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Whistler’s Poet’s Pause winners revealed

Art Briefs: Get set for the 20th annual Whistler Writers Festival with its reading list 
E-Arts2 Arts Briefs Poet's Pause 28.35 PHOTO BY MIKE CRANE : RMOW
Vanessa De Teves’ winning poem will be displayed by the giant Adirondack chairs at the south end of Alta Lake Park.

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, Mayor Jack Crompton announced the two winners of this year’s Poet’s Pause competition, which played off of two different themes.   

Kirsten Pendreigh’s poem, Tiny Tourist, which was selected for the theme “Listening,” was inspired by a young child she overheard asking her dad if there were any sharks in the lake. “I thought it was just such a funny concept to imagine there might be things unexpected in the lake, so I tweaked it a bit,” Pendreigh told elected officials at last week’s virtual council meeting. 

Replacing the shark with a whale named Blueberry, Pendreigh writes in her poem that, “There will always be people who don’t believe in lake whales. When Blueberry sprays water up into the sky, they’ll tell you it’s just rain. The slap of her tail? They’ll just say it’s the flap of a sail, and on cold winter mornings when Blueberry’s breath rests on the surface, they’ll call it fog. But if you take your hands and cover your ears, you’ll hear Blueberry’s heart beat.” 

The other winner was Vanessa Dy Teves for her poem about a lost lover, To These Eyes That Sting, selected for the theme “Togetherness.” Read aloud by Whistler’s mayor in Dy Teves’ stead, it read in part: “Hands that remember keep still while I write my farewell, not to the lover that he was, but to the heart that loved him.” 

The winning poems in this ninth edition of the municipality’s poetry contest were selected from 40 entries and will be displayed at the Poet’s Pause sculpture sites in Alta Lake Park over the coming year. Each winner also received a prize of $200. 

To read this year’s winning poems in full and view past winners, visit whistler.ca/poetrycompetition

Whistler Writers Festival releases its 20th-anniversary reading list 

If you’ve been hunting for your next summer read, look no further than the Whistler Writers Festival’s (WWF) 2021 reading list, inspired by the authors attending this fall’s 20th-anniversary event. 

Running the gamut from high-minded literature to domestic thrillers, poetry to memoir, short stories to children’s tales, this year’s list includes new books from Linden MacIntyre (The Winter Wives), Sadeqa Johnson (Yellow Wife), Omar El Akkad (What Strange Paradise), Eden Robinson (The Return of the Trickster), and Thomas King (Sufferance), as well as the Man Booker Prize long-listed A Town Called Solace by New York Times bestselling author Mary Lawson and First by Governor General’s Award-winning poet Arleen Paré. 

“We’ve invited a cross-section of writers from different genres and backgrounds. We have literary authors, poets, memoirists, children’s’ writers—we were very purposeful about making sure there was a little bit of everything. And we’ve invited some authors we’ve enjoyed hosting before, and a whole slate of first time guest authors, so it’s going to be quite the celebration for our 20th anniversary,” said artistic director and festival founder Stella Harvey in a release. 

“There really is something for everyone and we encourage people to read in advance of the festival to get the most out of the panels, discussions, and workshops.”

The entire reading list and WWF online bookstore is available at whistlerwritersfest.com/festival/bookstore

Slated for Oct. 14 to 17, the festival will be held in a hybrid online/in-person format. The full event program is available Aug. 31, along with tickets for workshops, panels and discussions.