Our Story

Kingston is a city that not only writes, it reads.

Into this vibrant literary environment, Kingston WritersFest was launched in 2006 by a core group of dedicated and hardworking volunteers under the auspices of Kingston Frontenac Public Library and Kingston Literacy.

In 2009, under the direction of a new team headed by Merilyn Simonds, Kingston WritersFest was professionalized, moving to its home at the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront and expanding to include dozens of writers in every genre.  Over the years, WritersFest has developed outreach programs that impact thousands of local children and youth: Festival Field Trips for high-school students, Authors@School for elementary students, and free rush seats for Queen’s and St. Lawrence students.

Mounted by a small but mighty staff and a corps of dedicated volunteers committed to fostering a love of literature. The festival now welcomes an audience of 6,000 to more than 50 events featuring some 70 authors from around the world, across the country, and down the street.

Hailed as one of the best festivals in the country, KWF is renowned for its unique programming and the intimate atmosphere within which this community of readers and writers continues to grow.

Aara Macauley stepped into the role of Artistic Director in 2021.

Our Vision

To be a community that celebrates the power of the written word by connecting readers and writers in inclusive conversations that inspire, engage, and expand our worldviews.

Our Mission

To promote diverse literary expression, develop and grow an audience for the literary arts, and foster the artistic development of writers of all ages.

Our Values

We value:

  • The cultural wellbeing of our community, particularly a vibrant, inclusive artistic community
  • Literary expression in all forms
  • Engaged writers and appreciative audiences
  • Young people as they explore and develop an appreciation for the literary arts
  • Creative writing skills in people of all ages
  • The support of our volunteers, sponsors, donors and community partners

Support the Festival

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