The Whistler Writing Society has announced the appointment of new artistic and executive director Rebecca Wood Barrett, ushering in a new era for the literary group behind the long-running Whistler Writers Festival.
A published author and award-winning filmmaker, Wood Barrett has been involved with the charitable organization in a variety of roles since its inception in 2001. Most recently, she served as marketing and program manager, and replaces society founder and artistic director Stella Harvey, who is retiring.
“I’m truly honoured to develop and lead the literary programming of the Festival, Writer in Residence, Authors in the Schools and Spring Reading Series. Stella Harvey has evolved the festival from a fledgling single reading and workshop event, into a world-class literary festival, and I look forward to building on her legacy, one that supports local writers and amplifies the diverse voices of Canadian authors, both emerging and established,” said Wood Barrett in a release.
It’s hard to overstate the impact Harvey has had on Whistler’s literary scene. Holding the first Whistler Writers Festival with just 23 attendees out of her living room, she has been instrumental to the event’s growth into one of the premier events on the B.C. literary calendar. The 2015 Champion of Arts & Culture at the Whistler Excellence Awards, he also helped establish a number of writing groups across the Sea to Sky, and has mentored countless local scribes both in her personal time and through the Writer’s Studio program at Simon Fraser University.
“I am grateful to the Whistler community, our audiences, our sponsors, authors, and publishers who have supported ‘the little festival that could’ over the last 20 years. Thank you,” said Stella Harvey in the release. “And I am beyond words of gratitude to have Rebecca carry on and build what we started so many years ago. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the continued growth of the literary arts in Whistler.”
The Whistler Writers Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary last fall, welcoming more than 1,250 attendees to the hybrid online-in-person event. The 21st edition of the festival is scheduled for Oct. 13 to 16, 2022. Tickets go on sale Aug. 31.
Learn more at whistlerwritersfest.com.