2024 Festival:
October 21–27

16. Inheriting Truth

16. Inheriting Truth

These books consciously deal with the weight of inheritance, whether it’s inheriting story, self-mythology, or trauma. How do we make sense of what’s been passed down to us? Three lauded novelists discuss just this with our Guest Curator Elamin Abdelmahmoud. Janika Oza’s instant national bestseller, A History of Burning, follows three sisters across generations as they experience the reverberations of their family’s past. katherena vermette’s The Circle, a sequel to The Break, shares the far-reaching consequences of a missing woman in a small community. And Ada Zhang’s exceptional debut, The Sorrows of Others, probes intergenerational ties that bind. Each shows why the webs and depths of inheritance are as powerful as they are often invisible.

ASL Interpretation will be provided at this event.

Presented in partnership with UBC Library.

Event Participants:

Elamin Abdelmahmoud

ELAMIN ABDELMAHMOUD is the 2023 Guest Curator for the Vancouver Writers Fest. A former writer for BuzzFeed News, his work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Rolling Stone, and others. He is the author of the number one national bestseller Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces.

Janika Oza

JANIKA OZA is the winner of the 2022 O. Henry Prize for Short Fiction and the 2020 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Award. A chapter of A History of Burning was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize and published in Prairie Schooner. She lives in Toronto.

katherena vermette

KATHERENA VERMETTE (she/her) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Vermette received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs. Her first novel, The Break, won several awards including the Amazon First Novel Award, and was a bestseller in Canada. Her second novel, The Strangers, won the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, named Indigo’s 2021 Book of the Year, and was a #1 national bestseller. Her work in children’s literature includes the graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo. Vermette lives with her family in a cranky old house within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River.

Ada Zhang

ADA ZHANG is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her short stories have appeared in A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She grew up in Austin, Texas, and now lives in New York City where she is an associate editor at Running Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. In 2023, she was selected as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree. The Sorrows of Others is her first book.