Writers confirmed for 2014:
Celebrated Canadian folk singer Bob Bossin tells the story of his father's life in the gambling underworld of the 1930s and 40s. By turns a touching memoir of father and son and an insightful social history, Davy the Punk is packed with street-wise stories and troubling revelations about Canada in the 20th century.
Claire Cameron's second novel, The Bear, is told in the first-person from the viewpoint of Anna, a five-year-old girl whose parents have been killed by a rogue black bear on a family camping trip. The Bear has struck a chord with readers and reviewers. It is sitting on a number of bestseller lists and has been longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).
Terry Fallis's first novel, The Best Laid Plans, was originally self-published and won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 2008. It was eventually picked up by McClelland & Stewart, won Canada Reads in 2011 and was recently adapted as a series for CBC-TV. In the meantime, there were two more books: The High Road and Up and Down. We look forward to welcoming Terry back to the Festival with his fourth novel, No Relation, slated for publication in May.
The award-winning author of Mordecai: The Life and Times, the definitive biography of one of Canada's most famous writers, returns to the Festival with Planet Lolita, an electrifying, digital age novel about a chance encounter that changes everything for a young girl. Charles Foran is the author of many works of fiction and non-fiction and countless articles, essays and literary reviews.
His international bestseller, The Cellist of Sarajevo, left no doubt that Steven Galloway's dues for membership in an elite Canadian literary club had been paid in full. His latest novel, The Confabulist, is due out in April and is about the legendary magician Harry Houdini and the man who killed him.
The Globe & Mail has used his name in the same sentence as Atwood, Findlay and Munro and called him one of Canada's literary treasures. Can't argue that. The most recent of his seven novels is The World, winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. The latest of his six volumes of short stories is Juliet Was a Surprise. If you are already a fan you will know that Bill Gaston, in print and in person, is always entertaining.
Her complex historical fiction is massively popular. She sells a lot of books (millions) to a lot of thoroughly addicted fans in a lot of countries. Her first novel, The Linnet Bird, set in London and Calcutta in the early 19th century, was an instant hit and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The latest of her five historical novels, The Lost Souls of Angelkov, takes 1860s Russia as its context. The sixth, The Devil on Her Tongue, is due this summer.
She has done some pretty impressive work in the past, but The World Before Us, her second novel, had publishers in Canada, Britain and the US in a veritable slugfest for publishing rights. The rest of the world is soon to be let in on a well-kept Canadian literary secret. Stay tuned.
On his last visit to the Festival, broadcaster, podcaster and musician Grant Lawrence, had us rolling in the aisles with readings from his award-winning Desolation Sound memoir, Adventures in Solitude. His latest is The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie.
Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, won CBC's 2007 edition of Canada Reads, was nominated for the Governor General's Award and won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. It was also a huge international bestseller. Her follow-up, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, is a coming of age story set in Montreal, where Heather O'Neill was born and still lives.
New Voices: Kathryn Para and Andrea Routley
Kathryn Para's fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been widely represented in literary publications. She is also a playwright and a writer, director and producer of short films. Her first novel, Lucky, is the 2013 winner of the Search for the Great BC Novel Contest.
Andrea Routley's work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including the Malahat Review and Room Magazine. She is the founder and editor of Plenitude Magazine, Canada's queer literary magazine. Her debut collection of short stories is Jane and the Whales.
Roberta Rich gave up her law practice a few years ago and took up writing. It sounds risky, but her international bestselling debut novel, The Midwife of Venice, wowed readers and critics alike leaving no doubt that she had made the right decision. The 16th century story moves to Constantinople and continues with The Harem Midwife. Her growing fan base will be pleased to know that a third volume is in the works.
She has written some bona fide classics such as Intertidal Life, Songs My Mother Taught Me and Isobel Gun over the long span of her writing career. Her numerous literary award nominations and wins include the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. Her 18th novel, Local Customs, is set in the early 19th century, takes place in the Gold Coast of Africa, and is creating a loud buzz in literary circles.
Kim Thuy's first novel, Ru, won a Governor General's Award (French language fiction) and the English translation (by Sheila Fischman) was shorlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. Her new novel, Man, will be published in August.
She took home the Governor General's Award for her third novel, A Complicated Kindness. That one spent over a year on bestseller lists, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and won the 2006 edition of CBC's Canada Reads. The Flying Troutmans came next and picked up the Rogers Writers' Trust Prize. The latest from Miriam Toews, due in April, sports the intriguing title All My Puny Sorrows.
Chris Turner minces no words when talking about the future this country can look forward to if the bar for environmental acceptability continues to be lowered. We are slaves to Big Oil and its government sponsors. In his bestselling book, The Leap, Turner convincingly argues that a green economy is a feasible, attainable alternative. His latest book is The War on Science.
Chris Turner will deliver this year's Bruce Hutchison Memorial Lecture. Hang onto your hats.
Author of two novels and eight collections of poetry, Priscila Uppal is, according to Time Out London, "Canada's coolest poet." Her latest work is the critically acclaimed memoir, Projection: encounters with my runaway mother.
His Bruce Hutchison lecture in 2009 is Festival legend. In 2012 he read from Indian Horse, his acclaimed novel about hockey, the horrors of residential schools and healing. He's got a new book on the way that insiders are betting on for some major literary awards. It's always worth hearing what Richard Wagamese has to say.
Alison Wearing's bestselling Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter: Growing up with a Gay Dad is about a family reconfigured when the closet door flies open. It's also a story about acceptance, reconciliation, forgiveness and love. Alison's first book, the internationally-acclaimed travel memoir, Honeymoon in Purdah, shows a side of Iran and its people that is seldom seen.
Dianne Whelan is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer and bona fide adventurer. Her first book, This Vanishing Land, is about her journey as an embedded media person with the Canadian Rangers on a sovereignty patrol of the Canadian Arctic. Her new book, Base Camp: 40 days on Everest, is a compelling story about the journey to the top of Mount Everest, from base camp to summit, and the people who take on this incredible challenge. It's also a story about the mountain itself and all that is revealed by a dying glacier.
Closing Night Event: Brendan McLeod, Zaccheus Jackson & Jillian Christmas
Jillian Christmas lives and breathes slam poetry. As well as being champion in several major slam poetry events, she is also an active behind the scenes organizer of many spoken word events. She is the co-director of Vancouver's Verses Festival of Words and the founder of Toronto's Peace Pipe Poetry Sessions on Bloor. Working with a variety of collaborators, she tours the west coast with her experimental fusion of poetry and music. Jillian loves to facilitate opportunities for both young people and adults to express themselves.
Zaccheus Jackson is a full blood member of the Blackfoot Nation and a full-time performing artist. He comes from a deep oral history and has brought his people's storytelling tradition to a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-generational audience invoking hip hop-like rhythms and warp speed delivery. He is a vocal advocate for First Nations rights and a facilitator of workshops and events for at risk youth. He has performed all over North America and is considered one of Canada's very best spoken word artists.
Brendan Mcleod has been a repeat winner or runner up in Vancouver, Canadian and World slam poetry championships. He won the 2006 International 3 Day Novel Contest for The Convictions of Leonard McKinlay, and he was the Poet of Honour at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. He is the author of The Big Oops, a one-woman play, and The Fruit Machine, a monologue on Canadian history. Brendan McLeod also fronts The Fugitives, a Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated music group.