The wild writers literary festival in Waterloo

Pen and a paper filled with writing notes
Pen and a paper filled with writing notes
Contributed image

The Wild Writers Literary Festival is coming to Waterloo this Oct. 27 to Oct. 29 at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and it’s not too late to get involved. If you read, write or have an interest in taking up a new hobby in either of those fields, this festival might be the best place for you to get started.  

What is the Wild Writers Literary Festival? Eleni Zaptses, the Festival Manager of the event, shed some light on the subject me: “The Wild Writers Festival is a literary festival for readers and writers and anyone that is curious about either of those things. We have been around since 2011, and have been inviting Canadian writers that live locally and coast to coast to Waterloo region for a three-day festival weekend. This festival celebrates the written word. Poets, novelists and memoir writers come together and talk about all good things: Books, reading and the craft of writing.” 

With this festival being the twelfth annual festival, Zaptses detailed the panels that have been expanded over the years: “We have a thriller panel coming with Amy Stuart where she explains how she gives the thrills to her readers which should be lots of fun.”  

Along with a thriller panel, Zaptses also encouraged students to consider a solarpunk genre for their exploration: “We have some masterclasses returning for the first time since the pandemic – it is a workshop that invites teens and young adults beginning their university careers to write solarpunk. So, imagining a new future, making it more sustainable instead of a dystopia. What are ways we can imagine a more sustainable life ahead? That’s going to be exciting.”  

When I asked Zaptses why the festival was so beneficial to writers and the community, she stressed the role the festival plays for emerging writers: “The festival is so beneficial to writers, especially locally, as it’s a great opportunity to hone your craft and explore different parts of the craft that you haven’t tried before. It gives an access point to a lot of Canadian talents that have nurtured their crafts and their skills and are willing to share them with writers.” With all kinds of Canadian writers at this festival, there is no doubt that there will be something to learn from everyone.  

Although this festival is mainly for writers, Zaptses stated that there are all kinds of other opportunities to get involved in this event: “If anyone wants to volunteer there are many different ways to be involved.” 

“There are many opportunities for students to attend – we have student passes as well, which is a first this year. This can help you get immersed, see if you like a couple things, or if you want to volunteer and just be a fly on the wall and just help. We could always use that, too.” 

If you are more of a reader and less of a writer, there is also a place for you. Some of the panels discuss their own novels or poems and why they chose their stylistic choices. They also offer chances for you to ask questions about their work and have them expand on their ideas: “The festival is for readers too, if you want that sense of community or to just talk about books. Reading books can be a bit more solitary but, in this setting, you can ask one of the authors why they did certain things.”  

If you were looking for something to do Oct. 27 to Oct. 29 this is the perfect event to attend. With the Balsillie School of International Affairs being a central location to get to by bus, train, ion or car the festival is easily accessible to all that are willing to attend.  

For more information regarding this event check out The Wild Writers Literary Festival

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