Festival Information

15th Annual Whistler Writers Festival
October 13 – 16, 2016


“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.
Victor Hugo

2016 is an extra special year. It’s our 15th anniversary, a cause for celebration and reflection. As I look back, I think about the first festival in 2002; we had 20 participants and one guest author, gathered in my living room. Those who came from Vancouver and beyond (2) and the guest author stayed in our spare rooms. We felt like a family, all under one roof. I always thought it would remain this way, small and intimate. 

Our committed (and in my case, committable) group of volunteers had other plans. Dreamers and doers they rolled up their sleeves, applied for sponsorships and grants, experimented with different formats, invited the very best (known and unknown) of Canadian and international authors, refused to take rejection personally (or at least didn’t let it stop them), and kept focused and driven until everyone could see what they had known all along: build an incredible event in the mountains and people will come. Their efforts have resulted in the Whistler Writers Festival, the Whistler Writer in Residence Program and the Whistler Authors in the Schools program. 

This year our theme is perseverance, which celebrates our ongoing commitment to what we began.

Thursday October 13th will feature Comedy Quickies, a night of bite-sized comedy that takes writers’ humorous humdingers to the stage. Cash and prizes will be awarded for Best Comedy Writing, and the Best Act will be chosen by our audience. Our special guest is crowd favourite, spoken-word artist, Kevan “Scruffmouth” Cameron.

On Friday night our Chefs’ Reception will feature star chefs James Walt of Araxi fame and House of Q chef, Brian Misko. There will be samples of appetizers to try and you’ll be able to meet these authors and to hear them discuss their featured recipes and books. The Literary Cabaret will follow the Reception. Hosted by local scribe and musician Stephen Vogler, the night combines readings from some of Canada’s best-loved authors, accompanied by live music. This year’s cabaret features Nick Bantock (who will read with Katherine Fawcett), Caroline Woodward, Billie Livingston, Cathie Borrie, Rosanna Deerchild, Bill Richardson, Susan Juby, and Nathanial G. Moore. 

The winners of the newly created Whistler Independent Book Awards will be announced just before the Literary Cabaret and the Poetry Award winner will be invited to read.  

Our popular Saturday reading events are back, each featuring authors of different genres: Poetry, Non-Fiction and Fiction. In addition, we’ve kept two workshops for readers. The Literary Salon, moderated by Genni Gunn on Friday afternoon, is designed specifically for book clubs. The Saturday afternoon session will feature Anne Giardini and Nicholas Giardini who will explore the writing life and the advice provided by multi-award winning author, the late Carol Shields. Our Saturday Thriller Writers’ Lunch reading, moderated by Feet Banks, will feature authors RJ McMillan, Joy Fielding, C.S. Reardon, Peter Robinson, Steven Price, and the winner of the Whistler Independent Book Award for Crime Fiction.

On Saturday night, a special main stage reading will see The Globe and Mail’s Marsha Lederman in conversation with multi-award winning author, Jane Urquhart. 

Lederman will join us again on Sunday to host a reading event featuring Ronald Wright and Deborah Campbell. Bill Richardson will host the Sunday brunch and discussion with award winning authors Emma Donoghue, Gary Geddes, Affinity Konar, Cea Sunrise Person, Anosh Irani and Madeline Thien. For the early risers and those who like a rousing and friendly debate, the session Fiction versus Non-Fiction will explore what drives a writer into either camp and will feature authors: Richard Van Camp, Jennifer Manuel, Craig Davidson, Endre Farkas, and C.S. Reardon.

Our day-long publishing workshop on Friday October 14th is back. Join us for a three-hour workshop in the morning to hone your pitching skills, then put them to the test in the afternoon with publishers, editors and agents who together represent all genres. 

This growing festival is a labour of love for so many: the volunteers who persevere and support it tirelessly; the community that has rallied around it; and the participants who come year after year. Thank you for your support. Welcome to Whistler and to our festival. You are among family now. 

Stella Harvey, Festival Director


Buy your tickets online today, or at Armchair Books (Cash only)