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Writers Studio | Food Event | Ticketed Event

I Love the Beautiful Strange Way You Speak to Me: Playwriting *SOLD OUT*

Sir John A. Macdonald Room Holiday Inn, Kingston Waterfront, 2 Princess St, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* Join playwright Shannon Bramer for an interactive workshop that helps you create multi-dimensional characters and extend the boundaries of your writing with experiments that might include poetry, art, dreams, and memory. Listen and learn from each other by reading your work aloud. If you like, come with one short piece to share, either […]

Finding Freedom: Beyond the Binary

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

In 2018, filmmaker Luna Ferguson made history as the first person in Ontario to receive a birth certificate declaring their gender as non-binary. Their memoir, Me, Myself, They, explores how they transformed early traumas into creativity, strength, and empathy. Luna also celebrates the decades-long work of activists for transgender visibility and safety, and invites us […]

Without Apology: YA Fiction *SOLD OUT*

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

***SOLD OUT*** One girl is dispatched to Qatar after calling out her Islamophobic teacher. The other is sent away for an arranged marriage in Bangladesh after she is caught by staunchly traditional parents, as she kisses a girl. These characters, from two very different authors, S.K. Ali and Sabina Khan, share a common experience of […]

Words and Pix: The Graphic Novel *SOLD OUT*

Sir John A. Macdonald Room Holiday Inn, Kingston Waterfront, 2 Princess St, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* If you’re a fan of Watchmen, Scott Pilgrim, or This One Summer, take a tour of the graphic novel, guided by award-winning author David Alexander Robertson – with stops at its history, how a script evolves into a story told in pictures, and how the script you write helps in the development of the images. David shows […]

Visual Literacy: Using Images to Enrich Your Writing *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* Award-winning novelist Alan Cumyn guides you through image-based exercises to unlock your creativity while exploring fundamentals of strong, visually rich writing. Whether we write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or memoir, we’ve all heard the advice to “show, not tell.” Using evocative paintings, photographs and texts as jumping-off points, students craft new work paying particular […]

Wolf Music

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Can humans and wolves co-exist? Author Paula Wild asks a question that has major ramifications for our place in this world. She considers the myths and fears surrounding wolves, the history of conflict between our two species, current scientific and wildlife-management practices, and the contrasting current popularity of the wolf as the “poster child” for […]

Two Authors, Two Women, Two Flights: Fiction

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Two women, each at the top of a flight of stairs. One grips the banister. The other does not. Bringing them together in this conversation are Cary Fagan, author of The Student and Howard Akler, author of Splitsville – two powerful novels set in Toronto – that chronicle the extraordinary changes the city has undergone, […]

Writing 101 *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* In this master class, Lawrence Scanlan – the author or co-author of 24 books (non-fiction, memoir, and young adult fiction) – details what he has learned in his forty-year-long writing life about the fundamentals of good prose. About rhythm and flow, clarity and pacing, the use of imagery and dialogue, how to critique […]

Skeptics and Seekers: What is Spiritual Living?

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

How do you live a soulful life? Anne Bokma reports on a year-long experiment of spiritual truth, beauty, trouble, and fun, as she consults a shaman, tries forest bathing, and hosts ‘death dinners.’ Susan Scott has collected stories about the messiness of faith, practice, religion, and ceremony – from writers such as Sharon Bala, Carleigh […]

Top 20 Writing Gaffes You Can Catch Yourself *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* Susan Scott, the non-fiction editor of The New Quarterly, shines a light on the typical mistakes that writers make, and shows you how to fix them to avoid being panned by social media, the grammar police, or others. Using examples from her work with books and magazines, national contests, retreats, and award-winning collaborations, Susan combines […]

All Things Observed

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

A festival-favourite, award-winning author Elizabeth Hay is back! This time she has turned her razor-sharp gaze on herself, her family, and the challenging journey of aging that lies in front of us all. Funny, insightful, brave and crafty, Elizabeth transforms the trials and tribulations of being a daughter in mid-life into vital prose. Join her […]

The Odd Couple: Fiction

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Internationally-acclaimed Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue returns to Kingston WritersFest with a novel about odd pairings across generations, regions, language, status, and time. What links us is often far stronger than what separates us, and Emma’s writing is a formidable bridge of understanding in the modern world. Joined in conversation by another Irish firecracker of an […]

Book Lovers’ Lunch *SOLD OUT*

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Get your notepads ready – here’s your backstage pass to the publishing industry! No one is more plugged in that Ben McNally of Toronto’s Ben McNally Books, and he is ready to give you another year of insightful book recommendations for discerning readers – need we mention the charm, verve, and vigour with which he […]

Power of the Pitch: Find Your Story’s Narrative Hooks *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* A book pitch is usually a blunt summary and crude sales vehicle, a disposable by-product of the real work. But pitching carries liberating potential to challenge what your story is “about.” In this master class, bestselling author Andrew Pyper gives you a series of exercises to discover your story’s most powerful expression. By […]

Women Who’ve Had Enough: Fiction

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Join Irish-Canadian author Anakana Schofield and Newfoundland author Megan Gail Coles as they discuss small town politics, neighbourhood gossips, and the fired-up, fed-up female characters that populate their new novels. With moderator Aara Macauley, they explore the situations and frustrations that drive women to the edge, and the challenges and importance of addressing hard topics […]

What We Talk About When We Talk About Dialogue *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* We talk all the time, so nothing should be easier than writing dialogue. Yet, most writers find it hard to do convincingly. The ones who can do it are said to have an “ear”. Showing examples from other writers and from his own work, award-winning novelist and screenwriter, David Bezmozgis, invites you to investigate together […]

Identity Through Poetry: Who is Bruce Kauffman Screening

Screening Room Kingston 120 Princess Street, Kingston

Who Is Bruce Kauffman? is an anthology film that explores and celebrates Kingston’s vibrant literary and spoken-word community through the eyes of a poet impresario who manages to be both ubiquitous and elusive. This is a thoughtful ode to a life devoted to the fusion of poetry and community, and an invitation for us to […]

Voaden Prize Reading

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Kingston WritersFest and the Dan School of Drama and Music proudly present a staged reading of Damian Tarnopolsky's The Defence, the winning play of the 2019 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition. Join us for an exclusive first look at the winning play at Kingston WritersFest. Previous Voaden Prize winners include Jordan Tannahill for Late Company and Norman Yeung […]

Choosing Your Words *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

*SOLD OUT* “Poems, novels, stories are built word by word,” says poet Lorna Crozier. That sounds simple, but what goes into our choosing which word we’ll use? Why “dolor” over “sadness”? “mutt” over “canine”? Lorna examines writers’ choices and then lets you write something, with this passage from Lewis Carroll in mind: “Must a name mean […]

Spills, Thrills, and Reading Wills: The Fiction of Fear

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Petrifying plot twists. Treacheries you don’t see coming. Imaginations both out of this world and very much a part of it – strap yourself in for some well-crafted and honest suspense with two of Canada’s scariest writers, Andrew Pyper and Catherine McKenzie. Moderated by Marc Garniss, Director of the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, this event […]

Eternity in an Hour: The Power of Short Fiction

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Seneca said, “As is a tale, so is life: what matters is not how long, but how good.” Many consider the short story the toughest form to master, but David Bezmozgis and HB Hogan have found unique ways to tell illuminating, sometimes difficult, and often personal stories in the short form. Joined by short fiction […]

Chop Suey Nation: The Exceptional Fusion of Canada, China, and Food *SOLD OUT*

Silver Wok 373 King Street East, Kingston

***SOLD OUT*** Don’t miss this exceptional lunch event! Globe and Mail national food reporter Ann Hui travelled across Canada for 18 days to report on why every small town has a Chinese restaurant. Her report eventually became Chop Suey Nation, which chronicles not just the history of Chinese-Canadian food (and the invention of dishes like […]

The Fiction of Guy Gavriel Kay: Where Fantasy and History Collide

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

International best-selling author Guy Gavriel Kay has created almost as many worlds as he has written books, and each is fleshed out with history, culture, language, and religion. While many fantasy authors hide their inspiration, Kay admits it up front. A Brightness Long Ago creatively evokes the Machiavellian world of Renaissance Italy. Ben Charland chats […]

Meaning Schmeaning: Writing as a Journey *85% SOLD*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

In this unpredictable, enjoyable workshop, award-winning poet/fictioneer Stuart Ross encourages you to forget about “meaning” and “intention” and instead approach writing as a journey into a laboratory filled with a mysterious mist, and crazy burbling and popping noises you don’t quite recognize. Stuart leads you through four or five lively and fun poetry and prose […]

The Decisive Moment: Writing Great Scenes

Sir John A. Macdonald Room Holiday Inn, Kingston Waterfront, 2 Princess St, Kingston

Prizewinning playwright and novelist Damian Tarnopolsky leads a masterclass on scene construction. We’ll examine the essentials of writing great scenes in various genres, looking at some classic examples for tips on pacing, motivation, turning points, characterization, and crafting dialogue that crackles and hums. As well as getting to grips with the elements that make fictional and dramatic scenes work, we'll write […]

The Time Has Come: Achieving Gender Equality

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

For decades, author and educator Michael Kaufman has urged boys and men not only to embrace but to actively promote equal rights for women. Michael argues that men also stand to benefit from the ongoing gender equality revolution, which promises to unlock immense economic, cultural, and creative potential around the world. In light of continuing […]

The Reality Bubble

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

We are only capable of seeing a thin sliver of reality. But beneath and between the careful surface there are hidden forces that affect our lives in unexpected and even dangerous ways. Renowned science journalist Ziya Tong uncovers the unseen and unspoken, through the power of skin-unraveling X-rays, high-tech surveillance enabled by artificial intelligence, 360-degree […]

Writing Character and Voice *SOLD OUT*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

Author Erika Behrisch Elce explains techniques to develop richly-imagined and believable characters. Whether your character is fully fictional, based on an historical figure, or the poetic voice, good groundwork and thoughtful choices give your characters depth. Learn how research can be a great tool that delivers unexpected and surprising details that make characters spring off […]

The Big Idea: Is Democracy Doomed? *SOLD OUT*

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

***SOLD OUT*** In this election year, the Big Idea focuses on a question that is on everyone’s mind: what is the future of Canadian democracy? Can cherished institutions endure ongoing assault from populism, climate change, social media, geopolitical turbulence, and accelerating social upheaval? Are our governments up to it? Join Indigenous poet and thought leader […]

Author! Author!

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

M.G. Vassanji’s award-winning novels are global in scope and scale. His most recent novel, A Delhi Obsession explores the contours, passions, traditions, and seeming impossibilities that link Toronto and Delhi today. Joined in conversation with broadcast journalist Eric Friesen, Vassanji will talk about the connections between his life and work, the inevitable sweep of history, […]

To Be Here: Writing Place

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

Poet Tanis Macdonald explores the questions: what is the action of being here now? How does the past inform the present? where “here” is subject to your own definition, and “history,” is your lived experience of place. Using sample pieces of writing as a model, you write a piece about place to share with the […]

Hope Matters

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

The romance of the raven; the headstones in the clearing; the ember of justice; a cry to the bark-stripped moon – these are just a few of the many images in Hope Matters, a collection of poems centred around the journey of indigenous peoples in Canada from colonialism to reconciliation, and from home to the […]

Stitching in Time: Historical Fiction

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Join international best-selling author Jennifer Robson as she unpicks, in gorgeous detail, Princess Elizabeth’s super-secret wedding gown in post-war Britain. With glimpses into royal protocols, couturier design houses, and the desperate privations of two young women who work on the gown, Jennifer illuminates a time when a nation set aside its desperate worries and celebrated […]

The Long Table

Grandview, Delta Hotel 1 Johnson St, Kingston

What happens when you gather people around at a long table for a delicious meal served family-style? Storytelling, of course, and lots of it. And connection. Break bread with professor of nutrition, chef, and food blogger (ameliaeats.com) Amy Symington for a delectable spread of “I-can’t-believe-it’s-veggie” dishes, served at a long table, family style, After the […]

Visual Storytelling

Sir John A. Macdonald Room Holiday Inn, Kingston Waterfront, 2 Princess St, Kingston

Images have the power of saying a lot with a little. In this class, educator, entrepreneur, and creative Claire Bouvier shows you the importance of light and darkness when telling a story and how to use different perspectives to emotionally connect with your audience. After a brief outdoor photography expedition, an exploratory opportunity to take photographs as […]

Beyond the First Draft: Polishing Your Work *93% SOLD*

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

Award-winning author Rabindranath Maharaj helps you get your work ready for publication, as he takes you through various subjects, including understanding your audience, matching length and style to genre and topic, and checking for continuity of description, timeline, language, and theme. Robin explains the critical refining decisions that lead to a viable final draft, encourages group discussion, and allows thirty […]

Fighting for Their Rights: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters in Early Canada

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

“Blacks have always been part of the Canadian story,” says author Cecil Foster, “but Canada did not always recognize the contributions that blacks have made.” When white unions refused to allow black workers into their ranks, the porters formed their own organizations to demand respect for their labour.  In conversation with Lawrence Scanlan, Cecil presents […]

Lady Franklin Writes: Where Historians Dare Not Go

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

In her debut novel, Erika Behrisch Elce explores the doomed Franklin Expedition from a fresh perspective, that of Franklin’s wife. The story begins with her anticipation of Sir John’s return and continues through her campaign for answers after his death. Written in a lively and instantly believable voice, this epistolary novel speaks back to standard […]

And the Journey Continues

Garden, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

A hit every year! Come celebrate emerging local talent with a set of energizing, provocative, and powerful spoken-word performances. Headlined by Kingston’s own verbal powerhouse Allison Chisholm, Toronto spoken-word poet Abena Beloved Green, and Poetry in Voice artist Cyrena Fiel, this event promises to make you see the world in a different way – maybe more […]

Yoga and the Art of Relaxed Writing

St. Lawrence Ballroom, Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge 7 Earl Street, Kingston

Author/ yoga teacher Kirsteen MacLeod helps you harness yoga’s power, free up your writing, and feed your creative flame. Gentle yoga poses, suitable for almost everyone, provide a jumping-off point for writing exercises. The body-centred process teaches you to work with less effort, generate new material intuitively, and apply new skills to advance your writing […]

Sicilian Awakenings: Fiction

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Some authors peel back the layers of character to reveal what makes us truly human. Some survey the historical record to find the lines that unite us through time. And some explore the passion, desperation, and terrible power of creativity, and the need to make something magical. Very few novelists do all of these; author […]

FESTIVAL TICKET INFO + PRICES 2020

All regular onstage events for 2020 are free, although donations are gratefully accepted.

Tickets for Writers Studio master classes can be purchased directly from the website – click the Buy Now button.

Writers Studio Master Classes General Admission $30 – all ages

OFFSEASON EVENTS: View event description carefully for details on price, advance sale cut-offs, and venue.

FEES: All ticket prices include HST.

EXCHANGES and REFUNDS: We do not offer exchanges or refunds on tickets (except when an event is cancelled), so please plan before you buy.