26@26: Ruth Ozeki with Genki Ferguson

@ - MT
Series Pass $89
Single Ticket $15
@ - MT
Single Ticket: Sept 28 Ruth Ozeki with Genki Ferguson
$14.29 + GST
26@26 Series Pass
$84.76 + GST

A Booker Prize finalist and a wunderkind: Ruth Ozeki and Genki Ferguson have so much in common, including a growing mutual admiration club (okay, Ferguson has been perpetually in awe of Ozeki, but she generously blurbed his debut novel as leaving one breathless, charmed, and deeply thoughtful”). What a joy it will be to eavesdrop on the intellectual and creative interaction between one of the world's most evocative storytellers and an emerging talent. 

The one-hour livestream event on Wordfest.com starts at 7:00 PM MT. (The pre-show begins at 6:50 PM.) The day after the show, we'll email you our unique Digital Doggie Bag, featuring links and extras sparked by the conversation. 

Can't watch live? Want to rewatch? Purchasing the 26@26 series pass or a single ticket gives you exclusive access to this show on demand until midnight on April 30, 2022. 

We’re grateful to Penguin Random House Canada for making it possible for us to connect you with these authors. 

About Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, My Year of MeatsAll Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being, which was a finalist for the 2013 Booker Prize. Her nonfiction work includes a memoir, The Face: A Time Code, and the documentary film, Halving the Bones. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foun­dation and teaches creative writing at Smith College, where she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities.

Visit her at ruthozeki.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ozekiland.

About The Book of Form and Emptiness

Heart-breaking and heart-healing, The Book of Form and Emptiness is a triumph.” Matt Haig, New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Library

A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being.

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, 13-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house – a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry, and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.

At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.

And he meets his very own Book – a talking thing – who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki – bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane, and heartbreaking.

About Genki Ferguson

Genki Ferguson was born in New Brunswick to a family of writers and grew up in Calgary. He spent much of his childhood in the subtropical island of Kyushu, Japan, where his mother's family still resides. Fluent in Japanese and capable of making a decent sushi roll, Fergusonwas the recipient of the 2017 Helen Pitt Award for visual arts, and recently completed a degree in Film Production while working part-time at Book Warehouse, an indie store in Vancouver.

Visit him at genkiferguson.com or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @genki_ferguson.

About Satellite Love: A Novel

An unconventional novel about the perils of loneliness is the perfect read for these unconventional, lonely times. Maybe we need the detached musings of a satellite in love, looking outside in, to remind us of what it means to be human – especially when our sense of self seems to be slipping from our grasp. Stacey May Fowles, author of Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me

Set in 1999 Japan, Satellite Love is a heartbreaking and beautifully unconventional debut novel about a girl, a boy, and a satellite  and a bittersweet meditation on loneliness, alienation, and what it means to be human. Named a CBC Books Spring Reading List Title, a Shelf Life Books Book of the Month, a Toronto Life, and Nikkei Voice summer read recommendation, and one of Daily Hive's 10 Essential Reads to Celebrate Asian Canadian Writers. 

On the eve of the new millennium, in a city in southern Japan that progress has forgotten, 16-year-old Anna Obata looks to the stars for solace. An outcast at school, and left to fend for herself and care for her increasingly senile grandfather at home, Anna copes with her loneliness by searching the night sky for answers. But everything changes the evening the Low Earth Orbit satellite (LEO for short) returns her gaze and sees her as no one else has before.

After Leo is called down to Earth, he embarks on an extraordinary journey to understand his own humanity as well as the fragile mind of the young woman who called him into being. As Anna withdraws further into her own mysterious plans, he will be forced to question the limits of his devotion and the lengths he will go to protect her.

Full of surprising imaginative leaps and yet grounded by a profound understanding of the human heart, Satellite Love is a brilliant and deeply moving meditation on loneliness, faith, and the yearning for meaning and connection. It is an unforgettable story about the indomitable power of the imagination and the mind's ability to heal itself, no matter the cost, no matter the odds.

About Host Shelley Youngblut

Shelley Youngblut is the CEO & Creative Ringleader of Wordfest. She was the recipient of the 2020 Calgary Award for Community Achievement in the Arts and the 2018 Rozsa Award for Arts Leadership. She also won the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Western Magazine Awards. Youngblut was the founding editor of Calgary’s award-winning Swerve magazine and has created magazines for ESPN, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Nickelodeon, Western Living, and The Globe and Mail. A former pop-culture correspondent for ABC World News Now and Canada Am, she is now often unconventionally opinionated on CBC Calgary’s Eyeopener.

Follow her on Twitter @youngblut and Instagram @youngblutshelley.


  • Ruth Ozeki has a new novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, and it's coming this fall –Literary Hub
  • Ruth Ozeki: As an artist I have relationships with fictional voices all the time –The Bookseller
  • Ruth Ozeki's Borgesian, Zen Buddhist Parable of Consumerism -The New York Times Book Review
  • Cosmic Connection: Second generation writer Genki Ferguson blazes own trail with charming debut –The Calgary Herald
  • Genki Ferguson Explores Intimacy and Isolation in His Debut Novel Satellite Love ECUAD News

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