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2021 Vancouver Writers Fest

2021 Vancouver Writers Fest

This playlist features books by authors who joined us at the 2021 Vancouver Writers Fest, which ran October 18-24, 2021. Visit writersfest.bc.ca for more information about our events.

Playlist Tags: Vancouver Writers Fest genre: Fiction

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Better, Not Bitter

Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice

By Yusef Salaam
Narrated by: Yusef Salaam
Length: 7 hours 25 minutes

Named a Best Book of 2021 by NPR

This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that will inspire us all to turn our stories into tools for change in the pursuit of racial justice.


They didn't know who they had.

So begins Yusef Salaam telling his story. No one's life is the... Read more »

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The Björkan Sagas

By Harold R. Johnson
Narrated by: Adam Henderson & Andrea Stefancikova
Length: 4 hours 37 minutes

Drawing upon his Cree and Scandinavian roots, Harold R. Johnson merges myth, fantasy, and history in this epic saga of exploration and adventure. 


While sorting through the possessions of his recently deceased neighbour, Harold Johnson discovers an old, handwritten manuscript containing epic stories composed in an obscure Swedish dialect....

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Hummingbird Salamander

By Jeff VanderMeer
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
Length: 11 hours 35 minutes

From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things

Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the...

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Binge

60 stories to make your brain feel different

By Douglas Coupland
Narrated by: Salvatore Antonio, Stephanie Belding, Victoria Carr, Jarvis Cocker, Douglas Coupland, Bret Easton Ellis, Anna Faris, Will Ferguson, Genki Ferguson, Chuck Klosterman, Andrew Moodie, Jane Pratt, Katie Ryerson & Michael Stipe
Length: 6 hours 16 minutes

The first new work of fiction since 2013 from one of Canada's most successful, idiosyncratic and world-defining writers, Douglas Coupland. He's called it Binge because it's impossible to read just one.


Imagine feeling 100% alive every moment of every minute of the day! Maybe that's how animals live. Or trees, even. I sometimes stare at the... Read more »

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How to Lose Everything

A Memoir

By Christa Couture
Narrated by: Christa Couture
Length: 4 hours 49 minutes

Christa Couture has come to know every corner of grief—its shifting blurry edges, its traps, its pulse of love at the centre and the bittersweet truth that sorrow is a powerful and wise emotion.

From the amputation of her leg as a cure for bone cancer at a young age to her first child’s single day of life, the heart transplant and subsequent...

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Land Of Big Numbers

Stories

By Te-Ping Chen
Narrated by: Christopher Naoki Lee, Eddy Lee, Fiona Rene, Matt Yang Kim, Christine Lakin, Katie Tang & Lynn Chen
Length: 6 hours 35 minutes

If you enjoyed Her Body and Other Parties, then you’ll love Land Of Big Numbers.

“ How can someone write about China? It’s a land of contradictions and multitudes seemingly impossible to tease apart. Te-ping Chen has managed to do just that with this slim and stunning short story collection. Each entry is a small glimpse into someone’s life; you will hunger for more. The book blends the real with the surreal to delicately touch on topics like technology, censorship, globalization, and conformity in surprising ways. The collection is like a perfect pearl: brilliant, gleaming and a little elusive.”

Rediscovered Books image Samantha, Rediscovered Books
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Fight Night

By Miriam Toews
Narrated by: Georgia Toews & Miriam Toews
Length: 6 hours 19 minutes

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

The beloved author of bestsellers Women Talking, All My Puny Sorrows, and A Complicated Kindness returns with a funny, smart, headlong rush of a novel full of wit, flawless writing, and a tribute to perseverance and love in an unusual family.

 
Fight Night is told in the unforgettable voice of Swiv, a nine-year-old living in... Read more »

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We Want What We Want

Stories

By Alix Ohlin
Narrated by: Hillary Huber, Brittany Pressley, Eileen Stevens & Kristen Sieh
Length: 7 hours 52 minutes

An Esquire Best Book of Summer • A collection of glittering, surprising, darkly funny stories of people testing the boundaries of their lives—from the award-winning author of Dual Citizens, who is "spoken of in the same reverent breath as Lorrie Moore and Joy Williams" (Heidi Julavits, author of The Folded Clock).

In the... Read more »

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Unreconciled

Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance

By Jesse Wente
Narrated by: Jesse Wente
Length: 6 hours 53 minutes

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

 
"Unreconciled is one hell of a good book. Jesse Wente’s narrative moves effortlessly from the personal to the historical to the contemporary. Very powerful, and a joy to read."
—Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian and Sufferance

A prominent Indigenous voice uncovers the lies and...
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Bewilderment

A novel

By Richard Powers
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
Length: 7 hours 50 minutes

OPRAH BOOK CLUB PICK 2021
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE
 
A heartrending new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning and #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Overstory.
 
Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021 by New York, Chicago Tribune, BookPage, Literary Hub, The Millions, New Statesmen and Times of...
Read more »

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Return

Why We Go Back to Where We Come From

By Kamal Al-Solaylee
Narrated by: Fajer Al-Kaisi
Length: 8 hours 33 minutes

A Globe and Mail and CBC Best Book of the Year

Drawing on extensive reporting from around the world and astute political analysis, Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Come From illuminates a personal quest. Kamal Al-Solaylee, author of the bestselling and award-winning Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes and Brown: What Being Brown in the World...

Read more »

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On Freedom

Four Songs of Care and Constraint

By Maggie Nelson
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Length: 10 hours 5 minutes

On Freedom

“I have long anticipated Maggie Nelson’s newest work and On Freedom does not disappoint. Who doesn’t want to know her thoughts on art, sex, drugs, and climate?”

Charis Books & More image Dartricia Rollins, Charis Books & More
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Disorientation

Being Black in the World

By Ian Williams
Narrated by: Ian Williams
Length: 5 hours 31 minutes

Disorientation

Disorientation is a book to be read slowly and with care. Ian Williams best-selling author of my staff favorite novel Reproduction (remember the amazing cover???). I also really loved his collection of poetry Word Problems from last year. Using his formidably flexible writing chops, Williams invites us to an urgent conversation on race and racism in this collection of essays that draw directly from his experience of life as a Black man. He covers all subjects from the merely annoying to the tragically deadly aspects of racism from a worldwide perspective having lived in Trinidad, Canada, and the U. S. This book is approachable for all readers and is intended to be a civil conversation about the ugliest of subjects. It's illuminating, dizzying, and intensely personal. I can't recommend it highly enough. Also, exceptional in audio: read by the author.”

Fountain Bookstore image Kelly, Fountain Bookstore
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Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend

Notes From the Other Side of the Fist Bump

By Ben Philippe
Narrated by: James Fouhey
Length: 8 hours 28 minutes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good white person of liberal leanings must be in want of a Black friend.

In the biting, hilarious vein of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life comes Ben Philippe’s candid memoir-in-essays, chronicling a lifetime of being the Black friend (see also: foreign kid,...

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Undersong

By Kathleen Winter
Narrated by: Tim Bruce, Nneka Okoye & Clare Kissane
Length: 8 hours 17 minutes

“A stunning, spellbinding, poetic triumph." —Toronto Star
 
From Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter (author of the bestseller Annabel): A stunning novel reimagining the lost years of misunderstood Romantic Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth.


When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets... Read more »

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Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted

By Gary Barwin
Narrated by: Allen Lewis Rickman & Gabi Epstein
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes

A middle-aged Jewish man who fantasizes about being a cowboy goes on an eccentric quest across Europe after the 1941 Nazi invasion of Lithuania in this wild and witty yet heartrending novel from the bestselling author of Yiddish for Pirates, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Motl is middle-aged, poor, nerdy, Jewish and in desperate... Read more »

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The Spectacular

A Novel

By Zoe Whittall
Narrated by: Hillary Huber, Helen Lloyd & Alex McKenna
Length: 11 hours 54 minutes

It’s taboo to regret motherhood. But what would happen if you did? Shifting perspectives and time periods, The Spectacular is a multi-generational story exploring sexuality, gender and the weight of reproductive freedoms, from the author of The Best Kind of People

It’s 1997 and Missy’s band has finally hit the big time as they tour across...

Read more »

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What Storm, What Thunder

A Novel

By Myriam J.A. Chancy
Narrated by: Ella Turenne
Length: 11 hours

At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. 

Award-winning author Myriam J. A. Chancy masterfully charts the inner lives of the characters affected by the disaster——Richard, an expat and wealthy water-bottling executive...

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Fresh Water for Flowers

By Valérie Perrin
Narrated by: Sara Young
Length: 14 hours 41 minutes

Fresh Water for Flowers

“This is the kind of audiobook you love so much that you find yourself offering to go to the grocery store -- in another state -- just so you can keep listening in the car. The book, set in a cemetery in France, is both sad and lovely, as it merges the stories of those already buried in the graveyard with those that take care of it. The narration brings each character to life beautifully, and the author paints lovely portraits of each one.”

Scrawl Books image Molly, Scrawl Books
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The Most Precious Substance on Earth

By Shashi Bhat
Narrated by: Meher Pavri
Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

A humorous coming-of-age novel and a sharp-edged look at how silence can shape a life, from the winner of the Journey Prize. A Chatelaine Summer Reads pick. Named one of the most anticipated books of the fall by CBC Books and 49th Shelf.

“But wait, what happened to the girl?”
   “I don’t know,” I say. I don’t tell him that what will happen to... Read more »

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