The 2017 Sidney Literary Festival was held September 22 – 24, 2017. All events were held at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, B.C. Below is the line-up of authors who participated.
The Festival schedule is available here.
Our Festival is supported by granting agencies, local businesses, other arts organizations and individual donors. A special thanks to Tanner’s Books, for their continued support and generous sponsorship. Thanks also to our dedicated team of volunteers without whom we couldn’t hold the Festival.
GARY BARWIN is a writer, composer, and multidisciplinary artist and the author of twenty-one books of poetry, fiction and books for children. His latest book is the poetry collection No TV for Woodpeckers. His recent national bestselling novel Yiddish for Pirates won the 2017 Stephen Leacock Medal for Canadian Humour and was shortlisted for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. His interactive writing installation using old typewriters and guitar processors was featured during 2016-2017 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. A finalist for the National Magazine Awards (Poetry), he is a three-time recipient of Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year, has also received the Hamilton Arts Award for Literature and has co-won the bpNichol Chapbook Award and the K.M. Hunter Arts Award. He is one of the judges for this year’s CBC Poetry Prize. A PhD in music composition, Barwin has been Writer-in-Residence at Western University and Young Voices E-Writer-in-Residence at the Toronto Public Library and will be writer-in-residence at McMaster University and the Hamilton Public Library in 2017-2018.
PAT CARNEY is a journalist, educator, and politician, serving as a former Member of Parliament, cabinet minister, and senator. She was awarded the Order of Canada for her leadership role in these fields. Carney is the author of Trade Secrets: A Memoir (Key Porter) and other works. Her latest book is On Island: Life Among the Coast Dwellers. The Vancouver Sun calls this debut collection of short stories a “charming and wry look at life on an unnamed island off the B.C. coast. She demonstrates both the benefit and drawback of life in a relatively isolated and small place, and they are the same: everyone knows everyone.” Carney lives on Saturna Island in BC’s Gulf Islands.
M.A.C. FARRANT is the author of fourteen works of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and over one hundred book reviews and essays for The Vancouver Sun and The Globe and Mail. Her memoir, My Turquoise Years, which she adapted for the stage, premiered in 2013 at the Arts Club Theatre’s in Vancouver, British Columbia. The World Afloat – Miniatures, won the City of Victoria Book Butler Book Prize in 2014. Her latest book of fiction (Fall 2016), is “The Days—Forecasts, Warnings, Advice”. The Vancouver Sun says it “is great fun but also makes you look at the world in a new way.” A full-time writer, Farrant’s work as been nominated for many awards.
CHARLOTTE GILL is the author Eating Dirt, a tree-planting memoir nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, the Charles Taylor Prize, and two B.C. Book Prizes. It was the 2012 winner of the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. Her previous book, Ladykiller, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and winner of the B.C. Book Prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Stories, The Journey Prize Stories, and many magazines. She teaches creative writing in the graduate program at the University of British Columbia and is currently faculty in Literary Arts at the Banff Centre. She lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.
KATHERINE GOVIER’S most recent novel The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel tells the story of a family of pony outfitters in the Rocky Mountains over one hundred years. Her Creation, about John James Audubon in Labrador, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2003. She won Canada’s Marian Engel Award for a woman writer (1997) and the Toronto Book Award (1992). She has twice been shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium prize. The author of twelve books, Katherine has been instrumental in establishing two innovative writing programs. In 1989, with teacher Trevor Owen, she helped found Writers in Electronic Residence. Today she is the founder and Director of The Shoe Project, working to improve the written and spoken English of immigrant women. She has been President of PEN Canada and is a vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
PAULINE HOLDSTOCK is an internationally published novelist, short fiction writer and essayist. Her novels have been shortlisted for a number of awards, among them the Best First Novel Award, the Scotia Bank Giller prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Her historical novel Beyond Measure was the winner of the BC Book Prizes Ethel Wilson Award for Fiction. The Hunter and the Wild Girl, her most recent book, won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. Pauline lives here on the peninsula and spends writing time in France, where her latest novel is set.
ANOSH IRANI was born in Bombay and moved to Vancouver in 1998. He has published three critically acclaimed novels: The Cripple and His Talismans; The Song of Kahunsha, an international bestseller that was shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and Dahanu Road, nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize. His latest novel, The Parcel, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. His play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award in 2006 for Best New Play or New Musical.
JACK KNOX is an award-losing columnist with Victoria’s Times Colonist newspaper, where he has worked since 1988. As a journalist he has debated policy with prime ministers, sat down with a succession of premiers and interviewed a murderer in his cell. He liked the murderer. Career highlights include being blasted with blowhole spray by Luna the whale (it tasted like fish), interviewing a porn movie star in the nude (her, not him) and getting a phone call from Barack Obama four days before he (Obama, not Jack) was elected president. He is the author of 2016’s Hard Knox: Musings From the Edge of Canada, a humour book about life on Vancouver Island. A best-of compilation of his Times Colonist humour columns will be published by Heritage House this fall.
SCAACHI KOUL is a senior writer at BuzzFeed Canada. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Hairpin, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus and Jezebel. Her first book, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter was chosen by The Globe and Mail as one of the most anticipated books of 2017. She was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and now lives in Toronto.
KEVIN PATTERSON grew up in Manitoba, and put himself through medical school by joining the Canadian army. Now a specialist in internal medicine, he practices in the Arctic and on the coast of British Columbia. His first book, The Water In Between, was a New York Times Notable Book. Country of Cold, his debut short fiction collection, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2003, as well as the inaugural City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. His latest book is News from the Red Desert chosen as a best book of 2016 by both The National Post and The Walrus. He lives on Saltspring Island, Canada.
YASUKO THANH’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Prairie Fire, Descant, PRISM international, and Vancouver Review. The title story, “Floating Like the Dead,” won the prestigious Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2009. She was a finalist for the Future Generations Millennium Prize, the Hudson Prize, and the David Adams Richards Prize, which recognizes unpublished manuscripts. Her latest book Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains won the 2016 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She recently received her MFA from the University of Victoria. She has lived in Mexico, Germany, and Latin America, and now lives in Victoria.
GUY VANDERHAEGHE was born in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, in 1951. His previous fiction includes A Good Man, The Last Crossing, The Englishman’s Boy, Things as They Are (stories), Homesick, My Present Age, Man Descending (stories). Among the many awards he has received are the Governor General’s Awards (twice); and, for his body of work, The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Fellowship, the Writers’ Trust Timothy Findley Award, and the Harbourfront Literary Prize. He has received many honours including the Order of Canada.
ROBERT J. WIERSEMA grew up in a small town in southwestern British Columbia very much like the town he uses for the setting of some of his stories and novels. His first novel, Before I Wake, was published in 2006 and became a national bestseller. It has been published more than a dozen countries. He is also the author of a second novel, Bedtime Story, a novella, The World More Full of Weeping, and a strange memoir, Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen. His most recent novel, Black Feathers, was published in August, 2015. His first short story collection, Seven Crow Stories, was published in 2016. Wiersema writes about books regularly for the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Vancouver Sun and other newspapers and magazines. His weekly books column, Beyond the Bestseller, appears on CBC Radio’s All Points West on Tuesday afternoons. He is a Professor of Creative Writing at Vancouver Island University, and also teaches at Camosun College.
JAN ZWICKY is the author of nearly twenty books of poetry and prose including Songs for Relinquishing the Earth, Forge, and Wisdom & Metaphor. Her most recent poetry collection, The Long Walk, which bears witness to environmental and cultural cataclysm, has been described as “moving, capacious, and profound.” Zwicky’s many honours include the Governor General’s Award and the BC Book Prize. She lives on Quadra Island.