Growing Room: Feminist Literary Festival Expands Experience for Second Edition

Monday 26th, February 2018 / 07:00
by Sarah Jamieson

VANCOUVER – After a triumphant first year, Room Magazine’s literary festival, Growing Room, returns for a second volume full of feminism.

The festival will feature more than 40 authors, 16 events, and nine workshops, including authors Amber Dawn, Caroline Adderson, Carleigh Baker, and Jen Sookfong Lee. While there are less events and authors than last year, the organizers have doubled the number of workshops.

“We decided to double [the workshops] because they were so popular,” says Room Managing Editor Chelene Knight, adding that this year the festival narrowed its scope to maximize impact. This meant fewer events and more hands-on experiences.

This year, burgeoning writers can run their own work past a team of writing mentors and editors, including Knight, Anna Ling Kaye, and Adèle Barclay. The literary consultations cost a fraction of the usual price for a half-hour with an editor.

Workshops include new offerings by Farzana Doctor, Molly Billows, Jillian Christmas, Maggie de Vries, Jónína Kirton, and Sharon Jinkerson-Brass. Jen Currin and Barbara Findlay will also return by popular demand.

Panels and readings include topics on white feminism, trauma and self-care, and the complexities and responsibilities of writing about family and other loved ones.
“Personally, I’m excited about the Indigenous Brilliance panel,” Knight says, “and the Hidden Intersections event will be pretty educational.”

Although the festival is branded as feminist, events are open to anyone with a passion for literature. There’s something for everyone, even if you’re not a writer or familiar with the scene. A live recording of Room’s new podcast, Fainting Couch Feminists, will be fun to see even if you’re not a literary nut, and many events mix spoken word with music.

For free, festival attendees can attend the live podcast, a panel, or visit a brewery for a musical performance and get involved in the conversation. All events at Growing Room — with the exception the Opening Night Party, manuscript consultations, and workshops — are pay-what-you-can donation.

“After you attended, donate how much you think this was worth. It’s a ratings system for us, and it removes the financial barrier,” Knight adds.

Growing Room’s opening night party is March 1 at the Fox Cabaret. The event will feature music by Too Attached. Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival runs from March 1-4 at various locations in Mount Pleasant.

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