The spring edition of the Ottawa International Writers festival features philosophers and poets along with stories of immigration, identity, the latest in fiction from Canada and abroad and a crime novel by the former Supreme Court chief justice Beverley McLachlin.
Kicking off the event on April 26 is Canada’s public intellectual John Ralston Saul who will be talking about a new way to consider Canadian history, one that considers the contributions and growing role of Indigenous peoples, with the backdrop of the book The Comeback. That same evening Indigenous writers Shannon Webb-Campbell and Lee Maracle will be “decolonizing the dialogue” in a discussion of the issues confronting reconciliation in Canada.
The festival will also feature writers whose work is making a mark in this year’s CBC Canada Reads contest. Omar El Akkad (American War) and Cherie Dimaline (The Marrow Thieves) will join novelist Timothy Taylor (The Rule of Stephens) on April 27.
Newfoundlander Sharon Bala, who is also up for Canada Reads with The Boat People, will be on a panel with Ottawa sh0rt story writer Djamila Ibrahim (Things Are Good Now) and Arif Anwar (The Storm) on April 28.
There will be some science on view with appearances by journalist and athlete Alex Hutchison with his book Endure: Mind, Body and the Limits of Human Performance, Alanna Mitchell, whose latest is about the importance of Earth’s magnetic field and the potential for disaster. It’s called The Spinning Magnet. CBC personality and real doctor Brian Goldman appears for a conversation about The Power of Kindness in medicine and life.
The festival closes on May 1 with a literary luncheon and reading by Beverley McLachlan whose first novel Full Disclosure, featuring the young female lawyer Jilly Truitt, isa thriller in the territory of Scott Turow and Michael Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer. That same day, the Montreal’s stellar novelist Heather O’Neill is back at the festival with a memoir of her father, a charmer who told her stories about how crime can pay.