Words are wonders at the Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival

Celebration of literature a unique addition to Vancouver’s festival circuit.

By Elizabeth Hann

Vancouver is a city of many summer festivals and special events. Some, like that Khatsalano! Music + Art festival, or the famous Vancouver Folk Festival are devoted to popular music. Others, like the Powell Street Festival and the Richmond Night Market, are celebrations of Vancouver’s cultural diversity. But there’s more to Vancouver’s festival and special-occasion circuit than that.

On August 24, Trout Lake John Hendry Park will be the backdrop for a summer festival celebrating Canadian literature: The Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival. Pandora’s Collective, a Vancouver-based organization dedicated to promoting literacy and self-expression, founded the festival a decade ago.

The festival attempts to raise peoples’ awareness of the many ongoing literary events, programs, and resources available in Vancouver. It’s also a showcase for the kinds of art made out of words: stories, poems and songs.

At the festival, there are three different stages: a main stage, a community stage, and even a children’s stage. Each stage offers a different roster of artists, acts, and features, including The Wanda Nowicki Quartet, poet Elizabeth Bachinski, a panel discussions on ‘Social Media and Art in the new Do-It-Yourself World,’ storytelling workshops for young people, and the Great Smartini, a fabulous magician.

The biggest attraction this year is Joy Kogawa, whose 1981 novel Obasan was named one of the most important books in Canadian history by the Literary Review of Canada. Kogawa is this year’s winner of the Pandora’s Collective Distinctive Body of Work Award, which the collective awards annually in recognition of an author’s literary achievements.

Anyone who aspires to be a writer, anyone who wants to learn more about writing, or just anyone who cares about Canadian literature should most definitely head down to John Hendry Park, at Trout Lake, on August 24. They’re in for a celebration of the wonder of words.


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