Anarchy will rise again this year, as the Festival of Anarchy bleeds into the eighth-annual Victoria Anarchist Bookfair, Sept. 14 and 15.
This year’s festival, which runs Sept. 4 to 15, will offer a stream of events like “Effective Prisoner Support 101” and the “Untamed Cabaret” before the internationally anticipated bookfair enthralls anarchists and non-anarchists alike on unceded Coast Salish Territory.
Publishers and participants from all over North America will come out to Fernwood to offer book and information tables, music, workshops, readings, films, presentations and more. While every year seems to improve upon the last, collective member Comrade Black, who helped organize this year’s event, says this event’s focus has a strong root in prisoner resources, along with a renewed emphasis in indigenous and disability workshops.
“Every year, we look back and see things we hadn’t considered before, and it always seems like we have the best year, but each one gets better,” Black said.
More than just a place for people to pick up some atypical and niche-published books, the bookfair offers a variety of workshops focused on building healthy communities and examining various strategies of defending the land and each other, says Black. With sessions like “Anarchist Child Raising,” “Women in Prison” and “Sexual Assault within Radical Communities,” the event will offer a diverse look at issues many levels of the community faces. Another special event this year: a two-hour panel on anarchist spirituality. The bookfair also has a AnarKID’S space for families. The venue is 100 per cent wheelchair accessible.
“This year the Bookfair workshops have a strong feminist focus. We have a very woman-centered poster by former G20 prisoner Kelly Pflug-Back, and the collective is primarily women,” said organizer Jenny Watson.
Participating publishers and bookstores include: Spartacus Books (Vancouver), AK Press (San Francisco), Camas Books (Victoria), Left Bank Books (Seattle), Little Black Cart Press (Oakland), Ojistoh Literary Producers, (Victoria), ThoughtCrime Inc. Press (Edmonton), Black Raven Records (Victoria), UVSS Women’s Centre (Victoria), El Libertario (Venezuela) and Red Lion Press (Nanaimo).
Victoria’s poet Laureate Janet Rogers will host a special evening of all Indigenous poets on Sept.13, in conjunction with the bookfair. Wet’su’wet’en Nation poet Jen Wickham, who will be launching her first chap book, will be featured along with performers from all over Cascadia.
Despite the changing publication industry with people reading books online, Black says electronic media poses no threat to the anarchist community.
“There are so many small and independent publishers who come out to an event like this, and it’s just not something you can find anywhere else,” Black said. “These publications are not on ebook and you just can’t find them anywhere else.”
Check out the bookfair at the Fernwood NRG Community Hall (1240 Gladstone Ave.) on Saturday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note, no cameras will be allowed in the bookfair, except during the media hours from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. both days. For the full schedule and to learn more, visit victoriaanarchistbookfair.ca.