Revered literary journal Room announces a new festival of feminist writing

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      This year, International Women’s Day promises a specifically local cause for celebration. The society behind the Vancouver-based quarterly Room—Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal—has just announced the founding of a new three-day lit festival titled, appropriately, Growing Room (sponsored in part by the Georgia Straight). The March 8 opening-night bash is set not only to coincide with International Women’s Day but also to mark the magazine’s 40th distinguished year of publishing poetry, fiction, artwork, reviews, and interviews by Canadian women and genderqueer writers.

      That event is slated for the Fox Cabaret, and will also serve as the launch of Making Room, a 400-plus-page anthology of some of the best work to appear in Room's pages since its start way back in 1975, including pieces by Carol Shields, Carmen Aguirre, and Marian Engel, and Eden Robinson.

      Then the festival proper gets into gear on the weekend of March 11 and 12, with readings, panels, and writing workshops covering everything from feminist humour to the role of writing in community-building. And the lineup of notable writers is also wide-ranging: Amber Dawn, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Juliane Okot Bitek, Jen Currin, Lorna Crozier, barbara findlay, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Hiromi Goto, Evelyn Lau, Jen Sookfong Lee, Audrey Thomas, and Betsy Warland, to name only a few of the more than 40 featured guests.

      Except for workshops and the launch party, all events will be free of charge, and most will take place at Creekside Community Centre (1 Athlete’s Way) and a rooftop events space at 24 West 4th Avenue.

      Check the organizers’ website on or after January 19 for full details, and get ready to register starting February 1.