What’s Going on With Literary Events in Ontario?

by Michael Bedford

Published at 2023-08-29

With September closing in, the crunch of the leaves and the smell of pumpkin spice bring with them a slew of literary events for writers, editors, and other literary types to enjoy. In addition to being great places to pick up new skills or hone existing ones, literary events such as the ones below present opportunities for writers and editors to mingle and discuss their common passion for the written word. Some of these events, like the Kingston Writers Fest and Telling Tales, which are marking their 15th year in 2023, are well known but there’s plenty of room in the literary market, so consider some of these less established festivals and galas as well when you’re considering which ones to check out this year.


Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

In its 35th year, the longest running literary festival on this list is Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. Village streets are closed to traffic, and the town of Eden Mills becomes the home of this large outdoor literary festival. The festival boasts having something for readers of all ages, and can check out the romantic-sounding venues, including the Meadow, the Mill, and the Cottage. Featured writers at this year’s festival will include Shannon Bramer, promoting her new book Robot, Unicorn, Queen and James Gordon, promoting his book The Highway and I.


Kingston Writers Fest

The theme of the Kingston Writers Fest in 2023 is “Unbound.” According to the KWF website, “Unbound” shines a spotlight on written work that challenges the reader and the literary art form with trail-blazing ideas, creative presentations, and playful structures.” “Unbound” promises events focusing on fiction, nonfiction, culinary writing, poetry, graphic novels, spoken word, storytelling, hybrid literary forms, and experimental work. With so much to cover, it’s a good thing that the festival runs for five days. 

The festival kicks off on September 27th at 6:00 pm with a memoir writing masterclass led by Wayne Grady

In addition to the writers’ masterclass series, “Unbound” will also feature readings and conversations with authors such as Emma Donoghue and John Vaillant. The panel discussion concerning Canadian literature, scheduled for September 30th at 7:00 pm, will feature Kwame Scott Fraser, Michael Hingston, Stephen Marche, Stuart Ross, and Carol Off.


Telling Tales

If you’ve got a youngster in your life who you’re trying to get interested in reading, Hamilton’s Telling Tales at the Royal Botanical Gardens is a great option. Telling Tales runs from September 16th–17th. In addition to the presentations, scavenger hunt, giant book swap, and other great attractions, attendees can also enjoy the picturesque beauty of Hendrie Park. The authors of several popular children’s books, including Andrew Larsen and Marie-Louise Gay, will be in attendance to sign autographs and present their work to their young fans. 

With four different stages, there will be a lot to do during the two-day festival, so to make sure you get to experience all that Telling Tales has to offer, make sure you check out the festival map.


Toronto International Festival of Authors

Another well established and much loved annual literary event that Ontarians look forward to every year is the Toronto International Festival of Authors. Running from September 21st–30th, TIFA attracts many talented authors each year, and this year is no exception. Attending authors will include Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood, Sarah Polley, and Canadian children’s entertainment legend Sharon Hampson. TIFA features many different types of presentations, including conversations with authors, readings, performances, multilingual events, panel discussions, and events for young readers as well.


Lots More to Come!

Thankfully, Ontario hosts several different literary festivals throughout the year, and in addition to the great options above, there are many more to choose from. Speculative fiction writers are looking forward to Ottawa’s Can*Con, and Burlington will host the annual Burlington Literary Festival in November. Providing some literary engagement for Ontarians who live a bit further south, Windsor’s BookFest Festival is another event that Ontarians look forward to every year, and Ontarians in our southern-most city are, no doubt, eagerly waiting to learn of this year’s lineup of authors. So, don’t let the end of summer get you down. There are plenty of great events to come!


Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Stoney Creek, Ontario. He can be reached at


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