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August Lit Fests in Canada (2013): Newfoundland, Alberta, BC, and Ontario

These lit fests are popular not only for their stellar line-ups of readers and events, but also their stunning environments.


August is jam-packed with incredible Canadian lit fests. Besides fantastic writers and fun event planning, August's lit fests take place in some of Canada's most beautiful spots, including Newfoundland; BC's Sunshine Coast; and Wolfe Island, Ontario. Here's just a taste of what's to come.

The Winterset in Summer Literary Festival will take place in Eastport Peninsula, Newfoundland, from August 9 to 11. It will include such events as a discussion among three of Canada's top crime writers—Giles Blunt, Gail Bowen, and Thomas Rendell Curran—on how to make it almost impossible for readers to put down their books once they've started them, as well as Irish Man Booker-winner Anne Enright (The Forgotten Waltz, The Gathering) and Canada Reads-winner Lisa Moore talking about their writing and the impact of award recognition on their work. Check out the Winterset schedule here.

When Worlds Collide 2013 happens the same weekend, August 9–11, in Calgary, Alberta. It features the likes of Barbara Fradkin, Shirlee Smith Matheson, and Jamis Paulson, along with many others—and even opens with a special three-hour session called Writing Sexual Tension: Heightening Your Readers' Satisfaction!

August sees another lit fest grace Newfoundland: from August 13 to 18, check out Writers at Woody Point in Bonne Bay, South Newfoundland. It will feature writers including Cathy Marie Buchanan, Will Ferguson, Douglas Gibson, Wayson Choy, Chad Pelley, Michael Winter, Christine Pountney, and Elisabeth de Mariaffi. Here's just one day (August 15) of readings at the festival:

  • Will Ferguson, winner of the 2013 Giller Award for his novel 419.
  • Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls.
  • Douglas Gibson, about whose Stories About Storytelling Alice Munro says, "my prize read for those interested in writers, books, Canada, life, and all that kind of thing."
  • Russell Wangersky, shortlisted for the 2013 Giller Award for his short story collection Whirl Away and winner of the BC National Award for Non-Fiction for Burning Down the House.

For the full Writers at Woody Point schedule, please see here.


The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts runs August 15–18 in Sechelt, British Columbia. Participating authors include Susan Swan, David Bergen, Esi Edugyan, Sally Armstrong, Linwood Barclay, Linda Spalding, and Donna Morrissey. Hurry to this page if you're hoping to attend, as many author readings are already sold out!

wolfe island

The Scene of the Crime Festival—the annual festival for mystery readers and writers—hits Wolfe Island (near Kingston, Ontario) August 17 and features writers including Andrew Pyper, Ian Hamilton, and Janet Bolin. If you're an aspiring (or published) mystery writer yourself, check out Barbara Fradkin's first workshop: “Thrills, chills and laughter: essentials of the mystery sub-genres." The festival's second workshop's focus has yet to be announced. The festival ends with its famous tradition of a church supper!

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