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4 events that challenge global issues at Vancouver Writers Fest

There’s no shortage of news stories about our increasingly fraught yet interconnected world.


There’s no shortage of news stories about our increasingly fraught yet interconnected world. At this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest, journalists, authors and thinkers from more than two dozen countries will discuss some of the most pressing issues facing humankind today. Serious? You bet. Compelling? Absolutely. A new way to think about the subjects we’re bombarded with each day? That’s exactly what it’s all about.

Events include:

1. The Oil Patch Conundrum: Chris Turner in Conversation with Ian Gill

 Chris Turner.Chris Turner.

The bestselling author has travelled the globe in search of a sustainable future. He turns his attention to Fort McMurray and the oil sands in northern Alberta, asking: “To both fuel the world and to save it, what do we do about the Patch?” More than a diatribe against using our oil reserves, Turner’s work explores how deeply Canada’s oil sands affect lives around the world—from families in Alberta to financier in Saudi Arabia. He speaks with veteran reporter Ian Gill about complexities—and solutions—relating to one of Canada’s most controversial issues.

Tuesday, October 17 at 6:00pm

2. Original Inhabitants, Original Voices

 Ali Cobby Eckermann. Photo: Hammerton.Ali Cobby Eckermann. Photo: Hammerton.

What does reconciliation truly mean in Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Three Indigenous writers share their perspectives on this pressing question. Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann is part of the “stolen generations,” forcibly taken from her mother when she was a baby. New Zealand’s Witi Ihimaera was the first M?aori writer to publish a novel and collection of short stories, then his novel The Whale Rider became an internationally-successful film. Canada’s Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a storyteller, poet and activist who is a powerful voice for modern Indigenous people. A remarkable conversation with remarkable minds: and an essential one to listen to.

Wednesday, October 18 at 8:30pm

3. Think Big, Canada: Doug Saunders in Conversation with Gloria Macarenko

 Doug Saunders. Photo: Randy Quan.Doug Saunders. Photo: Randy Quan.

Thinking big, according to author and multi-award winning journalist Doug Saunders, is understanding that we need a population of at least 100 million in Canada if we’re to outgrow our colonial past and build a safer, greener, more prosperous future. As his publisher explains, “Our small population continues to hamper our competitive clout, our ability to act independently in an increasingly unstable world, and our capacity to build the resources we need to make our future viable.” With compelling arguments and original thinking, Saunders explains why many solutions to Canada’s greatest issues lie in a tripling the population.

Wednesday, October 18 at 8:30pm

4. Still Out Standing: Sandra Perron in Conversation with Kathryn Gretsinger

 Sandra Perron.Sandra Perron.

It took 20 years for Sandra Perron, Canada’s first female infantry officer, to digest and gain perspective on her time fighting in the Canadian army—and fighting the Canadian army itself. The second battle, it’s clear, was the harder of the two. Repeatedly top of her class during training, she was harassed by her male colleagues, raped and beaten. Yet she served two tours in the former Yugoslavia before she finally left the military. Writing her memoir, Out Standing in The Field, was an act of fidelity to the military and fierce determination to pave the way for women’s inclusion in the Armed Forces. Hear first-hand from a soldier who refused to let her country down and is still fighting to make it better.

Thursday, October 19 at 6:00pm

Further information and tickets available at Tickets $15 for Under 30s. Senior and Member discounts also