2023 Festival:
October 16–22

29. The Company We Keep

29. The Company We Keep

They say that a friend is someone who knows you and loves you anyway. And, certainly, good company can transform our lives and our outlooks. Three thought-provoking authors speak to the beauty of unusual company and surprising friendships, as shared in their latest works. Bob Comet tries to ward off loneliness by volunteering in a community centre full of strange individuals in Patrick DeWitt’s The Librarianist. Catherine Hernandez’s The Story of Us shares the unlikely companionship of a Filipino immigrant caregiver and her patient with Alzheimer’s. Sean MichaelsDo You Remember Being Born? also includes a friendship with an age difference, this time between a 75-year-old New Yorker and an AI poetry bot. It’s the perfect evening for catching up with a friend. Moderated by Robert J. Wiersema.

Event Participants:

Patrick deWitt

PATRICK DEWITT is the author of the novels French Exit (an international bestseller and a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), The Sisters Brothers (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize), and the critically acclaimed Undermajordomo Minor and Ablutions. Born in British Columbia, he now resides in Portland, Oregon.

Catherine Hernandez

CATHERINE HERNANDEZ (she/her) is a queer woman of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese and Indian descent who married into the Navajo Nation. Her first novel, Scarborough, was a finalist for Canada Reads 2022, and the film adaptation, for which she wrote the screenplay, won eight Canadian Screen Awards. Her second novel, Crosshairs, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award.

Sean Michaels

SEAN MICHAELS was born in Stirling, Scotland, in 1982. Raised in Ottawa, he eventually settled in Montreal, founding Said the Gramophone, one of the earliest music blogs. He has since spent time in Edinburgh and Kraków, writ­ten for the Guardian and McSweeney’s, toured with rock bands, searched the Parisian catacombs for Les UX, and received 2 National Magazine Awards.

Robert J. Wiersema

ROBERT J. WIERSEMA is the author of three novels, a novella, a short story collection, and a book of nonfiction. He is one of Canada’s most recognized book reviewers, with work in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and National Post, among others. He teaches creative writing at Vancouver Island University.