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Ottawa Writers Fest: a novel idea! (Plus, free tickets!)

By Samantha Everts on April 16, 2010



Photo courtesy Troy Holden on flickr.

By long-time Ottawan Samantha Everts, who ended up out west for love but quickly came back to the city she truly adores.

It’s that time of year again!  Yes, friends, April 22-27 is the time when dozens of brilliant writers crawl out of their offices and studies into the spotlight to answer their dear readers’ questions and offer insight into the writing life.

The 13th annual Ottawa International Writers Festival promises to offer up a wide range of subjects, including fiction, non-fiction, film screenings (Naked Lunch, anyone?) and poetry, from well-established writers and local scribblers alike. There should also be a good dose of inspirational advice for up-and-coming wordsmiths.

Opening the festival will be Sarah Elton with her book on the locavore trend, How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat. Other big names include Yann Martel, Terry O’Reilly, Jane Goodall, Russell Smith, Jeff Rubin, Harvey Cashore, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jessica Grant, and many more. Not to mention Douglas Coupland and John Ralston Saul on the same stage – what a literature fiend’s dream!

The five-day festival has a new main location, the Mayfair Theatre. Other venues include the University of Ottawa, the Lord Elgin Hotel, and Library and Archives Canada. With multiple events scheduled at the same time, festival-goers must choose carefully.

Tickets range from $5-25, depending on the event.  Festival passes and tickets are available online, but you can also buy them at individual events and at various Ottawa booksellers. And there’s some good news for Carleton students – anyone with valid student ID can get free admission to the festival (aside from Jane Goodall and the Books & Brunch event). Students can email ahead of time to reserve tickets to individual events or – if they’re feeling risky – show their ID at the box office table beforehand and hope there’s still room.

Free stuff alert! Apt613 is randomly giving away two awesome prizes: two 5 for $55 packages, which allows two people to attend five shows each, and a pair of stylin’ festival t-shirts. Of course, we expect you to prove your literary mettle first: email the name of Douglas Coupland’s first novel to by 11 p.m. Sunday and you’re entered in the draw. (We’ll hopefully announce the winners on Monday.) Anyone who just checks Wikipedia will be haunted by the ghost of  Margaret Atwood, which is pretty freaky considering she’s not even dead yet.


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