Free admission, free workshops, over 20 exhibitors, and a silent auction all under the roof at the Vancouver Public Library. Holding a hot cup of coffee in one hand, and an umbrella in another, I was relieved to hear that they moved the festival indoors away from the pouring buckets of rain (a typical fall weather that Vancouver is too well-known for). An inspiring and refreshing event with a full day of reading and writing and talks from Canadian authors about the written word, this was definitely a fun event that I’ll return again to next year.
My day started off with touring the exhibitor marketplace: two floors of Canadian books and magazine publishers, reading and writing programs, and all sorts of societies dedicated to books and the art of story telling. As I did my rounds, I began to understand why they called it “the marketplace” as I literally felt like a tourist flipping through many paperbacks and glossy magazines while making small talk with the hosts. Many of these booths were also selling books by the dozen as low as $2 each (talk about a steal!) from unusual books to maps, prints, and calendars. There was so much to look, touch that I felt compelled to pick up anything that was in arm’s-length.
My favorite part of the marketplace was running into HarperCollines Canada. Known as Canada’s largest and renowned publishing house, their folks were at the festival to promote Veronica Roth’s new book, Allegiant set to release on October 22. Written by New York Times Bestselling author, the series focuses on Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago where her world is divided up into five factions, each representing a different virtue of humanity. By the age of 16, children undergo an aptitude test that decides which faction they belong to and may lead to leaving their families. A very intriguing 3-part series that has immediately caught my attention and subconsciously added to my “must read” list.
But the best part of the festival was the Poetry in Transit, where readings where taking place inside a Translink bus (how cool is that?) The staff of Word Vancouver has certainly found an innovative way to host their poetry readings, although I wonder how they convinced Translink to borrow one of their public buses?
I couldn’t find the Mainstage but I did come across their silent auction. Thanks to generous donors, there was a wide range of gifts to choose from: two Sony e-readers to gift baskets from Lazy Gourmet, and tickets from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and other gift certificates. There was also a chance to win the entire set of books seen at the festival. As a booklover I could have entered myself, but seeing that I have a pile of unread books at home I’m feeling overwhelmed as it is for the rest of the year.
As a newcomer to Word Vancouver, I look forward to going again next year (rain or shine) as this was the best free reading and writing festival I’ve been to in the city.