Kingston WritersFest, an annual festival that “celebrates the power of the written word by connecting readers and writers in inclusive conversations that inspire, engage, and expand our worldviews,” is returning to its original in-person format after a two-year pandemic pause.
The festival will take place at the Holiday Inn Waterfront from Wednesday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, and organizers noted Heather O’Neill, Joshua Whitehead, Maude Barlow and Gabor Maté among its author line up.
According to a release from the festival, Artistic Director Aara Macauley revealed the major highlights of the 2022 season at an event on the night of Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022, at the new intimate event space, Curate.Social. Those highlights includeed the return of favourite events, like ‘Author! Author!’ (with Guy Gavriel Kay), ‘The Big Idea,’ and ‘Book Lover’s Lunch,’ as well as exciting new additions like a ‘Literary Trivia Night’ (hosted by Ali Hassan) and ‘Last Chapter Brunch’ (with David Adams Richards).
“This year’s festival is all about celebrating where we are – back together, in person, and reflecting on what we, collectively, have navigated over the past two years,” Macauley said. “Our theme for 2022 is Beneath the Surface, and it recognizes the desire to have deeper conversations about the issues and causes that have dominated our thoughts and the headlines since COVID-19’s appearance.”
Events centred around mental health and addiction, environmental, political and social activism, and racial, cultural, gender and sexual identity are in the foreground of this year’s Festival, organizers stated. According to the release, this is also a celebration of excellent writing, and there are numerous award-winning authors returning with exciting new works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.
Organizers shared that Carol Off will return to host ‘The Big Idea,’ welcoming Tajja Isen, Stephen Marche, and Robyn Maynard for conversation around (an investigation into) the weaponization of words, like ‘freedom,’ ‘facist,’ and ‘woke,’ which have seen their meanings twist and transform to inject odious ideas into the public space.
Macauley also announced the marquee event in KWF’s new ‘Beneath the Surface’ series: ‘The Myth of Normal,’ featuring Gabor Maté, an internationally renowned author and speaker who is highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress.
According to the release, authors Shyam Selvadurai, Nita Prose, Martha Wainwright, Eva Stachniak, and Elamin Abdelmahmoud were also announced, as were local-grown talents like Nancy Jo Cullen, Iain Reid, Helen Humpreys, Merilyn Simonds, and more. Local author and poet Sarah Tsiang, who read from her new poetry collection, Grappling Hook, during the launch event, will also be featured as part of the Fall festival, organizers said.
Now entering its 14th festival season, Kingston WritersFest also announced the return of their popular immersive two- or four-day writing retreat. The Retreat features 12 Writers Studio Master Classes, instructed by a curated faculty comprised of award-winning and renowned Canadian authors.
For more on Kingston WritersFest, this year’s events, and author line up, visit their website, kingstonwritersfest.ca. Festival Passes and single event tickets are now on sale.