'Wined Up on Books' brings authors to Cornucopia 

A literary affair on Nov. 17 at annual food and drink festival

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Wine and words Giller Prize long list author Michael Winter is one of eight authors taking part in the first Cornucopia fundraiser for the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival.
  • Photo submitted
  • Wine and words Giller Prize long list author Michael Winter is one of eight authors taking part in the first Cornucopia fundraiser for the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival.

Whistler's food and wine festival Cornucopia has improved its taste in literature.

"Wined Up on Books" is an event planned for the final evening of the festival — Sunday, Nov. 17 — which will raise money for the Whistler Readers & Writers Festival.

"For us it's like a bit of a fundraiser. It's an event that is probably a little different for Cornucopia and it allows us to feature both local writers and authors from away, and make a little bit of money for next year," says the writers festival's organizer Stella Harvey.

Attendees will take part in small groups, rotating between eight participating authors and holding short discussions with each about their work, what it is like to be a writer and even hearing short readings of their work.

"It is speed dating," laughs Harvey. "It's a form of it. We have eight authors, including special guest Michael Winter, who is coming from Ontario just for the event. They will be situated at tables and there will be a time clock. Each author gets about 20 minutes to talk about their book, if they have a chance to do a quick reading one-on-whoever-is-at-the-table, so there may be eight people at the table, there may be 12."

After 20 minutes a bell rings and the writer moves to the next table of attendees.

Tickets will also get each participant two glasses of wine and some yummy desserts at the event, which takes place at 7 p.m. at the fireplace foyer in the Whistler Conference Centre.

Who came up with such a unique event?

Harvey says the volunteer board of Whistler's writers' group, The Vicious Circle, talked about it some time ago.

"As an event we thought it would be fun to try. Something different and beyond a formal reading. Cornucopia is allowing us to run with it which we're very grateful for," she says.

"We proposed it to Cornucopia. They liked it. So we are experimenting with it to see how it would work."

Along with Winter, who was long listed for this year's Giller Prize for Minister Without Portfolio, current Whistler writer in residence Ania Szado, the best-selling author of Studio Saint-Ex who is also from Ontario, is taking part.

Local participating authors include children's author Sara Leach, author and founder of The Point artist-run centre Stephen Vogler, science journalist and author Leslie Anthony, Sue Oakey Baker author of the recently released memoir Finding Jim, author of coffee-table book Mauritania Paula Shackleton and Harvey herself, whose novel Nicolai's Daughters came out last year.

The audience can ask the authors they meet any questions about their work.

Harvey is hoping to attract between 75 and 100 people. "That would be a wonderful number for us. The more the merrier," says Harvey.

Tickets are $35, $20 for Vicious Circle members and can be purchased online at www.whistlercornucopia.com. Following "Wined up on Books" there will be a book sale and a draw for one lucky attendee to win the entire set of books by the participating authors, and the chance for them to sign their books.

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