2021 Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story

The 2021 Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story featured guest authors, masterclasses and events.

Authors

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue headshot and cover of the book The Pull of the Stars

Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge, England, before moving to Canada’s London, Ontario. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (The Wonder, Slammerkin, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Akin, Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth and Orange Prizes; her screen adaptation, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was nominated for four Academy Awards. Her 2020 novel, Pull of the Stars, set in the maternity ward of a Dublin hospital during the great flu epidemic if 1918 was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and appeared on many Best Books of 2020 lists. View her website

Emma Donoghue read from her book The Pull of the Stars during the Short Story Contest Awards Announcement. Watch the presentation

Camilla Gibb

Camilla Gibb headshot and cover of the book The Relatives

Camilla Gibb was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She is the author of four internationally acclaimed novels—Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement—as well as the bestselling memoir This is Happy. Camilla has been the recipient of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the CBC Canadian Literary Award and has been shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She has a Ph.D. from Oxford University and is an adjunct faculty member of the graduate creative writing programs at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph. Visit her website

Camilla Gibb read from her book The Relatives during an author reading. Watch it here

Mary Lawson

Mary Lawson headshot and cover of the book A Town Called Solace

Mary Lawson  was born and brought up in a small farming community in Ontario. She is the author of Crow Lake, and The Other Side of the Bridge, both international bestsellers. Crow Lake was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. The Other Side of the Bridge was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her last novel, Road Ends, was a national bestseller and finalist for the Folio Prize. Her new novel, A Town Called Solace is a national bestseller. Lawson lives in England but returns to Canada frequently. “Mary Lawson finds literary gold in the hard landscape of the Canadian Shield.” ─ Ottawa Citizen. Visit her website

Mary Lawson read from her book A Town Called Solace during an author reading. Watch it here

Lindy Mechefske

Lindy Mechefske headshot and cover of the book Ontario Picnics

Lindy Mechefske is a former academic journal editor turned writer. She is the author of Ontario Picnics: A Century of Dining Outdoors; a two-time Taste Canada Gold Award winner for Out of Old Ontario Kitchens and Sir John’s Table. She is the food columnist for the Kingston Whig-Standard (Canada’s oldest newspaper). Her work has appeared in a wide variety of anthologies, magazines, and literary journals. Lindy spent her early years in England but now makes her home in beautiful, historic Kingston, Ontario – where you can find her most days walking her big shaggy dog along the shore of the St. Lawrence River. Lindy’s love affair with food and history began when she was three years old, rolling out the pastry for jam tarts in her grandfather’s ancient Yorkshire kitchen. Visit her website

Lindy Mechefske presented from her book Ontario Picnics: A Century of Dining Outdoors. Watch the author reading.

Alix Ohlin

Alix Ohlin headshot and cover of the book We Want What We Want

Alix Ohlin is the author of five books, including the novels Inside and Dual Citizens, which were both finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia. Follow her on Twitter.

Alex Ohlin presented her book We Want What We Want during an author reading. Watch the reading. Alix Ohlin also presented a MasterClass.

David Adams Richards

David Adams Richards headshot and cover of the book Darkness

David Adams Richards is one of Canada’s pre-eminent writers. His recent novels include Mary Cyr and Principles to Live By, as well as Crimes Against My Brother and Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul, both of which were longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Among his other novels, The Lost Highway was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; The Friends of Meagre Fortune won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book; Mercy Among the Children won the Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Trillium Award. Richards is also the author of the celebrated Miramichi Triology and has written four bestselling books of nonfiction, Lines on the Water, God Is, Facing the Hunter and Hockey Dreams, and most recently the collection of essays Murder. In 2017, David Adams Richards was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

David Adams Richards presented from his book Darkness during an author reading. Watch it again

M.G. Vassanji

M.G. Vassanji headshot and cover of the book What Are You: Stories

M.G. Vassanji  is the author of six previous novels: The Gunny Sack, which won a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; No New Land; The Book of Secrets, which won the very first Giller Prize; Amriika; The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, which also received the Giller Prize; The Assassin’s Song; and most recently, Nostalgia, which was longlisted for Canada Reads 2017. He is also the author of two short-story collections, a travel memoir about India, and a biography of Mordecai Richler. He lives in Toronto. View his website

M.G. Vassanji presented from his book What Are You: Stories during an author reading. Watch the presentation. M.G. Vassanji also presented a Masterclass.

Children and youth storytellers

We’re proud to host authors who read to students in Avon Maitland schools, thanks to support from the Foundation for Education.

Lisa Dalrymple

Lisa Dalrymple headshot

Lisa Dalrymple wrote her first mystery adventure book for kids when she was just ten years old. Her first published book If It’s No Trouble… A Big Polar Bear, was published in 2012. Her second book Skink on the Brink, was a Rainforest of Reading nominee, and won both the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Crystal Kite Award and the Writers’ Union of Canada’s Writing for Children Award. Lisa lives with her husband and three children in Fergus, Ontario.

Lisa Dalrymple presented her work to Grades JK to 4 students in Avon-Maitland School Board classrooms during the Storytelling for Kids program.

Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel headshot

Kenneth Oppel is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Airborn, which won the Governor General’s Award for children’s literature, and the Silverwing trilogy, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. Some of his other books include The Boundless, Every Hidden Thing, and InklingThe Nest and Half Brother both won the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award. His latest novels are BloomHatch and Thrive.

Kenneth Oppel presented his work to Grades 4 to 8 students in Avon-Maitland School Board classrooms during the Storytelling for Kids program.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith headshot

Heather Smith is originally from Newfoundland and now lives in Waterloo, Ontario. Her middle-grade novel, Ebb & Flow, was short-listed for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award and was the winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Her picture book, The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden, was recently named the winner of the 2019 Freeman Book Award for Children’s Literature. Heather has written several other books for young people including the award-winning, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe. Heather’s Newfoundland roots inspire much of her writing. View Heather’s website

Heather was a judge for the youth category of the Short Story Competition. She also presented her work to Grade 5 and 6 students in Avon-Maitland School Board classrooms during the Storytelling for Kids program.

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith headshot

Sydney Smith is a children’s book illustrator. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife and two sons. Some of his books include: I Talk Like a RiverSmall in the CityTown is by the SeaWhite Cat and the Monk and Sidewalk Flowers.

Sydney presented his work to Grade 1 and 3 students in Avon-Maitland School Board classrooms during the Storytelling for Kids program.

2021 Sponsors

Thank you to our 2021 sponsors.

We could not do it without you.

Follow us: