By general consensus, this month’s edition of Wordfest — the six-day celebration in Calgary and Banff of all things wordy — will bring together some of Canada’s brightest literary minds. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the talent.

Poet and novelist Dionne Brand
Poet and novelist Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand
The Caribbean-born poet and novelist’s latest book, Ossuaries (McClelland & Stewart, 2010), is a long poem about fading culture. Not just any wordsmith can keep you reading from stanza to stanza for 128 pages, so it’s no wonder Toronto’s current poet laureate also has a Governor General’s Award under her belt.

Rebecca James
The mother of four and former kitchen designer’s second young adult novel, Beautiful Malice (Penguin, 2010), sparked an international bidding war and advance sales of the book topped $1 million. Not bad for a psychological murder-mystery about a teen dealing with her sister’s murder.

Shane Koyczan
ordfest alum and Yellowknife native Koyczan is arguably the most famous slam poet in the world. You might recognize him as the spoken word guy who explained to the world that Canada is “more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow” at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Conni Massing
If you want to know about stuffed gophers and giant perogy monuments, playwright and screenwriter Conni Massing is your woman. Her book, Roadtripping: On the Move with the Buffalo Gals (Brindle & Glass, 2010), chronicles more than a decade of Alberta vacations with nine of her closest friends.

Miguel Syjuco
The Philippine-born Montreal resident won the 2008 Man Asian Literary Award for his debut mystery novel, Ilustrado (Penguin, 2010), when it was still just a manuscript. It is told in fragments and exposes the corruption of the Filipino ruling class.

Wordfest runs from October 12 to 17.

Avenue Magazine: by Jaelyn Molyneux
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