Kingston WritersFest showcases well-rounded talent

The literary festival brings some big names in authorship

International Marquee event with Annie Proulx, Emma Donoghue, and moderator Eric Friesen.
Supplied by Bernard Clark

“The buzz at this year's WritersFest was palpable,” said Barbara Bell, artistic director of Kingston WritersFest.

From Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, Kingston WritersFest, an annual festival dedicated to appreciation and awareness of the literary arts, swept through Kingston.

The event featured big name authors — Robert Bateman, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, David Mitchell to name a few — and many other notable talents with connections to Kingston.

The festival seeks to connect writers, inspire conversation and encourage writer-reader interaction. It’s organized by a team of local volunteers, who help foster an appreciation of literature in both the Kingston and the Queen’s communities.

This year, the festival kicked off with two sold out events: an interview with Kingston author Diane Schoemperlen about her latest memoir, and resident art historian Ross King discussing art history at Queen’s with professor Jacquelyn Coutre.

On Thursday morning, Annie Proulx and Emma Donoghue treated crowds to readings from their latest novels, and engaged in an open conversation with the audience at the Grand Theatre. Finally, on Friday, Eleanor Wachtel hosted a segment with broadcaster Eric Friesen on interviewing authors and her experiences with some of the better known writers of our time.

Friday night saw The Big Idea: A Good Death debate, a discussion between Dr. Chris Simpson from the Faculty of Medicine and Udo Shuklenk from the Faculty of Philosophy, joined by Andre Picard of The Globe and Mail focused on Sandra Martin’s book A Good Death.

There was a unique debate set-up between professors from wildly different backgrounds, who “participated in the debate from the ethical and clinical perspectives,” Bell said. The events that spanned this year’s festival were designed to open up the lines of communication between writer and reader. They allowed for inspiration, discussion and appreciation for the literary arts in a way that made room for everyone.

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