Literary festivals are celebrations of books, the literary arts and the creative process. Festivals often involve seminars, workshops, launches and signings. The opportunity to purchase books is also often an option available at many of these festivals.
- Bloody Words
Bloody Words is Canada’s oldest and largest festival celebrating mystery readers and authors. It is held in a different Canadian city every June.
- Canadian Festival of Spoken Word
The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is an annual event that celebrates and promotes spoken word performances. The festival changes cities annually in order to promote the spoken word across the country.
- Canadian Library Month
Canadian Library Month takes place every October and consists of events across the country that raise awareness of the importance of libraries. The Canadian Library Association sponsors this initiative.
- Freedom to Read
Freedom to Read Week takes place every year at the end of February. Through events held across the country, this festival reminds Canadians that the freedom to read should never be taken for granted.
- National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month is an annual celebration of poetry that features events across the country. Often a common theme is picked for many of the events. The League of Canadian Poets sponsors National Poetry Month.
- The Word on the Street
The Word on the Street was created to unite the country in an annual, one-day celebration of reading and writing, with a specific focus on Canadian authors. The Word on the Street currently takes place in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Kitchener.
- Atlantic Book Festival
The Atlantic Book Festival combines awards, readings, tours, workshops and children’s events from all four Atlantic provinces and brings them together in one event that takes place in Halifax every May.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Writers at Woody Point
The Writers at Woody Point literary festival is organized and presented by The Friends of the Woody Point Heritage Theatre to celebrate the literature of Newfoundland.
- Cabot Trail Writers Festival
The first annual Cabot Trail Writers Festival was held in the fall of 2009 in North River, Cape Breton. The festival runs on the weekend leading up to the Celtic Colours International Festival.
Read by the Sea
Read by the Sea, at River John, NS, now in its 18th year. Second Saturday of July (this year, that’s July 8). Related activities include Pitch the Publisher, Kitchen Party, and more. Includes a children’s festival, WordPlay, on a different date.
Mandate: to bring some of Canada’s finest authors to Nova Scotia’s North Shore each summer.
Please see www.readbythesea.ca or find it on Facebook
Prince Edward Island
- Frye Festival
An annual celebration of writer Northrop Frye, the Frye Festival takes place in Moncton and is the only bilingual festival held in Eastern Canada.
- Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival
The Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival is the world’s first multilingual literary festival. The five-day festival gathers writers, translators, and journalists for literary events in English, French, Spanish, and other languages.
- Trois-Rivières International Festival of Poetry
The Trois-Rivières festival boasts one of the most impressive turnouts for poetry festivals, attracting poets from all around the world, and holds more than 350 events.
Atwater Poetry Project
Monthly readings by established and emerging poets from Montreal and across Canada. Founded in 2004 by Oana Avasilichioaei, the Atwater Poetry Project continues to offer Montreal an inspiring range of poets and poetry, and to cultivate with Canadian and international writers a respected professional venue.
Resonance Reading Series
The Resonance Reading Series is a monthly reading series dedicated to showcasing the best of poetry, prose, and other text-based work.
The Writers Fête – the only literary festival in western Québec – showcases the originality, multidimensionality and cultural diversity (First Nations, French, English and other cultures) of the literary arts. It provides thought provoking and original contexts to literary arts professionals for presenting new works and ideas to a critical audience. May 12-14, 2017 in Wakefield Québec. www.writersfete.com
- Aloud: A Celebration for Young Readers
ALOUD features the best YA authors at events that take place during the annual Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™ at Toronto’s Authors at Harbourfront Centre.
- BookFest Windsor
The annual BookFest Windsor (formerly Windsor Festival of the Book) combines author readings, interviews and signings with workshops on book arts, book collecting and publishing. Lectures also take place on various aspects of book history and production.
- Books by the Bay
Books by the Bay, a northern festival held in Callander, Ontario, celebrates Canadian and regional authors for adults and children.
- Eden Mills Writers’ Festival
The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is an annual volunteer-run festival that consists of open-air readings, workshops and seminars taking place along the Eramosa River in the small town of Eden Mills.
GritLIT Hamilton’s annual literary festival, created to celebrate Canada’s rich and diverse literary culture and bring attention to local writers.
- International Festival of Authors
The mandate of the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) is to bring together the best writers of contemporary world literature. The festival includes readings, interviews, lectures and round-table discussions, as well as public book signings.
- Lakefield Literary Festival
The Lakefield Literary Festival began in 1995 as a celebration of the work of Margaret Laurence. Since that time, the festival has expanded into a celebration of Lakefield authors and those from the surrounding areas.
- Ottawa International Writers Festival
The Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place twice a year, in the spring and fall, and features both internationally acclaimed and local authors.
- Telling Tales
The annual children’s literary festival takes place every September in Rockton, Ontario.
- The Scream Literary Festival
The festival began when the Dream in High Park stage in Toronto was commandeered on an off-night for a poetry reading. It has since evolved into a multi-day festival consisting of a unique collection of literary events taking place around Toronto.
- The Toronto Festival of Storytelling
This annual festival celebrates the past, present and future of the storytelling art form.
The Art Bar Poetry Reading Series
The Art Bar is recognized as Canada’s longest running poetry-only, weekly reading series. Since 1991, it has featured both emerging and established poets from across Canada and occasionally from abroad.
Brockton Writers Series
The Brockton Writers Series (BWS) is a bi-monthly literary reading series that host writers who reflect Canadian literature and Canadian diversity.
The 2014 NorthWords Muskoka Literary Festival will take place in Bracebridge, Ontario Oct 3-5, 2014. Sixteen Canadian Authors will be participating throughout the weekend. The events will be kicked off with a Writers’ Workshop on Friday.
Pages UnBound has its roots in Pages Books & Magazines, a bookstore opened by Marc Glassman in 1979 at 256 Queen Street West. It’s Festival runs every May.
Raconteurs is a monthly event series in Toronto featuring true, personal storytelling live on stage without notes or props. Each event features a theme — a jumping off point to give the evening’s stories a common thread.
- Saskatchewan Festival of Words
The Saskatchewan Festival of Words is a celebration of the work of poets, novelists, creative non-fiction writers and other performers that takes place every summer in Moose Jaw.
- Talking Fresh
Talking Fresh is an annual mini-festival that takes place at Luther College in Regina.
- Banff Mountain Book Festival
The Banff Mountain Book Festival celebrates the world’s best mountain and adventure travel stories.
- Calgary International Spoken Word Festival
The Calgary International Spoken Word Festival has grown extensively since its inception in 2003. Founded by spoken word artist Sheri-D Wilson, the event now spans two weeks in April and involves artists from across Canada.
- LitFest—Edmonton’s International Literary Festival
LitFest is Canada’s only creative non-fiction festival. The festival displays this unique art form through a series of panels and discussions.
WordFest is an annual six-day festival that takes place in numerous venues in both Banff and Calgary. WordFest has become an internationally recognized celebration of the written word.
Flywheel Reading Series
A free monthly reading event curated by filling Station Magazine running since 2003. It’s a diverse series that welcomes the participation of writers of all kinds of literature; especially interesting in innovative and original work.
STARFest (St. Albert Readers’ Festival) began in 2011 and is organized and presented by St. Albert Public Library. Held in the Fall, it brings in award-winning, best-selling fiction and non-fiction authors from across Canada and beyond.
- Cherie Smith JCCGV Jewish Book Festival
The Cherie Smith JCCGV Jewish Book Festival, an annual event that takes place in Vancouver, is designed to showcase Jewish writers from around the world.
- Shuswap Lake International Writers’ Festival
The Shuswap Lake International Writers’ Festival takes place annually on Victoria Day weekend. The festival highlights the achievements of writers from the interior of British Columbia.
- Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts
The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts is the longest-running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers and features both established authors and rising literary stars.
- The Pacific Festival of the Book
The Pacific Festival of the Book takes place annually in Victoria. The festival consists of workshops, readings and a number of activities designed to appeal to youth.
- Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival
Held annually over six days in late October, the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival provides an intimate and informal environment where internationally acclaimed authors can mingle with undiscovered talent.
- Victoria Writers Festival
The three-day Victoria Writers Festival introduces readers to acclaimed authors from near and far. The non-profit, community-based festival aims to make good writing – and good reading – available to all.
Whistler Writers Festival
Since 2001, Whistler Writers Festival brings together the very best Canadian and international authors for a weekend packed with readings, workshops, speaker panels, spoken word events, music and more.
Vancouver Writers Fest
For the past 29 years, the Festival has been a celebration of story, told by authors, poets, spoken word performers, and graphic novelists taking place over six days in October, on the cultural oasis of Granville Island.
Real Vancouver Writers’ Series
A curated inclusive and independent literary arts reading series that celebrates world-class writers from Vancouver and beyond.
- Yukon Writers’ Festival
In 1990, a number of organizations joined together to meld the Young Authors’ Conference and the National Book Festival into a more far-reaching Yukon Writers’ Festival to highlight the Canadian literary arts in the Yukon.
NorthWords Writers Festival Society
Held annually in Yellowknife, NorthWords NWT aims to support and promote northern and aboriginal writers and to grow a northern literary culture.
- Book World Prague
The Book World Prague international book fair and literary festival takes place annually every spring. The first day of the fair is reserved for industry professionals to trade rights; after that, the fair is open to the public.
- Connecticut Children’s Book Fair
The Connecticut Children’s Book Fair brings children’s authors and illustrators to the general public in an event designed to celebrate children’s literature.
- Edinburgh International Book Festival
The Edinburgh International Book Festival became an annual event in 1997. The festival is large in scope and now boasts more than 650 events. The RBS Children’s Programme runs in conjunction with the main festival.
- Festival International de la Bande Dessinée
Since 1974, the Angoulême, France, has hosted the annual International Comics Festival. In 1990, a rights trading component was added.
- Göteborg Book Fair
Sweden’s Göteborg Book Fair is the largest meeting place for the book industry in the Nordic countries. Besides the focus on the trading or rights, certain portions of the fair are open to the public.
- Jewish Book Week
Jewish Book Week is an annual celebration of books from the Jewish community that takes place in London. A book fair is also a component of the festival, in which books written by those in the Jewish community are offered for sale.
- Leipzig Reads
Leipzig Reads is part of the Leipzig Book Fair. It takes place over the course of four days and consists of a number of reading events.
- Salon du Livre
The Salon du Livre takes place in Paris annually during March. The six-day festival consists of signings, readings and conferences.