Halfiax’s first literary festival held its inaugural event last year.
But due to COVID-19, year two is going ahead online, something organizers think will still be a page-turner.
Afterwords bills itself as a five-day celebration of writers, readers, and the ideas that bring them together.
This year, they’ll be brought together by Zoom meetings, and the theme of this year’s festival is Writing Into an Uncertain Future.
The co-director of Afterwords is local writer Stephanie Domet, who says she actually came up with the theme prior to COVID-19.
“I was thinking a lot last year around this time about climate change especially, and political division, and all the things that are still really present in our world, though they’re a little bit overshadowed right now by COVID,” she tells The Sheldon MacLeod Show.
Because of theme, they invited writers speculative fiction writers, like Catherine Hernandez, Thea Lim, Cory Doctrow, and headliner Roxanne Gay.
“This is a dream come true. We tried to get Roxanne Gay in the first year of the festival, we thought we might as well swing for the fences, and for a variety of reasons we couldn’t make it work. But since there will be no travel in a virtual festival, we thought, maybe it will be a little bit more affordable, so maybe we’ll try for Roxanne again, and she said ‘yes’,” says Domet.
The event will also feature Nova Scotia authors Sue Goyette, El Jones, Shalan Joudry, and Francesca Ekwuyasi.
Domet says she recently attended a virtual literary festival based out of New York, and that experience has her thinking that taking Afterwords online will be a success, with all panels, workshops, and readings taking place over Zoom meetings.
“Lots of us have developed lots of facility with Zoom over the last few months, and I think we’re getting more used to getting to social events via Zoom,” she says.
She says, she just hopes people make the best of it.
“We hope people will have watch parties and chat with each other in the chat.”
The festival runs from August 30-Sept 4.