Wordfest’s Imaginairium, Canada’s liveliest literary festival, is back for their 28th annual event where 50 renown prolific writers and storytellers will gather in the heart of downtown for a series of page-turning events.

This five-day festival is being held Oct. 11 to 15 at both Memorial Park Library and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) with tickets starting at $20 per event. 

Wordfest’s CEO and “creative ringleader,” Shelley Youngblut, is calling it a concentrated celebration of the written word through connection and community. 

“One thing you can guarantee, if you come to any Wordfest event, you’re going to be seeing the best of the best,” says Youngblut. 

Attendees of the festival can expect to see events starring eight of the top 10 authors on the Canadian bestseller list in fiction, both national and international authors and journalists, as well as some TV and radio personalities.

Aspiring writers may like Not Quite a Book, on Sunday, Oct. 15, about mastering long form writing, or The Lost Art of Listening on Thursday, Oct. 12, where Youngblut will be interviewing Shelagh Rogers – the longtime host of the famed CBC radio show The Next Chapter. Rogers will be sharing her secrets to preparing and conducting deeply engaging interviews. 

For those on a budget, Imaginairium is hosting a free how-to series with shows like, How to Survive Academia, How to Side Hustle and How to Break Barriers.

“This year in particular is very much in tune with the whole Barbie vibe. It’s very feminist forward,” says Youngblut, “Out of 50 plus writers that are coming to the festival, 40 of them are women, and they’re doing the most amazing, innovative, solid entertaining writing out there right now.” 

Chantal Snodgrass, the DJD venue services manager and volunteer coordinator, says the show she is most excited for is, The Way We… Hex the Patriarchy hosted by the award winning writer, Pam Rocker. 

“This particular one is on Friday the 13th, which, if you’re superstitious, it’s a little bit spooky,” says Snodgrass.

Official poster for Wordfest’s Imaginarium Festival 2023. INFOGRAPHIC: WORDFEST

After every event, there will be a signing line for attendees. But don’t worry if you forget your copy as Shelf Life Books will have a pop-up bookstore in each location for anyone who would like to purchase a book after the event. 

“We think of the book as the t-shirt. So, if you’ve enjoyed the ideas and you’ve enjoyed the conversation, take home the book!” says Youngblut.

There will also be merchandise like tote bags and hockey jerseys available for purchase that can be signed by the authors as well.

For those who can’t make it for Imaginairium but are passionate about all things literature, Wordfest hosts events year round and they are always looking for volunteers. Also, for those who are Proserve certified, there are opportunities to volunteer at the Libations bar, on the second floor of Memorial Park Library. 

Whether you’re looking for your next book to binge-read, want to become a better storyteller, or are just looking for some entertainment – there is something for everyone at Imaginairium, Wordfest’s biggest event of the year.

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