2024 Festival:
October 21–27

11. The Storm Inside Us

11. The Storm Inside Us

If literature explores the deepest parts of our lives and is a place to underscore often-hidden topics in our culture, surely mental health is one of the most important contemporary issues for us to grapple with in this form. Alicia Elliott (And Then She Fell) and Carrie Mac (Last Winter) will speak to the process of writing about mental health, mental illness, and its relationship to family and community. How can one write about mental illness while protecting one’s own health? How does literature help us discuss taboo subjects hidden just below the surface? And why did these authors choose to delve into such important but challenging areas of life? Two writers on every ‘Must Read’ list in the country will answer. Moderated by Carleigh Baker.

Event Participants:

Carleigh Baker

CARLEIGH BAKER is an nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân /Icelandic writer who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwu7mesh, and səl̓ilwəta peoples. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Essays, The Short Story Advent Calendar, and The Journey Prize Stories. She also writes reviews for the Globe and Mail and the Literary Review of Canada. Her debut story collection, Bad Endings (Anvil, 2017) won the City of Vancouver Book Award, and was also a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Award, the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction, and the BC Book Prize Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award.

Alicia Elliott

ALICIA ELLIOTT is a Mohawk writer and editor living in Brantford, Ontario. She has written for The Globe and Mail, CBC, Hazlitt and many others. She's had numerous essays nominated for National Magazine Awards, winning Gold in 2017 and an honorable mention in 2020. Her short fiction was selected for Best American Short Stories 2018 (by Roxane Gay), Best Canadian Stories 2018 and Journey Prize Stories 30. Alicia was chosen by Tanya Talaga as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, was a national bestseller in Canada. It was also nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction and won the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. Her new novel And Then She Fell will be published this fall.

Carrie Mac

CARRIE MAC, born and raised in small-town British Columbia, is the author of several award-winning novels for teen readers; as a queer author, she proudly writes for marginalized youth. While Last Winter is entirely fiction, she brings her experience as a former paramedic, as a widow, and as a parent living with Bipolar 1 to the story. She lives in East Vancouver with her two children.