Denman’s Readers and Writers Festival Main Stage events are a special treat for festival-goers.
In addition to the regular solo sessions, when individual authors read from their latest book, Main Stage events bring together three or four authors to discuss in free-wheeling fashion a range of literary or social issues. Four such events are scheduled for this year’s Festival, to be held July 16-19.
Friday main stage
The first is on Friday afternoon and has the provocative title Agents Provocateurs. Three well known writers, from very different backgrounds, will be encouraged to talk about how authors become activists, and what the challenges are for writers who choose to tilt at societal windmills.
The three panelists are Bob Bossin, Donald Gutstein, and Lee Maracle. Bossin hails from Gabriola Island, though originally from Toronto. His indie folk-singing group, Stringband, was a headliner across the country in the ’70s and ’80s, and he penned a number of songs in support of social justice issues. Gutstein, from SFU, has written about several political subjects, most recently his latest, Harperism, is a critique of the country-changing agenda of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his colleagues.
Maracle, a veteran aboriginal writer and activist originally from the Sto’Lo Nation and now living in Toronto, is renowned for her strong advocacy on a variety of indigenous issues.
That evening, the theme is Women of Words, and will feature CBC Radio host Jo-Ann Roberts anchoring a conversation among novelist Aislinn Hunter, whose book The World Before Us recently won the 2015 BC Best Fiction Prize; rising literary star Eliza Robertson, whose book of short stories “Wallflowers” was highly praised; and Siling Zhang, sparkling young slam poet from Vancouver. This trio will share with the audience the creative forces that inspire their stories.
Saturday evening from 7:30-9:30 the festival will be entertained by Bossin, who published an amusing and lively memoir about his father, “Davy the Punk”.
Bossin has converted his book into a one man performance of story and song that recounts the secretive life of Davy Bossin in the Toronto gambling underworld of the 1930s.
The final Main Stage event has become the closing ‘tradition’ for the festival, to be held this year on Sunday, July 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This is sure to be a lively conversation moderated by Denman’s Des Kennedy, featuring four of the invited authors: Michael Crummey, literary legend from Newfoundland, Vancouver poet Renee Saklikar, Maracle and prolific true-grit Albertan Fred Stenson.
The theme is The Power of Place, and with these four dynamic authors coming from four different geographical regions, as well as diverse intellectual backgrounds, it will be a powerful ending for Denman’s Festival.