Whistler Reads takes on the world 

Hot, Flat and Crowded , the latest book by New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, is the book put forward for discussion by Whistler Reads Sunday, Jan. 4 at the library.

Subtitled Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America , Friedman takes a look at how the United States has lost its focus since 9/11 and the global environmental crisis affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. The author shows how these two things are linked and how tackling them — a sort of Marshall Plan for the environment — can refocus the United States and revive the world.

Not a small goal.

To discuss this, Whistler Reads has put together a panel of local experts qualified to take on this goal. The municipality’s Ted Battiston, Arthur De Jong of Whistler Blackcomb, builder Rod Nadeau, Will Edmondson, environmental consultant Dave Williamson, Marjo Vierros of the United Nations University and AWARE President Sara Jennings will each present one aspect of Friedman’s book that they found particularly interesting.

The discussion begins at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 4 in the Whistler Public Library.


Whistler Writers for never-evers

The Whistler Writers Group is building on its success by going back to basics.

Over their eight years of existence members of the Vicious Circle, a.k.a. the Whistler Writers Group, have work-shopped their way to publishing deals, literary awards, incorporation of their work into public art displays and public anthologies.

But that success can be intimidating to aspiring writers, so the Vicious Circle is hosting an entry-level writers workshop series this winter, called Feeding the Seed: Growing the Brand New Writer.

“We had an incredibly positive response from the seminars we ran in the fall that were geared at new or inexperienced writers,” said Stella Harvey, founder of the Whistler Writers Group. “And a lot of feedback suggested hot demand for a program for new writers. We already have several people signed up.”

The six-week course will feature 1.5-hour sessions each Wednesday at Spring Creek school, starting Jan. 28. Whistler writer and filmmaker Rebecca Wood Barrett will lead the sessions. A Journey Prize anthologist, an award-winning filmmaker, a television producer with Resort TV, and winner of the 2008 Postcard Jam, Wood Barrett has delivered several workshops at previous Whistler Writers festivals.

The Feeding the Seed sessions will include in-class assignments as well as homework assignments that will be brought back to class to workshop and critique. All genres of writing are welcome.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” said Wood Barrett. “That story might come in the form of a poem, novel, screenplay, children’s book, short story, blog, memoir or creative non-fiction. This course is a chance to develop a sense of your own voice as a writer, whichever genre ends up being the most suitable way to express that.”

Only 15 spaces are available for Feeding the Seed, and seats are filling up fast. The cost is $120. Go to www.theviciouscircle.ca to sign up.


Giller Prize winner coming

The Vicious Circle is also bringing some established writers to Whistler in the new year — like 2008 Giller Prize winner Joseph Boyden.

Boyden will join CBC’s Shelagh Rogers and novelists Amanda Boyden and Steven Galloway at the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre on Feb. 18 for Between the Sheets, a panel discussion. The evening is part of the Whistler Winter Arts Festival and 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

Tickets for the evening are $20. Armchair Books is offering a free ticket with the purchase of a “Vicious Bundle” — Joseph Boyden’s Through Black Spruce , Amanda Boyden’s Babylon Rolling , and Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo .


Art Critique Night in Squamish

The Squamish Public Library is inviting artists and art lovers to a critique night on Thursday, Jan. 8, 6:30-8:45 p.m.

Artists are invited to bring one piece of artwork for anonymous feedback. In a supportive environment, they will learn how to critique their own and others’ works, get helpful art tips, and make new friends.

Non-artists are also welcome, since the workshop will assist people in their art purchases.

The evening workshop is free for members of Visuals, Squamish Valley Artists, and $15 for non-members. The entry fee can also be credited toward a 2009 Visuals membership, which costs $30.


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