Fifth Issue of Our Literary Journal Foment

Download and read insightful views
30
Saturday
Sep

Fall 2017: Ottawa Media Hosts

We are lucky to have fostered strong relationships with some of Ottawa's best journalists, past and present. They love to read, ask questions that get to the heart of the matter and inspire the conversation. Here's a look who is hosting this fall.


Adrian Harewood

Host of CBC News at 6 here in Ottawa, Adrian Harewood has a keen sense for politics, from the local level to international relations, and this fall he is hosting three writers whose books take on the big questions: Canadian immigration policy, the role of journalists abroad and our complicated history with Indigenous peoples.

October 22: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough with Doug Saunders

Get tickets.

October 22: A Reporter's Journey Into the Lives of Others with Carol Off

Get tickets.

October 24: Reimagining Canada with John Ralston Saul

Get tickets.


Alan Neal

Anyone who listens to  CBC All in a Day  will know that Alan Neal is a music and book lover, which is why we are thrilled he is hosting two Canadian musicians with new memoirs.

October 6: Measha Brueggergosman

Get tickets.

October 19: Alan Doyle

Get tickets.


Peter Robb

Peter Robb has been a friend and supporter of our festival since our earliest days. Previously an editor at The Ottawa Citizen, Peter recently helped co-found Artsfile - an online news source covering the arts in Ottawa. He's been writing book reviews about our festival authors for years and we look forward to having him host a panel of award winning writers.

Past Imperfect with Frances Itani, Ed O'Loughlin and Linda Spalding

Get tickets.
30
Saturday
Sep

Canadian Politics: Moving into the Next 150



27
Wednesday
Sep

Human Rights from the Front Lines



 
27
Wednesday
Sep

Indigenous Stories: Looking Back, Moving Forward
























25
Tuesday
Apr

5 Festival Pairings for Date Night

No matter who you are taking out – a friend, family member, partner or someone new – date night calls for tasty food, a good drink, and conversation that brings you together. With delicious dinners served up by Mike Beck of Dash Mobile Cookery , local beers from Bicycle Brewery, delicious wines, Bridgehead snacks, and more, our festival is the perfect place for your next evening out. Want to treat yourself? Forget about taking a book with you – you are sure to make a new friend in our Festival Café. Here are five festival pairings to help you plan your next date night out in Ottawa.

4. Spice Up Your Monday with the Art of Seduction

Does your date consider tantric sex research? Are you exploring polyamory for the first time? Bisexuality? Curious? Let award winning novelist Karen Connelly seduce you with The Changeroom and the personal and sexual exploration that went on behind writing this titillating new novel. Too hot under the collar? Don’t worry – Elise Levine’s watery caves and Lori McNulty’s keen eye for human interaction will balance the evening and add a few laughs. If you are planning on joining us for dinner, well then we have to recommend the grilled vegetable pasta salad with artichoke dressing, and a bottle of Steam Whistle or a glass of our light white wine so that you and your date (or just yourself) are ready to go home and unwind.

5. Tuesday Night Politics Punch Close to Home

Does your date follow Question Period daily? Are they consumed by the NDP and Conservative leadership races? Can’t get them to stop talking about Macron and Le Pen? We take a look at the rise of the radical right in Canada with Conservative Party insider, and former Mulroney Cabinet Minister, Tom McMillan with the aim of answering the question: Can it happen here? It will take more than a spoonful of sugar to wash down these truths that hit a bit too close to home, so we recommend our favourite local brew, Bicycle Brewery’s Velocipede IPA, and a mouthful of Dash Mobile’s signature Walnut Flax Burger. To take the edge-off escape with some fiction as Steven Heighton , Andrew Westoll and Susan Perly take us around the world through the beautiful and the absurd.

So grab a different date for every night of our festival, or bring yourself and come meet someone new. Treat yourself with some good food and a new book at the our festival from April 27 - May 2. Our Festival Café is open at 5PM every day and our events are always serving up something new.

Past Date Ideas

1. Thursday Night: Smash the Patriarchy with White Wine and a Rueben

Your date was part of the Women’s March earlier this year, attended The Ghomeshi Effect in January, or keeps talking about feminism. If this sounds like the one you want to take out on Thursday night then you have two fierce memoirs to choose from. At 6:30PM we host Canada’s first female infantry officer Sandra Perron whose stark and honest memoir details her experiences and the reality of many women in the military. From verbal abuse, to physical harassment and sexual assault, Perron exposes the threads of one of our most patriarchal systems. During the break grab a hearty veggie Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut, swiss and special sauce, then order a glass of Angel’s Gate Riesling and get ready to smash the patriarchy with Scaachi Koul. With wit, sarcasm and irony, Koul’s essays cut close the bone as she discusses everything from family to friendship, racism to feminism, Indian weddings to Twitter trolls, because one day we’ll all be dead and none of this will matter – but these issues matter to us all today.

2. A Saturday Swim through Science and Conciousness

Do discussions about the universe, conciousness and our existence fill your time together? Come with open hearts, minds and bellies on Saturday night as science and philosophy collide when we sit down with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll to talk about the origins and meaning of the universe and life itself(!). An event that is sure to leave you craving sustenance, grab a Chickpea and rice burrito with curry crema and coleslaw, and a glass of our Malivoire before the event or chow down in the cafe once it'd over.

3. Sunday: Snack on Some Food for Thought

For those who prefer a mid-afternoon date and are eternally curious, Sunday is for you. Canadian science writer and Discovery Channel host Jay Ingram is back in Ottawa exploring The Science of Why. This event is for people of all ages who want to learn more about the natural – from cats to campfire smoke – and unnatural worlds – including subliminal messaging and bigfoot. Grab a coffee and some fresh tasty treats from Bridgehead or samosas from Rinag, and stick around for a conversation about theatre from the Jewish and Palestinian diasporas with Stephen Orlov and Samah Sabawi.



Check out our full festival schedule for more great date ideas.

20
Thursday
Apr

Great Canadian Fiction

For the second half of our festival we are showcasing some our country's best writer and bringing them together for conversations about the power of fiction to change the way we see the world and how we relate to those around us.

April 30 • 8:30PM: The Illegal with Lawrence Hill
Winner of the Governor General's Award for History and 2016 Canada Reads Champion Lawrence Hill is coming to our festival to discuss his most recent novel: The Illegal. Here Hill is at his best writing a depiction of life on the borderlands of society that urges us to consider the plight of the unseen and the forgotten who live among us. Hosted by CBC Ottawa's Joanne Chianello. Learn more and get tickets.

May 1 • 8:30PM: What You Want with Karen Connelly, Lori McNulty & Karen Connelly
Governor General Award winning author Karen Connelly returns with a seductive new novel that questions the lives and sexual identities we have built. Acclaimed short story writer Elise Levine takes readers underwater in her debut novel. Lori McNulty's debut collection of short stories Life on Mars examines our humanity here on planet Earth. With local writer Rhonda Douglas as our host, these great Canadian authors will get us to take a closer look at the lives we live. Learn more and get tickets.

May 2• 8:30PM: The Only Journey with Steven Heighton, Susan Perly & Andrew Westoll
The Amazon, an abandoned Cyprus holiday resort, the front lines in Afghanistan, we will travel around the world and through time with three new novels that question our reality and fantasy, our perceptions of the world and those who are in control. With host Peter Schneider of the Canada Council, Steven Heighton, Susan Perly and Andrew Westoll will take us around the world and to the furthest reaches of our imagination. Learn more and get tickets.

You might also like:
150 Years of Great Canadian Storytelles with Douglas Gibson
At Home in the World with Heather O'Neill & Mary Walsh 
The Bond Between Us with Barbara Gowdy and Claire Cameron  

Coming in June 2017: Louise Penny, Ivan Coyote 
15
Saturday
Apr

Stories of the Diaspora

This spring writers from Ottawa, across Canada and around the world will be at our festival to talk about our personal and cultural identities, and how storytelling can foster inclusion on a local and international scale.

April 30 • 2PM: Bridging the Disapora: Jewish and Palestinian Plays with Samah Sabawi 
Writing and performance can be some of the best ways to break down the barriers between culture. In their new collection of plays by Israeli and Palestinian writers from around the world,  Stephen Orlov  and  Samah Sabawi  capture a range of perspectives about what it means to be Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, and Muslim. Thye will talk with GCTC's Arthur Milner about this groundbreaking new anthology Learn more and get tickets.

April 30 • 4PM: Book Launch: the Muslimah Who Fell to Earth personal essays by Canadian Muslim Women  
In the  Muslimah Who Fell to Earth  editor  Saima S. Hussain  gathers twenty-one personal stories told by women, all challenging conventions and stereotypes, and united by two ideas—Islam (or the Quran) and nationality (Canadian). Join us for the launch of this important collection featuring contributors and writers from Ottawa Learn more and get tickets.

May 1 • 6:30PM: One on One with Anita Desai  
Born in India before partition to a German mother and Bengali father, Anita Desai grew up in a household always on the edge of difference and change. In school she would learn English, which she would go on to write in for the rest of her life. The author of 17 novels, novellas and children's books, she has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize three times: in 1980 for  Clear Light of Day , in 1984 for  In Custody  and in 1999 for  Fasting, Feasting . Learn more and get tickets.

April 27 • 6:30PM: Monia Mazigh Confrton Revolution in Hope Has Two Daughters
Having missed the riots of the Arab Spring in her home country of Tunisia,  Monia Mazigh  turned to writing as a way to reconnect with her homeland. Drawing on her own experiences from the Tunisian Bread Riots, Mazigh's novel explores the relationships of mothers and daughters, and the forces that push us both to speak up as activists and to keep our heads down.  Mazigh will be part of opening night with  Raiyah Patel  and  Sandra Perron . Learn more and get tickets.

You might also like:
One Day this Will Matter with Scaachi Koul
Children's Literature from Ireland
14
Friday
Apr

Women Making Waves

This spring we are dedicating opening night to outspoken women who know what it is like to live and work in the changing landscape of our country, and celebrating Canadian women novelists on night two. The personal has never been more political, and the women writers coming to our festival from April 27 - May 2 know this to be true.

April 27 6:30PM: A Woman's Work: Advocate, Soldier, Revolutionary
The evening will bridge the age gap as student activist Raiyah Patel, speaking as part of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, joins Sandra Perron, one of Canada’s first infantry soldiers, and Ottawa author Monia Mazigh to talk about the important role women play in advocating for change and human rights.

April 27 • 8:30PM: One Day this Will Matter with Scaachi Koul
BuzzFeed writer and cultural critic Scaachi Koul  will be talk about her witty and moving book of personal essays that covers everything from social anxiety to family squabbles, body shaming to racism. Her book made us laugh, cry and scream in frustration, and we can't wait for Koul to talk with CBC Ottawa's Lucy van Oldenbarneveld.

April 28 • 6:30PM: The Bond Between Us
Barbara Gowdy and Claire Cameron return to Ottawa each with new novels that explore our complex relationships with family, history and the ones we love. Get tickets and read more about Gowdy's Little Sister and Cameron's The Last Neanderthal here.

April 28 8:30PM: At Home in the World
In one of our best pairings yet, we’ll get a taste of humour and talent from Montreal’s  Heather O’Neill and debut novelist (but experienced comedian) Mary Walsh. O'Neill's new novel blurs the lines of childhood and adulthood, fantasy and reality, in one of her best stories yet, while Walsh takes us into the intimate lives of residents in 1960s Newfoundland. Get tickets and read more here.

You might also like:
Bridging the Disapora: Jewish and Palestinian Plays with Samah Sabawi
Book Launch: the Muslimah Who Fell to Earth personal essays by Canadian Muslim Women
One on One with Anita Desai

12
Wednesday
Apr

Spring Edition Brings the World to Ottawa

(Ottawa, April 12, 2017) In it’s most eclectic edition to date the Ottawa International Writers Festival celebrates writers, books and ideas against a backdrop of rising world populism, Islamophobia, and a growing democratic deficit. From April 27 to May 2, forty acclaimed writers from across Canada and around the world will engage the Nation’s Capital in conversations about our cultural differences and similarities, our political and artistic leanings, and most of all our personal histories and public personas.


“This spring we are dedicating opening night to outspoken women who know what it is like to live and work in the changing landscape of our country. The personal has never been more political,” says Artistic Director Sean Wilson. The evening will bridge the age gap as student activist Raiyah Patel, speaking as part of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, joins Sandra Perron, one of Canada’s first infantry soldiers, and Ottawa author Monia Mazigh to talk about the important role women play in advocating for change and human rights. Following this trifecta of inspiring women, BuzzFeed writer and cultural critic Scaachi Koul will be talking about her witty and moving book of personal essays that cover everything from social anxiety to family squabbles, body shaming to racism.


Women will also own the stage the festival stage on the second evening with a focus on fiction. “We’re really looking forward to having Barbara Gowdy and Claire Cameron return to Ottawa with new novels that explore our complex relationships with family, history and the ones we love. Then in one of our best pairings yet, we’ll get a taste of humour and talent with Montreal’s Heather O’Neill and debut novelist (but experienced comedian) Mary Walsh .”


Throughout the festival, the writers will cover a range of genres and themes.


Seeing into Science

Peer into the origins of the universe on Saturday April 29 with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, whose book The Big Picture explores the complexities of how the world functions at the quantum, cosmic and human level. The exploration of science will continue with popular science journalist Jay Ingram whose new book The Science of Why , get to the scientific reasons for every day occurrences.


Identity and Inclusion

“We are really excited to have writers from Ottawa, across Canada and around the world coming to our city to talk about our personal and cultural identities and how storytelling can foster inclusion on a local and international scale,” says Wilson.


On April 30, the festival will shine a light on the Jewish and Palestinian diaspora as playwrights Samah Sabawi and Peter Orlov sit down with GCTC’s Arthur Milner to talk about their groundbreaking collection of plays. Following this discussion, the festival will host the launch of The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth , a collection of essays about the experience of Muslim women in Canada, featuring readings by Ottawa contributors. In the evening award winning author Lawrence Hill and CBC host Joanne Chianello look at how fiction can build understanding around refugees in his acclaimed novel The Illegal. The following day, three time Booker Prize nominated author and 2017 Blue Metropolis Grand Prix Award winner Anita Desai will discuss her decades spanning career and what it means for her fiction to resonate from India across the globe.


The festival will also hear from veteran storyteller and gay rights advocate Jan Andrews whose new performance about coming out late in life explore the different experiences of coming out and acceptance for gay and transgendered individuals of yesterday and today. Earlier in the weekend, three Irish writers whose YA fiction explores consent in personal relationships suggest once again that the imagination is our most precious natural resource.


History, Politics and Protest

“Looking back is one of the surest ways to move forward,” says Wilson, “and this spring our non-fiction writers will give readers an opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and where we are going.”


To mark Canada’s 150th, storyteller Douglas Gibson will cover 150 years of storytellers, English, French and Indigenous, on April 30th. That evening, social activist and organiser Mark Engler will look at the history of protest around the world and offer tips for the activists of today and tomorrow.


Marking another significant anniversary, Carleton University professor and award winning historian Tim Cook will take us back to Vimy Ridge to better understand the facts of the day and why it stands out as a significant moment in Canadian history. The festival will then look at the politics dominating headlines today with Tom McMillan and host John Geddes, of Maclean’s Magazine, as they look at the history of the Conservative Party of Canada and the rise of the radical right in Canada and abroad.


Good Stories and Good Food

As always, the festival will feature some of the best canadian fiction writers of the day including Governor General Award Winner Karen Connelly on May 1, Steven Heighton and Andrew Westoll on May 2, and a free fiction event featuring Ray Robertson at The Manx on April 30th.


“At its heart the festival is about more than books, it is about bringing people together and sparking conversation and debate, and food is a sure way to bring people together,” says Wilson. Now in its second year, the Writers Festival Cafe will offer local beer by Bicycle Brewery, coffee and snacks from Bridgehead, as well as wine and nonalcoholic beverages which guest can pair with a home cooked meal from Dash Mobile Cookery .


The Ottawa International Writers Festival runs from April 22 - May 2 with most events taking place at Christ Church Cathedral. For details, dates and the complete line-up please go to writersfestival.org .

 
-30-

Media Enquiries - Sean Wilson, Artistic Director: sean@writersfestival.org
12
Wednesday
Oct
2016

Irish Culture and History

On October 22nd we are featuring two Irish writers at our festival for two fresh looks at the culture and history of Ireland. 


The Easter Uprising of 1916 with Dermot Keogh
@2PM
The insurrection of Easter Week, 1916 led to the creation of the Irish Republic and continues to have a profound impact on Irish politics and the Brexit fallout. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of this seminal event Dr. Dermot Keogh, Emeritus Professor of History, University College Cork, will put the political and international aspects of The Rising into context and engage us in a lively conversation that will weave together the many threads that underpin contemporary Ireland. Click for tickets and details.

Prosperity Drive by Mary Morrissy
@6:30PM
Mary Morrissy is the winner of the Hennessy Award and a Lannan Literary Foundation Award and has published three previous novels: Mother of Pearl, The Pretenderand The Rising of Bella Casey -- and a collection of short stories, A Lazy Eye (1993).  Her most recent novel, Prosperity Drive , has been praised by both The Guardian  for its "compassion, immediacy, humour and delicacy"  and The Irish Times, "clear-eyed vision and her deep compassion, along with her lovely sense of the comic and her exceptional literary articulacy, make this an outstanding collection." All the characters in Prosperity Drive  begin their journeys on a single suburban Dublin street, and everything eventually returns to it. It is an Ireland in miniature. The novel is laid out in stories, linked by characters who appear and disappear, bump into each other in chance encounters, and join up again through love, marriage or memory. She currently teaches at University College Cork. Morrissy will be joined on stage by Man Booker Prize nominee David Szalay and debut novelist Jowita Bydlowska. Click here for tickets and details.