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The AfterWords Literary Festival, a registered charity, takes place each year in Kjipuktuk/Halifax.


The festival was co-founded by Ryan Turner and Stephanie Domet, and in the fall of 2019 its inaugural edition (a four-day festival across six venues with a combination of readings, conversations, panel discussions, workshops, and celebratory events) featured twenty writers from across Canada, the United States, and abroad.  

In 2020 and 2021, due to COVID-19, the festival went online and presented a similar slate of writers, including New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay and Booker-nominated novelist Avni Doshi. The festival also hosted widely acclaimed Canadian authors such as Lawrence Hill, Katherena Vermette, Souvankham Thammavongsa, and Sheila Heti. 

AfterWords 2021 also marked the festival's third year in a row partnering with CBC Radio, which broadcasted festival events, like Shelagh Rogers' conversation with author and comedian Mark Critch, to a national audience. Additionally, 2021 included the festival’s expansion to YA programming and the creation of the annual AfterWords Virtual Writers’ Conference, which evolved into the Winter Writing Weekend in January, 2023. 

In 2023, our programming offers opportunities for kids, teens, and adults who are passionate about reading and writing to experience readings, conversations, workshops, panels, and celebratory events in person and virtually. We have programming in venues around Halifax, in Dartmouth, and in Millbrook. 

Our sustainable festival offers accessible year-round programming and opportunities, in order to foster a love of words, books, and stories; to develop aspiring writers of all ages and communities, especially those historically underserved; and to inspire people of all communities to read, learn, and create.

AfterWords Literary Festival events are conceived, planned, and presented in Kjipuktuk, in beautiful unceded and unsurrendered Mi’kma’ki. Mi’kmaw people have lived on and stewarded this land since time immemorial, as they continue to today. 

We think of land acknowledgements as an opportunity to consider deeply where and how we are standing, how we can best work in community toward truth and reconciliation, and how we can be better collaborators today than we were yesterday, and tomorrow than we are today. We are grateful to the story and wisdom keepers who light the way. This year in particular we honour Rita Joe, whose great wish was for more Mi’kmaw people to write their own stories: “Our history would be different if it had been expressed by us.”

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