Bestselling and award-winning Canadian author Lindsay Wong will be the highlight speaker at BookFest/Festival du livre 2019.
“It’s just a real coup for Windsor,” Aimee Parent Dunn, a local publisher involved in organizing the annual festival, said Wednesday.
“She’s as big an author as you can get in Canada right now so we’re really excited to have her here.”
Wong, who lives in Vancouver, wrote the award-winning memoir The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family.
BookFest/Festival du livre 2019 runs Oct. 17 to 22 with most workshops at the downtown School of Creative Arts.
Wong, one of the top five authors in the Canada Reads 2019 contest, will be talking about her book with award-winning author Casey Plett of Windsor on Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
Wong’s memoir was named a Best Book of 2018 by Quill and Quire editors, it won the 2019 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in British Columbia and was a finalist for other literary honours.
Getting an emerging author of Wong’s calibre is big for the festival, said Colleen Mitchell, chairwoman of the festival’s planning committee.
Mitchell said Wong’s memoir blends the serious topic of mental illness with a sense of humour. “It’s just really an effective way to look at an issue that’s very relevant today,” Mitchell said.
Other highlights of the festival include the 50th anniversary celebration brunch for Black Moss Press on Oct. 20, a workshop on writing and illustrations on Oct. 19 with Windsor’s newest publisher PopNoir Editions, and new writing workshops for children.
Parent Dunn, who purchased Palimpsest Press in 2014 and published eight books this year, said Windsor is pretty unique with four local publishers: Black Moss Press, Biblioasis, Palimpsest Press and the now PopNoir Editions which does graphic novels and short stories. Each publisher has some of its authors at the festival.
“We have a really great literary scene here,” said Parent Dunn.
BookFest/Festival du livre 2019 starts Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. with a Windsor International Film Festival sneak-peek of a Toni Morrison documentary and a dramatic reading by Leslie McCurdy.
On Oct. 18, there’s a 7 p.m. opening night performance with Detroit poet M. L. Liebler and other American poets.
The Oct. 19 lineup includes an 11 a.m. workshop on writing and illustrations with PopNoir Editions and authors Ben O’Neil and Jessica Batram, a 1 p.m. Poetry Cafe, children’s writing workshops in the afternoon with local author Vanessa Shields, a 2:30 p.m. fiction panel with Blair Hurley and debut author Nadja Lubiw-Hazard, a 4 p.m. workshop with Biblioasis author Mark Bourrie, and a 6 p.m. panel on storytelling with Hassan Ghedi Santur and Sandra Muse Isaacs.
BookFest Windsor started in 2002 and it went bilingual this year with a new name, Bookfest/Festival du livre 2019. The turnout for events with French books and authors has always been strong, said Parent Dunn. There are francophone-theme events and programs for students Oct. 20 to 22.
For more information on the schedule, the cost for each workshop and special VIP or weekend passes, visit bookfestwindsor.com. Tickets are available on the website or in person at Biblioasis Bookstore, 1520 Wyandotte St. W., or at the door.