Four books that each reflect Vancouver's unique character and diverse culture have been selected as finalists for the 2018 City of Vancouver Book Award. Everyone is welcome to join the awards ceremony. The winner will be announced at the event, following an intimate conversation with authors and collaborators.
Spanning genres including poetry, long-form journalism, memoir, and anthology, the shortlisted books focus on connection and healing. The 2018 finalists are:
Chelene Knight for Dear Current Occupant (Book*hug), a genre-busting memoire of a childhood in precarious housing in 20 different homes in East Vancouver
Travis Lupick for Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City's Struggle with Addiction (Arsenal Pulp Press), a deep dive into the citizen-led advocacy that placed Vancouver at the vanguard of harm reduction
Erín Moure for Sitting Shiva on Minto Avenue, by Toots (New Star Books), a meditation on the impermanence of life and memory-especially in our fast-changing city
Rachel Rose, Ed for Sustenance: Writers from BC and Beyond on the Subject of Food (Anvil Press), a pairing of bold new voices with award-winning writers who serve us poems, memories, recipes, sumptuous photos, and interviews that satiate and satisfy
This event is free. Everyone is welcome.
What does it mean to belong - to feel at home - as oneself - in one’s body – as part of a place. How does that belonging build and sustain community. And what happens when we feel like we don’t belong – what is that experience of not belonging - of feeling estranged as oneself – from one’s body – out of place and community.
Join in the annual Human Rights and Equity Conference for an engaging day of story-telling dialogue and reflection on the many meanings of belonging. Chelene Knight will be in attendance with David Diamond, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Lidia Yuknavitch!
The purpose of The Royal City Literary Society is to increase and broaden the understanding and knowledge of written and spoken word as art forms; to provide readings, features, performances, open-mics, workshops and critiquing opportunities for literary artists; to provide support for touring and presentations in the schools; to stimulate, encourage and facilitate the development of written and spoken word arts and activities; and to encourage both emerging and established writers in all genres.
Join Chelene and Lozan Yamolky for an evening of discussion on short stories that includes an open mic.
This event is free.
The Carnegie African Descent Group and the Hogan’s Alley Society present an evening of poetry, prose and music with three prolific African Canadian poets who will read from their recent works with musical interludes. Guests include: poet Cecily Nicholson, recent administrator of Gallery Gachet and author of From the Poplars, winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize; Chelene Knight, writer and editor, who is working on a novel set in Hogan’s Alley; Haitian Canadian spoken word poet Junie Désil who juggles writing with life; and musician, Brandon Mwanacocha, a Zimbabwean UBC student and mbira player who brings a unique touch to the world of poetry with live background tunes. Lama Mugabo is the host for the evening.
This event is free.
The lives of our parents are an inextricable stream running through our own, whether we like it or not. This brook of memories may include psychological trauma or complex interactions or the physical burden of unwell aging. Most often, it includes profound love. Four writers from varied backgrounds share the insights offered in their beautifully balanced, and intricate yet raw, memoirs that speak to family history and the lifelong task of unburdening ourselves from a yoke of family secrets or grief. Peter Gajdics (The Inheritance of Shame), Elizabeth Hay (All Things Consoled), Chelene Knight (Dear Current Occupant) and Lindsay Wong (The Woo-Woo) speak to the catalyst of some of the deepest joy and deepest grief we know: our parents.
This event is free or by donation.
Massive economic divides in our world’s wealthiest countries show that the system is broken. It’s evident as one walks along the streets of our most-celebrated cities and along the roads of our smallest towns; the gap between haves and have-nots continues to grow. As noted in John Freeman’s Tales of Two Americas, whether the cause of this inequality is systemic injustice, the entrenchment of racism, the war on drugs or our immigration policies, it endangers not only our ability to thrive, but our very lives. Freeman is joined by Waubgeshig Rice (Moon of the Crusted Snow), Chelene Knight(Dear Current Occupant) and Javier Zamora (Unaccompanied) as they share powerful stories that demonstrate how inequity and social divide have affected the masses and how boundaries are broken when experiences are shared.
Tickets for this event are $20.
Prove you’re the smartest person in the Imaginarium! Win big-league bragging rights and tasty beverages. All trivia questions are loosely inspired by a particular author’s work, but familiarity with the work is not required and will not necessarily increase your chances of winning. Be bold, be bright, be brainy!
Hosted by Richard Kelly Kemick, join authors Andrea Dorfman, author of Flawed, Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant, and Hana Shafi, author of It Begins with the Body, for an evening of literary fun.
Tickets for this event are $20.
As part of our commitment to promote fierce, fearless writing, we’re thrilled to bring back the Bionic Women Writers Showcase for the fourth year. From New Zealand to Ireland and Canada, women are redefining the limits of every literary genre.
Join Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant, Paula Morris, author of False River, Liz Nugent, author of Unraveling Oliver, and Katherena Vermette, author of River Woman, for this showcase of amazing woman writers.
Tickets for this event are $20.
Real Vancouver returns to the burgeoning Vancouver literary scene with another incredible night of great writing, great people, and excellent times. Hosted by Dina Del Bucchia and Sean Cranbury, join Lindsay Wong, Meghan Bell, Chelene Knight, Sara Graefe, Isabella Wang, and Molly Cross-Blachard for this literary showcase.
RVWS is a non-profit society based in British Columbia, Canada, that is dedicated to curating, marketing, and producing four literary reading events per year featuring great writers from Vancouver and beyond. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the BC Arts Council and our team of dedicated volunteers.
This event is free and will occur in the lower venue of the Russian Hall. The space is accessible, has accessible bathrooms, ramps/elevator, and wide doors.
Room magazine invites you to join us for a free night of readings, conversation, food, and community. Thanks to a wonderful donor, Room magazine brings you AfterWord, a free reading that will take place immediately after the Word Vancouver Festival on Sunday September 30 at 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. at the Native Education College.
Readers include Amber Dawn, Juliane Okot Bitek, Meagan Black, Jillian Christmas, Ivan Coyote, Sara Graefe, Jessica Johns, Andrea Macpherson, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Jaye Simpson, Mallory Tater, Andrea Warner, Isabella Wang, and Elaine Woo.
Book sales by Massy Books.
Photo credit: Joy Muriel (Indigenous Brilliance at the Native Education College, Growing Room 2018)
Ben Okri once said, “We live stories that either give our lives meaning or negate it with meaninglessness. If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives.” Vancouver-based writer, Chelene Knight, uses a variety of forms, including essays and poems, to reflect on her childhood through a series of letters addressed to all of the current occupants now living in the houses she moved in and out of with her mother and brother in Dear Current Occupant. In spite of the traumas of his childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped Darrel J. McLeod survive and thrive: Mamaskatch is a moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties, and the shared history that both binds and haunts them.Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. Her latest memoir, I’m Afraid of Men, explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a woman. Join us for a discussion that explores these stories of resilience and how art can be an act of strength with Sonnet L‘Abbé, author of Killarnoe: Poems, as the moderator.
Tickets are $15. Students receive a 20% discount.
Join Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant and Dimitri Nasrallah, author of The Bleeds in an event that will feature two accomplished, innovative writers explore family, society, and politics in their probing, profound work.
This event is Free.
home (n.): The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
World War I sailors from the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland never made it home. Karen Clavelle re-animates a maritime disaster in a virtual scrapbook of voices. Chelene Knight presents a fresh take on the memoir in her book addressed to the occupants of the places she lived with her single mother in East Vancouver. In the latest novel by Jim Nason, a grandmother and grandson form their own family, until the boy has to create his own way in the world. Dimitri Nasrallah portrays three generations of despots and the country they come to think of as their personal property. Thomas Trofimuk explores lies, truth, marriage, and the many different ways of telling a story. Who can you trust when your narrator is unreliable?
Featuring an improvised performance by Caity Curtis and Stephen Sim.
Tickets for this event are $12 or $10 with a pass.
Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant and Jim Nason, author of Spirit of a Hundred Thousand Dead Animals, will discuss how family, poverty, society, and self make up some of the territory of today’s writers, who use prose and poetry to reflect on the world around them in this Afternoon Book Chat.
This event is Free. No registration required.
Fraser Valley Literary Festival features the diverse and vibrant literature of the Fraser Valley and Canada every September. This event will feature many amazing writers including Carleigh Baker, Billeh Nickerson, Renee Saklikar, Jane Silcott, Jen Sookfong Lee, and many more.
Renee Saklikar, author of Listening to the Bees will moderate the (In)Formed panel of authors as they share their dialogue on writing and reading. Nicola Campbell, award-winning author of A Day with Yayah, Chelene Knight author of Dear Current Occupant, Kevin Spenst author of Ignite, Jen Currin author of the story collection Hider/Seeker will be taking part.
This event is Free for students (registration required) and $10 for the general public.
Toronto Public Library presents ‘Writing Memoir’, featuring Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant. Also with Kamal Al-Solaylee and Jan Redford. Hosted by TPL Writer-in-Residence Ayelet Tsabari.
Ayelet Tsabari, award-winning author of The Best Place on Earth, and current Writer in Residence at Toronto Public Library, will lead a panel of authors who have written memoirs (Kamal Al-Solaylee, author of Brown and Intolerable, Jan Redford, author of End of the Rope and Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant). They will share their stories and struggles with the genre and offer insights and advice. After a reading by each author, there will be time for Questions and Answers. Books will also be available for purchase and signing.
This event is Free. No registration required.
What does it mean to be asked questions like this? Being Black in Vancouver holds something different for many people who grew up/live in this ethnically-diverse city. Join writers Chelene Knight, Juliane Okot Bitek, and Wayde Compton, artist Chantal Gibson, and special guest Randy Clark for a unique mash up of stories on being Black in Vancouver.
Through art, the written word, and our personal stories ... we can create space and understanding in about where we are REALLY from.
I'll be taking part in four events at this years' Word Vancouver Festival at Vancouver Public Library (Central Location)
The Writer's Studio Manuscript Consults time TBA
A special reading from my second book, Dear Current Occupant 1:30 - 2:00 p.m.
A Room magazine panel 2:45 - 4:00 p.m.
Ricepaper Event 4:20 - 5:00 p.m.
The Writing Practice on Social Media: A Reading + Panel Discussion
//Real-time narrative on Facebook
//Participatory poetry on Twitter
//Collective creativity on Instagram
How are writers adapting their creative labour to social media? Join us in the East Studio for a reading and panel discussion exploring the influence of digital media on the work of four Vancouver writers. Free with registration.
Summer Stories: UFV’s Literary Café at the Harrison Festival of Arts
UFV’s Literary Café at the Harrison Festival of Arts offers an intimate opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the west coast’s brightest writers and poets.
Join us for an evening of summertime stories that celebrate nature in beautiful British Columbia.
This year we proudly introduce a vibrant mix of rock stars, writers, poets, educators, and eco-activists whose works are featured in the recently released collection, The Summer Book, published by Mother Tongue Press.
Special thanks to UFV alumna and Raspberry Magazine editor, Katie Stobbart, for hosting this year’s event. Great music will be provided by Tim Readman and Jennie Bice.
Literary Café is sponsored by UFV’s Department of Continuing Education and the Kuldip Gill Writing Fellowship.
Tickets for these event are $14.50.
Join us in celebrating the publication of a beautiful new and uplifting collection of non-fiction.
THE SUMMER BOOK
In this satisfying collection of new personal essays, humour and meditations on nature, 24 BC writers capture the joys, memories and spirit of summer. Dip in and relax in the warmth of The Summer Book, anytime of year. It’s perfect for backpack, bus, boat, beach or bed. A small positive treasure in this complex crazy century.
With Original art by Gary Sim, Peter Haase and Briony Penn.
Authors: Luanne Armstrong, Kate Braid, Brian Brett, Anne Cameron, Trevor Carolan, Claudia Cornwall, Sarah de Leeuw, Daniela Elza, Carla Funk, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Eve Joseph, Des Kennedy, Theresa Kishkan, Chelene Knight, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Grant Lawrence, JJ Lee, Peter Levitt, Christine Lowther, Pearl Luke, Susan McCaslin, Briony Penn, DC Reid and Harold Rhenisch.
Readings, books for sale. Appies served. Cash Bar. Free parking between stalls 9-75.
The Growing Room Festival is Room magazine’s inaugural literary festival, a celebration of diverse Canadian writers and artists.
IMPORTANT: Some venue locations have changed. Please scroll down to check the locations of your events, or check EventBrite.
2017 FESTIVAL LINE-UP
Amber Dawn, Marianne Apostolides, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Carleigh Baker, Adèle Barclay, Meghan Bell, Juliane Okot Bitek, Ali Blythe, Nicole Breit, Kat Cameron, Roxanne Charles, Cyndia Cole, Karla Comanda, Lorna Crozier, Francine Cunningham, Jen Currin, Dina Del Bucchia, Junie Désil, Samantha deVries-Hofman, Dora Dueck, barbara findlay, Cynthia Flood, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Chantal Gibson, Hiromi Goto, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Rachel Hartman, Leah Horlick, Aislinn Hunter, June Hutton, Kyla Jamieson, Rachel Jansen, Vici Johnstone, Jónína Kirton, Chelene Knight, Sonnet L'Abbé, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Doretta Lau, Evelyn Lau, Jen Sookfong Lee, Alex Leslie, Christine Lowther, Carrie Mac, Tanis MacDonald, Alessandra Naccarato, Kellee Ngan, Nilofar Shidmehr, Sylvia Symons, Audrey Thomas, Betsy Warland, Beni Xiao, Jennifer Zilm, Daniel Zomparelli
Join us for the launch of our December 2016 issue, 39.4 "This Body's Map", edited by Chelene Knight.
There will be readings by Jen Sookfong Lee, Chantal Gibson, Beni Xiao, and Nefertiti, as well as an artist talk by cover artist Samantha deVries-Hofman.
Entry by donation.
Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, and Shelter, a novel for young adults. Her poetry, fiction and articles have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Elle Canada, Hazlitt, Room, and Event. A popular CBC Radio One personality, Jen appears regularly as a contributor on The Next Chapter and is a frequent co-host of the Studio One Book Club. Jen teaches writing at The Writers’ Studio Online with Simon Fraser University.
Chantal Gibson in an artist-educator living in Vancouver. Her written and visual works, academic and creative, engage a process of Historical In(ter)vention, exploring themes of gender and race in the cultural (re)production of knowledge. She teaches in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University.
Nefertiti has been published in various genres, in publications as diverse as Reader’s Digest, Aesthetica, On Spec: Canada’s Magazine of the Fantastic - and Room! She is “beginning again” after a long spell of shock and loss and appreciates literary groups: Poetic Justice, Poetry In The Park, Poetry Wars, and especially Surrey Muse for resuscitating her.
Beni Xiao (bio to come)
Sam deVries Hofman (bio to come)
Hosted by Chelene Knight.
Please note that this event is hosted on the third floor of a heritage building, and unfortunately there is no elevator and it is not wheelchair accessible. We apologize for this. Our landlords allow us to use the space for free, which makes this reading series possible.
Come celebrate several exciting new ventures with Room Magazine! On Friday, August 19, 7-10pm, we're holding a reading to announce our forthcoming fortieth anniversary anthology (to be published March 2017 and launched at the first ever Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival in Vancouver).
Readers: Amber Dawn, Doretta Lau, Cyndia Cole, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Junie Desil (more to be announced)
We'll have deals on back issues and subscriptions, as well as the opportunity to pre-purchase the anthology!
Entry free / by donation.
Appetizers and water will be provided, but no alcohol will be served (however, there are tons of breweries nearby if you want to go out afterwards!)
This event takes place on unceded Coast Salish terrorities.
Please note that unfortunately this venue is not wheelchair accessible. We're holding this event on the third floor & rooftop patio of the office building we just moved into, and it's a heritage building with no elevator. We apologize for this.
Room's 40th Anniversary Anthology will be published with the support of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Periodical Fund.
For a week in August, (Monday August 8-Friday August 12) from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. I will be delivering a workshop on poetry to teens aged 14-16, as part of VPL's youth Writing & Book Camp. There will be a handful of amazing mentors, writers, authors and speakers of all genres. More info to come! If you have a teen who loves writing and reading then I suggest you sign up through VPL for this years' camp! More info on my workshop will be available soon. For now click below for more information on last years' camp.
This Ain't Your High School Poetry!
Poetry is everywhere. It's in your texts, your music, your conversations, your homework, your textbooks, your arguments, the backs of cereal boxes: it's tucked away and hiding everywhere! My workshop will focus on the creation of modern hybrid forms of poetry, with a deep focus on using unique combinations of words from unlikely sources to create poetry like never before. Check out my two workshops:
The Truth About Literary Magazine Publishing
The literary magazine community in Vancouver can seem like a mysterious, intimidating, and exclusive club. Are literary magazines the equivalent of the "high school clique?" Why is it so tough to get into the lit mag world? We will take a look at these questions from both sides of the table: Chelene as Editor and Chelene as submitter. This workshop will focus on what a lit mag is, how production works, and how to get your poetry, fiction, and non-fiction published in these journals.