Two Must-See Events if You Binge-Watch these Shows

Do you like binge-watching shows? What about binge-watching shows with powerful commentary on social issues? What about seeking further discussions on those and similar issues?

Many of the online series receiving audience adulation explore issues that are often absent in mainstream TV—talking points essential to engage with to change society.

Vancouver Writers Fest brings these issues to the stage with events showcasing the topics that must be heard.

If you love the following shows, then you’ll also love the events we’re suggesting this year.


The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the acclaimed novel by Margaret Atwood, has emerged again as one of today’s most relevant and stunning stories. Lauded not only for its magnificent cinematography, writing quality and direction, it confronts people’s anxieties of a future where women are stripped of any power and autonomy they have.

The fight for feminism is a long and arduous one, and often misunderstood, and while The Handmaid’s Tale’s presentation of a possible future may seem like a stretch to some, it’s not too far-fetched to others. So long as young men are socially conditioned in an environment of “toxic masculinity,” certain groups have reason to be worried. The Vancouver Writers Festival’s event, “The Evolution of Man,”is all about tackling larger, societal issues that contribute to violence in men. Rachel Giese, Jamil Jivani and Daemon Fairless have all recently come out with books exploring the topic and are coming together with Minelle Mahtani on October 17 to discuss these issues and possible ways forward. This event is essential instruction for anyone contributing to the upbringing of young men.


Prison life is tough. Prison life for disadvantaged social groups is even tougher. Orange is the New Black, based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, is steeped in realism, though the series has taken a more fictional path from its parent book. The show is wild in narrative and ambitious in scope, striving to capture the complexity of a prison ecosystem. Although vastly entertaining, it consistently insists, quite poignantly, on its themes of humanizing people who have made mistakes and illuminating the problematic tendencies of the prison system against disadvantaged groups.

These same themes are prominent in Rachel Kushner’s new novel, The Mars Room. Through the story of protagonist and mother Romy, who is sent to the fictional Stanville Woman’s Correctional Facility in California, Kushner posits that being poor and female in America is practically a sentence in itself.

On October 19, “Rachel Kushner in Conversation with Jael Richardson” is the event at the Vancouver Writers Festival where she will deconstruct our ideas of prison and how it serves our society. You won’t want to miss this incredibly urgent discussion.


Lauren Dembicky