Victoria Festival of Authors returns for second year

Culture Literature

The Victoria Festival of Authors will bring together writers and readers together during its second annual festival. The festival, celebrating local and national authors, runs for five days from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, and will be hosted at various locations in the downtown area — including the Victoria Public Library and the gallery of the Vancouver Island School of Arts.

The week-long event was, in part, made possible by the organizers’ decisions to incorporate as a nonprofit in 2016; a choice that made the festival more eligible for grants — something the previously held Victoria Writers Festival struggled with when running as a collective.

Throughout the five-day event, festival goers can attend readings, discussion panels, and even workshops to get some tips from the writing pros.

UVic writing students might recognize some familiar faces on stage. Lorna Crozier, Patrick Lane, and Carla Funk — all UVic teaching alumni — will be reading at the festival and offering writing wisdom about craft, writing practices, and worldly inspiration.

This type of discussion is exactly why festival organizer Vannessa Herman thinks it’s important to feature authors working together on a local and national scale.

“Literature is a conversation. It’s a global conversation,” says Herman. “If you don’t involve as much of everybody as you can, it gets to be narrow and one-sided. It’s not as engaging.

“I think that’s when some of the most interesting work and discussion happens: when everyone is in conversation with each other. You can really see the different threads and topics that come up in writing.”

If you’re a poetry buff, Herman recommends the Friday evening where Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane will be honoured at the Metro theatre. The event will see some of Crozier’s and Lane’s students reading their work, and UVic alumna Esi Edugyan moderating an evening that event organizers promise to be a “magical moment where time pauses for reflection and charges ahead into the blinding future.”

If you’re just interested in what the greats of the literary scene have to say, Herman recommends one of the Saturday night discussion panels. During these panels, authors will share their struggles and the backstories of their creations; getting real about the writing process.

The festival also pairs with other art forms with writing, featuring music, art, and even cocktails, inspired by the author’s work, provided by the local Sheringham Distillery.

While the spotlight is on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, Herman hopes to feature other writing genres and aspects of the Victoria art scene as well such as playwriting once the festival grows in capacity.

“[This year’s festival is] kind of just building the foundation in order to allow for those types of art,” says Herman. “We definitely do want to have more of the arts — all of them — involved in [the festival].”

One of the newest features at the Festival of Authors this year is a writer’s salon — a meeting for community members to discuss literary topics. While Herman says they’re still in the process of securing the funds for this endeavour, she hopes that it will continue the discussion of literature outside the days of the festival.

Can’t wait to get in on the action? The Victoria Festival of Authors has a Q & A with the authors discussing new projects on their blog. For more information about the schedule, ticket prices, and venues, visit the Victoria Festival of Authors website.


The Victoria Festival of Authors runs from Sept. 27 — Oct. 1. Photo provided