The Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival says it’s pivoting like many festivals across the country in 2020. The seventh edition of Northern Ontario’s premier literary festival plans to present a hybrid festival from Thursday, Nov. 5 to Saturday, Nov. 8, with most sessions online and a day of sessions in-person.
“We knew it was important to continue offering great literary conversations to Northern Ontario despite the pandemic measures. We are aiming for a compromise with minimally one day for an in-person experience,” festival director Heather Campbell said in a release.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wordstock Sudbury said it remains committed to following current guidelines and recommendations from public health authorities. On Saturday, Nov. 5, it will present Expozine Sudbury at the Holiday Inn Sudbury.
Festival-goers can experience inspiring conversations and diverse perspectives – all through a literary lens – with celebrated Canadian authors, poets, playwrights and songwriters.
The festival will again offer several masterclasses for all levels of writers.
Confirmed guests include:
– Amanda Leduc, author of Disfigured: On Fairytales, Disability and Making Space.
Leduc is a disabled writer. Her new novel, The Centaur Wife, is forthcoming with Random House Canada in the spring of 2021.
– Terry Fallis, award-winning humour writer, Best Laid Plans and Albatros.
A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Fallis is the award-winning author of seven national bestselling novels. The Best Laid Plans was the winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour in 2008, and CBC’s Canada Reads in 2011. It was adapted as a six-part CBC-Television miniseries, as well as a stage musical.
– Robert Sawyer, award-winning science fiction writer, The Oppenheimer Alternative, Quantum Night and Calculating God.
Also a futurist, Sawyer has been interviewed more than 350 times on radio, more than 350 times on television, and countless times in print. A member of the Order of Canada, he lives in Mississauga.
– Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant.
Knight is the author of the Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award, and long-listed for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals, plus the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, and the Toronto Star.
– Danny Ramadan, author of The Clothesline Swing.
Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker and LGBTQ-refugees activist. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won the Independent Publisher Book Award, The Canadian Authors Association’s award for Best Fiction, and was shortlisted for Evergreen Award, Sunburst Award and a Lambda Award. The novel is translated to French, German and Hebrew.
His children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef, was published in March 2020 to positive reviews. He is currently finalizing his next novel, The Foghorn Echoes. Danny graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and lives in Vancouver with his husband, Matthew Ramadan.
– Lee Maracle and her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter.
Throughout their youth, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter wrote poetry with their mother, award-winning author Lee Maracle. The three always dreamed that one day they would write a book together. This book is the result of that dream.
The wide-ranging poems in Hope Matters focus on the journey of Indigenous peoples from colonial beginnings to reconciliation. But they also document a very personal journey—that of a mother and her two daughters.
– Eleanor Albanese, author of If Tenderness be Gold.
A historical fiction novel, If Tenderness Be Gold is published by Latitude 46 Publishing. Her film, Under the Pearl Moon, had its launch in 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia and won the Peoples Choice award at the Bay Street Film Festival. Eleanor’s radio drama The Novena Sisters aired nationally on CBC radio’s Sunday Showcase Series and her full-length drama The Two Rooms of Grace was included in the 4th Annual International Women’s Playwrights Festival in Ireland.
– Rod Carley, author of A Matter of Will.
A Matter of Will was a finalist for the 2018 Northern Lit Award for Fiction. His non-fiction short story, A Farewell to Steam, was featured in the anthology, 150 Years Up North and More. His literary fiction short story, Botox and the Brontosaurus, is featured in Cloud Lake Literary’s inaugural online review.
Carley is also an award-winning director, playwright and actor, having directed and produced more than 100 theatrical productions to date including fifteen adaptations of Shakespeare. He is the artistic director of the Acting for Stage and Screen Program for Canadore College and a part-time English professor with Nipissing University.
“This year,” festival organizers added, “we are also excited to announce our commitment to accessibility and inclusivity for our festival, supported by the Ontario Trillium Grant.
“(And) we are delighted to welcome back our community partners: Greater Sudbury Public Library, Salon du livre du grand Sudbury and Expozine Sudbury. This year’s official festival bookseller will be New Liskeard’s independent bookstore Chat Noir.”
Organizers said they count on government support to bring the literary arts to Northern Ontario and acknowledge the support from Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, City of Greater Sudbury, Arts and Culture grant, Celebrate Ontario and Canadian Heritage.
More information can be found on the wordstocksudbury.ca, as well as Facebook and Instagram.