The spaceman cometh


STARFest 2015 lineup announced with Chris Hadfield as the main attraction

Book fans are going to see stars for this fall’s STARFest, especially with Thursday’s announcement that the headliner is none other than celebrated Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield.

Hadfield gained the world’s attention during his 166-day jaunt on the International Space Station from 2012 to 2013. While up in space, he tweeted frequently and offered YouTube videos demonstrating the effects of zero gravity and offered picturesque views of the world, even collaborating on a joint song recording with Ed Robertson who was still earthbound at the time.

As his mission came to a close, he filmed his rendition of David Bowie’s song Space Oddity, which garnered more than 25 million views on the Internet.

His autobiography, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, has since become a bestseller.

Festival director Heather Dolman expressed her pleasure with signing the star for the fifth annual Readers’ Festival.

“We are so delighted to be able to host Chris Hadfield and I think people will be very excited about this event,” she wrote in a prepared statement.

“STARFest attracts large numbers of people who love great storytelling – and no-one has a story to tell quite like Col. Hadfield. We expect people who have never ventured to STARFest before to be racing for tickets to hear from this author, musician, test pilot, commander – and astronaut.”

He will make his appearance at the Arden Theatre as part of its new Speakers Series on Oct. 25. Tickets are $100.

While Hadfield is certainly a very notable name on the schedule, the rest are no slouches either with three Canada Reads winners and the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner among others.

There’s Lawrence Hill whose historical novel The Book of Negroes was so well-received by audiences and critics alike that it won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and eventually was turned into a CBC television mini-series.

“The Book of Negroes made him a household name back in 2007, but the recent miniseries has rejuvenated interest in his work, and we are thrilled to have Hill open STARFest 2015,” Dolman said.

His appearance is the kick-off to the festival on Sept. 11, also at the Arden.

Other authors include Sandra Gulland, Craig Davidson (a.k.a. Nick Cutter), Susan Juby, Claire Cameron, Heather O’Neill, Sean Michaels, Kim Thuy and Lori Lansens. STARFest 2015 runs until Nov. 10.

Tickets go on sale for all events on July 6, except tickets for Chris Hadfield, which will go on sale on July 29. Visit or, or call 780-459-1530 for more information.


About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.