Literary Arts Centre still on drawing board

Diagram of space allocation in the proposed Vancouver Literary Arts Centre

The Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC) is still planning to open a Literary Arts Centre in Vancouver in 2018, but the project may be knocked back from a summer opening to later in the year said Executive Director Heidi Waechtler in a July 14 email to the Federation of B.C. Writers.

“We envision the Vancouver Literary Arts Centre as a diverse and dynamic literary hub that will raise the profile of the city’s publishing and writing communities and encourage literacy,” Waechtler said. “It will connect Vancouver and BC writers, readers, and the wider literary community by providing affordable, sustainable, and long-term administrative, creative, educational, and event space for writers, book and magazine publishers, and other literary organizations.”

Things got sidetracked when a building under consideration for the project could not be secured. “We’re working on identifying other potential sites,” Waechtler said. “We’re still looking at a 2018 move-in date, though not necessarily summer.” Currently 19 organizations are looking to ‘be a part of the space’, including the ABPBC, Magazines BC, and a number of member publishers from both organizations.

A brochure produced by the ABPBC notes that the LAC will be unique to Canada, but that precedents exist in other parts of the world, including: Open Book: A Home for Literary & Book Arts (Minneapolis); The House of Literature/Litterat urhuset (Oslo); Literary Arts (Portland); Free Word Centre (London); and the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas (Melbourne).

The initial proposed area for LAC is ‘in the range of 10,740 sq.ft.’ Says the brochure: “Fundraising for the project is targeted at $2.75 million. This figures includes $1 million for physical improvements to the leased space, and $1.75 million to cover any shortfalls during the first five years of operations.”

“Local writers who are interested in staying abreast of the project or getting involved with the planning are encouraged to sign up for our newsletter at or get in touch with me at,” Waechtler said.

Craig Spence


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