I had been looking forward to VIWF for quite some time, having volunteered with their regular reading events throughout the year. Between 18 and 23 October 2011 I was scheduled for some book selling shifts at various readings. In return we got a volunteer festival pass that allowed standby entry to events that were not sold out. I even made it into a few sold out ones, like Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson in conversation, two top international crime fiction writers who were as witty and entertaining as usual.
The festival was held in various venues on Granville Island, which made it easy to move from one event to another by foot. During the daytime there were a number of reading events for young people, which gave me an interesting insight into what books are popular with each age group. I was very impressed by the spoken word event Word! with some really amazing performances that even kept a house full of teenagers from playing with their cell phones.
The Vancouver 125 Poetry Cabaret was another event I loved. It was presented in partnership with the Vancouver 125 Poetry Conference and featured well known poets as well as some promising newcomers. I had also been lucky in the volunteer ticket lottery and won a ticket to the always sold out Sunday Brunch. A morning of croissants, coffee and some Canadian and international authors reading excerpts from their books – perfect. The last person to read was also my festival favourite: Cate Kennedy from Australia. The stories she read were really moving and well observed, just brilliant.