The Saskatchewan Festival of Words is the province’s largest annual literary festival, drawing hundreds of bookworms to Moose Jaw each year, and organizers have now revealed the 29 authors who will be in the city this July 18-21. 

“It’s always exciting to organize the Festival,” said Amanda Farnel, operations manager. “We meet with publishers from across Canada, we take survey suggestions, or people call us up and say, ‘you should invite this person!’ 

“And so, we end up working with over 200 pitches a year. To narrow it down to 29 people, that’s so exciting to me, because there’s so many different directions the festival could go, and sometimes you start inviting people and you realize, ‘oh, we’re actually kind of doing a theme,’ and so you start building around that.” 

The 2024 Saskatchewan Festival of Words begins Thursday, July 18 with writers’ workshops at venues including the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre, Moose Jaw Public Library, and the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. 

From there, festival attendees can pick from dozens of options — author readings, panels, workshops, the Spoken Word Showcase, a book launch, and an Evening with Brent Butt, who will do a live comedy set followed by an interview with Rob Carnie, the Voice of Moose Jaw. 

“When we say there’s a lot that you could do at the Festival — there’s 50 events’ worth of stuff that you could do at the Festival,” Farnel laughed. 

Some of the presenters featured this year (full list at 

  • Abdulsalam Abo Al Shamat 
  • Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio 
  • Jes Battis 
  • S. Bear Bergman 
  • Vivian Darroch-Lozowski 
  • Holly Hogan 
  • dee Hobsbawn-Smith 
  • Victoria Koops 
  • Waubgeshig Rice 
  • Robert J. Sawyer 
  • katherena vermette 

“I think the Festival this year is going to be a lot of fun,” Farnel said. “We’ve got some bigger names, like Brent Butt coming to do comedy sets for our Saturday entertainment. We’ve got Robert Sawyer talking about sci-fi, and people love him at the Festival. 

“We’re really excited about having a climate panel this year, we have a panel on books that become political kind of accidentally ... There’s a lot of interesting stuff and we’ve got some fresh new faces and we’ve got some old favourites.” 

“I’m really excited for our fantasy panel,” said Sara Grimes, program co-ordinator at the Festival of Words office. “I’m always a huge genre literature fan, I’m a huge fantasy fan, I have been since I was a small child, and it’s really nice giving the space for genre literature to have that creativity and to maybe make some new fantasy fans out in the audience. 

“We have Jes Battis coming in, we have Victoria Koops, as well, and we have Zalika Reid-Benta, and all their books that they’re bringing to the Festival are different types of fantasy. ... So, it’ll be interesting to see how their difference approaches interact with each other.” 

The Festival of Words has many online recorded and livestream options, and attendees can buy passes specific for the readings, entertainment, panels, and workshops they don’t want to miss. Check the schedule and passes at 

Farnel said anyone checking out the Festival of Words for the first time should not miss the READception event in the Mae Wilson Theatre at 8:30 p.m. on day one. 

“It’s our opening night event,” she explained. “We take a selection of authors from the Festival and we give them three-minute mini-readings and it’s like a speed date with an author. You can see what reading sections are like ... It’s a great gateway into the full event.”