Halifax International Writers’ Festival

If you missed Lisa Moore and Joseph Boyden on Wednesday, don’t despair: These 11 authors and poets will satisfy all your literary cravings. Readings are held at the Lord Nelson Hotel, 1515 South Park. Festival passes ($35) and single tickets available at

THURSDAY APRIL 6 | 7:30pm, $7

Brad Kessler The Vermont writer’s work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine. Kessler’s new novel Birds in Fall turns its sights northward, as families of victims from an airplane crash, including a New York-based ornithologist, congregate on the fictitious Trachis Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Bill Gaston Writers thrive on experience, and if Bill Gaston’s former jobs as a logger, salmon fishing guide and group home worker are any indication, his notebooks must be chock full. A prolific novelist, short-story writer, poet and playwright, Gaston is a multi-award winner, including a 2002 Giller nomination for Mount Appetite.

Dede Crane Professional ballet dancer, Buddhist psychology student and former Haligonian Dede Crane turned her muses into Sympathy, a novel about a former dancer who vanishes into a catatonic state after a car accident kills her husband and son.

FRIDAY APRIL 7 | 7:30pm, $10

Mark Strand You know you’ve made it when you’re presented with a Pulitzer. In 1998, Strand won the prize for Blizzard of One, a collection of poems that in part honours the work of Italian surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico, followed by a series of poems told from the perspective of five dogs. The former American Poet Laureate was born in Prince Edward Island, which may explain his way with words and humour.

From Newfoundland to Ottawa Valley to Banff to Toronto, Ken Babstock’s words travel well. Babstock’s new poetry collection, Airstream Land Yacht, follows his distinctive style and sharp observations, combining everyday happenings with muscular language.

SATURDAY APRIL 8 | 7:30pm, $7

Lynn Coady Poets-in-training won’t want to miss this former Coast cover gal reading from her funny new novel Mean Boy, a biting tale of an eager young wordsmith and his libation-loving poetry professor, set in the ’70s. There are probably a few nervous professors flipping through its pages right now.

Bapsi Sidhwa If you’ve watched Deepa Mehta’s film Earth, then you’re already familiar with Bapsi Sidhwa’s introspective writing. Sidhwa co-wrote the screenplay, adapted from her semi-autobiographical book Cracking India, about a young Parsi girl with polio, set during the 1947 partition of India.

Ami McKay Bestseller Ami McKay joins Ann-Marie MacDonald, Yann Martel and Timothy Taylor as Knopf Canada’s latest “New Face of Fiction.” Oh yeah, and she’s on the cover of The Coast.

SUNDAY APRIL 9 | 2:30pm, $5

Stephen Kimber He’s tackled seating in the school board and sifted through bureaucratic residue to uncover campaign funding sources. Coast associate and respected journalist Stephen Kimber turns to fiction for Reparation—his first novel—merging race politics, law, love and the legacy of Africville.

Trudy Morgan-Cole Is there something in the St. John’s drinking water that produces talented writers? A former high-school teacher and author of young adult fiction, Trudy Morgan-Cole won the Atlantic Writing Competition’s Unpublished Novel award for The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson.

Elaine McCluskey Dartmouth writer and former Canadian Press bureau chief Elaine McCluskey’s debut book of short stories, The Watermelon Social, pulls back the thin veneer of suburban life, revealing the quiet humour and pathos behind our friends, neighbours and strangers.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.