This year marks the seventeenth annual THIN AIR Winnipeg International Writers Festival. This bilingual festival features Canadian and international writers sharing their work through book readings, poetry slams, lectures, and more.

This festival features events that appeal to different audiences, as they vary widely in content and are featured in different locations around the city including: the Millennium Library, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, and the Park Theatre. “If you don’t like one, you’re probably going to like the next one.” said Charlene Diehl, the festival Director.

This year, the festival is expecting an attendance of 5,000-6,000 people—a number that’s been growing every year. “I think our real expansion effort is in expanding our audience, not necessarily expanding the festival. I think as an event, it’s a really, really great size,” said Diehl.

If you don’t know where to start, Diehl has some suggestions. “As a point of entry, I would recommend the Forewords show.” This show features Genni Gunn and The Winnipeg Poetry Slam Team on Saturday September 21 at the Free Press News Café. “That evening wraps up with a haiku death match; it’s crazy-fun.”

Another must-see according to Diehl is Columpa Bobb and her Urban Indigenous Theatre Company at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain on opening night. They will be performing excerpts from The Moving Gallery: Beyond Survival. “It’s about the lives of Aboriginal youth in our city, and the challenges but also the resilience of those kids and their efforts to find ways around the roadblocks of drugs and gangs and poverty,” said Diehl. “I think that’s going to be one of those nights where we all just take a big breath at the end of it and say: Wow, that was memorable.”

Jim Nason, a returning writer to the festival, said that he “can’t wait” to get back. “What I know about Winnipeg and THIN AIR is that the entire city is somehow involved—everywhere you go during this wonderful festival (the mall or the street or the library) Winnipeg is about celebrating great literature and having fun. There’s no pretention and there’s a spirit of generosity unlike anywhere in the world.” Nason will be at Red River College’s Roblin Centre on Sept. 26 at 3:00pm reading from his new novel “I Thought I Would Be Happy.”It’s free and open to the public, so be sure to come on down.

THIN AIR runs from Sept. 20-28. To find your way around, an event guide can be found at McNally Robinson or at any Winnipeg Public Library. Inside you will find writer biographies, times, locations and ticket prices.

For more information on this event, check out their website.



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