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Summer literary festivals: August roundup

The Winterset in Summer Literary Festival runs in Eastport, Newfoundland, Aug. 6–9, offering an outlet for the rich literary culture of the region. The Lyrical Voices showcase opens the weekend, showcasing the province’s musical flair. Each of the daily events features a lineup of three authors, organized according to  themes. The New Voices panel lecture, for example, offers a focus on the first-time publication experiences of Denise Batten, Jenny Higgins, and Andrew Peacock. Another highlight is Friday’s Leacock Voices, where Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal winners Bill Conall, Terry Fallis, and Cassie Stocks will trade tips and quips about Canadian humour writing.

Bill Conall poses with a bust of Stephen Leacock. (photo: Gisele Winton Sarvis)

The popular annual Writers at Woody Point festival in Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, returns for its 11th year. The 2015 lineup includes Margaret Atwood, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Miriam Toews, Elizabeth Hay, and Steven Galloway. Canadian music icon and recent memoirist Bruce Cockburn is also a part of the roster. The festival runs Aug. 11–16 at various locations, both around town and in the wilderness. Woody Point is famous for its beautifully restored Woody Point Heritage Theatre and its dockside readings at Galliot Studios.

Woody Point Heritage Theatre (photo: Tom Cochrane)

Aug. 13–15, the 33rd annual Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts takes place in in Sechelt, B.C. The lineup is packed with readings from morning till night. Environmental activist and The Right to Be Cold author Sheila Watt-Cloutier delivers the Bruce Hutchinson Memorial Lecture on Aug. 15. Other highlights include internationally acclaimed novelist Jane Urquhart, award-winning novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Ian Weir, and rising literary star Michael Christie. The annual poetry event The Meter’s Running features Billeh Nickerson, Elizabeth Bachinsky, and Sheri-D Wilson.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier (photo: Inuit Circumpolar Conference)

Wrapping up the summer festival season is Calgary’s When Words Collide genre-fiction festival, running Aug. 14–16. The festival incorporates four concurrent streams of programming, focusing on writing, publishing, graphica, industry pitches, and workshopping. The festival also hosts a merchant’s corner, with exhibitions from industry associations, magazines, and publishing houses such as Bundoran Press, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Faery Ink Press, Fairwood Press, Frontenac House, Hydra House, and Tyche Books.