Book worms rejoice: Literary events and groups in Edmonton

The Edmonton area is full of aspiring writers and avid readers, but in sucha large city, people many find it hard to connect with each other. Here’s just some of the ways scribblers and book worms can find each other. [Image credit: iStock.com/nd3000]

Edmonton Literary Festival

1
7 Sir Winston Churchill Sq NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 2V4

Once a year, the entire city of Edmonton hosts a series of lectures by nonfiction authors at a collection of different venues. LitFest's presenters focus on memoir, social and cultural science, the arts, cooking and writers' personal journeys and influences. This year's LitFest will run from Thursday, October 13 to Sunday, October 23, but the LitFest 2016 reading list is now up on their website, showcasing books by 2016's presenters. The presenting author's books will be for sale at their venues, and anyone is welcome at the lecture.

Denny's

2
10803 104th Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 4Z5

Aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers seeking critiques can look no further than the Scruffies. Every second Tuesday of the month, the Scruffies meet for dinner at the Denny’s across from Grant MacEwan, where the previous month's submissions are subject to a round-table critique. Meetings run from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and include food, fun and discussion. Anyone can join, but it's recommended newbies witness critiques before they submit their own work. Submissions and new member announcements are sent through a Gmail group.

The Carrot Coffee House

3
9351 118 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5G 0N3

If having your work critiqued seems like too much pressure, the Edmonton Spec Fic Writers Group might be for you. "Spec Fic" is short for "Speculative Fiction," an umbrella term that covers science fiction, fantasy and horror, but all types of writers are welcome. Anyone can join the group on Meetup; they meet from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at two different cafés: The Carrot Community Coffee House on the second Saturday of the month, and Block 1912 on the fourth Saturday of the month. Members eat, chat and write, with no obligation to critique.

Ramada Edmonton Hotel & Conference Centre

4
11834 Kingsway Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5G 3J5

Before the Edmonton Expo, there was Pure Speculation, Edmonton's original SF convention. Since the arrival of the Edmonton Expo, Pure Speculation has shifted its focus to showcasing local content. Panels hosted by Edmonton writers and publishers inform the audience on matters of marketing and storytelling, and the dealer room includes booths from Canadian publishers. The next Pure Speculation will take place in summer 2017 (dates TBA) at the Ramada Hotel, and the organization is always looking for committee or event volunteers. Anyone interested can contact PureSpec through the website.

St Albert Public Library

5
5 St Anne St, St. Albert, AB T8N 3Z9

STARFest is a celebration of Alberta authors of both fiction and nonfiction novels, memoirs, journalism and screenplays. Through a series of hosted interviews and personal recollections, writers discuss their influences, and what inspired them to make the choices they have. STARFest's events are hosted at various St. Albert venues, from Wednesday, Oct. 12 to Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016. Some of the festival’s biggest supporters are the St. Albert Library, the City of St. Albert, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Audrey's Books Ltd

6
10702 Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 3J5

Edmonton's oldest independent bookstore, Audreys, is a hub of literary activity, with readings, book launches and lectures hosted on its lower level. Past writers who have appeared in-store include Robert J. Sawyer, Lois Donovan, Dave Gross and Deanna Lennox. Audreys’ Facebook page is the best place to find upcoming events and, while you're at the store, take a look at the extensive collection of books, children's toys and stationery.

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