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Writers Studio | Food Event | Ticketed Event

44. Viva Voce: YA Readings/Performances

Garden, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

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 […]

45. Home in Any Country: Non-Fiction

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

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 […]

46. Word Sounds: Homophonic Translation for Prose or Poetry

Lakeview, Delta Hotel 1 Johnson St, Kingston

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 […]

47. Forgotten Foods of Forest, Field, & Orchard

Grandview, Delta Hotel 1 Johnson St, Kingston

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 […]

An Evening with Jean Chrétien

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Kingston WritersFest presents The Right Honorable Mr. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada, with his new book My Stories, My Times. October 2018 marks twenty-five years since Jean Chrétien became prime minister. In this illuminating book, Mr. Chretien shares memories of his long years in the public eye, and the many leaders and luminaries […]

$35.00

Charles Frazier in Conversation

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

Join Charles Frazier, acclaimed author of the bestselling historical novel, Cold Mountain, as he talks with Eric Friesen about Varina, which vividly brings to life the chaos and devastation of the American Civil War. In a Washington Post review Mary Doria Russell writes, “…Cold Mountain, was not only a massive bestseller about the Civil War, it […]

$20.00

An Evening with Catherine Hernandez

Join Kingston WritersFest and Queen's Reads for a special offseason event featuring author Catherine Hernandez as she discusses her career and her award-winning book Scarborough. Scarborough follows the lives of three children who inhabit Toronto’s low-income east end. Bing, who lives under the shadow of his father’s mental illness while his mother works tirelessly in a […]

$20.00

Treaties and Ashes: Stories of the Indigenous Experience

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

Is a treaty a contract or an act of faith? A form of justice or just another way to tell a story? Poet-scholar Armand Garnet Ruffo and memoirist-historian Jesse Thistle excavate the deeper meanings and consequences of the agreements – written and unwritten, spoken and unspoken, personal and collective – that bind us all. With […]

An Evening with Michael Crummey *SOLD OUT*

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

***SOLD OUT*** Is there a slice of Newfoundland that award-winning Michael Crummey’s pen has not touched? No stranger to Kingston WritersFest, Michael is a warm, funny, and charming storyteller to spend an evening with in literary talk.  Join Michael and Steven Heighton as they unpack his latest novel The Innocents, a richly imagined and riveting […]

Writing Outside the Box: Experiments in Form *SOLD OUT*

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

***SOLD OUT*** Molson Award-winning experimental fiction writer Diane Schoemperlen shares techniques for opening yourself to experimentation with literary form by using the page in unique ways, re-imagining the arrangement of text on the page or incorporating visual elements. For the non-adventurous or stuck writer, this is a gentle way to bust out of the rut […]

Diving Into the Planet *81% SOLD*

Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

In her thrilling memoir, Into the Planet, internationally renowned cave diver Jill Heinerth takes us into the least-known crevices of Planet Earth. Through cracks in the world’s biggest iceberg, or along the conduit of a volcano, Jill sees the world as few others can – and dives not merely for sport or adventure, but to […]

Ghosts, Truths, and the Power Within *SOLD OUT*

Islandview Room, Holiday Inn 2 Princess St, Kingston

***SOLD OUT*** “Life can be hard; death can be harder.” Old magic, deceit, and mystery link the latest works by two innovative and exciting writers, novelist David Alexander Robertson, a Swampy Cree, and Algonquin Anishinaabe debut author, Karen McBride. While tricksters, strange spirits, and post-apocalyptic settings may be unsettling, what could possibly haunt us more […]

Personal Poetry *SOLD OUT*

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

***SOLD OUT*** Kingston performance poet Alyssa Cooper offers this learn-by-doing performance poetry workshop. Learn how to use descriptive tools like metaphor and symbolism, and then try out performance techniques like alliteration, syncopation, rhythm, and feel how the act of performing can change the written aspect of a piece. Alyssa walks you through writing your own […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.