This year, the Word on the Street festival returns with a new moniker—Word Vancouver—and a hugely varied schedule that runs at venues around town from September 25 to 29. As part of the runup, we asked some of the writers on the bill to tell us about the reading experiences that shaped them. Which book left deep impressions early on? Which one overhauled the way they see and think about the world, and set them on a path to a literary life?
Here’s what Elsie Chapman told us. Chapman made her debut this year with Dualed, a dystopian thriller for young adults. She’ll be reading from it at 12:45 p.m. on September 29, in the fest’s Canada Writes Tent outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
Growing up, there always used to be a lot of paperbacks just lying around the house—crime thrillers, murder mysteries, horror stories. One of those horror stories was Stephen King’s The Shining. I was probably around 10 or so when I read it that first time, and it both terrified and thrilled me. It was one of the first books I can remember reading that thoroughly sucked me into its world and made it seem utterly real; even now, walking alone down the hall of a hotel late at night creeps me out.
I think it’s amazing when an author can leave a mark on a reader like that, and after I finished The Shining, I made sure to read whatever other King books I could get my hands on. A lot of his short stories and novels are still my favourites today.