November welcomes back the free literary festival BurlLITFest at Burlington Public Library (BPL), which celebrates Burlington's authors, books, diversity, and creativity. BPL will present an anthology of author talks for the community to attend throughout the entire month. Lita Barrie, BPL’s CEO, has shared, “We are excited to bring such a wide range of writing talent and experience to our book-loving community this year. Our festival is all about finding delight in the written word, connecting with others, and learning something new.”
Some of the talks include “Climate Justice in So-Called Canada” on November 14, featuring a panel discussion hosted by Dr. Ki’en Debicki; “Why Representation Matters in Writing” with Sarah Raughley on November 16; and “Is AI the End of Real Authors?” with Navneet Alang on November 27. Click here for a full list of events, dates, and to register. All events are free and do not require a Burlington Public Library card to attend. Parampreet Singh, BPL’s event coordinator notes, “This year, we have over 20 events in our lineup, including some talks with a focus on topical issues like climate change, migrant work, and artificial intelligence.”
Singh goes on to state, “Some of our most high-profile events are already sold out, but don’t worry, all BurlLITFest programs continue to be 100% free to attend.”
Tammy Csajaghy the programming and partnerships manager at BPL says, “Our lineup of BurlLITFest speakers and workshop leaders reflects both the interests of our community and the growing diversity of writers today.” Authors have incredible insights to share about culture, society, and current issues; BPL hopes that when participants join in, hearing an author in-person will inspire new ideas and encourage people to broaden their perspectives.
BPL wants to be welcoming to all of Burlington’s residents, and with the ever-increasing diversity seen in our city’s population, they are working hard to ensure that their programs are representative of that diversity. Csajaghy goes on to say, “The library belongs to everyone in the community and inclusion is one of our core values; with that in mind, we emphasize diverse voices and perspectives in our events during BurlLITFest and all year round. This is part of a thoughtful effort to attract the same wide range of customers to library programs as our other library services.”
An event like this is a great way to be a part of the community, get inspired, and learn. Csajaghy says, “Burlington is a book-loving community, so we expect to see a lot of happy readers flock to the author's talks for entertainment and exposure to new ideas. We regularly hear from writers that the festival inspires them to continue honing their craft. We hope BurlLITFest continues to be an opportunity to develop Burlington’s writing community through education and networking.”
Burlington Literary Festival caps off with an open mic event where aspiring writers can share their work on stage. This is a wonderful chance to see the talent that is developing in our city.
Live virtual events will also be hosted, via digital resource Library Speaker Consortium, with John Stamos, poet Joy Harjo, and dystopian novelist Naomi Alderman appearing as guest speakers. BPL recommends registering early to ensure you can take part before all the spots fill up.
A Different Drummer Books is a key partner and will be co-presenting a few of the author talks, and the City of Burlington has generously sponsored the Children’s Writing Workshops. We are also privileged to work with some incredible publishers to bring exciting names to the lineup.
The Children’s Writing Workshops BurlLITFest is offering this year are five special writing workshops hosted by local author and illustrators:
From Idea to Story with Sylvia McNicoll In this workshop, kids aged 8 to 12 will learn how to engage both themselves and their readers from the first line. On Nov. 4, McNicoll will talk participants through different ways to begin their stories, complete with examples, and will share some wisdom on how to avoid writer’s block. By the end, kids will get to flex their new skills and share them with the group.
Draw with Feeling! with Jennifer Faria With Burlington’s own Jennifer Faria, an artist and published picture book illustrator, kids can explore how to draw emotive characters in this Nov. 11 workshop. Faria will talk about her own artistic journey, as well as lead participants through basic facial anatomy, and how to illustrate different emotions through facial expressions. Armed with this knowledge, kids will have the opportunity to create a self-portrait in the hands-on part of the session.
Prescription for Descriptions with Jennifer Maruno In this Nov. 18 workshop, local author Maruno shares how using detailed descriptions can take a young author’s writing to a new level. Kids will learn how to correctly order adjectives, how adjectives can be used to create fun and meaning in their writing, and will have the opportunity to create their own descriptive words.
Writing in Rhyme with Lana Button This fun and interactive workshop will encourage snapping, clapping, and creating rhymes to warm up kids’ brain for the main event — writing using Button’s book, Raj’s Rule (for the Bathroom at School), as inspiration to write their own verses.
Finish Strong! How to Write Endings with Jennifer Mook-Sang This workshop on Nov. 26 will teach kids how to write the best endings to their stories. Mook-Sang will talk young writers through how she creates endings, her “secret sauce” to make them satisfying, and how writing the ending first can bring a new perspective to their writing journey These children’s writing workshops, the author’s talks aimed at adult book lovers and writers alike, and the virtual BurlLITFest events all have goals of connecting Burlington residents to authors, heightening their experience of reading, strengthening Burlington’s community of writers, and inspiring discovery and reflection. BPL is looking to continue providing opportunities for connections with authors, so readers can learn about their writing processes and sources of inspiration, deepening that love of reading that many in Burlington already have.
Burlington residents have been very enthusiastic about previous BurlLITFest events and BPL saw steady growth in attendance between the first and second years of the festival. So far this year, some of the banner events and workshops are already sold out and they expect to have a full house at all author talks.
BPL wants everyone to know they are grateful for the support of local businesses, organizations, and media who help promote the festival by displaying posters, sharing their social media posts, and generally spreading the word.
To get involved next year, Singh says, “Every spring, we issue a call for proposals where folks can submit an online application to present a talk or workshop. Successful submissions become part of our festival lineup that fall.” For the full event lineup, go to BPL’s website and to the BurlLITFest program page, or click here.
Rebecca Gruszka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Burlington Local-News.ca