September 05, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

Writers in Whistler 

The 7 th annual Whistler Readers and Writers Festival is set to take place Sept. 12-13, 2008. With 15 different seminars, sessions, workshops and readings available, the biggest challenge for writers and readers is choosing which sessions to take. Streams on fiction, non-fiction and magazine writing, as well as memoir and writing from life are programmed. Guest writers include William Deverell, Mel Hurtig, Wayne Grady, Shaena Lambert, Leslie Anthony, Candas Jane Dorsey and Sara Leach. For more information visit and download the festival program. Tickets are available online, starting at $20.

This week, local writer Pam Barnsley discusses crime fiction with author William Deverell. Deverell will be headlining the Saturday night Reading and Discussion, as well as teaching a workshop on Writing the Mystery Novel.



William Deverell: Does Crime Pay?


By Pam Barnsley

What writer hasn’t fantasized about quitting their day job, pounding out a novel, and becoming a best-seller?

For most writers it takes years of ink-stained wretching and day-jobbing, several books and endless rejections. But author William Deverell turned the fantasy into reality when his first book, Needles , won the $50,000 Seal First Novel Award.

Fourteen books and a television series later, Deverell’s works have been translated into 10 languages and sold over a million copies worldwide. Among his many awards he has won Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award twice for best crime novel, for Trial of Passion and April Fool ; and the prestigious Dashiel Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing for his novel Trial of Passion — an award also won later by Deverell’s friend Margaret Atwood.

“I always wanted to be a writer but I was afraid to risk it,” Deverell says.

Originally from Regina, he put himself through law school by working as a journalist for several newspapers, including the Vancouver Sun and the Canadian Press in Montreal. After receiving his degree, he succumbed to the lure of the west coast and moved to B.C. He practiced law for 15 years, fell in love with skiing in Whistler, was counsel in over a thousand criminal cases, and served as President of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. He was one of Canada’s top criminal lawyers. But he still wanted to be a writer.

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