Vancouver Writers Fest – Events with Caribbean and Black authors

Caribbean Masterpieces With Myriam Chancy and Cherie Jones
October 21 2021, 7:30PM
Performance Works, Granville Island

Description: Cherie Jones and Myriam Chancy have both written powerful, dynamic, disturbing novels about upheaval and injustice in the Caribbean. Jones, a Barbadian writer, took the world by storm this year with the publication of her debut novel How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House: an ambitious, layered novel in which her young Barbadian protagonist fights for her life. Chancy, who was born in Port-au-Prince and raised in Haiti and in Canada, teaches at Scripps College in California. Her new novel, What Storm, What Thunder masterfully charts the inner lives of ten characters whose lives are affected by an earthquake that rocks Haiti and its people to the core. Join them in conversation with Guest Curator Lawrence Hill as they discuss modern Caribbean literature.

Defying Stereotypes in Memoir With Ben Philippe and Ian Williams
[in-person and digital)
October 22 2021, 1:30PM
Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island

Description: Both authors of provocative, lively, spirited, and stereotype-defying memoirs, Ben Philippe and Ian Williams are sure to launch into a riveting conversation. Philippe is a New York-based writer and screenwriter with two young adult novels to his credit. His new adult nonfiction book is the memoir in essays, Sure I’ll Be Your Black Friend: Notes From the Other Side of the Fist Bump. Philippe’s new book begins with the line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good white person of liberal leanings must be in want of a Black friend…” Williams is an award-winning poet, a Giller-prize winning novelist (Reproduction), and associate professor at the University of Toronto. His new set of essays Disorientation: On Being Black in the World begins with the line, “My resolution this year is to learn how to swim,” and captures the impact of social encounters that focus suddenly, unexpectedly, harshly, or hilariously on matters of racial identity.

Ring: André Alexis in Conversation with Mark Medley
October 22 2021, 6:00PM
Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island

Description: No matter the depth of feeling for our beloved, there is always a moment (or a few) when we’d like to change something about them. Right? Scotiabank Giller Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner, André Alexis, probes love, romance, and the past in his latest novel, Ring, in which a woman in love is gifted a ring that will allow her to change three things about her partner. Following on the heels of Pastoral, Fifteen Dogs, The Hidden Keys, and Days by Moonlight, it completes Alexis’ Quincunx: five genre-bending, stunning novels. We welcome this extraordinary literary mind to discuss his five works, and the philosophy imbued in his latest, with Globe and Mail editor, Mark Medley.

with/holding: Chantal Gibson in Conversation with Lawrence Hill
(in person)

October 23 2021, 10:30AM
Venue: Revue Stage, Granville Island

Description: Award-winning Vancouver poet Chantal Gibson joins the Vancouver Writers Fest stage once more to discuss, in an interview with Lawrence Hill, her latest new poetry collection with/holding: a collection of genre-blurring poems that examines the representation and reproduction of Blackness across communication media and popular culture. Gibson lives a fascinating life as an award-winning teacher at Simon Fraser University, a successful visual artist whose art has been exhibited at museums and galleries across Canada and the United States, and as a poet who has landed with a splash on the Canadian literary scene. Her first collection, How She Read meditates on Blackness, womanhood, denial, and freedom. She explores these themes and more in this morning’s illuminating conversation.

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