Award-winning author Yasuko Thanh is among the guest speakers and panellists at this year’s Victoria Festival of Authors, Oct. 2-6. Facebook

Learn from the experts: Victoria Festival of Authors assembling stellar guest list

Workshops, panels provide story ideas, strategies and insights for all levels of writer, Oct. 2-6

The fourth annual celebration of great books and great writers comes to Victoria Oct. 2-6 and promises a stellar list of special guests, workshops, discussion panels and more.

The Victoria Festival of Authors embraces poets, fiction and creative non-fiction writers and other storytellers who come from a wide variety of communities, with diverse backgrounds, and from all levels of a writing career.

Authors from across the country and right here on Vancouver Island will once again share their writing, ideas and techniques for developing writers and those who have already embarked upon a literary career.

A project spearheaded by the not-for-profit Victoria Festival of Authors Society, the festival brings together authors from a broad cross-section of genres.

Among this year’s special guests is Victoria’s Yasuko Thanh, whose novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains won the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize. Her short-story collection Floating Like the Dead was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and her latest book, the memoir Mistakes to Run With, describes her evangelist upbringing in Victoria and years on the streets in Vancouver. It was published this spring by Hamish Hamilton to rave reviews.

Reviewing the book for Quill & Quire, Rudrapriya Rathore writes, “Though the depictions of Thanh’s relationships with men – often emotionally abusive – are visceral enough to induce physical discomfort, her development as a writer, which appears concurrently, acts as a healing balm for both author and reader.”

In an interview with Dana Gee for the Vancouver Sun, Yasuko spoke about the differences between writing fiction and writing memoir: “At first I had a difficult time, dogged by the sense that the work was gratuitous. In fiction, removing emotional experience from ourselves, we make our own insights worthwhile, we create wonderful characters. To turn the focus on oneself lays bare the nitty gritty of our personal fictions, what we do every day to give our lives meaning. Memoir lays bare the artistry and artificiality of what we call ‘our lives,’ the imposition of significance on events that are in reality, probably, just shit that happened followed by more shit that happened.”

RELATED: Victoria author recalls her former life as a sex trade worker in new memoir

Thanh will be one of the readers at the Wednesday night launch, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Arts Council Gallery, along with Julie Paul and Richard Van Camp. Thanh will also take part in the Saturday memoir panel From These Beginnings, 3:30 p.m. at the Metro Theatre, along with Carla Funk, Meenal Shrivastava and Samra Zafar.

Also among those taking part:

  • Ian Hamilton, the author of the bestselling Ava Lee series, which follows the adventures of a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant. Hamilton has won the Arthur Ellis Award and has been shortlisted for the Barry Award and Lambda Literary Prize. The Ava Lee series is currently being adapted for television. The 12th book in the series, The Mountain Master of Sha Tin, takes Ava to Shanghai and Hong Kong. It was published last month by House of Anansi and is already appearing on bestseller lists. For an interesting account of the genesis of the series, check out Ian’s YouTube channel. Hamilton will be part of the Friday mystery panel, The Usual Suspects, at the Metro along with Nathan Ripley and Iona Wishaw.
  • Sonnet L’Abbé is the author of three collections of poetry, A Strange Relief, Killarnoe, and the just-released Sonnet’s Shakespeare, from Penguin Random House. In 2000, she won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for most promising writer under 35 and in 2010 was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Prize for poetry. Sonnet is a professor of creative writing at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.
  • Richard van Camp is a member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, and is the author of over 20 books, including several short-story collections featuring the fictional community of Fort Simmer. An enthusiast of numerous genres he has written books for babies and graphic novels, and worked as a writer and consultant for the television series North of 60. Richard’s latest collection, Moccasin Square Gardens, was published this spring by Douglas & McIntyre.

RELATED: Vancouver Island poet writes over Shakespeare

A wide range of events are planned over the course of the week. Tickets go on sale Aug. 31 and interested parties are encouraged to purchase early to make sure you get a seat for your top picks. Students receive a 20 per cent discount on tickets. Find more information at,where thefull schedule of events will be posted soon.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

BC Ferries named one of B.C.’s top employers

Health benefits, vacation time and retirement planning cited as top perks

VIDEO: Vancouver Island teen’s Make-A-Wish send-off fit for a galaxy not so far away

Campbell River’s Mattias Beck, 15, received an extra special start at the Comox Valley airport

OPINION: Reformed or not, ICBC is still a monopoly. Why?

“It’s past time that politicians do the right thing: they need to end the ICBC monopoly”

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Suspicious fire evacuates Chemainus high school

No one hurt, but classes will also be cancelled Friday due to ongoing investigation and damage

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Malware infiltration slows production at Island pulp mills

Infestation affecting Crofton, Alberni, Powell River Paper Excellence operations

RCMP seek man who allegedly robbed Langford liquor store with a gun

Man described as six to six foot four tall, with slim build and light-coloured skin

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Saanich residents petition against letting six unrelated people live together

‘Support for the ‘leave it at four’ is growing,’ says the resident

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Island-filmed mini-series honoured with Canadian Screen Award nomination

Actor Shawn Doyle was nominated in the Best Lead Actor category for Unspeakable

Most Read