2024 Festival:
October 21–27

42: Don’t You Want Me, Baby?: Authors Do 80s Lyrics

42: Don’t You Want Me, Baby?: Authors Do 80s Lyrics

If you’re feeling Footloose on Thursday evening and wondering “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” then the answer is definitely Walk This Way for a Once In A Lifetime event to celebrate our 35th Anniversary. Authors will perform lyrics from popular 80s songs, but in the style of serious poetry. Ever wondered what song your favourite novelist lip-synced to in their early teens? Or which ballad a particular awardwinning journalist chooses every time for karaoke? Expect an evening of hilarity and surprises, Time After Time. This is going to be a party, With or Without You.

Hosted by Buzzfeed culture writer, author, and CBC podcast host, Elamin Abdelmahmoud. Featuring Heather O’Neill, Omar El Akkad, João Reis, Brendan McLeod, Kevin Sylvester, Marsha Lederman, Iain Reid, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Kern Carter,  David A. Robertson, and Tess Gunty!

Event Participants:

Elamin Abdelmahmoud

ELAMIN ABDELMAHMOUD is a culture writer for BuzzFeed News and host of CBC’s pop culture show Pop Chat. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The National, The Globe and Mail, and others. Son of Elsewhere, his debut book, is a #1 national bestseller. (ONTARIO)

Kern Carter

KERN CARTER was born in Trinidad and raised in Toronto. He is a single father to a teenage daughter. He is the author of the YA novel Boys and Girls Screaming and the forthcoming MG novel, Is There A Boy Like Me. He has previously self-published two titles. (ONTARIO/TRINIDAD)

Omar El Akkad

OMAR EL AKKAD is an author and journalist. His debut novel, American War, was listed as one of the best books of the year by GQ, NPR, and Esquire. His new novel, What Strange Paradise, won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, and the Oregon Book Award. He joins the Vancouver Writers Fest as Guest Curator in 2022. (EGYPT/ONTARIO/UNITED STATES)

Natalia García Freire

NATALIA GARCÍA FREIRE was born in Cuenca, Ecuador. She teaches Creative Writing. This World Does Not Belong to Us, her debut novel, was nominated for the Tigre Juan literary award and selected by the New York Times as one of the best Spanish-language books of 2019. (ECUADOR)

Tess Gunty

TESS GUNTY earned an MFA in creative writing from NYU, where she was a Lillian Vernon Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Joyland, Los Angeles Review of Books, No Tokens, Flash, and elsewhere. The Rabbit Hutch is her debut novel. (UNITED STATES)

Thomas Olde Heuvelt

THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT is a Dutch author of several novels and stories of the fantastic. He has been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards and is a winner of the Paul Harland Prijs. Following his international bestselling novel Hex, he joins the Festival with Echo. (THE NETHERLANDS) Presented thanks to the support of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver.

Marsha Lederman

MARSHA LEDERMAN is the author of the nationally bestselling memoir Kiss the Red Stairs: The Holocaust, Once Removed. She is the Western Arts Correspondent for the Globe and Mail, and previously worked for CBC Radio, where she held a variety of positions, including National Arts Reporter. (BRITISH COLUMBIA)

Presented thanks to the generous support of Sam Znaimer in memory of Nancy Richler.

Brendan McLeod

BRANDON MCLEOD is the author of Friends Without Bodies and The Convictions of Leonard McKinley. His music group The Fugitives have been nominated for the Canadian Folk Music Awards, as well as a Juno. He was the Poet of Honour at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. (ONTARIO)

Heather O’Neill

HEATHER O’NEILL is the author of When We Lost Our Heads, a spellbinding story about two women whose friendship changes the course of history. Her previous work has won CBC’s Canada Reads and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, as well as the Giller. (QUEBEC)

Iain Reid

IAIN REID is the author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a New York Times bestselling debut novel. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman adapted the book for Netflix. His second novel, Foe, is being adapted for film, with Reid co-writing the screenplay. We Spread is his genre-defying third novel. (ONTARIO)

João Reis

JOÃO REIS is a Portuguese writer and a literary translator of Scandinavian languages. He studied philosophy and has lived in Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. Reis’s work has been compared to that of Hamsun and Kafka. He is both the author and translator of The Translator’s Bride. (PORTUGAL)

Presented thanks to the support of the Consulate General of Portugal in Vancouver and SFU’s Department of World Languages and Literatures.

David A. Robertson

DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the author of the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning When We Were Alone. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. The Stone Child is the third book in Misewa Saga middle-grade series and The Theory of Crows is his first novel for adults. (MANITOBA)

Kevin Sylvester

KEVIN SYLVESTER is the award-winning, beloved author and illustrator of more than thirty books. His novel, The Fabulous Zed Watson!,co-written with Basil Sylvester, was a finalist for a 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award and a Silver Birch Award. Apartment 713 is his latest middle-grade novel. (ONTARIO)