Kingston WritersFest 12th annual festival begins Sept 23

Shani Mootoo, Desmond Cole, Linwood Barclay and Helen Humphreys are among the authors participating in the week-long Kingston WriterFest online festival.

Kingston WritersFest is presenting their week-long festival online this year. From September 23-27, 2020, authors Desmond Cole, Shani Mootoo, Joan Thomas, Helen Humphreys, and Linwood Barclay, among others, will be participating in author events, lectures, and Writers Studio Master Classes, as well as special events in collaboration with Toronto’s Word on the Street and Kingston Frontenac Public Library.

The 12th annual festival is offering many of the events free of charge, and they will be hosted on the Zoom platform over the course of the five days, according to a media release dated Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. A full event line up can be found at

Highlights of the events, as stated in the release:

The festival opens with a free event Wednesday evening featuring award-winning writer and former poet laureate of Kingston, Helen Humphreys. With artistic director Barbara Bell, Helen unravels the mystery and beauty of a unique story in an iconic Canadian setting with her noble and beautiful experiment in fiction: Rabbit Foot Bill.

Author, journalist, and senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Policy, John Stackhouse follows the opening event with a well-timed discussion with Ben Charland, Our Canadian Values: Can They Heal the World? In his latest release Planet Canada, Stackhouse argues that Canada’s voice is in danger of being lost in the noise as larger powers and rapidly developing nations emphatically claim their place as international influencers.

Author Robyn Doolittle and fiction writer Danielle Younge-Ullman address #MeToo with Ying Lee, and piece apart the complex issues, the fallout of speaking up, and how we can all use this moment in history to out and dismantle the systems of privilege that support rape culture and all inequitable and discriminatory systems.

The Robertson Davies Lecture shines a spotlight on the BLM conversation with author Desmond Cole (The Skin We’re In) in conversation with Kingston author and specialist in equity, diversity, and inclusion Anita Jack-Davis.

Kingston WritersFest event Author! Author! brings together Governor-General’s award-winning fiction author Joan Thomas and award-winning novelist Jane Urquhart.

Virtual spectators are invited to join Carol Off Saturday evening for a festival favourite event, The Big Idea – a panel discussion and visionary exercise about what the future may bring, with statistician Darrell Bricker, economist Jeff Rubin, novelist Catherine Bush, and novelist and memoirist Tessa McWatt. With unprecedented global upheaval, and many challenges to be addressed – the ongoing health catastrophe of COVID-19, systemic and institutional racism, income instability, the rapaciousness of big business, and the climate crisis – NGOs advocate a just recovery/Green New Deal as a way forward. Do these proposals stand up to analysis? Are they right for us as individuals? As a nation?

Sunday, award-winning novelist Annabel Lyon and Kingston creative Tricia Knowles explore Lyon’s 2020 Giller Prize nominated novel Consent. With a discussion around sibling relationships, they will examine the exquisite and painful balance of the pros and cons of sisterly duty, and the desire for revenge following tragedy.

For a full line up of authors, and details on all #KWF2020 events, visit

About Kingston WritersFest

Kingston WritersFest has established itself not only as a prime Kingston cultural event, but also as one of the top Canadian literary festivals. Kingston WritersFest aims to explore the ideas that shape our world, warm our hearts, and stir our imaginations through author readings, writers’ studio master classes, food and beverage events, and discussions that celebrate culture, history, imagination, diversity and originality.

The Festival, which aims to be the organization in our community that celebrates the power of the written word by connecting writers and readers in conversations that inspire, engage, and change our worldview, was professionalized by author Merilyn Simonds in 2009 and quickly became one of the most prestigious Canadian Literary Festivals. The Festival has since established a role as an organization that fosters the artistic development of individual writers, promotes literary expression, and develops an audience for the literary arts.

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