New West Lit Fest a feast

Sharon McInnes was awarded an Honorary Life Membership on behalf of the Board by Fed President Ann Graham-Walker at the April 14 AGM.

People who love to write, which is a polite way of defining those impelled by their literary addictions, converged on New Westminster April 13-15 for the New West Festival of Words, and by all accounts, it was a hit.

The Federation of BC Writers (I am a director) teamed up with New West Fest organizers, holding our annual general meeting in the Inn at the Quay’s Hyack Room. Ann Graham-Walker will continue as President, with Jacqueline Carmichael as Vice President.  The list of elected and continuing Board members that was approved at the AGM is published on the Fed’s web site. “I’m looking forward to working with our exciting new board that we’ve just voted in for this year,” said Graham-Walker. “I’m looking forward to working with our new Vice President Jackie Carmichael, who’s really creative and has great ideas, and some of the other wonderful people that we’ve brought on board.”

Sharon McInnes, whose contributions as a director were vital, was awarded an Honorary Life Membership by the outgoing board in recognition of her ‘extraordinary service and dedication.’

A highlight of the three-day festival was the Friday night Gala, which featured readings and a panel discussion by: novelist Gail Anderson-Dargatz; author J.J. Lee; novelist Roberta Rich and poet Rob Taylor.

Emceed by New Westminster’s Poet Laureate Alan Hill, the event brought an enthralled audience up close and personal to four literary personalities, who shared humorous, serious and often various views on the whys and hows of the writing lifestyle.

Before the Gala got underway a Book Sales & Networking session brought writers, poets and publishers together for an hour of browsing, buying and yakking. Participants had lots to say about why they write and how organizations like the Fed can help them grow their talents.

Alas, I couldn’t stay the Lit Fest New West course – I had to leave after the AGM to catch a ferry home. But I did drop in on Heather Jessup’s energizing Write-In at the Network Hub Saturday morning, where a group of ten participants was engaged in some literary calisthenics not long after sunrise!

Their enthusiasm spoke volumes about the energy levels at what turned out to be an invigorating event.

Craig Spence

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