The Festival Reveal is Here!

Emma Donoghue, Alicia Elliott, Patrick deWitt, Britta Badour, and Vincent Lam are among the exciting author lineup for our 15th Annual Festival September 27-October 1, held primarily at The Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.

Artistic Director Aara Macauley revealed the major highlights of the 2023 season Wednesday night at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

“An anniversary year is an opportunity not only to look at where we’ve come from but to consider the potential of what the festival can become – for our community and the artists we invite to the stage,” says Macauley. “We wanted this year’s theme to highlight the fact that written art is not relegated to one style, one form of print – it is alive in song, screen, and stage, it defies genre, it is playful, experimental, weird, and wonderful.”

This year’s programming, in addition the great fiction, nonfiction, culinary, and poetry events the Festival is known for, adds events featuring experimental fiction and form, hybrid works, spoken word, stage readings, songwriting, and a KWF Art After Dark exhibit with book jacket designer Oliver McPartlin.

The Big Idea returns with Carol Off and will focus on the future of CanLit, in a conversation with publisher Kwame Scott Fraser of Dundurn Press, author/publishers Michael Hingston and Stuart Ross, and Stephen Marche, whose AI-generated novel The Death of an Author made waves across North American media. Festival favourites Michael Crummey and Heather O’Neill return for the 15th Annual, along with John Vaillant, Rosemary Sullivan, who was announced for this year’s Author! Author! event, and Ben McNally with a special anniversary edition of the Book Lovers’ Lunch.

The Beneath the Surface series of events will return this fall. The series was developed for the 2022 Festival recognizing the desire to have deeper conversations about the issues and causes that dominate our thoughts, and headlines. This year WritersFests continues this exploration with events that address the opioid crisis with author and physician Vincent Lam, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People with Indigenous author and journalist Angela Sterritt, and the environmental implications of resource extraction in or near Indigenous communities with geoscientist Virginia Heffernan.

Two more events that debuted in 2022 return for this Autumn’s Festival, the successful Literary Trivia Night hosted by comedian and CBC Canada Reads host Ali Hassan and the Last Chapter Brunch which will focus on foraging and fungi with author Diane Borsato who is celebrating the release of her book Mushrooming and the joy of the quiet hunt.

KWF is focusing on celebrating local authors in a big way this year, with appearances by Otoniya J. Okot Bitek, Sadiqa de Meijer, Tianna Edwards, Wayne Grady, Catherine Hernandez, Jason Heroux, Leanne Lieberman, Lindy Mechefske, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Jamal Saeed, and local musicians The Gertrudes, as well over as a dozen local interviewers.

Kingston WritersFest also announces the return of their popular immersive 2- or 4-day writing retreat. The Retreat features 12 Writers Studio Master Classes, instructed by a curated faculty comprised of award-winning, and renowned Canadian authors.

“I feel privileged to be part of this great festival,” says Board Chair Julie Leclerc, “and I think I can speak for the whole Board when I say how proud we are of what KWF stands for -an organisation that values the cultural well-being of our community, and celebrates the power of the written word, connecting readers and writers in inclusive conversations that inspire, engage, and expand our worldview.”