gritLIT was established in November, 2004, by Hamilton writer and writing teacher Krista Foss. It started as a small, intimate festival, with readings taking place in the Staircase Theatre. Over the past seven years, gritLIT has evolved into a larger-scale and wider-reaching endeavor. It has spread out to encompass a number of venues including the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Workers' Arts and Heritage Centre, the Sky Dragon Centre, the Westside Concert Theatre, and, in previous years, the Dowtown Arts Centre and the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts.
Since its inception, gritLIT has been associated with LiT LiVe, Hamilton's monthly reading series. In recent years, we have also joined forces with Arts Hamilton and the Hamilton Poetry Centre.
The goal of the festival is to engage the community in this country’s rich and diverse literary culture and to bring attention to local writers. gritLIT aims to make Hamilton, often thought of as a gritty city, a destination for book loving audiences as well as for authors from coast to coast. We will also attempt to bring other members of the Hamilton arts community together on the Saturday night of festival weekend in at least one scheduled interdisciplinary event.
- To celebrate excellence in the literary arts
- To reach a wider range of audience than single reading events in the city usually achieve by at once appealing to all ages and demographics and engaging them in narrative and the reading process
- To promote new and emerging authors, both local and from across Canada, by hosting events where they can share the stage with writers of a national and international profile
- To bring cultural traffic to central Hamilton