The 2016 Kingston Writersfest

By Visit Kingston

The Kingston WritersFest, taking place September 28 – October 2, 2016 has long been an annual event worth looking forward to – through readings, performance, onstage discussion and a series of master classes, the festival has fostered intellectual and emotional growth on a personal and community level – while raising the profile of reading and literary expression in the community.

And this year’s festival – featuring 75 talented authors and 50 events over five glorious days – is shaping up to be on the most exciting installments yet. With some big – and we mean big – names slated to attend this year, you won’t want to miss out.

Emma Donoghue

You may have recently heard some buzz surrounding Donoghue’s name, thanks in part to the phenomenal success of her international bestseller, Room – a book later adapted by Donoghue herself into an award-winning film – and garnering an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

Now, author of eight previous novels, including Frog Music and Slammerkin – Donoghue is back with The Wonder, a novel about a little girl in 1850s Ireland who doesn’t eat (before anorexia was identified). Much like her previous work with Room, the complex and beautifully constructed The Wonder challenges readers to consider ethical questions.

See Donoghue on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 (alongside Annie Proulx) for International Marquee.

Bill Richardson

Touted as one of the wittiest men in Canada, prolific author and beloved broadcaster Bill Richardson’s latest book The First Little Bastard to Call Me Gramps is a poignant and uproarious collection of stories about the trials and tribulations of the dreaded ‘golden years.’

Throughout his career, Richardson has hosted several shows on CBC Radio, from Richardson’s Roundup to Sunday Afternoon in Concert. Richardson’s authenticity (specifically, his modesty and sincerity) have made him an annual favourite with WritersFest audiences.

David Mitchell

Dubbed “The most consistently interesting novelist of his generation” by Time Magazine in 2007 when they classified him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Mitchell has continued to impress the literary world and readers alike with his compelling novels Black Swan Green, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Bone Clocks, and most recently Slade House.

The winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (for best work of British literature by an author under 35), Mitchell continues to dazzle readers with his varied settings, characters and storylines – earning Esquire Magazine’s endorsement as “A genre-bending, time-leaping, world-travelling literary magician.”

See Mitchell on Sunday, October 2, 2016 for The Robertson Davies Lecture.

Robert Bateman

Credited with inspiring tens of thousands of people to take an interest in the natural world around them, artist Robert Bateman is widely regarded as the world’s foremost wildlife painter. Awarded the Royal Canadian Geographical Society Gold Medal in recognition for his efforts in preserving the Canadian landscape, Bateman’s paintings have been featured in exhibits across the globe.

Bateman is also the author of over 13 books, the most recent of which – Life Sketches – is an autobiography in words and pictures taken from his many sketchbooks chronicling his travels over the decades, and follows Bateman’s development as an artist and environmentalist.

See Bateman on Saturday, October 1, 2016 for A Passion for Art and Nature or Bateman on Sketching.

Helen Humphreys

Named Kingston’s poet laureate for a four-year term, Humphreys has a lengthy list of accolades accompanying her thirteen books. Her memoir, Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award; Coventry was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Globe and Mail Top 100 Book.

Humphreys’ latest work, The River, has been described as “… an exploration of Humphreys’ experience of the river… To read it is to float downstream in Humphreys’ words… fully immersed in the world, catching glimpses of wonder around and below.” by Robert Wiersema of The Toronto Star.

See Humphreys Friday, September 30, 2016 for The Garden and the River: Meditations on Landscape.

Annie Proulx

Celebrated journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx is the genius behind high-profile novels like The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain –  and her newest book, the historical fiction Barkskins, has the critics continuing to praise her work.

The Washington Post calls Barkskins “… an awesome monument of a book, a spectacular survey of America’s forests dramatized by a cast of well-hewn characters. Such is the magnetism of Proulx’s narrative that there’s no resisting her thundering cascade of stories. A cast woods you’ll get lost in… Barkskins is a towering new work of environmental fiction.”

See Proulx Thursday, September 29, 2016 (alongside Emma Donoghue) for International Marquee.

Eleanor Wachtel

One of the world’s most seasoned and in-demand reviewers, Wachtel has worked as a host of CBC’s The Arts Tonight, as well as the highly acclaimed Writers & Company since its its inception in 1990 – with career highlights that include winning a Silver Prize for World’s Best Radio Program at the New York Festivals in 2011.

Wachtel’s new book, The Best of Writers & Company commemorates the show’s silver anniversary by looking back on her best conversations with authors from J.M. Coetzee to Zadie Smith.

See Wachtel Sunday, October 2, 2016 for The Interviewer, Interviewed and The Robertson Davies Lecture.