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2014 Vancouver Writers Fest

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Granville Island
Vancouver, BC

This year, one of the themes of the Vancouver Writers Fest is that of discovery. Every year Festival-goers attend an event to see one author, and leave having discovered someone new. Our 2014 Festival, however, may be unprecedented in terms of the number of international authors you’ve not yet heard of but are bound to become entranced with. Karl Ove Knausgaard, an acclaimed novelist in his native Norway, was unknown to English-speaking readers until his Min Kamp (My Struggle) books, a series of six autobiographical novels, began appearing in translation. Now his work is reviewed widely, he has been compared to Proust, and British novelist Zadie Smith is quoted as saying she needs his next book “like crack.” The Icelandic novelist, poet and lyricist Sjón may not be on your radar, but with fans like Junot Díaz, David Mitchell and A.S. Byatt, you will want to check him out. Dutch author and actor Herman Koch made waves with his novel The Dinner, which was translated into 21 languages and sold over one million copies throughout Europe. He is at the Festival with a new novel, Summer House with Swimming Pool. It took Irish novelist Eimear McBride six months to write her novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, and nine years to find a publisher. Called a “genius” by fellow Irish writer Anne Enright, McBride’s novel won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year.

In addition to discoveries, you will re-encounter some favourites who’ve joined us at Festivals past, all of whom are back with new works of fiction ready for you to devour. Ann-Marie MacDonald, Jane Smiley, Sarah Waters and Tim Winton are just a few authors whose books you may be lining up to get signed.

We’re also hosting a few noteworthy celebrations. This year, Talonbooks will publish Peacock Blue, the collected works of poet Phyllis Webb, and Brian Brett will host a tribute with Phyllis in attendance. Jean Baird has organized a benefit to raise funds for the continued restoration of Al Purdy’s hand-built A-frame cottage, and to support residencies for Canadian writers. And the great British Columbia publishing house Harbour is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an event at the Festival. We invite you to join the celebration.

I look forward to seeing you on Granville Island in October, when distinguished writers from around the world make it a book lover’s paradise.