Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

While the season has already begun, the best vacation to take this fall is a tour of writers’ events.

Forget Monaco or Saint-Tropez – the most glamorous vacation one can take in the fall is a tour of Canada's literary festivals. While festival season has already begun in earnest – Kingston WritersFest and Thin Air: Winnipeg International Writers Festival were held in September, and the Cabot Trail Writers Festival took place earlier this month – things really kick off on Tuesday, when Wordfest, the Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, gets under way. In advance of this year's festival season, Marsha Lederman and Mark Medley planned their dream if-it's-Tuesday-this-must-be-Vancouver itinerary.

DAY 1: Fri Oct 17

Festival: Calgary + Banff WordFest

Story continues below advertisement

Event: Literary Death Match (Calgary, Flanagan Theatre, 9-11 p.m.)

Why: Authors Michael Crummey, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alison Pick and Matthew Thomas duke it out storytelling style, judged on criteria including performance, literary merit and "intangibles" (last year's winner, D.W. Wilson, ultimately got the prize because his mother was in the audience). This year's esteemed panel of judges is made up of Olympic swimming champion Mark Tewksbury, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner Johanna Skibsrud and Canada's best mayor Naheed Nenshi. Because we like a little bloodsport with our bibliophilia.

Hotel:: The Westin Calgary, $149 per room (because hotel rooms in Calgary are never this cheap)

DAY 2: Sat Oct 18

Festival: Calgary + Banff WordFest

Event: Gals and Good Times (Calgary, Theatre Junction Grand, 10-11:15 a.m.)

Why: Caroline Adderson, Elyse Friedman, Kim Fu, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Heather O'Neill, Carrie Snyder: With this super strong line-up (Lederman says The Girl Who Was Saturday Night has been her favourite read, so far, of the year), we are going to ignore the egregious event name and take in this star-studded panel anyway. (Also, we do love good times.)

Story continues below advertisement

Then we fly from Calgary to Vancouver and grab the shuttle to Whistler, arriving in plenty of time for:

Festival: Whistler Readers and Writers Writers Festival

Event: Bill Richardson with Joseph Boyden (Fairmont Chateau Whistler, 8-10 p.m.)

Why: Because the pairing of one of Canada's smartest writers with one of Canada's smartest interviewers – both of whom are also wickedly funny – with the added variable of the mountain altitude is not to be missed.

Hotel: The Fairmont Chateau Whistler (because we're lazy and also the indoor/outdoor pool is the best), $239/night (or $269 with breakfast - $30 for breakfast is a good deal, right?)

DAY 3: Sun Oct 19

Story continues below advertisement

Festival: Whistler Readers and Writers Festival

Event: Sunday Brunch (Fairmont Chateau Whistler, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Why: After closing down the bar with Boyden on Saturday night, we'll be hungover, not to mention hungry. We'll refuel while Richardson talks to a panel of esteemed authors, including Charles Foran, Sue Goyette (a finalist for this year's Griffin Poetry Prize), and South African Damon Galgut, whose new novel Arctic Summer explores the life of EM Forster.

Hotel: There is no way we're leaving the Fairmont, $239 (yeah, we're skipping the breakfast)

DAY 4: Mon Oct 20

Festival: LitFest: Edmonton's Nonfiction Festival

Story continues below advertisement

Event: Naomi Klein (Winspear Centre, 7 p.m.)

Why: Whether you're onside with her politics, you can't dispute that Klein has become an influential global voice. With This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, she wades into the environmental fray, drawing the ire of the right, and more love from the left.

Hotel:: The Sutton Place Hotel, $159

DAY 5: Tues Oct 21

Festival: Vancouver Writers Fest

Event: An intimate evening with Eimear McBride (Studio 1398, 6-7:30 p.m.)

Story continues below advertisement

Why: Some people are comparing McBride to James Joyce on the strength of her dazzling debut novel, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, which won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. You want to sound smart, don't you?

Hotel: Granville Island Hotel (because wouldn't it be fun to bump into Miriam Toews at the ice machine?), $179/night

DAY 6: Wed Oct 22

Festival: Vancouver Writers Fest

Event: The Toast(s) of Europe (Waterfront Theatre, 8:30 p.m.)

Why: Not just because Lederman has to be there (she's moderating) but because this event features four European sensations: Norway's Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose autobiographical

Story continues below advertisement

My Struggle series has become a phenomenon; Herman Koch, whose previous novel, The Dinner, sold a million copies in Europe; the celebrated Icelandic novelist Sjon with his lyrical The Whispering Muse; and Maylis de Kerangal, whose Birth of a Bridge is a stunning literary achievement – each sentence an astounding and evocative little poem.

Hotel: Granville Island Hotel (because wouldn't it be fun to bump into Knausgaard at the ice machine?), $179/night.

DAY 7: Thurs Oct 23

Festival: International Festival of Authors (Toronto)

Event: The Judicious Use of Solitude: A Conversation with David Cronenberg (Fleck Dance Theatre, 8 p.m.)

Why: The king of body horror talks to philosopher Mark Kingwell about his debut novel, Consumed, which, trust us, is one of the most unusual books published this year. And in case you need another reason (you don't) all proceeds go to PEN Canada.

Hotel: The Westin Harbour Castle (because this is where the authors stay, therefore we can crash the hospitality suite), $224/night.

DAY 8: Fri Oct 24

Festival: Ottawa International Writers Festival

Event: Before the Truth (Knox Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m.)

Why: The Globe and Mail's own Elizabeth Renzetti, reading from her super-smart debut novel, Based on a True Story, joins short story wunderkind Eliza Robertson and novelist Joan Thomas, a newly minted finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction.

Hotel: Arc Hotel (because they make a mean breakfast), $162/night.

DAY 9: Sat Oct 25

Festival: BookFest Windsor

Event: A Tribute to the Life and Literary Legacy of Alistair MacLeod: Ceilidh (Pentastar Theatre, 8:30-10 p.m.)

Why: Rare is the fall festival that doesn't feature a tribute to the beloved Canadian author, who passed away earlier this year. And with good reason – he accomplished more in his short stories than most writers do in a novel. Considering he spent most of his career teaching at the University of Windsor, this will be an extra special evening. With appearances by Caroline Adderson, Steven Galloway, Douglas Gibson, Nino Ricci, and MacLeod's children.

Hotel: Caesars Windsor (because we'll need to win some money to pay for this trip), $299/night

DAY 10: Sun Oct 26

Festival: IFOA

Event: Boys to Men (Fleck Dance Theatre, 12-1 pm)

Why: Medley hosts a roundtable discussion featuring members of the Grammy Award-winning R&B trio – wait. What's that? This is a panel featuring literary rock star Karl Ove Knausgaard, young British novelist Adam Foulds, and Australian legend Tim Winton? Oh.

Hotel: Shangri-la Hotel (because we were banned from the Westin after some, um, unpleasantries), $350/night.

DAY 11: Mon Oct 27

Event: Living History: In the Shadow of War (Knox Presbyterian Church, 8:30 pm)

Festival: Ottawa International Writers Festival

Why: Margaret Sweatman's post-Second World War novel Mr. Jones, and Frances Itani's Tell and Johanna Skibsrud's Quartet for the End of Time - both dealing with the aftermath of the First World War - will make for a compelling, sobering discussion with contemporary resonance.

Hotel: The Chateau Laurier (because of its own Second World War history - secret meetings at the hotel! - and wouldn't it be great to take in that Karsh photo of Winston Churchill in the lobby after this discussion?), $319/night (we really love that photo)

DAY 12: Tues Oct 28

Event: Penguin's 40th Anniversary Round Table (Brigantine Room, 7:30 pm)

Festival: IFOA

Why: We are definitely not selecting this event as our final glorious stop because it is being moderated by Jared Bland, the esteemed Arts editor of The Globe and Mail (and our boss). No, we are selecting this event because we don't want to miss this discussion about the transformative power of literature (and the Penguin books that have had an impact on their lives) with Joseph Boyden, John Ralston Saul, Jian Ghomeshi and Johanna Skibsrud (Skibsrud for the three-peat).

Hotel: At this point, we're putting Lederman up on Medley's couch.

Total cost of flights + shuttle: $6424 (this does not include baggage fees)

Total cost of hotel rooms: $4996 (this does not include taxes or meals)

Cost of this Canadiana literary trip of a lifetime (with multiple opportunities to meet Steven Galloway: Priceless

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies