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    Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is spoken as to make us think him credible. - Aristotle

    I grew up in a household where debate, discourse and conversation was loud, insistent and always expected. “How will you understand the world around you and what you think and value without discussion?” my father would ask and go on to remind me, “but you have to have facts and speak truthfully from your own experience, be prepared to listen to others and perhaps change your mind.” His words encouraged me to value discourse, form opinions (some would say I have one about everything), listen intently and be respectful of others even as their opinions differed from my own. These tenets have been at the heart of the Whistler Writers Festival since its inception in 2002.

    Now entering its 18th year, the Festival continues to be committed to discussion and healthy, provocative and thoughtful debate with as broad and inclusive an audience as possible. And to reiterate and cement this ideal, we have made our theme this year: Discourse.

    I am grateful to our volunteers, our community leaders, and other influencers, and most importantly, you, our audience, who have come through time and time again with your wonderful questions to our authors and your willingness to listen to and debate books and their various subjects. Thanks so much for reiterating why conversation is important.

    Thursday October 17th will feature: A Whistler Vacation, a live theatre production by Ira Pettle and Brandon Barrett.

    On Friday night our Tasting the Divine: Cooks with Books will feature passionate chefs Andrea Carlson, author of Burdock & Co: Poetic Recipes Inspired by Ocean, Land & Air, local chef James Walt, author of Araxi: Roots To Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes, and Barbora Vaneckova, representing the Whistler Multicultural Network’s Whistler’s Multicultural Cookbook. There will be samples of appetizers to try and you’ll be able to meet these authors and hear them discuss their featured recipes. Following this food lovers event, is The Literary Cabaret. 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: Wakefield Brewster, Lorna Crozier, Michael Crummey, Lauren Elise Daniels, Genevieve Graham, Cornelia Hoogland, Nazanine Hozar, Katherine Koller, Lee Maracle and Paul Seesequasis. The winners of the Whistler Independent Book Awards will be announced just before the Literary Cabaret.

    Our popular Saturday reading events are back, each featuring authors of different genres: Poetry, Non-Fiction and Fiction. In addition, our Booklovers’ Literary Salon for book clubs will feature Cherie Dimaline. We encourage you to read Cherie’s new novel, Empire of Wild, because Cherie will be onstage at the salon, which will be moderated by the The Globe and Mail’s, Marsha Lederman.

    Our Saturday Crime Writers Lunch session, moderated by our very own Feet Banks, will host authors: Jim Brown, Lynn Coady, Andrew Pyper, and Joel Scott.

    On Saturday night, a special main stage event will see Bill Richardson in conversation with Canada Reads 2018 finalist, Omar El Akkad and author and activist, Maude Barlow. Bill Richardson will join us again on Sunday, October 20th to host our Sunday brunch and discussion with award winning authors Emma Donoghue, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Harold R. Johnson, and Richard Van Camp. In the early morning Grant Lawrence will host a walk and reading with Maude Barlow, Michael Crummey, Wakefield Brewster, Anakana Schofield in A Walk to Lost Lake and Back. This year, we’ve also introduced a new reading event on Sunday morning entitled: New Voices Rising which includes emerging authors of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including: Heige S. Boehm, Eufemia Fantetti, D.A. Lockhart, Linda Quennec, Kelly S. Thompson and Shannon Webb-Campbell.

    Thursday’s workshops will focus on alternatives to traditional publishing while Friday will feature a full day of sessions on publishing. In the morning join us for a discussion with publishers about the industry’s challenges. The afternoon will offer an opportunity to sit down one-on-one with a publisher to hone your pitching skills. Six publishers and an agent will participate in this event and together they 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; the guest authors who have fallen in love with Whistler and this festival; and the participants who come year after year. Thank you all for being there for us. We couldn’t do it without you.

    Welcome to Whistler and to our festival.

    Stella Harvey, Festival Director