by Paula Shackleton
For the past (fill in the blank) number of years you and the girls have met on a monthly basis to discuss a chosen book. In the welcome environment of each other’s homes you’ve poured the wine, laid out the food, lit the candles and greeted the guests. Some of the books have engendered lively discussions with everyone talking and interrupting each other as you dissect the characters and ponder their motivations and responses to changes in the plot. Other times a book may have triggered deep feelings and brought forth personal reflections that bordered on group therapy. It is inevitable that a book group become extremely close as you grow together exploring the complexities of life through literature.
Now is the time to take your book group to the next level and travel to Whistler to attend the Writers Festival. This is your reward and it’s an opportunity to expand your connection to writers and the craft even further. All you have to do is pour over the online program, pick the workshops and events that suit your fancy and arrange your accommodation and transport.
The whole experience will become a mini adventure; from carpooling out of the city up the Sea to Sky Highway where you’ll pass stunning vistas, (don’t forget to pull out at the Tantalus Mountain range look-out to snap a group selfie) and stop in at Olives Market in Function Junction for a healthy pick-me-up before checking in at the festival hotel—the beautiful Fairmont Hotel situated at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain.
If you’re staying at your friend’s chalet, drop your bag and stretch your legs on the valley trail or a stroll around the village. Enjoy some shop therapy together before returning to change and dress up for the opening night. The first event is always a fun social designed to break the ice and showcase the author line-up where you’ll meet other attendees before diving into the program over the next two days of workshops and events.
The Whistler Writers Group has been building and honing the festival format for 15 years. They’ve learned how to pick authors who entertain and engage. You’ll participate in sessions that will inspire and expose you to new genres, new rising stars, and possibly learn a thing or two about the writing craft and the writer’s journey in producing their work.
In between sessions there is plenty of opportunity to stop in at the new Audain Museum, and get your fix on the mountain air and culture. Save room in your suitcase for all the books you’ll want to buy, memorably signed by your favourite author, and best of all, enjoy the company of your friends. Love, life and literature. It’s all about taking time out to make connections.
The Whistler Writers Festival returns this year with 14 events dedicated specifically to readers and book clubs. Events on the roster include the Literary Cabaret that combines readings with live music, and A Literary Salon for Readers and Book Clubs with Genni Gunn, which explores ways to approach a book discussion that gets to the heart of the book. There is also a Thriller Writers’ Lunch with Joy Fielding and Peter Robinson, and conversations and readings with Jane Urquhart, Ronald Wright, Deborah Campbell, Emma Donoghue, Madeleine Thien and more. A special Reading Pass is available that provides access to all reading events for one low price. Come with your book club and take a mini vacation together.