Hamilton’s prestigious gritLit Festival has been cancelled.
Organizers of the four-day literary event, which was scheduled for April 16 to 19, made the announcement Tuesday night (March 17) via their social media channels.
“After much deliberation and many tears, we have cancelled the 2020 gritLIT Festival. Our audiences, authors, volunteers and staff will always be our first priority,” the post said.
Esteemed author Margaret Atwood was supposed to kick-off the event at a sold-out event at the Playhouse Theatre on April 16.
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“This was shaping up to be a record-breaking year for gritLIT, and it is heartbreakingly difficult to let go of the event we worked twelve months to build,” a letter signed by Jennifer Gillies, the event’s Artistic Director and posted to the festival’s website says.
“Unfortunately, this pandemic presents too great a risk to our audiences, authors, volunteers and staff.”
Other featured writers included Ted Barris, Gwen Benaway, Lynn Coady, Robyn Doolittle, Terry Fallis and others. In total, there were to be 35 featured writers.
The letter says that when the danger of the pandemic has passed, organizers will try to reschedule some of the readings and events they were planning to run this year.
GritLIT ticket holders are asked to remain patient as organizers figure out what the future holds for the event. They will be contacted soon with options for postponement or a refund.
In the meantime, lovers of words are urged to remain healthy and safe and to keep on reading.
“Keep reading, and if you read any amazing new books by Canadian authors, tell us about them,” the letter concludes.
“You never know when you might see those books and authors at gritLIT.”
To keep on top of GritLit developments, you can add yourself to their mailing list which can be found here.
Photo courtesy gritLIT’s Facebook page