“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
And I’d add, it’s impossible to succeed without two key elements: courage and community, because no one ventures into the unknown without courage and no one succeeds without community.
Now entering its 17th year, the story of the Whistler Writers Festival is well known. Started in my living room with one guest author and 20 participants, the Festival has grown to involve some 60 guest authors, and close to 2000 participants. It’s been a long journey of hard work, commitment and focus to produce a program that appeals to as broad and inclusive an audience as possible. In your feedback, you’ve told us we’ve hit the right mix and tone. I appreciate all your kind words and suggestions.
But we couldn’t have done it without our volunteers, our community leaders, and other influencers, and most importantly, you, our audience, who have come through time and time again. I think of these words, often, “I’m in your corner,” uttered more than once in evaluations, emails and in person. Thanks for being there for us. This festival and the writers we have been so fortunate to host could not do what they do without you. That’s why the theme of this year’s festival is: No one succeeds alone.
Thursday, October 11th will feature: An Evening of Stories and Songs with award-winning author, broadcaster and raconteur extraordinaire Grant Lawrence and an all-star cast, including Dave Bidini, the renowned Toronto musician, author, and founding member of the Rheostatics, Giller Prize-winning author Esi Edugyan, celebrated poet, author and spoken word artist and singer Janet Marie Rogers, and counter-culture cowboy, Dustin Bentall.
On Friday night our Cooks with Books: Passionate Locavore Edition will feature something a little different. Local author, Jane Reid has travelled the province and will share her discoveries of local harvests from her new book. At the same event, we will proudly feature other local owners, entrepreneurs and wonderful cooks including Nicolette Richer, owner of the Green Moustache and Pemberton recipe-blogger Nidhi Raina. 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: Sharon Bala, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Kevin Chong, Lorna Crozier, Bill Gaston, Wayne Grady, Joel Thomas Hynes, Patrick Lane, Darrel J. McLeod, Merilyn Simonds, and Carolyn Marie Souaid. The winners of the Whistler Independent Book Awards will be announced at the Literary Cabaret.
Our popular Saturday reading events are back, each featuring authors of different genres: Poetry, Non-Fiction and Fiction. In addition, our Literary Salon for book clubs will feature Eden Robinson. We encourage you to read Eden’s new novel, Trickster Drift, because Eden will be onstage at the salon, which will be moderated by the former Vancouver Writers Festival Artistic Director, Hal Wake.
Our Saturday Crime Writers Lunch session, moderated by our very own Feet Banks, will host authors Charles Demers, Ian Hamilton, Eve Lazarus, and Sam Wiebe.
On Saturday night, a special main stage event will see Canada Reads host Ali Hassan in conversation with two-time Booker prize-winning author Peter Carey. Ali will join us again on Sunday, October 14th to host our Sunday brunch and discussion with award-winning authors Rawi Hage, Darrel J. McLeod, Lisa Moore, Elizabeth Renzetti, and Kim Thúy. For the early risers, Grant Lawrence will host a walk and reading with Dave Bidini, Charles Demers, Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds in A Walk to Lost Lake and Back.
Thursday afternoon workshops will focus on alternatives to traditional publishing while Friday will feature a full day of publishing sessions. 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. Seven publishers 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