Days left until event:
“An ambitious, thematically voracious novel on love and the wounds we didn’t know we had.” —Globe and Mail
Enjoy a three-course lunch at the Prune restaurant after listening to a reading by award-winning author, Farzana Doctor.
Farzana’s reading will be followed by a Q&A and a brief meet-and-greet before a delicious lunch is served. Farzana is a Toronto-based author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement (which won a Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award), and the recently-released All Inclusive. Farzana was named one of CBC Books’ “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now” (2012), and was voted Best Author in NOW Magazine’s 2015 Best of Toronto Readers’ Choice Poll. She also curates the Brockton Writers Series.
The 2015 Kobo Best Book of the Year in the Canadian Favourites Category, All Inclusive is a story about one all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, and the tragedies we can’t forget. This moving work from award-winning author Farzana Doctor blurs the lines between the real world and paradise and life and death, and reminds us that love is neither easily lost nor found.
Alison Wearing’s first book was the internationally acclaimed travel memoir Honeymoon in Purdah: an Iranian Journey. Her most recent work, Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter, is both a memoir and a one-woman play. The memoir was shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for
Creative Nonfiction, nominated for the RBC/Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction and became a national bestseller. The play has earned numerous awards, including Best Dramatic Script at NYC’s United Solo, the largest festival of solo theatre in the world. Alison performs,speaks and teaches across North America. She is based in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
Don’t miss this literary and culinary arts event!
Doctor’s vivid, sensual descriptions convincingly draw the reader in with humanizing detail.” —The Winnipeg Review
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Broadcaster and actor, Barbara Budd moderates a Panel of Award-winning Authors - Dionne Brand, Michael Winter and Joseph Kertes
“#CanLitPit – a great idea. It can feel alienating to be a Canadian writer, amid the market dominance of the American and UK literary scenes.”—R.B. Young
#CanLitPit Live follows the style of our popular #CanLitPit event that trended #6 on Twitter! Writers meet one-on-one with an industry professional from a panel (an editor, publisher, or literary agent) to pitch their story idea and the first few pages of their writing. The industry professional will provide feedback to the author, and also choose their favourite pitch from the session. These favourite pitches will be presented to the entire panel for further comments, and a winner will be chosen. The author of the winning pitch will receive a free marketing consultation with DigiWriting. Space is limited for this popular session so sign up early.
“What translates onto the pages of Coyote’s books is the immediacy of a live performance, the emotions and diction.” —Globe and Mail
Ivan E. Coyote is an award-winning writer, performer, and one of Canada’s best-loved storytellers. Their honest, wry, plain-spoken tales of growing up in the Yukon and living out loud on the west coast have attracted readers and live audiences (and scores of YouTube views) around the world. In spring 2015, Ivan launched the stage show Tomboy Survival Guide performing sold out shows at the PuSh Theatre Festival and Verses Festival of Words, and continues to tour to this day.
Ivan’s new book Tomboy Survival Guide (based on the stage show) will be released in fall of 2016. Tomboy Survival Guide is a funny and moving memoir told in stories, in which Ivan recounts the pleasures and difficulties of growing up a tomboy in Canada’s Yukon, and how they learned to embrace their tomboy past while carving out a space for those of us who don’t fit neatly into boxes or identities or labels.
Join us for a reading and discussion with Ivan Coyote, followed by a brief meet and greet and book signing.
“Tomboy Survival Guide is part anthem, part campfire story, and part instructions for the dismantling of the gender stories we tell ourselves and each other.” —Magnetic North Festival
9:30 am to 10:30 am: Free Fitness Workshop for Writers & Readers with Globe & Mail Columnist and Author, Kathleen Trotter
“Finding Your Fit is a “go-to” health book: a motivational handbook with realistic strategies and practical information that helps them not only initiate but actually follow through and adopt a long-term healthy lifestyle.”—Flaman Fitness
Writers and Readers, Find YOUR Fit: Learn how to create a personalized “recipe” for health success that builds on your current lifestyle and fitness personality, whether you’re curled up with a book or hunched over your desk writing.
Writers and Readers all know the benefits of working out and eating well, but when it comes to our health, knowing and doing — especially doing over the long term — are two very different things! Sure, most of us can be dedicated for a few days — sometimes even a few months — but long-term change is a whole other ball game. Most “diets” and “miracle” regimens fail in large part because individuals try to follow strict, generic programs. There is no “one size fits all” health plan; everybody is different and requires a tailored recipe for success
In “Find Your Fit,” Globe and Mail columnist and author of Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer’s Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit, Kathleen Trotter will walk participants through how to build their own health recipe. First, Kathleen will explain the main tenets of her health philosophy outlined in Finding Your Fit. Next, she will take participants through simple and convenient exercises they can weave into their day — at their desk, during their commute, or even while they walk their dog. Finally, Kathleen will open the floor to questions. By the end of the workshop participants will have the tools to connect the dots between wanting to make a health change and actually making it.
Kathleen, author of Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer’s Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit is a Stratford native who now is one of the top trainers in Toronto. She writes regular columns for The Globe and Mail and The Huffington Post, and is currently featured on The Globe and Mail’s Fitness Basics video series.
If you’ve read anything by Kathleen, heard her on radio, and seen her on TV, you soon realise that there is something different in her approach – in a very good way. She is driven from a perspective of honesty, health, and compassion. – Flaman Fitness
This is a FREE Event at the Stratford Public Library.
Please email email@example.com to register for the event.
“[Under the Visible Life] is a love song to music itself.”—The Globe and Mail
Enjoy a reading by Giller Prize nominee Kim Echlin, followed by a jazz concert and two-course brunch upstairs at the Revival House.
Echlin fuses music and literature in her latest book, Under the Visible Life, and she will perform this reading with composer and jazz pianist Paul Shilton. This reading will be followed by a Q&A and author signing before brunch, and a jazz concert with Paul Shilton and bass player, Mike McClennan.
Echlin is the author of Elephant Winter, Dagmar’s Daughter, and Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer. Her third novel, The Disappeared, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction.
Paul Shilton is a music director, composer, and sideman for the theatre. He most recently composed the music for the 2015 Stratford production of The Adventures of Pericles and will be composing the music for Romeo and Juliet in the 2017 Stratford Festival season. Paul is a member of Larry’s Jazz Guys who appear regularly in the Forum series with the Stratford Festival as well as at the Jazz Room and the Registry Theatre in Kitchener/Waterloo.
An unlikely but powerful friendship founded on a mutual love of music animates Under the Visible Life. – Toronto Star
“[They Left Us Everythingis the kind of slim, unassuming memoir that hits you deep in the gut, leaving you bruised and thoughtful long after its last page..”—National Post
Join us for an intimate conversation with RBC Taylor Prize winner, Plum Johnson as she talks about They Left Us Everything. After Johnson’s parents died, she was left with the task many family members have to face after the passing of a loved one: going through their stuff. But what Johnson discovered was a couple so different than the parents she remembered. They Left Us Everything is about coming to terms with the death of a parent and also realizing that they might not be who you think they are – and that can be eye-opening and freeing.
If we are destined, one day, to become our parents, are we also destined to become the people who tell their stories? – National Post
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm: Broadcaster and actor, Barbara Budd moderates a panel of award-winning Mystery authors - CC Humphreys, Barbara Fradkin, Janet Kellough, and Steve Burrows
“Riveting from first page to final line.”—The Globe and Mail
Broadcaster and actor, Barbara Budd moderates a Panel of Award-Winning Mystery authors—Barbara Fradkin, Janet Kellough, and Steve Burrows—in this author reading and panel discussion!
Barbara Fradkin, author of Fire in the Stars, is a retired child psychologist with a fascination for why we “turn bad.” Besides her short stories and easy-read short novels, she is best known for her gritty, psychological “Inspector Green” series, which has received two Arthur Ellis Best Novel Awards.
Janet Kellough is a performance storyteller and author of the popular “Thaddeus Lewis” historical mystery series, the latest entitled Wishful Seeing. She has also written and performed in numerous stage productions that illuminate Ontario’s rich history through a fusion of spoken word and music, bringing the two art forms together.
Steve Burrows has pursued his bird watching hobby on five continents, and is also the author of the “Birder Murder Mystery” series, which has been called “riveting from first page to final line” by the Globe and Mail. His debut mystery novel, A Siege of Bitterns, received the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.
Finally, Bestselling author and International actor CC Humphreys has written eight historical novels, and his first book, The French Executioner, was the runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers. His novel ‘Fire’ is a thriller set during the Great Fire spent four weeks this Summer on the Globe and Toronto Star Bestseller lists. His novel Plague won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Canadian Crime Novel.
Join Barbara and these four award-winning authors as they read from their latest mystery novels, followed by a spirited Q&A period. This event is a must for fans of mystery novels as well as Canadian literature!
“A thoughtful, well-written mystery that challenges readerly expectations while embracing the tropes of the genre wholeheartedly.” – Quill & Quire
“Humphreys’ staccato prose drives the plot.”—Toronto Star
Enjoy a theatrical reading and discussion by bestselling author and International actor CC Humphreys, followed by a meet-and-greet and book signing.
As an actor, CC has strong Shakespearian ties, citing Hamlet among his favourite roles. He has also created the show Shakespeare 1600, which delves into the late Elizabethan world and explores how the Bard harnessed those times to create his dramas, making him an ideal fit for an appearance at the Stratford Writers Festival!
CC has written eight historical novels that seamlessly blend fact with fiction. His first book, The French Executioner, was the runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers. His novel ‘Fire’ is a thriller set during the Great Fire spent four weeks this Summer on the Globe and Toronto Star Bestseller lists. ‘The Hunt of the Dragon’, published Fall 2016, is the sequel to “The Runestone Saga” trilogy written for a young adult audience. CC will be reading from both novels.
Humphreys offers up an absorbing and well-wrought blend of heroism and villainy in a story that is ultimately about the danger of unchecked fanaticism and the capacity of bravery to overcome. – Toronto Star
“The Spawning Grounds is a fine addition to Anderson-Dargatz’s ongoing efforts to mine a vein of rich and complex cultural geography.”—Quill & Quire
Award-winning author Gail Anderson-Dargatz will be appearing with her newest literary novel, The Spawning Grounds, which will be released in September and available for purchase at the festival. Gail will speak about her novel and conduct a reading, followed by an author meet-and-greet and a personal book signing.
Gail’s debut novel, The Cure for Death by Lightning, was a finalist for the Giller Prize and won the Betty Trask Award. After nearly a decade of teaching at the University of British Columbia, Gail now mentors writers around the world and hosts the Providence Bay Writers’ Camp for adults. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Gail and learn about her brand-new literary release!
The Spawning Grounds is a worthy return for this award-winning author. – Toronto Star
“The humanity in this show is overwhelming. Drag your favourite homophobe along and challenge them not to be moved by the story of this family.”—The Star Phoenix
Join us for a performance of Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter, a one-woman play based on the bestselling memoir by Alison Wearing starring the Stratford author herself.
Using music and imagery, this autobiographical show tells a story of growing up with a gay father in a small town in the 1980s—before the words “gay” and “father” were acceptable in the same sentence. Alison has done over one hundred performances of the play across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, and it has won numerous awards including Best Dramatic Script at NYC’s United Solo. The memoir was shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, nominated for the RBC/Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, and became a national bestseller. Alison is also the author of the internationally acclaimed travel memoir Honeymoon in Purdah: an Iranian Journey.
Confessions is a captivating tale of family life: deliciously imperfect, riotously challenging, and full of life’s great lessons in love. Watch the trailer!
“This is an extraordinarily moving story, well-crafted and compassionately told. See it now before it sells out.” – CBC
Connect with Writers & Readers
Meet your favourite and up-and-coming authors, learn about the inspiration behind their books, and hear their stories come to life. We offer more than a reading, as our events also feature unique aspects such as actors reading from the book, musical literary performance, on-stage Q&As where authors engage with the audience, or panel discussions between peers.
Book Lovers Can’t Wait to Attend!
See what others have to say!
“The literary community in Stratford is both large and diverse.”
The Stratford Writer’s Festival is an amazing event, since the literary community in Stratford is both large and diverse. Having authors visit and share their books and writing experience benefits Stratford’s writing community, and all the dedicated readers here as well. It’s a great opportunity to hear from authors who otherwise wouldn’t be visiting our region, and to enjoy literature alongside other art forms like music and fine cuisine.
” – Melanie Kindrachuk, Public Service Librarian, Stratford Public Library
“The Stratford Writer’s Festival in October is an exciting addition to the cultural encounters that make Stratford Canada’s Premier Arts Town!”
Stratford: A fusion of literature and the arts
Our unique programming offers an intersection of literature and the arts, from actors reading along with authors, to literary musical performances. There’s so much to see and do in Stratford, from strolling the acres of parks and gardens along the Avon River, to cafes and restaurants, theatre, art galleries and music.
Meet our Sponsors & Partners
It takes a dedicated team to deliver a unique literary arts festival where writers can share their story. We are grateful to our sponsors and partners for their continued support.
Interested in Sponsoring? Contact Us!
Submissions are accepted year-round
For further information regarding the submission process, please read through the questions and answers below. If you have any additional questions regarding eligibility or the submission process, please email us.
To have work considered for DigiWriting Stratford Festival events, please send at least one copy and accompanying materials to:
356 Ontario St.
Or send electronic copies (PDF or ePUB) to: our email
Stratford Writers Festival: Q&A With Drew Hayden Taylor
From October 20—22, 2017, the Stratford Writers Festival will take over Stratford, Ontario. With the festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with attending author and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor to ask him a few questions about his latest projects, and why literary festivals are important to the Canadian artistic community.
Appetite for Words Festival: A Q&A with Jen Agg
With the Appetite for Words Festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with author and restaurateur Jen Agg, who will be the subject of a literary dinner on Sunday, October 29, at 6:30 pm. We asked her about which part of the writing process she finds the most difficult and more!
Appetite for Words Festival: A Q&A with Laura Calder
With the Appetite for Words Festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with author Laura Calder, who will be launching her new book, The Inviting Life, on Sunday, October 29, at 11:30 am. We chat about her writing process, any future projects, and the #1 mistake people make when hosting guests in their homes.