Literary Events in Edmonton

There's a lot going on in E-town and EPL is happy to be a part of it. In addition to the awesome programs we initiate and deliver in our branches, we are also proud supporters and sponsors of many extraordinary literary events that happen throughout the year.

Calling all Alberta authors...

The Edmonton Public Library's Alberta Readers' Choice Award is back for a fifth year!. Last year, we saw five terrific books and their Alberta-based authors duke it out for the $10,000 prize. In the end it was an extremely close race and Fran Kimmel took home the award for her novel, The Shore Girl.

It's time once again for Alberta authors to submit your books for the 2014 Alberta Readers' Choice Award!

Submit yours before December 31, 2013.

Click here for all the details.



LitFest is a sprawling, joyous celebration of great writing about real things. We combine performances, panels, workshops and multi-disciplinary events, both at the Milner Library and throughout the capital region.  We showcase dozens of Edmonton authors each year, and offer workshops and panels to help develop the local writing community.

LitFest 2013 runs October 16-27.  Below are the events offered at the Stanley A. Milner Library.  Click here for a full listing of this year's events.

Date / TimeEvent Description

Thurs. Oct. 17

7 p.m.

Four-By-Four: Writers on the Borderlines
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre

Four authors, four countries, one multi-genre performance: the 2013–14 Borderlines Writers Circle weaves together stories from different literary traditions, celebrating the work of culturally diverse Edmonton writers. They will be joined onstage by guest author Glenn Dixon, whose book examines the way culture and thought are grounded in music.
Borderlines is a joint initiative of the Writers' Guild of Alberta, Edmonton Public Library, and LitFest.

Fri. Oct. 18

7 p.m.

Amanda Lindhout: A House in the Sky
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre

Amanda Lindhout presents her memoir A House in the Sky, a story of courage, resilience and extraordinary grace. Her curiosity about the world led her from rural Alberta to imperiled and dangerous countries on every continent, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity in Somalia. Lindhout is the founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports development, aid and education initiatives in Somalia and Kenya.

“We were close and also out of reach, thicketed away from the world. It was here, finally, that I started to believe this story would be one I’d never get to tell, that I would become an erasure, an eddy in a river pulled suddenly flat. I began to feel certain that, hidden inside Somalia, inside this unknowable and stricken place, we would never be found.”
– A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett


Sat. Oct. 19

7 p.m.

Armchair Travellers
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre

Travel provides an immersive experience, transforming the visitor through a barrage of new sensations and traditions. How do writers capture the essence of these experiences and distill them for a broad audience?

Come hear three veteran storytellers describe their own globe-trotting experiences, and how they’ve used writing to support their passions for travel.

Sun. Oct. 20

2 p.m.

Words to Change the World
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre

How do you provide social commentary without sliding into a rant? A panel of deeply committed authors share their experiences in bringing their personal convictions to the page — and out to a wider audience.

This event also features the presentation of the Dave Greber Freelance Writers Award, which celebrates independent writing with a social justice focus.

Tues. Oct. 22

7 p.m.

Just Getting Started
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre

As one of the highlights in a year of festivities, the Edmonton Public Library unveils a bold and engaging history of its first century, penned by passionate Edmontonian Todd Babiak. Celebrate the launch of this new book, and raise a glass with many of the people who got us here. Please RSVP by October 14 at

Thurs. Oct. 24

7 p.m.

The PROWlers
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre 

Join the last students of Grant MacEwan’s Professional Writing program as they launch a student written, edited, and published collection of work spanning genres and styles. Readings and tributes interweave to make this launch a must-see event.

Proceeds from book sales will support Edmonton’s Project Adult Literacy Society.

Sat. Oct. 26

10 a.m.

Digital Tools for Writers
Main Flor Program Area

Whether you’re writing for magazines or looking ahead to your next book, technology is your friend. In this free seminar presented by the Edmonton Public Library, Omar Mouallem teaches nonfiction writers how to use social media to promote their stories and attract readers, research efficiently, and fix their notes and interviews in a single window. As well, he explains how and why you should store your work in “the cloud,” track your queries in spreadsheets, and optimize your online presence. He also demos sweet software that stamps out distractions and note-taking gadgets.

Join Omar for a workshop that is full of digital tips and tricks.

Sun. Oct. 27

2 p.m.

Charlotte Gray at EPL's Writers Corner
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s most respected and widely read historians.  Her new book, The Massey Murder, combines a sensational story with in-depth understanding of the social tensions of a century ago.

Join us for a great afternoon of readings and chat hosted by Omar Mouallem.

For a complete listing of events at all venues, visit

EPL is a proud sponsor of the Edmonton Poetry Festival hosting several events during this week-long festival from April 25 to May 1, 2011.


Schedule of Events at Stanley A. Milner Library (Downtown)

Tuesday, April 26

Poetry Central - 11:30am to 1:30pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Foyer
Poetry Central is the heart of the festival in the heart of the city. It’s for poets, passersby, and anybody who identifies with any other label (or not). 

Youth Showcase - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre
Come and hear the next generation of performance poets. This showcase reveals the talents of a group of young poets that has been learning the ropes in a series of workshops with some of Edmonton’s top performers, including Cadence Weapon and members of the Edmonton slam team, Mary Pinkoski, Chris Krueger, and Ben Chu. Come and cheer them on.

Launch to the Moon - 8:00pm to 10:00pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre
Here’s a super-hot presentation by two of North America’s best-known names in spoken word: Sheri-D Wilson and Regie Cabico. They’re launching the brand-new Spoken Word Workbook: inspiration from poets who teach, which will be the Go-To resource for Spoken Word Poetry.

Wednesday, April 27Poetry Central - 11:30am to 1:30pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Foyer
Poetry Central is the heart of the festival in the heart of the city. It’s for poets, passersby, and anybody who identifies with any other label (or not). 
Thursday, April 28

Poetry Central - 11:30am to 1:30pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Foyer
Poetry Central is the heart of the festival in the heart of the city. It’s for poets, passersby, and anybody who identifies with any other label (or not). 

Video Virality - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Theatre
The poetry video opens up whole new ways to combine words and images and connect them to audiences. This session will feature Tanya Davis, whose “How to be alone” video has logged more than 2.5 million hits, and Edmonton’s own Kath MacLean.

Friday, April 29Poetry Central - 11:30am to 1:30pm
Stanley A. Milner Library - Foyer
Poetry Central is the heart of the festival in the heart of the city. It’s for poets, passersby, and anybody who identifies with any other label (or not). 
Saturday, April 30

Words Out Loud: Find Your Own Performance Style - 9:30am to 11:30am
Stanley A. Milner Library
***This workshop is now full***
Performance workshop with master performer John Leppard. “Spoken word is not an all-or-nothing thing,” says workshop leader John Leppard. “There are gradations and progressions. This workshop will help you figure out what spoken word techniques are and how to tailor them for yourself.”

Writing Under the Influence - 9:30am to 12:15pm (Session 1)
Stanley A. Milner Library
Writing Under the Influence
This poetry workshop will explore the intoxication that comes from drinking the wine of a different tavern. Fall under the spell of Sufi poetry, create spontaneous work and perform in the moment. Moving through the senses to the sixth sense, this workshop will also include a short introduction to the dance of the Whirling Dervish. Requirements: Passion, Patience, Paper, Pencil, relaxed clothing and good socks.

Writing Under the Influence - 1:30am to 4:15pm (Session 2)
Stanley A. Milner Library
Turning Point Performance
Examine a personal transition point and transform it into artistic expression. Through guided meditation and writing exercises, produce a polished piece of poetry, get tips on the music of language and present the work in a non-competitive “Alphabet SLAM.” Requirements: Passion, Patience, Paper, Pencil, Mind, Body and Voice.

Writing Under the Influence (both sessions) is presented by the Canadian Authors Association in collaboration with the Edmonton Poetry Festival. Workshop fee for each session is $20 for members of the CAA and the Edmonton Poetry Festival Society, or $35 for non-members.

Advance registration is required. Register for this workshop here.

Festival History

The Edmonton Poetry Festival kicked off in 2006, with the help of Edmonton’s then-poet-laureate Alice Major and an organizing committee representing a wide range of poetry groups in the city. TELUS came on board as the founding sponsor. Victoria School for the Arts held its hugely successful poetry day, with dozens of local poets in classrooms and the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Pauline Michel in the school theatre.

A passle of other poets laureate descended on the festival, including Dolores Bell of Washington, D.C., Louise Halfe of Saskatchewan and Lorri Neilen Glenn of Halifax. There was Concrete Poetry — poems chalked all over Sir Winston Churchill Square — and the Roar’s big pub crawl. And there was the first ever Blinks poetry event — sixty poets, 30 seconds each — organized by the Stroll of Poets Society.

The 2007 festival got even bigger, thanks to a funding boost from Edmonton’s Cultural Capital Program. TELUS continued its support. That allowed us to stage a symposium, bringing in people like U.S. slam poet, Jack McCarthy. The school program exapnded to seven schools, Poets Blinked, Roared and did Stand-up Poetry on street corners.

For more information and details about the festival schedule, visit

Listen to EPL's Amanda Bird on CBC RadioActive talk about:
• 2013 Overview
• Prairies/North Top 10

Each year, Canada Reads celebrates five Canadian books for three months online, on the air and at public events. It all leads up to a week-long show on CBC Radio hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. In this annual title fight, five celebrity panelists defend their favourite work of Canadian fiction. One by one, books are voted off the list, until one panelist triumphs with THE book for Canada to read.

This year, the country has been divided into five regions with Canadians recommending the novel they want to represent the place they call home. Each region will ultimately be represented by one book in the debates.




Canada Reads Regional Top 10s

Find them at EPL, then read 'em and vote! Vote for your favourite book in each region to help it make the Top 5! Polls close at 11:59pm ET on November 12.

Prairies & NorthB.C. & YukonOntarioQuebecAtlantic

Cool Water


Bow Grip


Alias Grace


De Niro's Game



Fall from Grace


Everything Was Good Bye




How to Make Love to a Negro


Anne of Green Gables

Late Nights on Air


Indian Horse


Clara Callan



Come, Thou Tortoise 



Monkey Beach


Far to Go





The Age of Hope




Fifth Business





The Diviners


One Good Hustle




Solomon Gursky Was Here


Glass Boys

The Englishman's Boy


Swamp Angel


Sweetness in the Belly


The Beautiful Mystery


No Great Mischief

The Garneau Block


The Canterbury Trail


The Amazing Absorbing Boy


The Darling of Kandahar


Ragged Islands

The Trade


The Cure for Death by Lightning


The Day the Falls Stood Still


The Tin Flute


The Bay of Love and Sorrows

Who Has Seen the Wind


The Golden Mean


The English Patient


Two Solitudes


The Town That Drowned

Want to learn more about Canada Reads? Visit the official site.