When it's raining outside - and it often is - Vancouverites turn to a good book. The city is a veritable literary hotspot. More than 1,500 authors live in British Columbia, and the province boasts the highest number of book readers anywhere in the country. Local literary lions include Douglas Coupland, who topped bestseller lists with his iconic novel Generation X, and science fiction writer William Gibson, credited with coining the term cyberspace.
Multiple festivals throughout the year celebrate the city's literary scene. Every October, the Vancouver International Writers Festival - one of North America's premier literary events - brings together internationally renowned authors and more than 14,000 avid readers for six days of readings and interactive workshops. Meanwhile, the Word on the Street festival, held one weekend each September, showcases Canadian talent, with hundreds of authors, an array of workshops and a marketplace dedicated to Canadian books and magazines.
Finally, among the best places to dip into the city's literary heritage any time of year is the Vancouver Public Library. The unmistakable, coliseum-shaped building, opened in 1995 and surrounded by cafes, is a convivial spot for an afternoon of gentle browsing. While you're there, look out for some of the following titles from Vancouver authors:
- Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid by Evelyn Lau - a semi-autobiographical account of an honour student who runs away from home and into a life of prostitution.
- Generation X by Douglas Coupland - a satirical look at three underemployed and overeducated young refugees from yuppie wannabeeism.
- From Naked Ape to Super Species: A Personal Perspective on Humanity and the Global Eco-crisis by David Suzuki - a state-of-the-environment plea from Vancouver's famed ecologist.
- The Corporation by Joel Backan - a pressing examination of the role of "psychotic" corporations around the world.