GritLIT, Hamilton’s annual literary festival, announced their plans for the event’s seventeenth iteration yesterday- and book lovers have a lot to write home about.
Headlining the Festival is acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The writer’s most recent work, The Testaments, is a long-anticipated sequel to her acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale and won the 2019 Booker Prize. Atwood will be presented at the Festival’s Opening Night Event, where she will sit down with fellow writer Merilyn Simonds for an intimate conversation about inspiration, perseverance and the future of the planet. As part of a new partnership, this event will be the first and only GritLIT event this year to be presented at the Playhouse Cinema. All other events will take place at the Homewood Suites (40 Bay Street South).
In addition to the evening with Margaret Atwood, GritLIT will offer a total of twenty-eight events and eight writing workshops as pat of its annual festival. Over the course of the four-day event from April 16-29, festival attendees are encouraged to engage directly with favourite authors, and discover new ones. The festival, which began in 2004, aims to bring together the diverse voices of local, Canadian and international writers through both readings and themed events.
As part of this mandate, GritLIT has secured a number of Governor General Award nominees and winning authors for the festival, including 2019 Poetry Winner Gwen Benaway. Other authors who have received or been nominated for Canada’s prestigious literary award and will be present at GritLIT include Lynn Coady, Cordelia Strube and Jesse Thistle.
Author David Bergen will also be at the festival. In addition to being a Governor General Award nominee, the writer’s book The Time In Between won the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize. His 2016 book, Stranger, was shortlisted for the same award.
The festival rounds out its offerings with a number of events featuring journalists. Globe and Mail journalist Robyn Doolittle, best known for her investigative and ground-breaking stories (notably on former Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford) will revisit her “Unfounded” series, which examined the way police forces across the country handle sexual assault cases. In her offering for GritLIT, Doolittle will examine the changing landscape of sexual politics in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the work still needed to clarify Canadian law. In another event, local writer and founder of the 6-Minute Memoir series, Anne Bokma, will lead a workshop on the craft of storytelling. Through her workshop, participants will explore what makes a spoken tale compelling and how to deliver an unforgettable narrative.
For more information on gritLIT, or to purchase passes for the festival, please visit their website.