AfterWords Literary Festival goes virtual in 2020

Under the theme 'Writing Into An Uncertain Future', the 2nd annual celebration of writers, readers, and the ideas that bring them together takes place online from September 30 to October 4

Best-selling author Roxane Gay headlines this year's AfterWords Literary Festival.
Best-selling author Roxane Gay headlines this year's AfterWords Literary Festival.

This year’s AfterWords Literary Festival is going online in the second annual celebration of writers, readers, and the ideas that bring them together.

Scheduled to take place from September 30 to October 4, the five-day Festival will bring together more than 20 local, national and international writers under the theme ‘Writing Into An Uncertain Future.’

To be presented online via Zoom, the scheduled events will feature a mix of readings, conversations and workshops.

“Presenting the festival online is an incredible opportunity to reach audiences not only everywhere across Nova Scotia, but also across Canada and well beyond,” says Ryan Turner, Festival co-executive director in a media release. “In our first year, we brought writers and readers together in Halifax, and this year, we’ll bring writers and readers together wherever they are.”

This year’s headliner is New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay. An associate professor of English at Purdue University, Gay is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times as well as the author of best-selling books such as Bad Feminist, Difficult Women and Hunger. 

“Roxane Gay has consistently topped the list of writers our Master of Fine Arts students want to hear from, and her views on race, feminism, politics and culture make her a thinker whose insights are timelier than ever,” says Kim Pittaway, executive director of the MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College. “We’re thrilled to partner with AfterWords in making this event possible.”

Joining Gay as part of the event are visiting authors Vivek Shraya, Catherine Hernandez, Shani Mootoo, Cory Doctorow, Thea Lim, Michelle Good, Cecily Belle Blain and playwright Keith Barker. Nova Scotia authors will also feature appearances from Sue Goyette, El Jones, shalan joudry, and Francesca Ekwuyasi. Goyette and Barker will also lead writing workshops, along with Thea Lim, Carol Bruneau, Randy Boyogoda, and JJ Steeves.

“Frankly, we’re bruised from pinching ourselves. We’re thrilled to be revealing this truly exciting group of writers who have agreed to join us for AfterWords this year,” says Festival co-executive director Stephanie Domet. “To have any one of these writers in front of audiences in Halifax would be terrific. To have all of them at once is seriously a dream come true.”

Hosts for the AfterWords Literary Festival include radio producer Mary Lynk, playwright Colleen Murphy, journalist Evelyn C. White, poet Amanda Jernigan, and writer and festival co-director, Stephanie Domet.

Tickets to Festival events are now available, with most offered free of charge, with a suggested donation of $5 to help the festival build for the coming years.

The 2nd annual AfterWords Literary Festival takes place virtually from September 30 to October 4. Visit for the full festival program.