Surrey-based writers George Garrett (left) and Hasan Namir are featured at the Word Vancouver festival, during an event Sunday, Sept. 29 at Vancouver’s main library.

Surrey-based writers George Garrett (left) and Hasan Namir are featured at the Word Vancouver festival, during an event Sunday, Sept. 29 at Vancouver’s main library.

Surrey writers to talk at Word Vancouver literary festival

Hasan Namir and George Garrett among those featured at Sept. 29 event at library

Some Surrey-based writers are among more than 100 featured at this year’s Word Vancouver, billed as Western Canada’s largest literary festival.

The 25th-anniversary event runs from Sept. 24 to 29 at Vancouver-area venues, offering book- and author-focused exhibits, performances and hands-on activities. Admission is free.

On Sunday, Sept. 29, the festival’s final-day event is held at the main Vancouver public library (350 W. Georgia St.), in what’s described as “by far the largest event of the festival, attracting over 20,000 book lovers to seven stages and 80 exhibitors,” according to a media release.

That day, Surrey-based poet Hasan Namir is featured on a ninth-floor Poetry Stage, in a 4 p.m. event called “Balances,” along with Laura Matwichuk and Fiona Tinwei Lam.

Namir’s debut collection of poetry, War / Torn, is described as “a brazen and lyrical interrogation of religion and masculinity — the performance and sense of belonging they delineate and draw together.”

Namir, born in Iraq 32 years ago, received the Ying Chen Creative Writing Student Award, and is the author of God in Pink (2015), which won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction and was chosen as one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by The Globe and Mail.

Also featured at the Sept. 29 event is Surrey’s George Garrett, a retired CKNW radio reporter whose 285-page memoir, Intrepid Reporter, was published in February by Harbour Publishing.

• RELATED STORY: From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio.

The book takes readers to the front lines of news coverage with some of the most memorable stories of the past five decades. The memoir also reveals the loss of his son in a canoeing accident, and his wife’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Garrett is featured in an “On the Road, A Radio Reporter’s Perspective” event on the library’s eighth floor at 2:45 p.m., in a One-on-One talk with Hal Wake.

Complete festival details are posted to wordvancouver.ca.

The Sept. 29 event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the library atrium and also on the eighth and ninth floors.

“This year the organizers have made some changes to the Sunday event at the VPL by adding an Indigenous Stage (curated by Russell Wallace) and by bringing many of the presentation stages inside the library,” says a Word Vancouver media release.

“Outside on the library plaza, the festival has added a covered family picnic area with a children’s stage, games, children’s book exhibitors and the Poetry in Transit Bus. The festival remains 100 per cent free of charge to festival-goers.”

Word Vancouver, formerly known as Word on the Street, has been produced by The Vancouver Book and Magazine Fair Society since 1995.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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