The 2017 Vancouver Writers Fest features 110+ authors from Canada and around the world. While it may be impossible to see them all in the span of the week, we encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone, and take a chance on some writers you may not have heard of before in addition to your favourites.
To help you with this, we’ve prepared a list of five “Writers to Watch” – these highly-talented writers might be new to Vancouver readers, but trust us: they are not to be missed.
30-year old Camille Bordas comes to us from Chicago, IL, but grew up in Paris and Mexico City. Her previous novels, Les Treize Desserts and Partie Commune, were published in French to much acclaim. Now, she presents her English debut, the beautifully-named How to Behave in a Crowd, which was praised by George Saunders as “An utterly charming book—moving, witty, funny, and especially wonderful for the mature kind-heartedness of its view of humanity.” Bordas was inspired to write in English after moving to Chicago to be with her American husband, and found the experience to be “extremely freeing.”
Saeed Jones, Executive Editor for Culture at Buzzfeed, wrote of Durga Chew-Bose, “If people aren’t reading Chew-Bose’s essays, they aren’t living life to the fullest.” Chew-Bose, a first generation immigrant who grew up in Montreal, will be presenting her debut collection of essays Too Much and Not the Mood. This collection gives an in-depth look at some of Chew-Bose’s “intimate philosophical, and occasionally brooding, thoughts” about the human condition. It has been compared to the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Zadie Smith and Lena Dunham.
In March 2017, Ali Cobby Eckermann was unemployed and living in a caravan in Adelaide, AU when she discovered that she had won the Windham-Campbell Prize, a prestigious literary prize offered by Yale University that is valued at $165,000. Cobby, who is Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha, is the author of three collections of poetry, including Inside my Mother, which explores the complexities of being a member of the ‘Stolen Generation,’ Indigenous Australian children taken from their families as babies and adopted into white families.
4. Sayed Kashua
As an Arab-Palestinian growing up in Jerusalem, Sayed Kashua believed that, by writing stories about Palestinians in Hebrew, he could change the dominant narratives about his people. In the ensuing years, his three novels have received critical acclaim and been translated into 15 languages, however, when it became clear that his attempts of changing Israeli opinions about Palestinians weren’t successful he and his family immigrated to southern Illinois. At the 2017 Festival, he’ll reflect on this experience, and navigating multiple conflicting identities, as captured in his recent memoir, Native.
You’ll only have one chance to see Pola Oloixarac—named on of Granta’s Best Young Spanish Novelists—at the 2017 Festival, so don’t miss out! Oloixarac is the author of Savage Theories, a brilliant novel about sex, academia and philosophy. When the novel was first published in Argentina, it provoked controversy, as critics claimed that Oloixarac’s satirical and philosophical approach to writing was not appropriate for ‘women’s writing.’ A conversation starter, to be sure!