Saskatchewan Festival of Words boasts diverse roster of authors

Click to play video: 'Sask. Festival of Words showcases diversity'
Sask. Festival of Words showcases diversity
WATCH: Moose Jaw's annual Festival of Words returns for its 23rd year. With authors and artists from all across Canada, it's the diversity that makes this festival so unique. – Jul 19, 2019

It’s a storyteller’s dream event. The Saskatchewan Festival of Words returns for its 23rd year in Moose Jaw July 18-21.

The annual literary festival takes place every third weekend of July with over 50 events in four days.

This year, around 30 authors and artists from across Canada will be showcasing their work through author readings, presentations, and workshops.

“It’s a way of bringing the world literally to your city and showcasing all the stories that make up Canada,” said Canadian author Jael Richardson.

The festival prides itself on its diverse lineup. Only one-fifth of its authors are from Saskatchewan, the rest come from all across the country.

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Festival coordinator Amanda Farnel said it was a priority for the festival to “make sure that people are seeing themselves represented in the authors that [are brought] in.”

Syrian-Canadian author, Danny Ramadan, felt the positive impact of the welcoming and diverse community at the festival. Since he was 17, he’s been writing books in both Arabic and English. However, after immigrating to Canada five years ago as a Syrian refugee, he found it difficult to navigate through the negative stereotypes associated with refugees.

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“I found it quite challenging to find a publisher who is interested in publishing my work the way it is, rather than asking me for memoirs that are focusing on the tragedy that is coming to Canada as a refugee,” he said.  But, he said the Festival of Words makes him feel like he’s looked at like an author instead of a “refugee author” that only has traumatic stories to tell.

One of the most anticipated authors at this year’s festival is Saskatoon native, former Canadian astronaut and author Dave Williams.

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He shared his life lessons from outer space in his memoir, Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe.

“The greatest lesson in the international space station is to have people of all sorts of backgrounds, from all different cultures that speak different languages coming together to build the most complex piece of technology.”

Click to play video: 'Astronaut Dr. Dave Williams speaks about his new book Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe'
Astronaut Dr. Dave Williams speaks about his new book Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe

WATCH ABOVE: Dave Williams speaks about his book: Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe.

To this day, the question he still gets asked the most is: “what does Earth look like from outer space?” He answered, “it’s this beautiful blue oasis, cast against the black, infinite void of space and we don’t see any lines separating the countries. You realize in fact that we’re all in this together.”

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The Saskatchewan Festival of Words runs until Sunday. The full schedule and programming can be found on their website.

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