Success of writers' group reflected in second Literary Leanings event 

In a town where the milk costs more than champagne does in most other places Lara Bozabalian wanted to be a writer, so she made one of the boldest decisions any young Whistlerite could make - she quit her job.

Bozabalian had a secure teaching job when it became impossible for her to ignore her passion to write full time.

But the 27-year-old conceded she might still have been trying to write before and after school had it not been for the Whistler Writers' Group and its leader Stella Harvey.

Formed three years ago, the Whistler Writers' Group now has 72 participants and will again be part of this year's Whistler Arts Showcase festival.

The group will host several noted Canadian writers at the second annual Literary Leanings event Sunday, Feb. 22 and Monday, Feb. 23 at Uli's Flipside.

Vancouver writer Kevin Chong will also make a special youth presentation at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Millennium Place.

This will be Bozabalian's first serious attempt at a Literary Leanings event but she's confident there will be a positive outcome.

"I never had plans to be a writer, I'd thought about it, but I'd done the sensible thing and become a teacher," Bozabalian said.

"I guess a lot of people come to Whistler to drop out of their lives and become ski bums but I was sort of the opposite, and now I'm a writing bum."

While Bozabalian is now a regular member of the group she admitted it took her almost a year to find the time to attend a meeting.

"It took me quite a while to work into the group and the way they did things because, for instance, they did everything by e-mail and I didn't even have a computer," she said.

Bozabalian said the strength of the group was that the members were always supportive and open to new ideas.

"I write a lot of poetry and when I joined most of the people in the group didn't read poetry, but they gave it a try anyway."

Group founder Harvey admitted there has been a lot of organizing involved with this year's Literary Leanings but the talent has been easy to book due to the success of last year's readings.

"There's been a lot of excitement from last year's event because the writers all know each other and would have heard about the reception they get up here," Harvey said.

Harvey will read on Sunday at 8 p.m. at Uli's Flipside, together with celebrated Vancouver writers Lee Henderson and Karen X. Tulchinsky.


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