Writer's Fest

Kingston WritersFest, a charitable cultural organization, brings the best of contemporary writers to Kingston to interact with audiences and other artists for mutual inspiration, education, and the exchange of ideas that literature provokes.

Through readings, performance, onstage discussion and master classes, Kingston WritersFest fosters intellectual and emotional growth on a personal and community level and raises the profile of reading and literary expression in our community.

K-pass holders will gain access to one event of their choice for free by showing their K-Pass at the door


Events available to K-Pass holders:


15. Pen and Pointe Shoes: The Story of Bronia Nijinska

September 29 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)


Eva Stachniak shares her wondrous historical novel about the life of ballet great Bronia Nijinska, sister to the famous dancer Vladimir Nijinsky. With Cecily Ross, Eva talks about Bronia, her brother, and the many important creatives of their time whom they counted among their friends and artistic collaborators. Eva reveals her attraction to writing books about famous women, usually Polish by birth, with strong, complex characters who, despite the cultural and societal limitations of their gender and time, reached the pinnacle of success.


24. Freedom Seekers – the African Experience in North America

September 29 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)

GG Award-winning authors both, biographer Karoyln Smardz-Frost and novelist Linda Spalding bring to life the extraordinary experiences of freedom seekers and those on both sides of the border who aided African refugees from the US. Danger and difficulty tested the courage and beliefs of both. Anita Jack-Davies leads a discussion of the inherent drama of the freedom seekers’ story, whether true or fictional, why this story has been mostly excluded from our literary tradition, and asks Karolyn and Linda how they see themselves, and how, as white women telling these stories, they are seen by African-Canadians.

In celebration of the Governor General’s Literary Awards


28. Jimmy & James / Past & Present: Historical Fiction

September 30 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Islandview Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)

In the most recent example of her beautifully written, audacious, and deeply inventive work, Kathleen Winter presents two characters in one, General James Wolfe, known to most Canadian school-children as the “Conqueror of Canada”, and Jimmy, a homeless ex-soldier with PTSD in present-day Montreal. Jimmy bears more than a passing resemblance to Wolfe, who died in 1759. Join Kathleen and biographer/historian Charlotte Gray as they interrogate Kathleen’s copious research and discuss how she arrived at this striking approach to depicting anew this famous historical figure.


29. Finding Truth in Fair Verona: Juliet, Shakespeare, and Love

September 30 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)

Not many men would volunteer to travel abroad to become one of Juliet’s secretaries, but author Glenn Dixon does just that, in the name of research and in a quest for understanding the elusive truth of heartbreak and healing. As he learns about himself and about the real story of Romeo and Juliet, he discovers extraordinary and unexpected truths about love. Join Glenn andBen McNally in this conversation about broken hearts, the Bard, and the beautiful tradition of Juliet’s wall of letters from the lovelorn.

Co-presentation of Kingston WritersFest and Thousand Islands Playhouse


31. Present Imperfect: Speculative Fiction

September 30 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Islandview Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)

Award-winning screenwriter-turned-novelist Elan Mastai sends us to an alternate world, a thrilling techno-utopian paradise where flying cars and robot maids are a reality, then challenges us to ask ourselves if that reality really is better than our own, and whether we really will want the futures we now imagine. With Kingston Canadian Film Festival director Marc Garniss, Elan talks about the mechanics of time travel and the complications that can arise, the experience of adapting his own novel for screen, and where the two art forms cross over or diverge.

A co-presentation by KWF and Kingston Canadian Film Festival


36. Paper, Pen, and Pixels: Memoir

October 1 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Islandview Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)

Author Merilyn Simonds shares stories that span 40 years from her new memoir, and talks about her ongoing love affair with books, reading, and writing. With author Diane Schoemperlen she explores the nature of innovation, the past and present significance of books as tangible objects, and the future of the thing that is a book. Merilyn reflects on how human communication has changed over centuries, and how it might be expected to change in the future.


38. Compound Sorrows and a Touch of Magic: Chinese Historical Fiction

October 1 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Islandview Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)


Janie Chang spins a richly textured tale of a thrice-unfortunate girl – the illegitimate Eurasian daughter of a Chinese concubine – who navigates the complexities and intrigues of early twentieth-century Shanghai as the ancient imperial dynasty is collapsing. Jialing learns to rely on her own intelligence, resilience, courage, with help from a surprising spirit ally, to find purpose, to thrive, and to find belonging. Join Janie and Barbara Bell as they delve into Janie’s insights on race, identity, women’s struggle for agency, and the inevitability of change.


39. Broken Prisons: Thirty Years in Canada’s Prison Service

October 1 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Bellevue Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)

Robert Clark, a three-decade veteran of Corrections Canada, believed he had something to offer prisoners. This belief was crushed as he climbed to the position of deputy warden and suffered a crisis of conscience that took its toll on his health and happiness, and in the end, wouldn’t be silenced. Robert’s stories of institutional neglect, secret-keeping, and downright cruelty, call into question Canada’s current punishment paradigm. Addressing the question of whether the country’s prison system needs reform, Robert tells it like he experienced it, and like most of us will never know.


40. Vimy: Remembrance and National Identity

October 1 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Islandview Room, Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront (2 Princess St)


Join historian Tim Cook and Queen’s University Historian Duncan McDowall as they talk about this legendary battle and its place in the Canadian national consciousness. How did Vimy, relatively insignificant in terms of the overall campaign, become enshrined in the nation’s self-identity? What part did imperialism, politics, or economics play? And how do we make sense of the enormous psychic toll on Canadians who fought there? As a symbol, Vimy allows us to talk about our history, the stories we tell about ourselves, and to reinterpret the legend for all Canadians, one hundred years later.


New this year! Subject to availability, last minute rush tickets to all events are available to K-Pass holders. These tickets, if available, can be reserved 10 minutes prior to the event start time. Click here for a full list of all events.