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The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming and our next festival promises to offer the best so far. Check out our 2022 schedule, and we'll see you on the street!

Book Signings

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Dandelion

When Lily was eleven years old, her mother, Swee Hua, walked away from the family, never to be seen or heard from again. Now a new mother herself, Lily becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Swee Hua. She recalls the spring of 1987, growing up in a small British Columbia mining town where there were only a handful of Asian families; Lily’s previously stateless father wanted to blend seamlessly into Canadian life, while her mother, alienated and isolated, longed to return to Brunei. Years later, still affected by Swee Hua’s disappearance, Lily’s family is stubbornly silent to her questioning. But eventually, an old family friend provides a clue that sends Lily to Southeast Asia to find out the truth.

Winner of the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award from the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop, Dandelion is a beautifully written and affecting novel about motherhood, family secrets, migration, isolation, and mental illness. With clarity and care, it delves into the many ways we define home, identity, and above all, belonging.

  • Fiction

Jamie Chai Yun Liew

Jamie Chai Yun Liew is the recipient of the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award from the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop. She is a lawyer and law professor specializing in immigration, refugee, and citizenship law and the creator of the podcast Migration ConversationsDandelion is her first novel. She lives in Ottawa with her family.

Alone Together

Photojournalist Leah Hennel’s intimate portfolio of photos documenting the impact of COVID-19 on life in Alberta during the pandemic.

Leah Hennel has been documenting Alberta’s frontline workers and the COVID-19 patients they care for as an Alberta Health Services staff photographer since the early days of the pandemic. Showcasing the lives of those who refused to give up in the face of adversity, Hennel’s photographs beautifully illustrate how citizens, doctors, nurses, and patients in Alberta have adapted and found safe new ways to celebrate, socialize, and work during a time of global chaos. At the same time, these sensitive and haunting images dramatically illustrate how Albertans have dealt with the death, tragedy, and uncertainty that the pandemic has wrought upon the province.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed moment in world history. In many ways, it has reshaped the way we live our lives, and many of its effects will live on. As time goes by, though, the memory of these past months will start to fade and life will eventually ease back into some kind of normalcy. But these photographs and the stories they tell will always be here, providing a record of this historic event and a reminder that catastrophe can strike at any time.

Stories of resilience and courage, of suffering and celebration, are everywhere in today’s world. Alone Together shines a revelatory light on one particular place during an unprecedented – and ongoing – global event.

  • Nonfiction

Leah Hennel

Leah Hennel is an award-winning photojournalist with more than 20 years experience. Her work appears in publications around the world, such as the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, Maclean’s and CBC.ca. She is also a staff documentary photographer for Alberta Health Services. Leah lives in Calgary.

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove

When TJ Powar–a pretty, popular debater–and her cousin Simran become the subject of a meme: with TJ being the “expectation” of dating an Indian girl and her Sikh cousin who does not remove her body hair being the “reality”–TJ decides to take a stand.

She ditches her razors, cancels her waxing appointments, and sets a debate resolution for herself: “This House Believes That TJ Powar can be her hairy self, and still be beautiful.” Only, as she sets about proving her point, she starts to seriously doubt anyone could care about her just the way she is–even when the infuriating boy from a rival debate team seems determined to prove otherwise.

As her carefully crafted sense of self begins to crumble, TJ realizes that winning this debate may cost her far more than the space between her eyebrows. And that the hardest judge to convince of her arguments might just be herself.

  • Fiction
  • Young Adult

Jesmeen Kaur Deo

Jesmeen Kaur Deo grew up in northern British Columbia, where she spent most of her childhood daydreaming. She loves books that can make her laugh and tug at her heartstrings in the same paragraph. When not wrapped up in stories, she can be found biking, playing the harmonium, or struggling to open jars. TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is her debut novel.

The Undercover Book List

He’s known as the class troublemaker. She’s known as the bookworm. But when every note they send is anonymous, identity is suddenly what they make it.

Between her father’s posting overseas and her best friend Sienna’s move to the other side of the country, seventh grade is looking lonely for Jane MacDonald. But Sienna has left her with one last trick: a hidden message in a library book–the perfect plot to start a secret club and find Jane a new book-loving friend.

Tyson Flamand has problems of his own. Since the fourth grade he’s had a reputation as a bad kid, and there’s no point fighting it when teachers always think the worst. So when he finds an anonymous note in the library looking for a nerdy new friend, he knows he’s the last person in the world it could be meant for. But something makes him answer it anyway, and Tyson finds himself pulled into a secret book club where being hidden may be the first step to being truly seen.

  • Children's
  • Fiction

The Life and Deaths of Frankie D

A fantastical novel from award-winning author Colleen Nelson, about a hundred-year-old side show and a girl with no past.

Frankie doesn’t trust easily. Not others and not even herself. Found in an alley when she was a child, she has no memory of who she is or why she was left there. Recurring dreams about a hundred-year-old carnival side show, a performer known as Alligator Girl, and a man named Monsieur Duval have an eerie familiarity to them.

Frankie gets drawn deeper into Alligator Girl’s world and the secrets that keep the performers bound together. But a startling encounter with Monsieur Duval when she’s awake makes Frankie wonder what’s real and what’s in her head.

As Frankie’s and Alligator Girl’s stories unfold, Frankie’s life takes a sharp turn. Are the dreams her way of working through her trauma or is there a more sinister plan at work? And if there is, does she have the strength to fight it?

  • Fantasy/Sci-fi
  • Fiction
  • Young Adult

Colleen Nelson

An author and junior high school teacher, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous works include the critically acclaimed middle-grade novels Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own, which is a 2020 Governor General’s Award Finalist; Sadia, which won the 2019Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award; and Blood Brothers, which was selected as the 2018 McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People. Her first picture book, Teaching Mrs. Muddle, was published in 2020. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons. The family’s West Highland Terrier Rosie adds an extra-loveable dose of liveliness, squirrel-chasing, and shoe-chewing to their lives.