6 Writers You Might Not Have Heard of (Yet) at Vancouver Writers Fest

By Zoe Grams.


From October 17-23, the Vancouver Writers Fest will host more than 90 events with 100+ authors from across the globe – from literary heavyweights to first-time novelists about to make it big. Here are six lesser-known authors we recommend paying attention to.

1. Liz Howard

Howard-Liz-c-Ralph-KoleweThis is one name you can expect to hear in the CanLit cannon for years to come. A poet, Howard is the youngest-ever recipient of the lauded Griffin Poetry Prize – and the only writer to ever receive the accolade for a debut book. She told The Globe & Mail, “My childhood was quite poor,” and “it didn’t even occur to me that I could be a poet or say that I was poet. People like us don’t do that.” But they do, and she did. Come meet your new literary hero.

2. Charlotte Wood

Charlotte WoodFor anyone not living in the northern hemisphere, Wood may be a relatively new name in fiction. In Australia, she has won just about every possible award for her fifth novel, The Natural Way of Things (including the $50,000 Stella Prize). Evocative, dark and piercingly clever, she explores misogyny in modern culture with a page-turning dystopian novel that we can’t stop talking about. Put it on your “must read” list immediately.

3. Michael Helm

Michael HelmHelm gained acclaim for many of his novels, one of which was shortlisted for a Giller, and two of which were finalists for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Despite this, and thousands of committed fans across the country, his name isn’t a book-loving household name just yet. After James could change all that: a genre-bending, dystopian work that’s as mesmerizing as it is intelligent. He shares it in Dystopian Dreams.

4. Sarah Glidden
Sarah Glidden
Making sense of our increasingly complex world is no easy feat – even for writers and artists whose perspective we use to think differently. Sarah Glidden is an illustrator who reports on current affairs with cartoons. Her latest work, Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, is a non-fiction graphic novel in which she follows reporters across the Middle East. She’s creative and boundary pushing and one to watch. See her in Embedded, alongside war reporter Deborah Campbell and veteran Kevin Patterson.

5. Xue Yiwei

Xue YiweiTalk about prolific. This award-winning Chinese-Canadian writer has penned 16 books, holds multiple degrees (including a PhD in Linguistics) from universities across the globe, and has been a visiting scholar in Hong Kong. Shenzheners is his first book in English, and one worth immersing yourself in. Yiwei speaks about the stories inspired by the small market town (Shenzhen) in Out Of Place.

6. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

RowanRowan Hisayo Buchanan is a Japanese-British-Chinese-American fiction writer whose debut novel, Harmless Like You, has ben called “sublime-calm, profound, beautifully controlled and with startling splashes of colour” by fellow author Chris Cleave. Haunting and unique, Buchanan’s writing is one to revel in (which you can in Searching For The Source.)

For further information, or to book tickets to see any of these authors, visit writersfest.bc.ca