Whistler’s vocabulary about to get better 

Whistler Writers Festival hosts new writing in residence program along with workshops, gala

The Whistler Writer’s Group, a.k.a. The Vicious Circle, will welcome more than 20 leading Canadian writers, poets, broadcasters and cultural commentators at the 6th annual Whistler Writers Festival in September, but wordy wordplay of the literati is not on the schedule.

“This is not a snooty, high-brow event,” said festival director Stella Harvey. “It’s a celebration of storytelling and self-expression. A complete smorgasbord of opportunities to try new things, crafts and ideas. Have conversations, a night out with your book club, give yourself a creative refresher or learn how you could make money writing about your passions.”

The first writer-in-residence program will welcome Paulette Bourgeois, author of Franklin the Turtle, who will hunker down at the Chaplainville House on Alta Lake for a month-long residency to work with 10 participating writers.

Along with tackling alphabet staples such as rewriting and editing, a few more free-wheeling areas of study will take writers in fresh new directions, including blogging, subverting mainstream media, writing for radio, memoir work and learning how to rock the stage.

Twenty-two seminars will be offered over the weekend, so participants can customize their own pick ’n’ mix experience. From literary gourmets settling in for a multi-course feast to junk-culture bingers — all writerly appetites will be catered to.

Festival highlights include the opening gala with unconventional, pot-stirring performances from Oni the Haitian Sensation, Chris Craddock, Margaret MacPherson, Pam Barnsley and Michael V. Smith.

Saturday workshops include Memoir Writing with Elizabeth Lyon, Writing for Young Adults with Paulette Bourgeois, Storyboarding a Short Film with Rebecca Wood Barrett, Writing for Radio with Mark Forsythe, Getting the Novel Done with Caroline Adderson, Travel Writing with Leslie Anthony, Rewriting and Editing with Elizabeth Lyon, Citizen Journalism and the Writers’ Role in a Political World with Michael Tippet and Writing from a Women’s Perspective with Sheilagh Rogers. Workshops are $15 a class.

Whistler Reads and Vicious Circle will host readings from breakout new fiction writer Jen Sook Fong Lee, author of The End of East .

Sunday hosts three sessions exploring ways to write about your passion, food, travel, poetry or otherwise at local hangouts. Discussion leaders include James Barber, the Urban Peasant, who will discuss the joys of food writing and its impact on the waistline and the pocketbook at Black’s Pub.

West Jet’s wandering poet, Wendy Morton, will share her revolutionary approach to blending art with commerce, and the way she’s bartered poetry for food, cars, flights and accommodation, at Behind the Grind.

Master of the masthead Leslie Anthony will give the inside scoop on how to break into magazines at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC).

The $25 sessions include lunch.

For more information on the non-profit writers’ group or for a full festival program, visit theviciouscircle.ca.

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