Dolli Macdonald

Dolli Macdonald

Modified & Updated: 30 Dec 2023


The Ottawa International Writers Festival is a highly anticipated event that brings together literary enthusiasts from around the world. Held in the charming city of Ottawa, Canada, this festival celebrates the beauty and power of words year after year. With a rich history and a diverse lineup of renowned authors, poets, and thinkers, the festival has become a hub for creativity and intellectual engagement.

In this article, we will delve into nine fascinating facts about the Ottawa International Writers Festival. From its origins and growth, to its impact on the literary community and the unique experiences it offers, we will explore what makes this festival a must-attend for readers, writers, and lovers of literature.

Table of Contents

Established in 1997

The Ottawa International Writers Festival was established in 1997 with the aim of promoting literature and fostering a vibrant literary community in the city of Ottawa, Canada. Since its inception, it has grown into one of the most anticipated and prestigious literary festivals in North America.

Wide Range of Authors

The festival features a diverse lineup of authors, including acclaimed writers, emerging talents, and renowned literary figures from various genres such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and memoir. From internationally recognized authors to local talents, the festival showcases the richness and diversity of contemporary literature.

Engaging Panel Discussions

One of the highlights of the Ottawa International Writers Festival are the panel discussions, where authors come together to explore important literary themes, discuss their works, and engage in thought-provoking conversations. These lively discussions provide a platform for intellectual exchange and encourage a deeper understanding of literature.

Workshops and Masterclasses

In addition to panel discussions, the festival offers workshops and masterclasses conducted by experienced authors and industry professionals. These sessions provide aspiring writers with the opportunity to enhance their writing skills, learn from experts, and gain valuable insights into the craft of writing.

Book Signings and Meet-and-Greets

The Ottawa International Writers Festival gives attendees the chance to meet their favorite authors, get their books signed, and engage in personal conversations with literary stars. This intimate interaction between authors and readers creates a unique and memorable experience for all participants.

Inclusive and Accessible

The festival is committed to inclusivity and accessibility. It seeks to reach diverse audiences by organizing events in different venues across the city and offering a range of free and ticketed events. This ensures that everyone has the opportunity to engage with literature, regardless of their background or financial means.

Collaborations with Other Festivals

The Ottawa International Writers Festival frequently collaborates with other cultural festivals and organizations to create rich and immersive literary experiences. These collaborations often result in unique events that combine literature with art, music, film, and other forms of creative expression, further enriching the festival’s offerings.

Literary Awards

The festival plays a pivotal role in recognizing and celebrating literary excellence. It hosts prestigious literary awards, including the Ottawa Book Awards and the Archibald Lampman Award. These awards acknowledge outstanding works by Canadian authors and contribute to the growth and recognition of Canadian literature.

Community Engagement

The Ottawa International Writers Festival actively engages with the local community by organizing literary outreach initiatives, educational programs, and youth-focused events. Through these efforts, the festival aims to foster a love for reading and writing among people of all ages and backgrounds, nurturing the next generation of literary enthusiasts.

The Ottawa International Writers Festival is an extraordinary celebration of literature that brings together authors and readers in a spirit of creativity, exploration, and intellectual exchange. With its diverse lineup of events, the festival continues to inspire and captivate audiences, making it a must-attend event for literary enthusiasts in Ottawa and beyond.


In conclusion, the Ottawa International Writers Festival is a captivating event that celebrates the beauty of literature and the power of storytelling. With its impressive lineup of renowned authors, engaging panels and discussions, and vibrant atmosphere, this festival has become a must-attend for book lovers and literary enthusiasts.Whether you’re a fan of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or children’s literature, the Ottawa International Writers Festival offers a diverse range of events that cater to all interests. The festival provides a platform for established authors to showcase their latest works and connect with their readers, while also offering opportunities for aspiring writers to gain inspiration and guidance from industry professionals.Attending the Ottawa International Writers Festival is not just an opportunity to meet your favorite authors, but also a chance to immerse yourself in the literary world and engage in thought-provoking discussions. It’s a celebration of the written word and a reminder of the power that stories have to inspire, educate, and bring people together.If you’re passionate about literature, mark your calendars for the next Ottawa International Writers Festival and experience the magic of this exceptional event firsthand.


1. When is the Ottawa International Writers Festival held?

The festival is typically held in the spring and fall, with specific dates varying each year. It is best to check the festival’s official website or social media channels for the most up-to-date information on scheduling.

2. Where does the Ottawa International Writers Festival take place?

The festival takes place at different venues throughout Ottawa, including libraries, theaters, and cultural centers. The locations may vary depending on the event, so it’s important to check the schedule for specific venue details.

3. How can I purchase tickets for the festival?

Tickets for the Ottawa International Writers Festival can be purchased online through the festival’s official website or at the venue on the day of the event, subject to availability. It is advisable to book tickets in advance to secure your spot, as popular events can sell out quickly.

4. Are there any free events at the festival?

Yes, the Ottawa International Writers Festival offers a selection of free events that are open to the public. These events are a great opportunity to explore the festival and discover new authors without any cost.

5. Can I get my books signed by the authors?

Yes, many of the events at the festival include book signings where you can meet the authors and get your books signed. However, it is important to note that not all events have book signings, so it’s always a good idea to check the event details in advance.

6. Are there any events specifically for children?

Yes, the Ottawa International Writers Festival offers a variety of events tailored specifically for children and young readers. These events often feature popular children’s authors and provide an opportunity for young literary enthusiasts to engage with their favorite books.

7. Can I volunteer at the Ottawa International Writers Festival?

Yes, the festival relies on volunteers to help with various aspects of the event. If you are interested in volunteering, you can find more information on the festival’s website on how to get involved.

8. What languages are the events conducted in?

The majority of events at the Ottawa International Writers Festival are conducted in English. However, there may be occasional events or panels that are conducted in French or other languages, so it’s always a good idea to check the event details for language information.

9. Can I submit my work to be considered for future festival events?

The Ottawa International Writers Festival does not typically accept unsolicited submissions. The festival organizers curate the program based on a selection process involving published authors and industry professionals. However, aspiring writers can still benefit from attending the festival and engaging with the literary community.