Ottawa Writers Festival presents a challenging lineup of important voices

Cherie Dimaline will be at the Writers Festival this October with her latest novel.

The world is focussed on issues of identity, gender, trauma, truth and reconciliation, the Ottawa Writers Festival’s fall lineup is certainly reflecting that.

Several authors of Indigenous heritage are bringing their stories to the festival which runs from Oct. 24 to Oct. 29 including writers such as Cherie Dimaline, Katherena Vermette, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Helen Knott, Karen McBride and Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm.

It should make for a powerful mix.

And that’s after already hosting Margaret Atwood (Sept. 17), Jody Wilson-Raybould (Sept. 20), Charlotte Gray (Sept. 24), Beverley McLachlan (Sept. 25), Emma Donoghue (Sept. 26), Pico Iyer (Oct. 1) Diana Beresford-Kroeger (Oct. 5) and a bevy of Giller nominees (Oct. 16).

As usual all events are at Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks St. unless otherwise indicated.

Oct. 24

Had it Coming with Robyn Doolittle (6 p.m.)

In My Own Moccasins with Helen Knott (7:30 p.m.)

Poetry Cabaret with Katherena Vermette and Billy-Ray Belcourt (9 p.m.)

Oct. 25

Graphic History with Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm and Katherena Vermette (noon)

Where the Heart Is with Anar Ali and Rebecca Fisseha (6 p.m). Hosted by Daniel Bezalel Richardson

Fame with Amy Jones and Terry Fallis (7:30 p.m.). Hosted by CBC’s Sandra Abma

2019 Bywords John Newlove Poetry Award with Tomasz W. Wiszniewski and Jack Pine (9 p.m.) Hosted by Amanda Earl

Oct. 26

Power Shift with Sally Armstrong (1:30 p.m.). Hosted by CBC’s Judy Trinh

The Vagina Bible with Dr. Jen Gunter (3 p.m.). Hosted by Julie S. Lalonde

We Have Always Been Here with Samra Habib 4:30 p.m.). Hosted by Anna Shah Hoque

Plan 99 Poetry with Jacqueline Turner, K.B. Thors and Nikki Reimer Manx Pub • 370 Elgin St. (5 p.m.). Hosted by David O’Meara

Art and Craft with Steven Price and Jennifer Robson (6 p.m.). Hosted by Rhonda Douglas


Make Tomorrow

with Michael Christie and Johanna Skibsrud (7:30 p.m.)

Hosted by Stephen Brockwell

The Day After Tomorrow with Derek Kunsken and Tade Thompson 9 (p.m.)

Hosted by Kate Heartfield

Oct. 27

Laughing Matters with Laurie Gelman and Dave Hill 1:30pm

Modern Family with Rick Prashaw and Amanda Jette Knox (3 p.m.)

Hosted by CBC’s Matthew Pearson

Daughter of Family G with Ami McKay (4:30 p.m.)

Hosted by CBC’s Lucy van Oldenbarneveld

Plan 99: ARC Poetry Fall Launch Manx Pub • 370 Elgin St.


Family Ties with Zalika Reid-Benta, Carol Rose GoldenEagle and Michael Crummey (6:30 p.m.)

Hosted by CBC’s Alan Neal

Friends Like These with Sara Peters, Megan Gail Coles and Anakana Schofield (8:30 p.m.)

Hosted by Nina Jane Drystek

All of Me with Naben Ruthnum and Nathan Ripley (noon)

Hosted by Peter Schneider

A Thousand Small Sanities with Adam Gopnik (5:30 p.m.)

Hosted by Peter Schneider

An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space with Bob McDonald (7 p.m.)

Hosted by CBC’s Laurence Wall


Fear Itself with Jessica Westhead, Nathan Ripley and Lynn Coady (8:30 p.m.)

Hosted by’s Peter Robb


The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls with Mona Eltahawy (5:30 p.m.)

Where the Wild Things Are with Karen McBride and Cherie Dimaline (7 p.m.)

Hosted by CBC’s Shelagh Rogers

Rebent Sinner with Ivan Coyote (8:30 p.m.)

For tickets and more information, please see

Share Post
Written by

Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.