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Whistler Writers Festival launching oral storytelling workshop and contest

Would-be storytellers can take workshop with Lil’wat’s Tanina Williams and submit to be one of eight presenters at festival event in October
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Lil'wat Nation storyteller and educator Tanina Williams is leading an oral storytelling workshop at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre on Sept. 14.

The Whistler Writers Festival (WWF) wants to hear your story.

Organizers of the long-running literary festival are launching a new oral storytelling event this year, with eight local storytellers selected to present their tall tale onstage at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) on Oct. 13.

““The theme of this year’s festival is sharing stories together, so a storytelling event seemed like a perfect fit,” said WWF artistic director Rebecca Wood Barrett in a release. “We want people who have a story to shout from the rooftops, or who can spin a great yarn to apply to share their story with us for the festival.”

Would-be storytellers can brush up on their skills at a workshop next month led by Lil’wat Nation storyteller and educator Tanina Williams, who will guide participants on how to craft a story with lasting impact. This free workshop is set for Sept. 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Whistler Museum. Learn more, and RSVP online, at whistlerwritersfest.com/oral-storytelling-workshop-oral-storytelling-event/.

The workshop is open to anyone interested in oral storytelling, not just those applying to present at the October WWF event. Applicants are also not required to attend the free workshop.

Successful storytellers will be paid $100 for their yarn and will share the stage with Williams and the Squamish Nation’s Tsawaysia Spukwus on Oct. 13.

“We’re excited about this new event and thrilled that these incredible storytellers will be at the festival,” Wood Barrett said in the release. “Everyone loves being told a good story, and we know that everyone has a story they’d like to share. I can’t wait to see how the stories build a sense of connection in our community.”

Submitted stories must be between two to four minutes in length, and there is no limit to the number of entries that can be submitted. Interested applicants can write or record their submission. Large files should be sent via WeTransfer to writers@whistlerwritersfest.com. 

The submission deadline is midnight on Sept. 25. Successful applicants will be notified by Sept. 30.

This year’s Whistler Writers Festival is scheduled for Oct. 13 to 16, with the inaugural oral storytelling event kicking off at the SLCC at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13.

Tickets for the festival go on sale Aug. 31. Learn more at whistlerwritersfest.com.