Vancouver in the fall means sunglasses and umbrellas—you either get gilded autumn colours, or you get soaked. But for six days in October the Vancouver Writers Fest offers an excuse to take cover, while listening to authors from across Canada and beyond: this year’s crop includes James Ellroy, Tim Winton, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Eimear McBride. The venue is Granville Island, actually a peninsula, an industrial wasteland now transformed into a waterfront haven for lovers of the arts and esoteric food. The Fest offers some enticing combinations in its biggest programme to date: Emma Donoghue with Sarah Waters; Esther Freud and Herman Koch with Christos Tsiolkas. Two popular regular features are the Sunday Brunch (readings, croissants, Buck’s Fizz) and the Literary Cabaret, in which six authors perform and a band tailors music to their texts. The “Fitting Finale” lives up to its name, pairing the intense but twinkling Colm Tóibín and the quietly mischievous Jane Smiley. ~ Anthony Gardner
Vancouver Writers Fest Oct 21st-26th; writersfest.bc.ca
TALKS AT A GLANCE
Cambridge Literary Festival (Nov 30th). One packed day, with Ali Smith, Marina Warner, John Boyne and Alan Johnson.
Sarah Waters, DBC Pierre and Kim Newman (British Library, London, Dec 3rd). Three spookophile novelists discuss Gothic literature.
UEA Literary Festival (Norwich, to Nov 26th). Weekly talks featuring Ian McEwan, Jane Smiley, Richard Holmes.
Hay Festival Dhaka (Bangla Academy, Nov 20th-22nd). Nadeem Aslam, Romesh Gunesekera and Aamer Hussein are among the writers, graphic artists and activists making Hay in Bangladesh.
Richard Ford (Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh, Dec 8th). A titan of contemporary fiction. ~ AG