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Kenneth Oppel and Tim Wynne-Jones are prolific, award-winning children’s authors. Ken brings us middle-grade graphic novel Inkling, about an artist’s ink blot that comes to life, and Tim Wynne-Jones presents crossover YA thriller The Ruinous Sweep. In conversation with kidlit editor Shelley Tanaka, Ken and Tim talk about why they write for kids, the phenomenal rise in crossover fiction --- books written for children and young adults but attractive to adults --- and why it’s important for adults to read children’s and…Find out more »
Join us for a spectacular evening of elevated conversation when two-time Giller Prize shortlist nominee and winner of the prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Rawi Hage, presents his brilliant new novel, Beirut Hellfire Society. Returning to the territory first imagined in his debut novel, De Niro’s Game, the novel combines comedy and tragedy and serves as “an urgent meditation on what it is to love through war.” Rawi reads and shares his thoughts with master interviewer Eric Friesen. Cash bar. Media…Find out more »
*Individual tickets to this class are now SOLD OUT. Tickets are still available through the purchase of a Writers Retreat Package. Editor and author John Metcalf, himself a master stylist, challenges you to stop writing sentences that are soft, polite, and easy, and to learn to write sentences with depth of meaning. Teaching you three or four basic concepts that are simple yet important, John uses sample sentences in various iterations to show how a sentence can evolve from unremarkable to…Find out more »
Veteran Kingston author Maureen Garvie and debut novelist Kagiso Lesego Molope discuss the secret burdens their characters bear, burdens with which we all grapple – our private conflicts of conscience, the tension we feel between loyalty and doing the right thing, whether keeping others’ secrets is really in their best interest, and the difficulty of deciding the right course of action. Their characters’ struggles and how they handle them can shed light on our own and show us a way…Find out more »
Debut author Kate Harris proves that the old-school adventurer/explorer, “equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician” isn’t dead. Named a “fearless female author” by Kobo on International Women's Day and one of 33 "audacious Canadians" featured in Glorious & Free, Kate talks about her youthful hopes and dreams, and shares the story of her extraordinary, off-the-charts travels along the ancient trade route into the forbidden territory of Tibet – an exploration made without a visa, and on a bicycle. With travel adventurer/writer Kate Kristiansen. Bellevue Room 9:30 - 10:30 am…Find out more »
“No matter what kind of fiction you want to write, there always has to be suspense,” says author Tim Wynne-Jones. We turn the page out of anticipation, expectation. Will the protagonist achieve their goal? What stands in their way? What are the stakes? That’s where suspense comes in. Tim shows you how to build the tension by looking at different techniques that engage reader anticipation. Get ready to embark on a suspenseful writing assignment. We won’t tell you how it ends. Limited enrolment.…Find out more »
Inspired by the autobiography of a real teenage girl living in post-revolutionary France late in the 18th century, Sandra Gulland’s YA novel is both timely and of another time. Hortense’s beloved father was guillotined during “The Terror,” her mother’s new husband is Napoleon Bonaparte, destined for power, and her brother is a soldier in Napoleon’s army. Sandra knows this era well. Her novels of Josephine Bonaparte and Louis XIV are international bestsellers. Then and now, political intrigue and love are timeless.…Find out more »
Join explorer Adam Shoalts, aka Canada’s Indiana Jones, as he tells the stories behind ten centuries-old maps, and how they shaped what would become “Canada.” Adam imagines how the world might have appeared to the people who mapped it: among them, sea adventuring Vikings, who thought they had drifted into a land of mythical creatures, or French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who had no way to see beyond the impenetrable forest of the new world to the vast lands beyond. Bellevue…Find out more »
As someone who started his career as a teen and who has since won international acclaim as the author of more than 20 books, award-winning author Kenneth Oppel knows what it’s like to be a teen with the drive to write. Ken gives tips on the basics of story creation: games to limber up the creative muscle, brainstorming, plot, character, structure, good guys vs. bad guys, humour, tricks of the trade, revision! Ken gives you great writing exercises, so come prepared…Find out more »
For Canadian immigrant Tima Kurdi, the aunt of Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, private tragedy became universal symbol when the toddler’s death on a Mediterranean beach captured worldwide public imagination. Tima speaks with author Lawrence Scanlan about her attempts to find peace after their family tragedy and shares her hope that war somehow can change us for the better. She talks about the personal and societal devastation of war, and the difficulty of leaving home to put down roots in a new…Find out more »
Choosing to write in the first person or the third can fundamentally change the focus and impact of your piece. In this essential master class, award-winning author Helen Humphreys explores -- with examples and class discussion -- the different perspectives from which a story can be told, and the benefits and limitations of each approach. Come prepared to do in-class writing exercises. Limited enrolment. Lakeview, Delta Hotel 12:30 - 3:00 pm Advance GA $35 Senior $32 / Festival GA $40 Senior…Find out more »
In Kate Harris’ first published book, she shares her daring exploits at home and abroad. As an asker of questions and an adventure seeker, Kate shows you how to expand learning outside the classroom walls to encompass experiment and experience. She has tips to share about living an adventurous and examined life, and how to capture your thoughts, impressions, and ideas as they occur, and shape them into something meaningful. She invites you to turn your personal experiences into creative non-fiction.…Find out more »
When does love cross the line into obsession? Can we pinpoint the moment that irrevocably shapes the person that we become? Join short-form authors Paige Cooper and Adrian Michael Kelly as they discuss their debut short-fiction collections and explore the relationships of fathers and sons, scientists and their inventions, star-crossed lovers and estranged kin. Acclaimed short-fiction author, editor, and anthologist John Metcalf, currently the fiction editor at Biblioasis, leads the conversation. Bellevue Room 2:00 - 3:00 pm Advance GA $20 Senior $18…Find out more »
In her newest novel, award-winning author Merilyn Simonds writes about a mature woman living on a remote island. Celebrated poet Lorna Crozier, hailed by Ursula K. Le Guin as a "storyteller, truth-teller, and visionary" is a mature woman living on a remote island. Together, they share snippets of their new work and unpack a lifetime of stories, rendered in prose and poetry. They provide deep insight, humour, wisdom, and answers to life’s most challenging questions, possible only when one reaches “a certain age.”…Find out more »
One of the multi-tasking cornerstones of both fiction and creative nonfiction, good dialogue is compelling, complex, and layered. The effective rendering of actual speech on the page so your characters sound like real people talking is frequently much harder than it looks. Award-winning author Diane Schoemperlen gives you exercises designed to demonstrate what dialogue can and cannot do, and together you’ll consider the many levels on which this essential tool can operate in your writing. Limited enrolment. 3:30 - 6:00 pm…Find out more »
We celebrate our tenth annual festival and the 50th anniversary of the Booker Prize with a very special guest, acclaimed Australian writer Peter Carey, twice winner of the prestigious international prize. He presents his powerful new novel, A Long Way From Home, which employs the conceit of a light-hearted road trip to examine Australia’s colonial past. Join Peter and Hal Wake for an in-depth conversation, interspersed with readings, in which Peter reflects on his writing career and what has brought him…Find out more »
What makes a character engaging, irresistible, and unforgettable? In this hands-on workshop, best-selling author Sandra Gulland shows you how to apply various tools and techniques to develop fully-imagined, dynamic characters with emotional depth. Learn how to assess what role a character plays, and what a reader might expect of such a person. These practical tools will be of use to writers in the beginning stages of a work-in-progress, as well as those with works already in draft form. Limited enrolment. *Please note…Find out more »
Anna Porter, Phyllis Bruce, and John Metcalf collectively have edited or published an astonishing list of Canlit giants. With Mark Medley, these dedicated cultural workers reminisce about the golden age of Canadian publishing and reflect on what the future holds for contemporary Canadian writers and publishers. Can we and should we keep alive the canon of Canadian books and authors? How do we then give space to emerging writers, especially those who push the boundaries of what we might recognize as a Canadian voice,…Find out more »
Patrick Lane, prolific, award-winning poet and novelist, makes his first appearance at Kingston WritersFest with Deep River Night, a novel set post-WWII in a remote sawmill community in BC’s interior. Patrick reads and chats with author Wayne Grady about human frailty, both psychological and physical, and shares how his own health challenges helped him to understand the damaged character of his protagonist, veteran Art Kenning, a first-aid man whose every action in the 48 hours of the story is taken in…Find out more »
“Poems, novels, stories are built one word after another,” says poet Lorna Crozier. That sounds simple, but what goes into our choosing of which word we’ll use? Why “dolor” over “sadness”? Why “mutt” over “canine”? We’ll look at writers’ choices, from Yeats to Lise Gaston and do some writing of our own while we keep in mind this passage from Lewis Carroll: “Must a name mean something?” Alice asked doubtfully. “Of course, it must,” Humpty Dumpty said. “My name means the shape…Find out more »
An extraordinary opportunity to hear one of Canada’s most renowned and accomplished poets in conversation with an exciting debut poet. Dionne Brand is an essayist and writer of short and long-form fiction, but her most recent work is poetry collection The Blue Clerk: Ars Poetica in 59 Versos. Canisia Lubrin presents her debut collection Voodoo Hypothesis. Together they explore memory, language, culture, literary trends, and time, and the relationships between the artist and the world, and between the artist and art. Bellevue 1:00 - 2:00 pm Advance GA…Find out more »
Giller-winning author Esi Edugyan presents Washington Black, a fearful 11-year-old field slave in Barbados who is lifted into a world of imagination and freedom by a mysterious explorer and abolitionist, brother to Wash’s vicious owner. Esi is joined by Amazon.ca First Novel Award winner Wayne Grady. He presents Up From Freedom, about an American white man’s hunt for his son, born to an enslaved mother, when the boy runs away through a country in turmoil. A conversation about seeing each other as human, no matter our differences. Moderated by Mark Medley. Bellevue 2:30 - 3:30 pm Advance GA $20 Senior $18 / Festival GA $22 Senior $20Find out more »
“Show, don't tell” is the most often-heard creative-writing cliché, but just how do you do that? Whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction, working out the right details is part of the scene-creating process. Author Alix Hawley leads an investigation into how to set a scene, sharing examples for class discussion. Together with Alix, you’ll isolate the steps towards building a mood and visual sense for the reader, and you will get in-class practice in streamlining your language. Limited enrolment. Lakeview, Delta Hotel Advance…Find out more »
In journalist Elizabeth Renzetti’s insightful and deliciously witty essay collection Shrewed, she writes: “To be a feminist woman is to walk around, daily, confronted with your empowerment and your diminishment at the hands of others.” Elizabeth shares the personal and the political: from how she responds to her son’s innocent question, “do you know any feminists?” to the uphill battle for women in politics, to her unforgettable experiences among pussyhat-wearing millennials and placard-bearing octogenarians during the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. Media Sponsor: FLY FM Bellevue 4:00 - 5:00 pm Advance GA $20 Senior $18 / Festival GA $22 Senior $20Find out more »
Sorry, this event is SOLD OUT Thomas King, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, screenwriter, and broadcaster is perhaps best known for An Inconvenient Indian, an authoritative account of Indigenous history in North America, believed by some to be the book every Canadian should read. In the tradition of Robertson Davies, Tom is a gifted storyteller and humourist who has a way with a story. Join him for a formal dinner event, brief keynote address, and conversation with radio journalist Eric Friesen about Tom’s writing life, his turn as a…Find out more »
Is there anything better than free outdoor entertainment on a Friday night in downtown Kingston? Join host Brett Christopher, music duo Jesse MacMillan and Anna Sudac, Beaverton editor Alex Huntley and other special guests for a lively program of words and sounds, as Kingston WritersFest pulls out all the stops to thank our community for ten great years of support. Be sure to stick around to catch the FIREWORKS! Celebrate the Literary With support from Downtown Kingston! 8:30 – 10:00 pm Confederation Basin FREE Event…Find out more »
How does a story move? Is a detailed outline really necessary? How much do you need to know before you sit down to write? This master class with Giller nominee Elisabeth de Mariaffi covers plot, pacing, and story propulsion. Avoid the dreaded mid-novel slump! Whether you’re at the basic premise stage, or have a complete first draft, this workshop is for you. After ticket purchase, participants should submit a one-page project outline no later than September 21. Please send your outline to email@example.com.…Find out more »
We celebrate David Chariandy’s remarkable early career; his debut novel Soucouyant received 11 award nominations, including the Governor General's Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His second novel, Brother, described by the Guardian as “an exquisite Canadian novel about growing up in a poor immigrant neighbourhood of danger and futile dreams” won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. With his first creative non-fiction work, I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter, David addresses his teenager’s questions about the politics of race and her own heritage. Moderated by Aara…Find out more »
Can kindness be taught? Brian Goldman, host of CBC’s White Coat, Black Art traversed the globe to investigate cutting-edge science on kindness. Brian subjected himself to tests and scans of all kinds, attempting to allay his fear that he’d lost the attribute of kindness or maybe never had it. With the growing propensity in all of us to lack empathy and compassion in the face of suffering, and an inability to see “the other” as human, Brian talks with Mike Condra about the important repercussions of this trend. Bellevue 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Advance GA $20 Senior $18 / Festival…Find out more »
We delight in presenting the charming Ben McNally, of Toronto’s Ben McNally Books, to submit his latest installation of “Preview Picks.” With a lifetime career of recommending books to discerning readers, Ben knows whereof he speaks. In our popular Book Lovers’ Lunch, his relaxed delivery and fascinating anecdotes from the world of Canadian publishing have built him a devoted following at KWF. Bring a notepad and create this year’s book club list! Buy early – this event sells out quickly! Ticket price includes lunch. Cash bar. The Menu Salad Tomato and cucumber salad…Find out more »
Globe and Mail national columnist Elizabeth Renzetti delivers lessons she learned from the famous writers she’s interviewed over the years. She shares insights and tips about how to write a compelling outline for your book, whether fiction or non-fiction. She shows you how to construct humorous scenes that tickle a reader’s funny bone, and how to identify those details that bring your writing to life and give it punch. Limited enrolment. Lakeview, Delta Hotel 12:30 - 3:00 pm Advance GA $35 Senior $32…Find out more »
Movie-worthy suspense and atmosphere, plot twists, and characters that will keep you awake at night and just give you the icks, from authors Nathan Ripley, Iain Reid, and Elisabeth de Mariaffi. Join Kingston Canadian Film Festival director Marc Garniss, as he gets the inside track on the growth of “griplit” as a genre and how easily it lends itself to adaptation for TV or film and finds out how perfectly nice people can write such perfectly scary stuff! Event sponsor: Chris James Media Sponsor: 98.9 The Drive A…Find out more »
Katherine Ashenburg (The Mourner’s Dance, Sophie & Cecilia) shows you how a smart use of the past lights up the present, contributes to a sense of place, and gives context to characters in fiction and non-fiction. Using examples from her own and others’ work as well as in-class writing exercises, Katherine shares the ifs and whens of using history, and teaches winning techniques and tips for blowing the cobwebs off the past to reveal the shining stories underneath. Limited enrolment. Lakeview, Delta Hotel 3:30 - 6:00 pm Advance GA $35 Senior $32 / Festival GA $40…Find out more »
Waubgeshig Rice brings us Moon of the Crusted Snow, a thriller that strikes the reader first with the subtle, unremarkable line of catastrophe - the moment that life as we know it changes - and then brings home the realization that something terrible has happened. As the routine of their remote Anishinaabe community collapses, Waub's characters respond as best they can to the growing urgency of survival, and must adapt or perish. With Brent Bellamy, Waub talks about what happens after apocalypse and…Find out more »
Sexism, racism, intolerance, and dehumanization are most often instigated by men, often young men. With a worldwide resurgence of white supremacy, demonization and persecution of refugees and immigrants, and continuing inequality and sexual abuse of women, it is urgent that we identify the overarching problem and seek solutions. Join Daemon Fairless (Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men), Rachel Giese (Boys: What It Means to Become a Man), and Jamil Jivani (Why Young Men: Rage, Race, and the Crisis of Identity) in this critical discussion. Moderated by Carol Off. Event Sponsor: The Walrus Bellevue Room 6:30 - 8:30 pm Advance GA…Find out more »
Join us for this one-of-a-kind evening, beginning with a lively opening set by our house jazz band, Trio Without Words: local saxophone virtuoso James Wannamaker, bassist Noah St. Amand, and drummer Sean Jensen. Then authors Alyssa Cooper, Elizabeth Greene, Alix Hawley, Bruce Kauffman, Waubgeshig Rice, and Shelley Tanaka each take the stage to read to the unique soundscape provided by the Trio. Hosted by author and effervescent utterer of witticisms, Bill Richardson, the evening concludes with another set by Trio. All too…Find out more »
Journalist and author Rachel Giese takes the apprehension out of tackling what can be the most daunting aspect of creative writing: doing the research. Rachel steers you in the right direction, covering topics like finding and analyzing primary and secondary sources, ensuring your sources are credible, online research hacks, tracking down offline sources, and how to conduct interviews. For writers of either non-fiction or fiction: indispensable information that keeps you on course. Limited enrolment. Lakeview, Delta Hotel 9:00 - 11:30 am…Find out more »
Food can evoke a cultural identity but can also become a shorthand for cultural clichés or an avenue of appropriation. Author Naben Ruthnum’s witty book Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race meditates on how that blend of spices monolithically known as curry actually varies district to district and cook to cook, and is sometimes conflated in Western understanding with Indian culture itself. Joining Naben is The Globe and Mail's National Food Reporter Ann Hui, who writes about food issues, including the relationships between food and culture. Islandview 9:30 -…Find out more »
Join local author Sarah Tsiang for a fun-filled double board book/picture book launch featuring readings, interactive craft activities and tasty book-themed snacks! Toesy Toes is a rhyming board book featuring piggledy-wiggledy digits in all their delightful glory. Toesy Toes head to the beach, jump around, take a bath and delight in being one of a baby's most adorable parts. Sugar and Snails offers a novel twist to a classic tale, asking who says that little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice? Or that…Find out more »
Journalist Michael Barclay spent years on the road, following and writing about The Tragically Hip and their music. Kingston natives, the band sold millions of records and defined a generation of the band, their music, peers, opening acts, naming as members of the Order of Canada for the members’ contributions to Canadian culture, and their stunning Man Machine Poem tour, watched by millions worldwide, and culminating in an unforgettable performance in Kingston’s Market Square. Moderated by Sideshow. Media Sponsor: KROCK 105.7 Bellevue 11:00…Find out more »
Do you have a notebook full of poems or lyrics? A tune that found its way to you through an instrument? A melody you can’t stop humming? No matter where you’re starting from, there’s a path to the song that wants to be written! Bring your words, melodies, instruments, ideas, and imagination to this songwriting masterclass with Jesse MacMillan and Anna Sudac. Through performance, exercises, and improvisation, you’ll walk away more confident, excited, and capable of turning good ideas into great songs! Teens only Limited enrolment. FREE EVENT for Culture Days This event…Find out more »
What kinds of questions should writers ask themselves when writing about culture – especially cultures that aren’t their own? What are the best approaches for understanding and collecting information about other peoples’ cultures? And how can writers present these stories in a way that respects – and doesn’t appropriate – other cultures? Globe and Mail journalist Ann Hui explains her methods and provides examples of what to do and what to avoid, for group discussion. Ticket purchasers will receive these readings by email in advance. Limited enrolment Lakeview, Delta…Find out more »
Award-winning non-fiction author Katherine Ashenburg presents a fictionalized account of the wives of two famous Swedish artists, the women’s ambitions and talents, and the boundaries of ambition and friendship. Award-winning author Helen Helen Humphreys presents the story of famed fly tyer Megan Boyd, a reclusive Scotswoman who builds a solitary life doing what she feels called to do. Katherine and Helen chat with Bill Richardson about these extraordinary women and their distinctive stories of creativity, industry, and home. Islandview 12:30 - 1:30 pm Advance GA $20 Senior $18 / Festival GA $22 Senior $20Find out more »
We celebrate emerging literary talent in an energized hour of spoken-word, as promising young writers perform a curated selection of original and traditional pieces. Headlined by Kingston performance poet Alyssa Cooper and featuring 2014 Poetry In Voice champion Ian Hogeboom-Burr and 2017/18 Protégé Project students, this event gives you a chance to discover young Kingston talent. Join us in the Holiday Inn Garden where you can pull up a seat (bring your own lawn chair.) Prepare to be wowed. We welcome all ages. Follow…Find out more »
Sisonke Msimang is a South African writer and political analyst whose TED Talk has received more than 1.25 million views. Her family fled South Africa as political refugees when she was a child. Living in Kenya, Australia and Canada, Sisonke returned to South Africa in 1990, the year Nelson Mandela was released from prison. She carries on her parents’ passion for politics and possibility, focusing on race, class and gender issues in South African and global culture. Sisonke reads from her memoir and shares her thoughts on what belonging means. Moderated by Barbara Bell. Bellevue 2:00 - 3:00 pm Advance GA…Find out more »
In poetry, as in literary prose, the sounds and rhythms of words are as important as their meanings. Steven Heighton introduces an exhilarating exercise that frees participants to forget meanings, personal intentions, and emotions and, instead, experiment with sound. The exercise is both challenging and enjoyable. The results are always remarkable. Liberated from the limitations of ego experience, many participants find their exercise "translation" to be among the most interesting things they've ever written. Limited enrolment. Lakeview, Delta Hotel 3:00 -…Find out more »
Join Lindy Mechefske and Helena Moncrieff as they explore the almost lost arts of foraging, planting, tending, harvesting, preserving, and cooking food, once from newly-cultivated land, and available today in our own garden, yard, and neighbourhood. Traditionally -- and still -- women’s work. Today a private army made mostly of women labours to feed family, friends, and those in need. With Chef Brent McAllister (AquaTerra) Lindy and Helena show us the enjoyment to be had in food picked and prepared by hand. Moderated by Aara Macauley. Tastings. Cash bar. Media Sponsor: Country 93.5 Grandview, Delta Hotel 3:30 - 5:00 pm Advance GA $25 Senior…Find out more »
FESTIVAL TICKET INFO + PRICES 2018
Want more info?
Click on our digital Program Guide or Schedule-at-a-Glance to view and download!
Tickets can be purchased directly from the Grand Theatre Box Office online (click the ‘Buy Now’ ticket icon), in person at 218 Princess Street, or by phone (613-530-2050) until 6 pm on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. International Marquee tickets will continue to be sold through the Grand until the event start time.
Ticket prices are listed as Pre-Festival (purchased by 6 pm on Tuesday, September 25), and Festival (all tickets purchased once the Festival has begun):
Regular Onstage and Festival Field Trip events
General Admission $20 Adv/$22 Fest; Senior $18 Pre/$20 Fest; Student $5 Pre/ $8 Fest
Writers Retreat Classes General Admission $35 Pre/$40 Fest; Senior $32 Pre/$38 Fest
Celebrate the Literary: Breakfast with Peter Carey; Robertson Davies Dinner -and- Book Lovers’ Lunch
General Admission $45 Pre/$50 Fest; Senior $40 Pre/$45 Fest
Saturday Night SpeakEasy General Admission $30 Pre/$35 Fest; Senior $27 Pre/$32 Fest
Forgotten Foods of Forest, Field, & Orchard General Admission $25 Pre/$28 Fest; Senior $22 Pre/$25 Fest
BUY 5 and SAVE – available for regular events OR Writers Retreat classes! Simply add EITHER 5 regular onstage OR 5 Writers Retreat tickets to your cart and the discount will automatically be applied.
OFFSEASON EVENTS: View event description carefully for details on price, advance sale cut-offs, and venue.
FEES: All ticket prices include HST. Please be advised that the Grand Theatre Box Office will add a handling fee of $3.50/ticket.
TICKET PICK-UP: Any tickets – EXCEPT International Marquee tickets – that are not picked up at the Grand Theatre before 12 pm on Wednesday, September 26th will be brought to the onsite box office at the Holiday Inn. You may pick up your tickets there at any time during onsite box office hours (30 minutes before the first onsite event of the day til 15 minutes after the last event of the day).
During the festival, tickets are ONLY available onsite from the Festival Box Office on the main floor of the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.
EXCHANGES and REFUNDS: We do not offer exchanges or refunds on tickets (except when an event is cancelled), so please plan before you buy. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of KWF staff.
PHOTOGRAPHS: No flash photography, video recorders or tape recorders, please.