It wasn’t too long ago that I wasn’t sure I would have been able to write the words, another year, another festival. They come naturally now as if there is no question we will be back, bigger and stronger next year.
When the day closes today so will the 15th year of what has become the annual Whistler Writers Festival. There were so many times we wanted to call it quits. The effort to put on such an event grew too much and the funds available to make it happen were too limited. But what was once unthinkable has been made possible through the dedication and hard work of our small organizational team. We kept going and miracles began to happen. Our audience base grew, sponsors and supporters came on board, and others took notice and wanted to help. And again and again I was reminded that no one succeeds alone.
I would like to acknowledge, Rebecca Wood Barrett who as festival manager and my sounding board puts up with me day in and day out and has never wavered despite our incredible workload. Nancy Routley led a team of volunteer captains including: Nicola Bentley, Katherine Fawcett, Sara Leach, Libby McKeever, Karen McLeod, Sue Oakey and Sandy Pyatt. The captains were assisted by some of the most incredible volunteers any event organizer could ask for including: Karen Barnes, Alix Nicols, Bev Brown, Ann Johnson, Cathy Speedy, Pat Dagg, Susan Knoll, Sheila Sherkat, Darel Lee, Dea Lloyd, Laurie Cooper, Chris Patrick, Josie Chuback, Al and Marion Ashby, Geoff Swan, Helga Ruiterman, Victoria Swayze, Adam Adams, Jordana Shier, Karen Demoe, Kimiko Taguchi, Astin Cole-Piper, Mieke Prummel, Hailey Guille, and Laurie vanLeeuwen.
Pat Mackenzie was our go-to person for the Authors in the Schools program. I am very proud of this program. It would not have gotten off the ground without Pat’s help and the support of the teachers and principals in the corridor. Thank you!
I’d like to thank Mary MacDonald for keeping our social media buzzing, Libby McKeever for making sure all the libraries in the province had our brochures and posters, helping with festival school and library programming and driving authors, Nicole Fitzgerald for juggling our blog, Brigitte Mah for helping us with signage and easels, Claire Piech for managing our communications efforts, and Ruth Barrow from Whistler Creative for handling our website and making our festival program and all our collateral sing! Thanks to all of you who read our authors’ books and wrote such wonderful reviews for our local papers.
Thanks also to the actors and musicians who took the written word and added different perspectives to make our reading events extraordinarily special.
The Whistler Writing Society is a non-profit group. On July 1st we became a charitable organization. Our budget is completely allocated to covering the costs of the annual Whistler Writers Festival, the Writer in Residence Program, and other literary events throughout the year, including the Authors in the Schools program. We could not do what we do without the generous support and vision of a number of sponsors including: The Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Province of British Columbia, The Writers Union of Canada, The Canada Council for the Arts, The BC Arts Council, The BC Gaming Commission, Access Copyright, The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, The Quebec Writers Federation, the League of Canadian Poets, Scotiabank, Marquis Printing, Vivalogue, Stonebridge of Whistler, Vision Pacific, Penguin Random House Canada, BurntStew Computing, Pasta Lupino, the Whistler Public Library, Arts Whistler, Tourism Whistler, the Fairmont Hotel, Armchair Books, the Audain Museum, the Brewhouse, Whistler Wired, Pacific Coach Lines, Goodwin Studios, and Whistler Creative. I’d also like to thank those who specifically sponsored our Comedy Quickies event either through prizes or donations to our silent auction, including Bear Necessities, Scandinave Spa, Massey Pottery Gallery, West Coast Float, Nikki Best, Arbutus Routes, Cornucopia, Black 2 Blond, Fathom Stone, Olives, Heidi the Artist, Ziptrek, Cambridge Cleaning, Escape! Whistler, Whistler Film Festival, Fort Berens, Whistler Roasting Company, Whistler Bungee. Thank you.
Last but not least, I’d like to thank Mountain FM (media sponsor of Comedy Quickies), The Pique, the Question, the Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, and Quill and Quire for their wonderful coverage leading up to our festival. Thanks guys. I appreciate the support.
And now we begin planning for 2017. We have 365 glorious days. It seems like a luxury to have so much time ahead of us, but the 2017 festival will be here in no time. Mark your calendars, October 12-15, 2017.
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