Discovering the written word 

Seventh annual writer’s festival explores local literary talent…

click to enlarge In Ink Participants of one of the 2007 Whistler Writer's Festival workshops, deep in thought
  • In Ink Participants of one of the 2007 Whistler Writer's Festival workshops, deep in thought

What: Whistler Reader’s and Writer’s Festival

When: Friday, Sept. 12 & Saturday, Sept. 13

Where: Whistler Public Library & MY Millennium Place

Cost: Free to $35

Local readers and writers are getting their pens and pencils poised for the upcoming Whistler Reader’s and Writer’s Festival.

This is the seventh year for the event, which is organized by Stella Harvey, a local literary enthusiast and founder of the Whistler Writers Group, better known as The Vicious Circle.

“I first started with organizing The Writers Group and at that point, once the group was organized, we talked about bringing learning opportunities and development opportunities to Whistler,” Harvey explained.

Visual arts tend to overshadow the written word, so the festival is a way of bringing the oft-forgotten writer into the spotlight for a weekend, promoting talented local wordsmiths, in particular, by including them in the event as instructors or speakers.

“Between the Writer In Residence program and the festival, the whole focus is to celebrate, in particular, Canadian writers.”

When Harvey started the festival seven years ago, it was a one-day event held in her own home, featuring only one guest speaker from outside of the area who came to discuss writing and help workshop manuscripts.

It has certainly blossomed significantly since then.

Now, they hold a month-long Writer in Residence program for people who want their manuscripts reviewed, combined with the festival, which kicks off this year with a debate at the Whistler Public Library on the opening night. There will be a moderated panel discussion between G.D. Maxwell, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and Paul Cumin about the power of words, followed with a keynote address by Mel Hurtig.

Saturday is packed with 15 workshops, seminars and discussions that are sure to interest any and all lovers of literature, including a popular bag lunch and discussion with Canadian publishers, held at MY Millennium Place. The workshops touch on everything from writing for young adults to romance and mysteries, and to how to break into the world of magazines, with an impressive range of instructors and speakers who can offer unique insight into each topic.

Saturday also offers one free event designed to appeal to those of all levels of writing ability.

“Lots of people say that they’d like to write, but they don’t know how to get started, and we’ve got a session we’ve got on where people can come and write and be guided by some of the writers in The Vicious Circle,” Harvey explained.

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