2024 Festival:
October 21–27
Loading Events

The Mystery of Right and Wrong: Wayne Johnston in Conversation with Hal Wake

Wayne Johnston is one of the country’s most critically acclaimed and beloved writers, whose ability to write about the ties of family, and place, have earned him long-time fans on both sides of the Atlantic. The Mystery of Right and Wrong is perhaps his most poignant to date. In it, Johnston reveals haunting family secrets he’s kept for more than 30 years, unfolding them in a novel that grapples with sexual abuse, male violence, and madness. The work explores the relationship of Wade Jackson, a young writer, with Rachel van Hout: the youngest of four daughters from a Dutch/South African family, each of whom have significant mental health challenges. This is a deeply personal book and a stunning piece of literature. Johnston speaks with long-time friend and former Artistic Director, Hal Wake, about the writing journey.

This event is Pay What You Can! Book a ticket to this event to receive a link to watch the livestream wherever you are. After the Festival, you’ll also receive access to a recording of the event, which will be available to rewatch for one week.

This event is included in a Digital PassThe $100 pass includes access to the whole digital lineup in one convenient package. If you choose a pass, there’s no need to book tickets individually or keep track of multiple emails. Click here if you’d like to purchase a Digital Pass instead of ordering a ticket to this event.

This event is also simulcast at our in-person cinema, The Nest. Many of our digital events are also streaming onsite at The Nest. Please note that seating at this venue is first-come-first-served by donation at the door. Read more about The Nest Cinema. *You may watch cinema events in The Nest, or stream comfortably from home.

Check out our Festival FAQ for Festival & box office information.
View our full lineup or just our digital events

Participants and Speakers

Wayne Johnston

WAYNE JOHNSTON is the author of The Story of Bobby O’Malley, winner of the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Baltimore’s Mansion won the inaugural Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams was nominated for sixteen awards including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and was a Canada Reads finalist defended by Justin Trudeau. Johnston’s most recent novel, First Snow, Last Light, was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin prize. (NEWFOUNDLAND)

Hal Wake

Hal Wake has been engaged with the literary community in Canada for more than 30 years. He has hosted or moderated hundreds of literary events at festivals around the world and was the artistic director of the Vancouver Writers Fest for twelve years. Most recently he was the Chair of the Canada 2020 Literary Program Committee for the Frankfurt international Book Fair.