Writers Fest Challenge 2019: In Conclusion

Tonight is the first event of the 2019 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. Which means I’ve come to the end of my Writers Fest Challenge for 2019, a self-imposed challenge of attempting to read at least one book from each author. (Here’s my original post about it.) So, how did I do?

I started the challenge at the beginning of May (when the line-up is finalized) and so ended up giving myself three and a half months. Out of 21 authors, I was able to read 17. Of the 4 left unread, I have read previous books from 2 of those authors. So there will only be 2 authors this weekend whose work I am completely unfamiliar with. Overall, I’m pleased with the result and next year I hope to continue the challenge. What I will do though is begin reading the authors as soon as they’re announced rather than waiting until the entire list is available. Hopefully this will give me some more time.

The other thing that limited me was that I borrowed all of these books from our local library. Since the Writers Fest is a popular event, I had at least a short wait (and sometimes a very long wait) for all of the books. At times, I had 5 or 6 titles to read and at other times nothing at all. Hopefully starting earlier next year will aid in this.

What I liked about doing this challenge was that I read a lot of books I wouldn’t have read otherwise. Usually, I read a few of the books that grab my attention and disregard the rest. Sometimes, if an author is particularly compelling in person I’ll read their book after the fact but more often I’ve found myself during an author reading wishing I knew their work better. This year I’m excited to go into the weekend having a greater familiarity with almost every writer. I’m also excited that I’ve read some books that I might not have read otherwise and have been able to read more Canadian authors.

The books I enjoyed most:

  • A Mind Spread out on the Ground
  • Chop Suey Nation
  • Aria
  • Dissident Doctor
  • Dear Current Occupant
  • Moccasin Square Gardens

The authors I’m looking forward to hearing in person:

  • Alicia Elliott
  • Rachel Giese
  • Elizabeth Hay
  • Nazanine Hozar
  • Michael Klein
  • Lee Maracle
  • Richard Van Camp

Reviews of some of the books are below:

Ian Williams – Reproduction

Rhea Tregebov – Rue des Rosiers

Randy Boyagoda – Original Prin

Michael Klein – Dissident Doctor

Richard van Camp – Moccasin Square Gardens

Adam Pottle – Voice

Alicia Elliott- A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

Chelene Knight – Dear Current Occupant

Ann Hui – Chop Suey Nation

Rachel Giese – Boys

Lindsay Wong – The Woo Woo

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6 thoughts on “Writers Fest Challenge 2019: In Conclusion”

  1. Congrats on excelling at the challenge that you set yourself! Reading 17 is seriously impressive. And I’m glad you found some new favorites!

  2. Well done – you’ve done brilliantly and I’m glad you found so many of the books enjoyable. There seems to be a real upsurge of fiction writing in Canada these days – I’m kinda jealous!

    1. Thanks! Canada really does have a great literary atmosphere and some fantastic writing being produced these days. It’s one of the few forms of media in our country that remains fairly independent from the Americans, I feel.

    1. Thanks! The festival was great. It’s always interesting to hear authors read from their own work and get a new perspective on a book I’ve already read. I didn’t read Mamaskatch by Darrell MacLeod or Twin Studies by Keith Maillard. I missed Maillard’s presentation by MacLeod was very interesting so I may go back and read it this fall.

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