Canadian authors Dionne Brand, Michael Crummey, Andy McGuire, and Anakana Schofield joined IFOA director Geoffrey Taylor and associate director Christine Saratsiotis on a trek to Beijing, China, to participate in the Bookworm International Literary Festival, which ran from March 17–24.
So what is it like to travel across the world for a literary festival? The group took part in a variety of events and panels showcasing Canadian literature and writing alongside other international authors. They visited the Fangsuo Commune bookstore, the Beijing Foreign Studies University, and the Bookworm bookseller locations in Beijing and Chengdu, and still managed to take in a few sights.
See photos of their week, courtesy of McGuire, who kept a travel diary for Q&Q:
New York Times journalist Julie Davis Hirschfeld, Schofield, Dionne Brand, Andy McGuire, and Michael Crummey speaking via their interpreter at the Canadian Writers in Conversation panel at the Fangsuo Commune in Chengdu.
Beijing Bookworm coordinator Anthony Tao introduces a panel on memory and place in literature featuring Beijing Technology and Business University teacher and Bookworm Book Club moderator Kerryn Leitch, Michael Crummey, New Zealand poet and novelist Anna Smaill, and English-language Japanese writer Mariko Nagai.
We had a spectacular view of the Forbidden City from the temple at Jingshan Park. Left to right: Ricky Mugford, Geoffrey Taylor, Dionne Brand, Michael Crummey, Andy McGuire, and Christine Saratsiotis.
Serenaded by exotic birds before a gala dinner with celebrity chef Ken Hom at Green T. House in Beijing. Left to right: Bookworm International Literary Festival logistics coordinator Sabrina Zou, Christine Saratsiotis, Anna Smaill, Andy McGuire, and Michael Crummey.
Dionne Brand at the Sichuan Muesum in Chengdu.
Lunch in Chengdu.
Moderator Julie Hirschfeld with Anakana Schofield, Andy McGuire, Dionne Brand, and Michael Crummey at the Voices of Canada panel at the Bookworm in Chengdu.
Andy McGuire presents his collection, Country Club, at the Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Atop the Great Wall of China. Left to right: Andy McGuire, Ricky Mugford, Geoffrey Taylor, and Dionne Brand. Front: Anakana Schofield, Michael Crummey, and Christine Saratsiotis.
Canada Club, located inside the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.
The view from a balcony at the Beijing pearl market.
YOTDTGWO (You only toboggan down The Great Wall once).