EMWF In Your Own Backyard: Online Series

All events are free. Please register for events by clicking on the black buttons below. After registering, you will receive instructions by email regarding how to access the event on Zoom.

All featured books are available for sale at The Bookshelf in Guelph, our bookselling partner. Orders can be made online at bookshelf.ca or by phone 519-821-3311 x1. Free shipping or curbside delivery in Guelph. $10.00 shipping cost outside of Guelph.

Past Events

Scroll down to view a listing of past events and available event recordings.


Thursday October 8, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Book Club: Indians on Vacation

Presented in partnership with Guelph Public Library

Book Club Panel: Terry Fallis, Drew Hayden Taylor and Karen McBride
Deborah Dundas, The Toronto Star's Books Editor

Register for the EMWF Book Club and enjoy conversation about the novel Indians on Vacation with fellow readers in the lead up to our main event: a live, all-star book club featuring Terry Fallis, Drew Hayden Taylor and Karen McBride (all fans of Thomas King!). Registered book club members are invited to submit their questions for the panel ahead of time for a chance to ask them during the event!


Thursday October 1, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m EST (online)
EMWF Panel: Wild World

Presenters: Wade Davis, Magdalena: River of Dreams, Steven Heighton, Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos, and James Raffan, Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic
Host: Laura Trethewey, author of The Imperiled Ocean

Take a journey down the wild Magdalena River. Walk in the footsteps of a polar bear on Hudson Bay. Stand on the beach in Lesvos, the landing place of refugee sea crossings. During this session, audience members will have a birds-eye view to stories of landscapes, people, events, and cultures far-flung from our own experience. Journey with Wade Davis, Steven Heighton and James Raffan as they reveal the research, expeditions, consultation, and documentation behind their compelling new books. Part memoir, part history, part journalism, part creative non-fiction – these titles will transport you to new places that will inspire a sense of wonder, and perhaps, a call to action for the future of our planet.


Thursday September 17, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m EST (online)
EMWF Panel: Art and Healing

Presenters: Christa Couture, How to Lose Everything, Lorna Crozier, Through the Garden: A Love Story, David A. Robertson, Black Water: Family, Legacy and Blood Memory, and Emily Urquhart, The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father, and Me
Host: Susan G. Cole, NOW Toronto

Art can challenge. Art can move. Art can uplift. Art can heal.

The four books featured in this session explore deeply personal stories of lives disrupted by trauma, grief, and the search for meaning and identity. Through their personal art practices (writing, poetry, music, drawing, painting) the authors navigate their unique circumstances to move towards healing and acceptance. Join Christa Couture, Lorna Crozier, David A. Robertson and Emily Urquhart as they explore the critical impact of art in their lives.

This event includes closed captioning.


Thursday, September 10, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m EST (online)
EMWF Showcase: Vocamus Writers Community

Presenters: Mike Chaulk, Night Lunch, Anna Cox, I Keep My Worries in My Teeth, and Clifford Jackman, The Braver Thing
Host: Jeremy Luke Hill, author and publisher at Gordon Hill Press

Join three very different Guelph-area authors as they read and talk about their new books. Clifford Jackman, a Governor General Award shortlisted author, will read from The Braver Thing, a rollicking pirate story that also explores questions of good governance that are perhaps more relevant today than ever. Mike Chaulk reads from Night Lunch, a collection of poetry about a young deckhand on a fishing boat in Labrador. And Anna Cox reads from I Keep My Worries in My Teeth, a novel about three women and a pencil factory that is equal parts humour and heartbreak. The authors will also spend some time talking with the session host about their writing process.

Vocamus Writers Community is a non-profit organization that promotes reading, writing, and publishing in and around the city of Guelph, Ontario.


Thursday September 10, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m EST (online)
EMWF Showcase: Emerge!

The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is a proud supporter of emerging writers. During this session you’ll hear from some of the most exciting upcoming writers from The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA program, and our Read at the Fringe contest winners.


Thursday, September 3, 8:00-9:00 p.m EST (online)
EMWF Panel: The Creative Response

Presenters: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, Catherine Bush, Blaze Island, and Farzana Doctor, Seven 
Host: Nana aba Duncan, CBC

The motivation to write a book is often deeply personal. These three startling new works of fiction have all been written in response to real-life subjects close to the hearts of the authors: decolonization and degentrification, the climate emergency, and the tension between modern and traditional customs. This panel will explore the stories behind the stories – the social, cultural, and environmental issues that inspired the books.


Friday August 28, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
or Saturday August 29, 10:00 a.m. Australian EST
EMWF Showcase: Hot nights. Cool Poets.

Presenters: Margaret Atwood, Dearly, Cicely Belle Blain, Burning Sugar, Sadiqa de Meijer, The Outer Wards, Mathew Henderson, Roguelike, Julie Joosten, Nought, Canisia Lubrin, The Dyzgraphxst, Randy Lundy, Field Notes for the Self, A. F. Moritz, As Far As You Know, Tyler Pennock, Bones, Rasiqra Revulva, Cephalopography 2.0, Kevin Spenst, Hearts Amok, John Steffler, And Yet, Lily Wang, Saturn Peach.

In partnership with the League of Canadian Poets

Heartbreak, hope, memory, body, trauma, motherhood, mayhem, love, self, queerness, oppression, resilience, addiction and…cephalopods. Grab your favourite beverage, pull up a chair and listen to a selection of the most dynamic Canadian voices in poetry to be published this year. These poems will break your heart, lift you up, turn you sideways and challenge you to think outside your own experience. Enjoy the ride.

Watch on Facebook

Please note: you do not need a Facecbook account to watch the recording


Tuesday August 25, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Book Club: The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Presenter: Emma Donoghue, The Pull of the Stars
Vish Khanna

Presented in partnership with: Idea Exchange

Sign up for the EMWF Book Club and enjoy conversation with fellow readers in the lead up to our main event: a live discussion between bestselling author Emma Donoghue, and Vish Khanna. Registered book club members can submit their questions for Emma ahead of time for a chance to ask them during the event!


Thursday August 20, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Panel: Memoirs and Meditations 

Presenters: Madhur Anand, This Red Line Goes Straight to your Heart, Billy-Ray Belcourt, A History of My Brief Body, and Bahar Orang, Where Things Touch: A Meditation on Beauty
Host: Laurie D. Graham, Brick Magazine

Truth. Intimacy. Beauty. Queerness. Memory. Trauma. Body. Science. Poetry.

Join Madhur Anand, Billy-Ray Belcourt, and Bahar Orang as they introduce their startling new books – memoirs and meditations which explore self, meaning, personal history, and experience. Written in poetic, experimental form, these works defy convention to get to the heart of the stories within.


Thursday August 13, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Panel: On Being Alive

Presenters: Dakshana Bascaramurty, This is Not the End of Me, John Gould, The End of Me, and Ray Robertson, How to Die: A Book About Being Alive
Host: Steven W. Beattie, Quill and Quire

Contemplating one’s mortality can be difficult – it is a subject we often avoid, despite death being an inevitable part of human existence. But what if honest conversations about death could lead us to live happier and more meaningful lives? The three books featured in this session explore death in different ways, but arrive at similar conclusions: to truly learn what it means to be alive, perhaps we need to gain a clearer understanding of what it means to die. 


Thursday August 6, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Panel: In the Lead

Presenters: Sheena Kamal, Fight Like a Girl, Rob Shapiro, The Book of Sam, and Lindsay Wong, My Summer of Love and Misfortune
Host: Eric Walters

What does it take to craft a compelling leading character? What do writers do to make us fall in love with, turn away from, follow, root for, or laugh at their protagonists? How does a writer know if their character’s voice is authentic? Explore all this and more in this fun and entertaining panel led by reader-favourite, Eric Walters!


Thursday July 23, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Panel: Thrill Her

Presenters: Robyn Harding, The Swap, Roz Nay, Hurry Home, and Amy Stuart, Still Here
Host: Samantha Bailey, author of Woman on the Edge

The female-driven thriller genre has exploded in popularity– and with it, the exploration of strong, secretive, complicated, and compelling women characters. Join bestselling thriller writers Samantha Bailey, Robyn Harding, Roz Nay, and Amy Stuart as they explore the complex female characters and relationships in their books – what it means to be a mother, daughter, sister, lover, or simply a woman in a fraught (and often disturbing) world taken to extremes.


Thursday July 9, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Panel: Looking Backward, Looking Forward

Presenters: Shani Mootoo, Polar Vortex, John Elizabeth Stintzi, Vanishing Monuments, and Souvankham Thammavongsa, How to Pronounce Knife
Host: Farzana Doctor, author of the upcoming novel, Seven

Navigating the present with one foot in the past, these three new works of fiction explore the dizzying and transformative effect of memory, time, and past experiences on identity and relationships. Join Shani Mootoo, John Elizabeth Stintzi, and Souvankham Thammavongsa as they explore the ways in which their characters build their lives anew, yet are unable to outrun their histories.


Thursday June 25, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)
EMWF Book Club: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Presenter: Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel
Host: Judith Pereira, The Globe and Mail’s Books Editor

Presented in partnership with the Guelph Public Library

Sign up for the EMWF Book Club and enjoy conversation with fellow readers in the lead up to our main event: a live discussion between bestselling author Emily St. John Mandel, and The Globe and Mail’s Judith Pereira. Registered book club members can submit their questions for Emily ahead of time for a chance to ask them during the event!


Thursday June 11, 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST
EMWF Panel: Great Expectations

Presenters: Rachel Matlow, Dead Mom Walking, Michelle Parise, Alone: A Love Story, and Alison Wearing, Moments of Glad Grace
Host: Karma Brown, journalist and bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

How do we recalibrate when life goes off script? Sometimes our reactions to life's messy twists and turns can take us by surprise. The authors of these three entertaining new memoirs each tackle their unique situations with honesty, courage, and heartfelt humour. Join them as they discuss the great expectations placed on people, relationships, and the moments in our lives when our road and roles are altered by time and circumstance.  

Thank you to our supporters:
The Angel Gabriel Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Department of Canadian Heritage, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, League of Canadian Poets, The Ontario Arts Council, Open Book, The Pollock Family Fund and Wellington County.