Sudbury literary festival for 'anybody who loves words'

·3 min read

The Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival will be returning for its ninth iteration this November, this time with both in-person and online events for any booklovers to enjoy.

From Thursday, Nov. 3, to Saturday, Nov. 5, the festival will host authors from across Northern Ontario and Canada for talks and panels, as well as master classes and a slam poetry competition, to celebrate the Canadian literary scene and share in their love of literature.

“We attract readers, writers, and anybody who loves words,” said festival director Heather Campbell. “It’s a place where people who love books, and words, and conversation come together.”

The festival announced Thursday its first slate of guests, with more set to be unveiled in September.

This year, notable guest authors will include:

- David A. Robertson, a Cree writer, Governor General’s award-winner, and author of multiple books, including the memoir Black Water, and the #1 national bestseller The Barren Ground;

- Gary Barwin, the author of 26 books, including Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy, a finalist of both the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize;

- Shani Mootoo, an award-winning poet and artist who’s published a number of critically acclaimed novels, including Polar Vortex, and Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab;

- Tanis MacDonald, a poet and essayist who has published multiple collections and also teaches Canadian Literature and Creative at Wilfrid Laurier University;

- and Aimee Wall, a Newfoundland-based writer and translator, whose first novel We, Jane was longlisted for the 2021 Giller Prize.

The festival will also include writers from across Northern Ontario, including Charlie Angus, Rod Carley, Noelle Schmidt, Liisa Kovala, Emma Cote, and Danielle Daniel.

Campbell describes the region’s literary scene as “thriving” and said she’s glad Wordstock can be a part of that.

“It’s a place for Northern Ontario authors to engage with the audience and connect with other authors around Canada,” she said. “It’s also about parents learning about books they would like their kids to read, or university students reading books in their class and being able to meet the author.

"When we started the festival in 2013, it was about making sure that Northern Ontario had a literary festival as well, to make sure that we have a literary arts scene in Sudbury.”

The festival is also inviting high school students from across the region to participate in its annual Youthwords Writing Contest. Students can submit short stories or poem for a chance to win a case prize and publication in The Sudbury Star. This year’s theme is Emerge.

The deadline to submit writing is Sunday, Oct. 23.

Campbell said this year the festival is encouraging people from across northeastern Ontario to check out the festival. Special tourist packages will be available that include discounts for a room at the Holiday Inn and Science North passes.

“We have our loyal audience members who have been coming to every single (festival), and then we have those that are discovering it for the first time. We’re super happy about that.”

While tickets for events are not yet available, the festival is looking for volunteers. For more information on how to get involved, visit

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

Twitter: @mia_rjensen

Mia Jensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star

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