Wordfest 2019 – The ImaginAIRium

Wordfest 2019 is upon us, boasting 65+ authors, 50 events, and 20+ youth events between October 14 and October 23rd, 2019. We’ve rounded up five of the events under $30 we’re most excited to attend, but be sure to check out the full line-up and get your tickets soon at wordfest.com

Grappling with Grammar Workshop with Mary Norris

“For writers aiming to avoid misinterpretation and repeated edits, business people trying to draft a flawless email, and anyone struggling to compose the perfect thank-you letter, Mary Norris, The New Yorker’s former Comma Queen, will explain the rules of play for impeccable punctuation and share the secrets of lucid style in this 90-minute workshop.”

Where: Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor

When: Saturday October 19th, 2019

3:00 – 4:30 PM

Tickets: $30 online, $35 at the door

Why We’re Excited: Emma, who genuinely loves copy-editing, is particularly excited about this one. Mary Norris was a proof-reader at The New Yorker for 24 years, and she is now a Contributor, who covers everything from the plight of the semicolon to the serial comma that won a group of Maine milk-truck drivers a claim against their employer regarding overtime pay. Find Emma worshipping at the Comma Queen’s feet at this workshop and again the next day at A Morning With Mary Norris, at the Central Public Library.

Literary Death Match

“A late-night favourite, Literary Death Match marries the high-octane performances of Deaf Poetry Jam, the rapier-witted quips of reality-TV judging panels, and a game show’s hilarity and ridiculousness. Four brave authors – this year, it’s youth authors who are either professional “couples” (Cale Atkinson and Ashley Spires) or professional and actual couples (Morgan Baden and Barry Lyga) who will perform their most electrifying seven-minute sets in front of an all-star judging panel. Taking the fun up a notch, 2019 judges Alice Kuipers, Anakana Schofield, and Joshua Whitehead are all past champions of Literary Death Match in Calgary.”

Where: Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Central Library, Calgary

When: Wednesday October 16th, 2019

9:00 PM – 11:00 PM MDT

Tickets: $25 online, $30 at the door

Why We’re Excited:  Did you read the event description above? There is literally nothing not to like about Literary Death Match. No reading required. We’ll see you there!

Wordfest Presents E. Jean Carroll & Emily Nussbaum

“Live from New York — okay, upstate New York in the case of E. Jean Carroll – it’s two icons who made their bones in magazines, unfiltered and unleashed. Just for starters, we’ll delve into the roots and reverberations of the #MeToo movement, a rich vein in both Carroll’s What Do We Need Men For? and Emily Nussbaum’s I Like to Watch.”

Where: Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Central Library, Calgary

When: Saturday October 19th, 2019

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM MDT

Tickets: $20 online, $25 at the door

Why We’re Excited: Two bad-ass women together on stage! Jean E. Carroll writes Elle’s super popular Ask E. Jean column, has been published in magazines like GQ, Glamour and Esquire, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as a writer on Saturday Night Live. Emily Nussbaum has written for The New Yorker and the New York Times, is the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, and was previously the TV critic and editor of The Culture Pages for New York magazine.

Ask E. Jean Anything

“And we mean, anything. An Agony Aunt for the ages, Carroll’s “Ask E. Jean” advice column has run in Elle magazine since 1993 and it’s safe to say she’s heard it all. (Don’t despair if you’re shy: we’ll be taking questions from the audience in advance, and they’ll be presented, with utmost discretion, by host Rita Sirignano.) So take a shot of courage – the Libations Bar will be open – and ask E. Jean for the solution to that vexing problem.”

Where: Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor

When: Sunday October 20th, 2019

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM MDT

Tickets: $20 online, $25 at the door

Why We’re Excited: Advice columns have the ability to make us feel less alone in our struggles and simultaneously comforted by your relative success compared to some advice-seekers. Plus, E. Jean is bitterly funny, wrote a book called What Do We Need Men For?, and has a blue-haired poodle named Lewis Carroll.

Dick Lit’s Trivia with Emily Nussbaum

“Don’t miss the return of the world’s most engaging trivia competition, hosted by Calgary’s most delightful literary Dick. We’ve lured Pulitzer Prize-winner Emily Nussbaum all the way from The New Yorker to act as the inspiration for the 30 questions you’ll have to ace to prove that you’re the smartest person in the library. You don’t have to memorize her new essay collection I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution to win, but it wouldn’t hurt to binge watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer (hint, hint).”

Where: Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor

When: Saturday October 18th, 2019

8:00 PM – 11:00 PM MDT

Tickets: $20 online, $25 at the door

Why We’re Excited:  We might be a little competitive, and we are all about fun facts and trivia. Plus, this is an excellent excuse to connect with other bookworms and Pullitzer Prize winner Emily Nussbaum.


Wordfest begins October 14 and runs until October 23, 2019. Tickets are now on sale at wordfest.com. See the whole program in one handy PDF here.


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Emma Stevens

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