gritLIT is Hamilton’s annual literary festival, a four-day celebration of Canadian authors. Since its inception in 2004, the festival has built a reputation with readers in the Golden Horseshoe as a place to get “up close and personal” with their favourite authors and to discover new voices.

gritLIT brings together diverse voices – the biggest Canadian authors, up and coming talent, and local Hamilton writers – in a series of readings and themed events. The festival’s mandate is one of accessibility for both authors and audiences. gritLIT puts a focus on local authors, giving them the exposure to readers that they richly deserve.

The festival includes readings at local schools including French language presentations. And gritLIT ticket prices are among the lowest of any Southwestern Ontario literary festival.


gritLIT was established in November, 2004, by Hamilton writer 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. While most events during festival week take place at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, other gritLIT venues include Homegrown Hamilton,  Gallery on the Bay, the Waterfront Trust Centre Theatre, the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre,  the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts and the Lyric Theatre.

Since its inception, gritLIT has been associated with LIT LIVE, Hamilton’s monthly reading series. In recent years, we have also joined forces with the Hamilton Poetry Centre and Steel City Stories.


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.


  • To celebrate excellence in the literary arts
  • To promote diversity of voice, perspective and experience in our programming
  • To bring cultural traffic to central Hamilton