British Columbia

Enter Shikari Live at the Imperial

Enter Shikari Live at the Imperial

By Brendan Lee Imperial Friday, February 16th, 2018 VANCOUVER – Reaching peak velocity on the end of their first Canadian…


Beatroute BC on Instagram

  • Dan Starlings experimental film The Chorus provides a fresh takehellip
  • BeatRoute has a weekly podcast on saveonradio every Monday fromhellip
  • Rise  Shine Music Seminar is an event to showcasehellip
  • Welsh pop punk outfit Neck Deep are playing at voguetheatrehellip
  • entershikari are bona fide masters of versatility with a genreblendinghellip
  • Already backed by a considerable YouTube following for her ukelelehellip
  • ExOzzy Osbourne guitarist and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wyldehellip
  • devhynes is one of the many incredible headliners set tohellip
  • Noble Oak is taking the Rhodes less travelled Check outhellip

Wordfest: All things literature

Monday 13th, October 2014 / 00:00
By Gareth Watkins
Bruce McCulloch of Kids in the Hall fame will be among the celebrity appearances at this year's Wordfest.

Bruce McCulloch of Kids in the Hall fame will be among the celebrity appearances at this year’s Wordfest.

CALGARY — A literary culture is one of those really basic elements that make a city livable rather than simply habitable. Good coffee, a thriving gay scene, dog walking parks and the ability for a man to get a close shave with a straight razor from somebody who only speaks Italian are also important, but we’re here to talk about books.

Wordfest has been bringing literature and the people who write it to Calgary, Banff and the Bow Valley for the past 19 years, curating a series of talks and workshops by international writers at venues across the area. Think of it as a quieter Sled Island, and, like a music festival, it’s a mix of essential headline acts and smaller artists who you and a handful of other people will discover buried deep in the event’s program who nonetheless will be life-changingly brilliant.

Naomi Klein is the first of many big names. Her book No Logo became a touchstone of the anti-globalization movement in the ‘90s, while her follow-up The Shock Doctrine anticipated the concerns of the Occupy movement. Her new book This Changes Everything makes an explicit link between climate change and capitalism, one that will infuriate the right wing as much as it will energize those of us that would prefer to not be extinct by this time next century.

Sheila Heti’s latest book How Should a Person Be? dared to answer that question through a mix of fiction and real transcribed conversations and emails, and Wordfest’s director Jo Steffens quite rightly calls her a “literary darling.” She has collaborated with Canadian artist Leanne Shapton on a 500-page book of interviews with women across the world on the subject of clothes. They will be speaking about the book following a pre-show clothing swap.

Representing the more commercial end of the spectrum are Veronica Roth, whose young adult book Divergent was made into a film released earlier this year, and Tahereh Mafi, whose Shatter Me books about a girl with a lethal touch has also been picked up for a film adaptation.

There will be a wealth of local writers reading their work, including former Kids in the Hall and Saturday Night Live alum Bruce McCulloch, but Steffens has booked plenty of other talent.

“For the local authors I actually invited a lot of poets to the festival. We have a great emerging and established poetry scene here in Calgary.” She mentions Nikki Reimer and Natalie Simpson, both Calgarians who have returned home: the former uses hashtags and YouTube comments; the latter explores the tension between sound and meaning. They couldn’t be less alike or more cutting edge.

As Steffens notes, we don’t live in a culture where writing is given much press coverage, so the majority of artists at Wordfest will be new to you. Don’t worry. If you’re not of the literary mindset, then just judge them by their covers: go see Joshua Ferris because he has nice teeth, or Sjón because he has an interesting name, or Emily St. John Mandel because she has a cute haircut. It’s guaranteed that something somebody has written will climb inside your soul and live there, because that’s kind of what books are there for.

The 19th annual Wordfest takes place in various venues in Calgary, Banff and the Bow Valley October 14-19. For a full list of events, visit

, , ,

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: is a member of Apple Music's Affiliate Program. This site collects commissions on purchases that our site's readers decide to make from Apple Music/iTunes affiliate embeds and hyperlinks provided in our posts.




Beatroute AB on Instagram

  • February 2018 issue out now  This month features Amythysthellip
  • Sup? Feel like going to a party? Heard there willhellip
  • Record review On songs like the opener Doghead brittle guitarhellip
  • I Am The Mountain are set to release something soulfulhellip
  • NorthernCree are the worlds premier powwow round dance drum andhellip
  • Cartel Madras is playing the first ever hiphop set tohellip
  • Video premiere alert! Erin Kay debuts Holding You Tonight exclusivelyhellip
  • What we want to create is the notion that yourehellip
  • This is just the first wave people Over 200 morehellip