Submitted by Stella Harvey ()
We just completed the 12th annual Whistler Readers and Writers Festival which ran from October 18th to 20th. We held 5 reading events, 2 panel discussions and 7 developmental workshops on various topics ranging from writing for young readers to writing for magazines, one workshop for young writers under the age of 18, and one school program with First Nations author, Richard Wagamese. The school program saw 80 grade 12 English students from Mt. Currie, Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish Secondary study his books (Indian Horse and Runaway Dreams) and attend a presentation and Q and A with Richard at the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre today, October 21st.
Close to twelve hundred tickets were sold to the festival this year, more than double the tickets sold at last year’s festival. We had thirty Canadian guest authors. We partnered again with Pen Canada to sponsor a writer (in our case two writers) who have been imprisoned for their writing. Feedback received from guest authors and participants was very positive, noting the lovely location, the organization of the event, the friendliness and the generosity in the treatment of the authors.
In addition, our Writer In Residence Program with author, Ania Szado began on October 1st and will run through to early December. Ania is working with twelve participants in the program, has done presentations at the festival and we are looking to do something with a school outreach program while she is here.
Next on the agenda is organizing an event with Cornucopia, Whistler’s Food and Wine event where for the first time, they are including a writerly event. Author Michael Winter will be our guest and we will be featuring our local authors on the same bill. This event happens November 17th.