentner" at the Kingston WritersFest in Kingston ON.


The Word on the Street takes place in Vancouver, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto, Halifax and Lethbridge on September 25. The North Words Muskoka Literary Festival runs from September 30-October 2, featuring Camilla Gibb, Claudia Dey, Richard B. Wright, Tish Cohen, Gillian Deacon and Ed Lawrence. The Quebec Writers’ Federation Writers Out Loud Series runs throughout October and November with Marianne Ackerman, Tess Fragoulis, and Kathleen Winter.


And then the spotlight shifts to Alberta, for Banff and Calgary's WordFest, from October 11-16. Litfest, Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival runs from October 12-23, with a pre-festival event on September 26th. Back in Ontario, there's the Elliott Lake Writers' Workshop & Writers Festival on October 22.

Then there's the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival from October 18-23, whose lineup will be announced in August. In Toronto, the International Festival of Authors runs October 19-29, and the lineup is too great to begin to highlight. The Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place October 20-25 this year, and will feature readers including Michael Ondaatje, Irshad Manji, Chef Michael Smith, Wayne Johnston and Adrienne Clarkson, Guy Vanderhaeghe. And finally, Bookfest Windsor takes place November 3-5 in Windsor ON, and promises to be a memorable event if the lineup is anything like last year's.

Additional updates: McLaughlin Literary Festival (Oshawa ON) September 18

Cabot Trail Writers Festival September 30-October 2

Notice any omissions here? Email editor AT and we'll add them to our guide.

Comments here

comments powered by Disqus

More from the Blog