Wordstock Sudbury announced that the 8th edition of the local literary festival will follow an accessible, hybrid model this year.
The festival unveiled its 2021 lineup of guests and activities during a press conference at the Holiday Inn in Sudbury on Friday.
Thanks to a $39,100 seed grant received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in mid-2020, Wordstock unveiled a new accessible website in addition to a multi-year accessibility plan to ensure that community members of all levels of ability will be able to attend the annual event.
The 2021 Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival will take place Nov. 4-6 this year.
Patrons will have access to in-person and virtual sessions with popular authors from Northern Ontario and beyond in addition to a series of masterclasses where they can hone their craft.
“Presenting as a hybrid festival is what the future looks like,” said festival director Heather Campbell.
“With the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we have improved access to the festival, which includes holding our events at an accessible venue, offering virtual sessions with live streaming, and a new accessible website.”
The majority of the Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival’s session will be held in person at the Holiday Inn Sudbury this year.
“There are sessions for those eager to get into the conversation about hot topics across Canada, or for writers learning their craft and children’s authors reading for aspiring readers,” Wordstock said in a release.
Highlights of the festival include sessions with Jael Richardson (Gutter Child), Ian Williams (Word Problems and Disorientation), Zoe Whittall (The Spectacular), Waubgeshig Rice (Moon of the Crusted Snow), and Michelle Good (Five Little Indians).
Wordstock Sudbury is excited to welcome back Kerry Clare, Liz Howard, and Nathaniel Moore.
Other Northern Ontario authors being featured in this year’s festival include Kayt Burgess (Connection at Newcombe), Jeremy John (Robert’s Hill), Rosanna Battigelli (Pigeon Soup and Other Stories), Vera Constantineau, David Giuliano (The Undertaking of Billy Buffone) and debut poet Aurore Gatwenzi (Gold Pours).
Masterclasses will also be offered as part of the festival’s programming. These include “Crossing Genres” with Jen Sookfong Lee and “Your Copyrights” with literary agent Sam Hiyate.
Winners of the Youthwords Writing Contest will be announced at the opening session on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The winners will receive a cash prize and publication in The Sudbury Star.
Sudbury MPP Jamie West, who attended the festival announcement, thanked the Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival for promoting a love of literature locally for nearly a decade.
“Because of their dedication, Sudburians have regular opportunities to connect and converse with other bibliophiles as well as emerging and celebrated literary figures,” said West.
“This Ontario Trillium Foundation grant allows Wordstock to increase accessibility – meaning that even more Sudburians will be able to fully participate and enjoy this literary festival.”
The festival’s multi-year-accessibility plan will provide a number of benefits.
Through a community focus group and individual surveys, recommended improvements were identified, and they will be implemented over several years.
The event will take place at an accessible location, and anyone who cannot attend will be able to participate in virtual sessions.
Additionally, the newly designed accessible website follows the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities guidelines and has been launched ahead of the festival.
The full schedule for the 2021 Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival, including author information and links to register, can be found at www.wordstocksudbury.ca.
Visit the festival’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for more information as November approaches.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star