Michael Winter returns to the Festival with The Death of Donna Whalen , a mesmerizing work of documentary fiction. In her home on Empire Avenue, Donna Whalen was stabbed 31 times. Her friends, family and neighbours believed it was her abusive boyfriend, Sheldon Troke. But all the evidence is circumstantial, providing a daunting challenge for police and prosecutors—and the course of justice takes many unpredictable twists and turns before the truth is finally revealed.
We welcome Steven Hayward to the Festival with Don’t Be Afraid , a darkly comic novel of adolescent anxiety about an unforgettable family caught in a state of mourning. We meet Jim Morrison—not the lead singer of the Doors, but a chubby seventeen-year-old born days after the singer’s death, whose life changes the night the library explodes. With generous humour and characteristic energy, Steven weaves a story of the undercurrents of family life and the unpredictable ways our paths can unfold.