September is literally amazing
On Sept. 29, the Beyond Words Series will host Kate Evans, who will read excerpts from her book, Threads. (Supplied Photo)
As leaves begin to turn and rain starts to return, cherished indoor activities may help with the transition from endless summer days.
And what could be better on a drizzly autumn evening than settling in with a good book?
With the change of season comes an abundance of literary events in Vancouver. The written word will leap off the page this September, as opportunities for book lovers spring up across the city in both traditional and unusual ways.
Salman Rushdie in Conversation with Hal Wake
One of the most celebrated public thinkers and controversial novelists of our age visits Vancouver to discuss his latest novel, The Golden House. Widely renowned for works like Midnight’s Children and Satanic Verses (for which he received death threats and a call for assassination from Ayatollah Khomeini), much of Rushdie’s writing is rooted in the Indian subcontinent and interweaves magical realism with political commentary. His latest work marks a different direction for the writer.
The Golden House is undeniably of the North American here-and-now: the brilliant family epic follows a real-estate tycoon who immigrates to New York. It’s a tale even more relevant, given the current White House occupants. Rushdie asks probing, imminently relevant questions about whether we, as both individuals and as a society, can simultaneously be good and evil.
The conversation takes place at the Chan Centre on Tuesday evening and is co-hosted by two of the city’s best conversation starters: Vancouver Writers Fest, whose Artistic Director Hal Wake leads the conversation, and Indian Summer Festival.
Also beginning on Tuesday is the annual celebration of Canadian and British Columbian writers: Word Vancouver (formerly Word on the Street). Starting Sept. 19, a series of poetry readings, book signings, and literary salons will pop up nightly at Banyen Books, Cottage Bistro, Carnegie Community Centre and other venues across the city.
These individual events culminate in a massive, all-day festival on Sunday, Sept. 24 at Library Square, located at the Central Branch of Vancouver Public Library. Seeing more than 15,000 visitors throughout the day, the all-encompassing celebration features readings and events with an all-star author line-up, including local literati such as Grant Lawrence, Jen Sookfong Lee, Dina Del Bucchia, Eve Lazarus and more.
The free festival offers a little something for everyone, from in-depth discussion panels on pressing non-fiction subjects to playful circus and theatre performances; from hands-on experiences in the fine-craft of bookmaking to fun activities for families to share.
Beyond Words – Kate Evans: Threads
Taking place in the Chan Centre’s intimate Telus Studio Theatre, the Beyond Words Series is a relatively recent addition to the venue’s annual programming, first launched in 2012. These events aim to explore the power of words and performance as agents of change; past iterations have featured such outspoken and inspiring figures as Shane Koyczan, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Tanya Tagaq, and more.
On Friday, Sept. 29, the series will host British-based cartoonist, artist, activist, and author Kate Evans. Her latest graphic novel, Threads: From the Refugee Crisis, is a first-hand artistic account of her time spent visiting European refugee camps in Calais, France and a call to action for better support for refugees.
At the Chan Centre, Evans will read excerpts from Threads while fascinating and compelling panels from the book are projected overhead, and percussionist Hamin Honari provides atmospheric accompaniment. Following the reading, an in-depth conversation panel, including Evans, theatre and film-maker Fay Nass, and Iraqi Oral History Project co-founder Shawk Alani, will host a dialogue on comics as a platform for political discourse and art as a response to humanitarian crises.