Photo by Karen at One More Page blog

To commemorate #gritLIT2016, we hosted our very first blog tour! We enlisted the help of some of our favourite bloggers to review titles from our 2016 line-up. See below for links to their reviews.

Click here to read their reviews:

Thank you to all the bloggers who participated and to everyone who followed along using the #gritLITBlogTour hashtag! Happy reading.

Each year, we kick off gritLIT with Battle of the Books, where ten well-known local personalities discuss, debate, and mud-sling in defence of their favourite titles from the Evergreen Reading List.

Battle of the Books, in partnership with the Hamilton Public Library, will take place March 31st at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Library (Wentworth Room).

We’re excited to have the following presenters join us this year:

  • Pauline Kajiura defending Local Customs by Audrey Thomas
  • Aidan Johnson defending All Saints by K.D. Miller
  • Chris Cutler defending They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson
  • Shannon Kyles defending Under the Visible Light by Kim Echlin
  • Pat Wright defending Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley
  • Frances Neufeld defending Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
  • Cole Gately defending The Lonely Section of Hell by Laurie Shenher
  • Jeff Goodes defending Punishment by Linden MacIntyre
  • Ian Downie defending The Hunger of the Wolf by Stephen Marche
  • Grace Kehler defending The Jaguar’s Children by John Valliant

Let the battle begin!

Admission to this event is free, but we suggest you register to avoid disappointment.

gritLIT: Hamilton’s Readers and Writers Festival presents
In Conversation with Lawrence Hill

gritLIT is proud to present an intimate conversation with international award-winning author Lawrence Hill. Join Hill as he discusses his latest book, The Illegal, his writing process and the posthumous publication of his sister Karen Hill’s novel, Café Babanussa. Hosted by CHCH’s Annette Hamm.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre Theatre
(57 Discovery Drive)

Tickets:    Adults $20 (Click here to buy adult tickets)
Students/Seniors $15 (Click here to buy student/senior tickets)

This event is part of Hamilton Winterfest.


The gritLIT Writers Group is finally back with a special, Hallowe’en-inspired Meet-up event. Are you an aspiring Stephen King or Mary Shelley? Bring your work to an evening of dark tales and scary stories. An open mic will be set-up for anyone who wants to captivate us with their thrilling tale. Every reader will be given five minutes. Share a fragment of your own – a postcard story, a poem or a piece from a longer work OR read something from your favourite author. Bring on all those tales from the crypt. Who’s afraid of the dark anyway?

Admission is free with purchase of food/beverage.

We would love to get your feedback about the gritLIT Writers Group. Come at 7:00pm to be part of the discussion about future meet-up events, venues and formats. Readings will begin at 7:30pm.

For full details, visit our Meet-Up page. 


On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 was en route from Montreal to Delhi via London when a bomb detonated killing all 329 people onboard. It was the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history, and until 9/11, it was the worst airplane attack ever recorded.

gritLIT is honoured to host a very special reading commemorating this event with critically-acclaimed novelists Padma Viswanathan and Farzana Doctor.

In Memory of…Air India 182

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015                                                                                      at Gallery on the Bay, 231 Bay St N, Hamilton

Doors open at 7:00pm, Readings start at 7:30pm

Tickets: $10 in advance or $12 at door. To purchase advance tickets, please click here.

Padma Viswanathan‘s first novel, The Toss of a Lemon, was published in eight contries, a best-seller in three and a finalist for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize (Regional) for a first book. She will be reading from her second novel, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Farzana Doctor is a Toronto-based author of two previous novels: Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement, which won a Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award. She will be reading from her third novel, All Inclusive, which will be published by Dundurn Press in September 2015.


gritLIT 2015 is just around the corner, and we want you to join us, so we’re giving away a weekend pass! Enter the ticket giveaway below by following the simple instructions. If you’re not on social media, don’t worry! Just email to be entered. Put “gritLIT Ticket Contest” in the subject line. The gritLIT Weekend Pass gets you in all #gritLIT2015 events (excluding workshops and the literary salon).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See you at gritLIT!

BattleContestants at Battle of the Books 2014 prepare to defend their titles. 

Join us at 7:00 pm on April 1 when gritLIT Readers & Writers Festival once again teams up with the Hamilton Public Library for Battle of the Books.

Come watch ten well-known local personalities discuss, debate and mud-sling in defense of their favourite titles from the 2015 Evergreen Reading List. Hosted by CHCH anchor Annette Hamm.

This years’ panel of local celebrities consists of June Dickenson, Krista Foss, Molly Hayes, Liz Inman, Aidan Johnson, Tor Lukasik-Foss, Jeanie MacFarlane, Deirdre Pike, Patangi Rangachari, and Pat Wright

OLA’s Evergreen Award promotes Canadian authors and provides an opportunity for readers across the country to help determine a winner each year.

The event will be held at the Central Library in the Hamilton Room on the first floor. Admission is free.

Literary Salon with Richard Wagamese
Saturday, April 18th, 10:30am at the Sheraton Hotel
Join national-award-winning author Richard Wagamese for coffee and tea, light refreshments, and lively discussion about books, writing and more. This event takes place at the Sheraton Hotel, Ferguson Room, 2nd Floor.

Workshop: Unleashing the Demon
Saturday, April 18th, 10:30am at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
This workshop offers an in-depth look at how to write fictional villains who are both evil enough to be terrifying and complex enough to be real. Led by Giller-Prize-finalist Russell Wangersky.

Workshop: How to Catch a Polar Bear
Saturday, April 18, 12:00 pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
Winner of numerous geographical awards, James Raffan has been keeping journals of his wilderness travels since early days as a Boy Scout in Guelph, Ontario. No one was more surprised than he was when one of these journals morphed into his first bestselling book, Summer North of Sixty. Since then, journal keeping has been an integral part of his personal writing process but also something that he loves to share in his encounters with others interested in capturing the essence of experience through creative journal keeping. How to Catch a Polar Bear is a hands-on workshop that explores journal keeping as a first step in the writing process.

Workshop: It’s All About Character
Saturday, April 18th, 12:00pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
Alison Pick, bestselling author and nominee for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, leads a lively and participatory workshop about character development in fiction. Come prepared to have fun and leave with an enhanced understanding of how to create dynamic, three-dimensional characters.

Workshop: Flying with Butterflies
Sunday, April 19, 12:00pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
Some people love doing public talks and readings, but many would rather crawl under the lectern with a glass of wine. Drawing on her experience as both an acclaimed author and an award-winning performer of one-woman shows, Alison Wearing offers insights and inspiration for ‘flying with the butterflies’ that can fill our stomachs when we stand in front of an audience, and she shares techniques for presenting literary work in engaging and enjoyable ways. This workshop is designed for anyone who would like to become more comfortable performing their work in public.