Hot Docs announces line-up for eighth-annual podcast festival

Schedule includes writer Margaret Atwood, fashion designer Aurora James and more

The line-up for the eighth-annual Hot Docs Podcast Festival has been announced, with a program that features presentations from experts across the Canadian podcasting industry and celebrates non-fiction audio storytelling. 

The event is operated by Canadian non-profit organisation Hot Docs, which was established to support the art of documentary media. This year’s festival is being held in-person for the first time since 2019 and will take place at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto from 19 to 22 October, in partnership with the event’s lead sponsor CBC Podcasts

“We are thrilled to announce the eagerly awaited in-person return of the Hot Docs Podcast Festival,” said lead festival programmer Will Di Novi. “With some of the brightest stars in the podcast landscape converging in Toronto from October 19 to 22, this year’s festival will feature captivating stories and thought-provoking conversations.”

“We hope that it will inspire both our passionately curious public audiences and the talented creators who attend our industry programs.”

The festival will open with a special live recording of the Canadaland news podcast celebrating its 10 year anniversary, featuring journalist and host Jesse Brown alongside special guests such as contributors to Canadaland and the hosts of other podcasts produced by the Canadaland brand, including Commons, Wag the Dough, and The Backbench.

On 20 October, Avery Trufelman, host of fashion podcast Articles of Interest, will hold a conversation with designer and activist Aurora James and shoe historian Elizabeth Semmelhack. Other highlights over the weekend include the first-ever live recording of The New Yorker Fiction Podcast with host Deborah Triesman and literary legend Margaret Atwood, as well as live recordings of The Secret Life of Canada with Falen Johnson and Leah-Simone Bowen, Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly, and Q with Tom Power

In addition to CBC Podcasts, other sponsors of the event include major partners such as Acast, Inspirit Foundation and RBC Foundation, as well as Amazon Music Canada, iHeartRadio, Muskoka Brewery, and Indigenous Screen Office. 

In addition to the live recordings, Hot Docs is also hosting a Creators Forum to compliment the festiva, which features panels from experts across the industry including podcast platforms like Acast and CBC, and publishers like Condé Nast, HBO and NPR. Sessions from the Creators Forum will cover a range of topics including creative and commercial trends, how to build a career in the Canadian podcast industry, a masterclass on narrative storytelling, and so on. 

Hot Docs has also partnered with Indigenous Screen Office to host an in-depth conversation during the Creators Forum on telling Indigenous stories through podcasting, as well as what funding opportunities are available to support podcasters. Attendees will also have a chance to network with industry experts during the event. 

Tickets for the Hot Docs Podcast Festival are currently on sale with special early-bird rates from now until 11 September. They are available to purchase either as single tickets, which range between $33 to $39 or as live podcast bundles which cost $99 for a three-pack.