ALL 2021 EVENTS ARE VIRTUAL!

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AVNI DOSHI AND SHEILA HETI
IN CONVERSATION

AfterWords is thrilled to present Avni Doshi and Sheila Heti in conversation.

On the surface, Avni Doshi's Booker-nominated, debut novel Burnt Sugar (a searing account of an acrimonious mother-daughter relationship) might hold little in common with Sheila Heti's novel Motherhood, a funny, genre-bending, almost-forensic meditation on her decision not to have a child. Hear them in conversation about the deep currents that connect the two books. 

Sunday, October 3

1pm-2:30pm AST

$8

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LAWRENCE HILL
IN CONVERSATION WITH
EVELYN C. WHITE

AfterWords Literary Festival and Writers' Conference keynote speaker Lawrence Hill will talk about his book-length essay Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book, which arose out of a letter he received in 2011 from a man in the Netherlands who was reacting to Hill’s best-selling novel The Book of Negroes. Hill and White will discuss literary censorship and how Hill attempted to come to terms with the book burners’ motives and complaints. This fascinating conversation will include an audience Q&A.

This event is presented in partnership with the University of King's College.

Tuesday, September 28

7:30-8:45pm AT

$8

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TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION DAY: KATHERENA VERMETTE
IN CONVERSATION WITH
JANET ROGERS

On the inaugural Truth and Reconciliation Day, we're honoured to present a new poem, commissioned by the festival, from Rebecca Thomas.

Then, Katherena Vermette, author of The Strangers, in conversation with poet Janet Rogers.

Katherena Vermette (she/her/hers) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation. She has worked in poetry, novels, children’s literature, and film. She'll be in conversation with Janet Rogers. 

Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora poet, media producer spoken word and performance artist living on Six Nations of the Grand River. She lived as a guest on Coast Salish territory for 25 years where was the Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014. She owns and operates Ojistoh Publishing.

Thursday, September 30

7pm-8:15pm AT

Free

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FALL ON YOUR KNEES AT 25:
ANN-MARIE MACDONALD
IN CONVERSATION WITH STEPHANIE DOMET

It's been 25 years since Ann-Marie MacDonald's debut novel Fall On Your Knees burst onto the literary scene in Canada and introduced readers to a new way of looking at Cape Breton Island and its people. Lauded by critics and loved by readers, Fall on Your Knees won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and was shortlisted for the Giller. In 2002 it was selected for Oprah's book club. In this feature conversation with festival co-director Stephanie Domet, Ann-Marie MacDonald will revisit Fall on Your Knees and its impact—on readers, CanLit, and on the writer herself.

This event is presented in partnership with the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia.

Thursday September 30

8:30-9:45pm AT

Suggested donation $5

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FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE FESTIVAL: POETRY PANEL

Join poets Anne Simpson, Megan Gail Coles, and Jean-Philippe Raîche in conversation with Sonya Malaborza.

Friday, October 1

6:30-7:45pm AT

$5

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SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA IN CONVERSATION WITH
OUBAH OSMAN.

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four acclaimed poetry books, and the short story collection How to Pronounce Knife, winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. See her in conversation with Somali writer and poet Oubah Osman.

Friday October 1

8:30pm AT

$8

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ALL AGES WELCOME: YA WRITERS READ

For the first-time ever, YA writers join the fun at AfterWords Literary Festival. Tom Ryan, Vicki Grant and Wanda Taylor read from their latest work before joining debut YA author Chad Lucas for an audience Q&A.

Saturday, October 2

2pm-3pm AST

Suggested donation $5

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SATURDAY AT THE FESTIVAL: NOVA SCOTIAN WRITERS READ

We're proud to showcase writers from around Nova Scotia presenting their latest work. Enjoy readings from Rebecca Silver Slayter, Lesley Crewe, Genevieve Graham, and Annick MacAskill.

Saturday, October 2

7-8pm AT

Suggested donation $5

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THE NEXT CHAPTER: MARK CRITCH
IN CONVERSATION WITH
SHELAGH ROGERS

Saturday night at the AfterWords Literary Festival offers two Canadian icons in conversation. 

MARK CRITCH is one of the most recognizable faces in Canadian comedy and has won multiple awards for both writing and performance. As an anchor and “roving reporter” for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, he has brought celebrities and politicians to Canadian living rooms across the nation. He is the host of CBC’s Halifax Comedy Festival and has written for and appeared in CBC’s world-renowned Just for Laughs series.

His first book, Son of a Critch, is being adapted for television. His second book, An Embarrassment of Critch's, revisits some of his career’s–and the country’s–biggest moments, revealing all the things you might not know happened along the way—and you'll hear some of those stories in this conversation with Shelagh Rogers for The Next Chapter.

A broadcaster for more than 40 years, Shelagh has won the John Drainie Award for Significant Contribution to Canadian Broadcasting. In 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for promoting Canadian culture, for advocacy in mental health, truth and reconciliation, and adult literacy. That same year, she was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a role she committed to for the rest of her life.

Shelagh revels in stories and like Richard Wagamese, believes we can change the world, one story at a time.

Saturday, October 2

8:30-9:45pm AT

$5

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FRANCESCA EKWUYASI IN CONVERSATION WITH LEE-ANNE POOL

Giller-prize-nominated novelist and artist Francesca Ekwuyasi returns to AfterWords for a one-on-one conversation with film and theatre artist Lee-Anne Poole. Ekwuyasi's Butter Honey Pig Bread was noted by the New Yorker, was a Canada Reads finalist, and was named a book of the year by The Globe and Mail and Quill and Quire.

Francesca Ekwuyasi's appearance is sponsored by the Saint Mary's University Alumni Office.

Sunday, October 3

Noon-12:40pm AT

$5

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COMMUNITY WORKSHOP WITH SHALAN JOUDRY: WRITERS AS ALLIES IN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE RECLAMATION

Join Mi’kmaw writer and storyteller shalan joudry as she talks about her journey learning her Indigenous language. She will share her thoughts on why it is important for all writers (and all artists) living in Indigenous territory to also reach out and learn Indigenous languages. The reality of residential school legacy includes the ways in which Indigenous languages have been removed from families and communities and systematically oppressed. Armed with some cautions, tips and tricks, shalan will describe what might help you begin your journey learning Mi’kmaw. There will also be discussion about the role of writers and artists in using words or phrases in their work, or simply in connecting to place.

Sunday October 3

4pm-5:30pm AT

Free and open to all

 

WORKSHOPS

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STORY STRUCTURE MADE EASY WITH SARAH MIAN

Friday October 1

10:am - noon AT

Fee: $15

Limit of 12 participants

In adapting her award-winning novel for the screen, Sarah Mian discovered the essentials for crafting a tight, compelling story. In this workshop, she demonstrates how the rules of screenwriting can simplify the process of writing a novel that is distinctive, well-paced and engages readers on an emotional level.
Sarah Mian's debut novel, When the Saints, won the Jim Connors Book Award, the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. She recently co-wrote the screenplay adaptation for Lady Hammond Entertainment, and is now working on her second novel, The World in Awful Sleep.

WHAT DRIVES CHARACTER WITH ANNE SIMPSON

Friday October 1 

1pm-3pm AT

Fee: $15

Limit of 12 participants

Getting to know your characters is as important as knowing what your story is about—the two are bound together. What drives characters? What stands in their way? What will solve the problem? These questions help a writer know what their characters’ reactions might be in any situation. By examining dialogue, action, and point of view, participants can consider a range of approaches. This workshop is all about the dynamic of character and how fiction explores the question of why people do what they do.
Anne Simpson writes fiction, poetry, and essays. Her third novel, Speechless, won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. She also won the Griffin Poetry Prize for Loop, her second poetry book. She has been a writer-in-residence in libraries and universities across Canada.

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OPEN THE DOOR WITH CASEY PLETT

Friday October 1

2pm-4pm AT

Fee: $15

Limit of 12 participants

"Write with the door closed, re-write with the door open," is a famous quote from Stephen King's On Writing who in turn got the lesson from an editor. King said you should begin your story with the intent of it being just for you, and then open it up for others to criticize. Was he right? When do you open the door? How do you balance the humility of seeking criticism if it conflicts with what's exciting you? In this session we'll discuss all these questions from a craft point of view.
Casey Plett is the author of A Dream of a Woman, Little Fish, and A Safe Girl to Love. She also is the co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy From Transgender Writers. She has written for The New York Times, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Maclean's, and them, among others, and she is the Publisher at LittlePuss Press. Find her online on Twitter @caseyplett and Instagram @plettsky.

LETTERS OF RESILIENCE WITH ANDRE FENTON

Saturday October 2

10am-noon AT

Fee: $15

Limit of 12 participants

In this spoken word poetry workshop facilitated by Andre Fenton, we will be writing from a place of self-reflection and rediscovering the defining moments in our lives, and how it had changed us, given us strength, or offered growth in the perspective of writing a letter to our past self. Along with these themes, we will also be looking at different aspects of spoken word poetry through warm up exercises, how to outline a poem, and ways to battle writers block.
This will be an inclusive space where writers can share their work, and develop new ideas.
Please bring paper, pens, or a writing device.

Andre Fenton is an award-winning author, spoken-word artist, and arts educator. Andre has represented Halifax at 7 national poetry festivals across Canada, and is an author of two YA novels, Worthy of Love and ANNAKA. Andre has facilitated workshops at over 30 schools across Nova Scotia, helping young writers develop their craft. He is currently working on his third novel, The Summer Between Us as well as a feature screenplay.

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BRINGING THE STORY TO LIFE: WRITING SCENES AND DIALOGUE FOR MEMOIR WITH PAULINE DAKIN

Saturday October 2

1pm-2:30pm AT

Fee: $15

Limit of 12 participants

Join award-winning author Pauline Dakin to hone your skills in writing compelling scenes and vivid dialogue in your memoir. We'll look at examples from great authors, discuss the purpose and impact of well-written scenes and strong dialogue, and examine some of the challenges. Then we'll practise and workshop the results in a supportive setting to help you make your writing more immediate and relatable. 
Pauline Dakin is the bestselling author of Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood which won the prestigious 2018 Edna Staebler Prize for Creative Non-fiction and was named one of the best 100 books of 2017 by The Globe and Mail. Run, Hide, Repeat will be re-released by Penguin Canada in September, 2021. Pauline is a professor of journalism at the University of King's College, and an award-winning journalist who for 14 years was a health reporter for CBC National News, as well as the host of the documentary program Atlantic Voice.

BREATHING LIFE INTO YOUR CHARACTERS WITH MICHELLE GOOD

Saturday October 2

2pm-4pm AT

Fee: $15

Limit of 12 participants

Learn practical skills for developing memorable characters with award-winning writer Michelle Good. Come prepared to write!
Michelle Good is a Cree writer and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. After working for Indigenous organizations for twenty-five years, she obtained a law degree and advocated for residential school survivors for over fourteen years. Good earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia while still practising law and managing her own law firm. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada, and her poetry was included on two lists of the best Canadian poetry in 2016 and 2017. Five Little Indians, her first novel, won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Award. It was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a finalist for the Writer’s Trust Award. Michelle Good now lives and writes in the southern interior of British Columbia.