Come autumn, Canadian book lovers put down the summer pageturners and gear up for literary festival season. With everything from The Word On The Street events in six cities to glamourous gatherings such as the Vancouver International Writers Festival it can be hard to choose, so we’ve gathered a selection to help fill your calendar.

Cabot Trail Writers Festival, North River, Cape Breton, N.S.,
Sept. 28 to 30,
Wayne Johnston, Kate Beaton, Stephen Kimber It’s possibly the most scenic location in Canada for a literary (or any other) festival. It’s also a purposefully small affair, allowing readers, writers and artists to engage on a more personal level.
Ottawa International Writers Festival,
Oct. 25 to 30,
Annabel Lyon, Jian Ghomeshi, John Ralston Saul, Shauna Singh Baldwin The fall edition (there’s one in spring too) is a cornucopia of genres, with everything from fiction and biography to economics and music, featuring writing talent from home and abroad.
NorthWords Muskoka Literary Festival,
Huntsville, Ont., Sept. 28 to 30,
Joseph Boyden, Linden MacIntyre, Elizabeth Hay, Ruth Ohi Muskoka is charming any time of year but especially so in autumn, when this small-town festival sets up shop. There are author readings, a (free) family day and workshops for and with writers.
International Festival of Authors,
Toronto, Oct. 18 to 28,
Paul Auster, Michael Chabon, Kate Mosse, Alice Munro Hailed as the largest literary festival in Canada, this event glitters with writing luminaries and is packed with 11 days of readings, signings and on-stage interviews — including a rare session with Rohinton Mistry.
Telling Tales,
Rockton, Ont., Sept. 16,
Kevin Sylvester, Deborah Ellis, Rita Cox It’s free, for one thing. More important, however, the programming is aimed squarely at toddlers, young children and teens as well as adults, making it a great family-focused event.
BookFest Windsor,
Windsor, Ont., Oct. 25 to 27,
Anita Rau Badami, Richard J. Gwyn, George Elliott Clarke, Noah Richler There are things literary aplenty here but you can also go beyond the printed word, with illustration workshops and theatrical renditions of graphic novels.
THIN AIR Winnipeg International
Writers Festival, Sept. 21 to 29,
David Bergen, Lorna Crozier, Susin Nielsen, Karen Levine Because it offers a superb chance to discover lesser-known writers alongside big names via panel discussions and onstage performances, in English and French.
Canadian Festival of Spoken Word,
Saskatoon, Oct. 8 to 13,
Mike McGee, Barbara Adler, Brendan McLeod, R.C. Weslowski To see poets, of course. But this isn’t a reading-sonnets-under-atree sort of affair; instead, teams compete in a head-to-head poetry battle royale, a haiku death match and a burlesque poetry opera.
Edmonton, Oct. 17 to 28,
Timothy Caulfield, Jennifer Cockrall- King, Curtis Gillespie, Noah Richler Get back to reality during Canada’s only non-fiction focused festival, which will include a whiskey tasting led by Davin de Kergommeaux, author of Canadian Whiskey: The Portable Expert.
Pure Speculation Science Fiction & Fantasy Festival,
Edmonton, Nov. 16 to 18,
Candace Jane Dorsey, S.M. Stirling, the editors of On Spec magazine, Skype appearance by Spider Robinson Slip into your Avatar costume and indulge in the world of science fiction and fantasy novels, which are at the core of the literary component of this “celebration of everything pertaining to geek culture.”