2024 Festival:
October 21–27

50. On the Edge

50. On the Edge

This event will have auto-generated Closed Captions accessible by mobile phone at bit.ly/vwfcaptions.

Our modern state is a precarious one and these three writers offer very different approaches to exploring and analyzing our age of decline through memoir, cultural commentary, and a novel. Toronto Star Books Editor Deborah Dundas (On Class), Trillium Book Award Finalist Emma Healey (Best Young Woman Job Book), and celebrated novelist Andrew F. Sullivan (The Marigold) speak with Guest Curator Elamin Abdelmahmoud about how we can grapple with the cascading system failures of environmental decline, ongoing and rising class inequality, and the gig economy. Far from depressing, each of these books—and this conversation—underscores the power of art for finding solutions. Or at least finding good company and good ideas amidst the chaos.

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.

Deborah Dundas

DEBORAH DUNDAS grew up poor in the west end of Toronto. She is now a writer and journalist, has worked as a television producer and is currently an editor at the Toronto Star. Her work has appeared in numerous publications in Canada, the UK and Ireland including Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Canadian Notes and Queries, The Belfast Telegraph and The Sunday Independent. She attended York University for English and Political Science and has an MFA in Creative Non-fiction from the University of King’s College. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter and their loving, grumpy cat Jumper.

Emma Healey

EMMA HEALEY has published two collections of poetry, Begin with the End in Mind and Stereoblind. Her poems and essays have been featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the FADER, the HairpinReal Life, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the WalrusToronto LifeCanadian Art, Raptors HQ and many other outlets. She was formerly poetry critic at the Globe and Mail and is a regular contributor to the music blog Said the Gramophone. She was the recipient of the Irving Layton Award for Creative Writing in both 2010 and 2013, a National Magazine Award nominee in 2015, and a finalist for the K.M. Hunter award in 2016.

Andrew F. Sullivan

ANDREW F. SULLIVAN is the author of novels The Marigold; The Handyman Method (co-written with Nick Cutter); Waste, a Globe and Mail Best Book; and the story collection All We Want Is Everything, a Globe and Mail Best Book and finalist for the Relit Award. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.