2024 Festival:
October 21–27

38. Using Pop Culture

38. Using Pop Culture

Looking to pop culture to create meaning in our own lives is an important part of every adolescent journey—and beyond. Two engaging, insightful authors touch on elements of pop culture that are not only relevant but fun to talk about. In Superfan, Jen Sookfong Lee explores family, identity, belonging, and grief through her love of pop culture, and probes the ways in which pop culture can fail to reflect one’s identity and even lead to a sense of invisibility. Aisha Harris’s Wannabe reads like hanging out with your smart, hilarious, pop culture-obsessed friend. She turns her razor-sharp wit to her nineties childhood to analyze what shapes us—and what we can shape. They’ll be in conversation with writer, broadcaster and Festival Guest Curator Elamin Abdelmahmoud. Grades 8–12.

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.

Aisha Harris

AISHA HARRIS is a cohost and reporter for the hit NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. She previously held editorial positions at Slate and the New York Times. Aisha earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Northwestern University and her master’s degree in cinema studies from NYU.

Jen Sookfong Lee

JEN SOOKFONG LEE was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, The Shadow List, and Finding Home. Jen acquires and edits for ECW Press and co-hosts the literary podcast Can’t Lit.