All-Access
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Access to the 2021 Whistler Writers Festival video recordings of readings and workshops

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THE SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14

WORKSHOP 1: Spark Your Creativity

With K. Jane Watt

9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. PDT 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

The Contemplative Practice of Writing (CPOW) can be used to overcome writers’ block and achieve meaningful output each and every day.  Learn about and try this hands-on technique that will quickly become part of your regular and trusted writing routine.

Online: All-in-one: $60
In-Person: All-in-one: $150 or Single Sessions: $30 each

Presented by: Vivalogue Publishing and Fenton Street Publishing

ONLINE TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (Single Session)

WORKSHOP 2: It’s Not Just About Typos

With Kilmeny Denny

10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Most writers know they will need an editor. Fewer understand why. Learn the difference between a substantive editor, copy editor and proof-reader. Learn how to work effectively with each and how to save money by completing some tasks yourself.

Online: All-in-one: $60
In-Person: All-in-one: $150 or Single Sessions: $30 each

Presented by: Vivalogue Publishing and Fenton Street Publishing

ONLINE TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (Single Session)

WORKSHOP 3: Preparing to Publish

With Lynn Duncan

11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Once your manuscript is finished, you need to decide how to turn it into a book. How does self-publishing compare to trade publishing? What are the most common mistakes to avoid? Who are your intended readers and how will you reach them? Why is your book special? Participants will be asked to complete a worksheet over the lunch-hour in preparation for the Tell Me About Your Book workshop.

Online: All-in-one: $60
In-Person: All-in-one: $150 or Single Sessions: $30 each

Presented by: Vivalogue Publishing and Fenton Street Publishing

ONLINE TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (Single Session)

WORKSHOP 4: Tell Me About Your Book

With K. Jane Watt

1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

This simple request confounds many authors. In this hour, participants will refine and test their “elevator pitches” in a lively workshop – and emerge ready to engage with buyers.

Online: All-in-one: $60
In-Person: All-in-one: $150 or Single Sessions: $30 each

Presented by: Vivalogue Publishing and Fenton Street Publishing

ONLINE TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (Single Session)

WORKSHOP 5: Design a Cover

With Kilmeny Denny

2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

What makes a cover successful? Vote for your favourite design elements and watch a cover come together in real time. Whether you are designing a cover yourself, commissioning a professional or working with a publisher, this entertaining, interactive session will help you understand what you want and why.

Online: All-in-one: $60
In-Person: All-in-one: $150 or Single Sessions: $30 each

Presented by: Vivalogue Publishing and Fenton Street Publishing

ONLINE TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (Single Session)

WORKSHOP 6: Completing the Package

With Lynn Duncan

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

With your marketing plan mapped out, your elevator pitch refined, and your cover brief established, it’s time to add the finishing touches—the interior layout and the back cover copy, perhaps the most important paragraph you will ever write.

Online: All-in-one: $60
In-Person: All-in-one: $150 or Single Sessions: $30 each

Presented by: Vivalogue Publishing and Fenton Street Publishing

ONLINE TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (All-In-One)  IN-PERSON TICKET (Single Session)

READING EVENT 1: Opening Night Showcase: New Voices & Social Après

Canada’s Best Independent Authors of 2021

6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. PDT | In-person or Online | FREE (RSVP)

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Accomplished writers are increasingly turning to independent publishing as a financially and creatively satisfying alternative to the traditional model. Meet some of the best independent authors in the country as finalists for the Whistler Independent Book Awards (WIBA) read from books nominated in fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners will be announced at Friday night’s Literary Cabaret.

Moderator: Lynn Duncan

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)
REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15

WORKSHOP 7: Celebrating Presence: Connecting with Stories through Mindfulness

With Nicola Bentley

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. PDT | Online $10

Connecting with our thoughts and experiences, gaining insights by paying attention moment to moment, can inform creativity, fuel curiosity, and transform our knowledge of ourselves. As writers and readers we are natural observers; being fully present enhances our connection to the richness of a story and provides an opportunity to understand our own story. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, of being situationally aware of our thoughts and feelings in the present, with a keen sense of curiosity and insight. Mindful is that place where clarity informs wisdom. This short experiential session includes a brief overview about mindfulness and a guided meditation practice inspired by the festival’s theme of celebration. Start your morning by connecting to your own true story.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

WORKSHOP 8: Insights from Insiders: Trade Publishing in Canada Today

Amanda Betts, Elizabeth Kribs, Anna Comfort O’Keeffe, Nita Pronovost, Susan Renouf, Shirarose Wilensky, Janice Zawerbny

Sponsored by: SFU Continuing Studies – Creative Writing

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. PDT | Online $10

Want to get your book published through a traditional publisher with a book contract? Join our seven publishers to find out what they’re looking for in a manuscript, how to contact them, and how to best position your book in terms of genre or category. They’ll provide an overview of the state of the industry, particularly in the current situation of the pandemic, and give sage advice on how to get your book published. With publishers and editors

Amanda Betts (Penguin Random House), Elizabeth Kribs (Tundra), Anna Comfort O’Keeffe (Douglas & McIntyre), Nita Pronovost (Simon & Schuster), Susan Renouf (ECW Press), Shirarose Wilensky (House of Anansi), Janice Zawerbny (HarperCollins)

Moderator: Katherine Fawcett

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

WORKSHOP 9: Speed Dating: Pitch your Book/Idea to Publishers

Amanda Betts, Elizabeth Kribs, Anna Comfort O’Keeffe, Nita Pronovost, Susan Renouf, Shirarose Wilensky, Janice Zawerbny

1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. PDT | Online $75

Meet publishing decision-makers for 15 minutes to pitch your book or story idea one-on-one and receive feedback. Come prepared with a five-minute pitch and/or questions for the publishers. Meet publishers Amanda Betts (Penguin Random House), Elizabeth Kribs (Tundra), Anna Comfort O’Keeffe (Douglas & McIntyre), Nita Pronovost (Simon & Schuster), Susan Renouf (ECW Press), Shirarose Wilensky (House of Anansi), Janice Zawerbny (HarperCollins). The session includes up to two pitches to publishers of your choice, on a first-come, first-choice basis. Pro tip: Research your choices (read their bios, google) before booking to ensure a good fit for your book or pitch.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

READING EVENT 2: The Booklovers’ Literary Salon

With Tanya Talaga

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. PDT | In-Person $22 TBA | Online $10

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Sponsored by: Nesters Market

Darrel J. McLeod will lead a book-club style conversation with bestselling and award-winning author Tanya Talaga about her books Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City and All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward. In these urgent and incisive works, Talaga explores the alarming rise of youth suicide in Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond. From Northern Ontario to Nunavut, Norway, Brazil, Australia, and the United States, the Indigenous experience in colonized nations is startlingly similar and deeply disturbing. But, Talaga reminds us, First Peoples also share a history of resistance, resilience, and civil rights activism. Participants and book clubs are encouraged to read Talaga’s books to fully engage in the discussion. Visit your local bookseller (Armchair Books in Whistler) or online stores to get your copies.

Moderator: Darrel J. McLeod

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

READING EVENT 3: Celebrating 20 Years of Stories: Tasting & Literary Cabaret Watch Party

MMMMMMmint  – Cyprus Cuisine with A Happi Twist

5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. PDT | In-person $25 | Online $10

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Christina Loucas’s “why” behind her first cookbook Cyprus Cuisine is to preserve her traditional family food recipes from the island of Cyprus, an island whose cuisine is an alluring mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours and ingredients.  In this interactive session she will be partnering with Meredith Gardner of HappiLife Farm from Pemberton. These two share a passion to evolve fresh locally grown ingredients into everyday homemade meals. Learn to make Cypriot appies and a cocktail featuring locally grown mint and sample at the live event!

*This event & The Literary Cabaret: Watch Party are one ticket

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

READING EVENT 3: The Literary Cabaret: Watch Party

6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PDT 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Sponsored by: Canadian Authors Association

For our 20th Anniversary Celebration we’re highlighting the cultural venues of Whistler, while joining musicians and writers together for a magical night of words and music. Host Stephen Vogler brings his band West Coast Front back to the stage to perform with a host of writers beamed in via Zoom for a night of improvisation, innovation and rich storytelling embellished by sweet and soulful sounds. Guest authors include Cedar Bowers, Ivan Coyote, Adrienne Drobnies, Leanne Dunic, Ted Goodden, John Gould, Cornelia Hoogland, Sadeqa Johnson, Shaena Lambert, Annette Lapointe, Mary Lawson, Darrel J. McLeod and Zoe Whittall. Our guest musicians are Geeta Das, Musical Director, also playing trumpet, saxophone and percussion; Rajan Das on upright bass; Dean Feser on percussion; and Rosalind Steel on piano and electric keys. The winners of the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories of the Whistler Independent Book Awards will also be announced. The Watch Party & Celebration includes appetizers and a cash bar.

Moderator: Stephen Vogler

*This event & Celebrating 20 Years of Stories: Tasting & Watch Party are one ticket

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16

WORKSHOP 10: Worldbuilding for Children’s & YA Books: Workshop for Adults

With Rebecca Wood Barrett

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. PDT | In-person $30 | Online $10

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Sponsored by: Marquis Book Printing

Join Rebecca Wood Barrett for a one-hour writing workshop on how to build an invented world.  Drawing on examples from her middle-grade novel My Best Friend is Extinct, she will talk about where ideas come from, how to world-build, and some of the rules of worldbuilding. Bring a pen and paper or a keyboard and get ready to brainstorm fantastical creatures, one big fib, and a little bit of weirdness in a short writing exercise during the workshop.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

WORKSHOP 11: I Finished My Novel—Now What?

With Tanya Trafford

Time options: 9:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 12:30 p.m. PDT 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler | In-person or Online $100 

Spend some time with seasoned children’s book editor Tanya Trafford and get professional advice on how to prepare your manuscript for submission. Writers are invited to send in their picture book, chapter book, middle-grade or young adult manuscripts one month in advance of the festival (Sep. 15) and then meet with Tanya at the festival for a 30-minute conversation. She will offer tips on determining if your manuscript is really ready, how to prepare a killer query letter, what your submission should (and should not) include, navigating the world of children’s publishing, and the best way to grab (and hold) an editor’s attention.  

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual or In-Person)

READING EVENT 4: Writers of Non-Fiction

Tomson Highway, Steven Heighton, Antonio Michael Downing, Alexandra Morton, WIBA Winner

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. PDT | Online $10

Sponsored by: BDO

Our writers of non-fiction tell the stories of their intimate journeys and life’s pathways. The non-fiction writers panel and audience discussion will center around readings by Tomson Highway (Permanent Astonishment: A Memoir), Steven Heighton (Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers & Refugees on Lesvos), Antonio Michael Downing (Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming), Alexandra Morton (Not on My Watch: How a Renegade Whale Biologist Took on Governments and Industry to Save Wild Salmon). The event will also include the winner of the Whistler Independent Book Award for non-fiction.

Moderator: Leslie Anthony

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual) 

WORKSHOP 12: From Literary Novel to Thriller: Crossing Genres to Add New Life to Your Craft

With Gail Anderson-Dargatz

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT | Online $10

Writers too often get stuck writing in just one genre. In this workshop, bestselling novelist and writing mentor Gail Anderson-Dargatz offers her own experience to demonstrate how borrowing from the toolboxes of our literary brethren can breathe new life into our craft and writing lives and open the door to new markets.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

READING EVENT 5: Picking Up What was Lost: Poetry Reading and Discussion 

With Steven Heighton, Canisia Lubrin, Arleen Paré, Yusuf Saadi, Terrence Young

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. PDT | Online  $10

Poetry has always been written and read in times of upheaval. During the pandemic, the media buzzed with poetry. This has perhaps always been the work and mystery of poetry – to name the nameless, to engage in truth telling, to hold the mystery, to open doors of conversation, and to heal the spirit. To simultaneously hold grief and joy.

This year we have five poets: Steven Heighton (Selected Poems 1983-2020), Canisia Lubrin (The Dyzgraphxst), Arleen Paré (First), Yusuf Saadi (Pluviophile), and Terence Young (Smithereens) who excel at navigating the unpredictable transformations of life while reminding us to turn towards the light.

Moderator: Mary MacDonald

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

READING EVENT 6: Thrills, Chills and Authors Who Kill: A Murder Mystery and Discussion with Five Thriller Writers

Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Linwood Barclay, Bill Deverell, Joy Fielding, Linden MacIntyre

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. PDT | Online $10

Sponsored by: RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate

Amber Cowie investigates five new thrillers by award-winning authors Gail Anderson-Dargatz (The Almost Wife), Linwood Barclay (Find You First), Bill Deverell (Stung), Joy Fielding (Cul-de-sac), and Linden MacIntyre (The Winter Wives). This digital suspense session is packed with dark secrets, sabotage, high-stakes trials and of course, murder. After the readings, you’ll be invited to participate in guessing ‘whodunit’ in a fanfiction crime story based on one of the authors’ characters. One winner will take home all the authors’ new books!

Moderator: Amber Cowie

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

WORKSHOP 13: Memoir as Storytelling

With Darrel J. McLeod

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler | In-person $30 | Online $10

Finding a compelling and authentic voice is the key to successful storytelling, and this is especially true when writing memoir. After all, memoir really is just that, your personal story. In this workshop Darrel will lead several powerful exercises to marry elements of fiction with the writing of non-fiction and will also demonstrate tools for effective self-editing once the story is on the page.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

WORKSHOP 14: Great Big Little: The Unlimits of Flash Fiction

With John Gould

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. PDT | Online $10

“A really good short-short,” wrote John L’Heureux, “is a story we can’t help reading fast, and then re-reading, and again, but no matter how many times we read it, we’re not quite through it yet.” Funny or dramatic, preposterous or profound, the very short story is an increasingly vibrant literary form. In this workshop, we’ll explore approaches and techniques that make it a fitting vessel for your most challenging ideas. John Gould is the author of The End of Me – a collection of 56 sudden stories about mortality – and of two previous collections in the same form, including Kilter, a finalist for the Giller prize.   

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

WORKSHOP 15: Examining Tone and Voice in Poetry

With Terrence Young

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. PDT 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler | In-person $30 | Online $10

Some of the most compelling poems and stories are those that rely on the elements of tone and voice or both to convey meaning. Voice is often characterized as the speaker of the work, which may or may not be the writer, and tone is usually defined as the author’s attitude toward the subject matter. This attitude is not necessarily always that of the speaker, and in that dynamic relationship between voice and tone, we often find humour, compassion and irony. In this workshop, participants will look at examples of poems that play with these elements and, through a series of exercises, work toward drafting poems of their own that make use of these important tools. Terrence’s latest collection of poetry is Smithereens.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

READING EVENT 7: Writers of Fiction

4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. PDT | $10 Online

Sponsored by: Sea to Sky Welding & Fabrication

Join moderator Lisa Christiansen to delve into our guest authors’ stories and their worlds of fiction, encompassing: an adopted woman’s search for her Indigenous identity; glittering and darkly funny stories of people testing boundaries; an uplifting story of one woman’s end-of-life reckoning with her past; and an epic story of crime, retribution and the redemptive possibilities of love.

Featuring Lisa Bird-Wilson (Probably Ruby), Alix Ohlin (We Want What We Want), Jo Owens (A Funny Kind of Paradise) and Guy Vanderhaeghe (August into Winter). The event will also include the winner of the Whistler Independent Book Awards for fiction.

Moderator: Lisa Christiansen

** Update: Camilla Gibb is unable to attend the festival at this time. Thank you for your understanding.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

READING EVENT 8: Saturday Night Gala

Thomas King in Conversation with Tanya Talaga

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler | $22 In-person | $10 Online

Sponsored by: RGF Integrated Wealth Management

Join moderator and Ojibwe author Tanya Talaga (All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward) in conversation with award-winning novelist and short-story writer Thomas King, author of The Back of the Turtle, The Inconvenient Indian and Indians on Vacation. His latest novel is Sufferance, a sly and satiric look at the fractures in modern existence. The story follows Jeremiah Camp, aka The Forecaster, who can look into the heart of humanity and see the patterns that create opportunities and profits for the rich and powerful. Disillusioned and losing hope, he escapes to a small town on an Indian reserve where the locals won’t leave him alone, and his past begins to catch up with him. Sufferance is a bold and provocative novel about the social and political consequences of the inequality created by privilege and power — and what we might do about it.

Come early to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler see and hear the Sea to Sky String Orchestra, starting at 5:40 p.m. 

Moderator: Tanya Talaga

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

READING EVENT 9: Saturday Night Gala Après

Thomas King in Conversation with Tanya Talaga

7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PDT | FREE

Join our informal après discussion and Q&A session with Thomas King and Tanya Talaga. This event is not being offered as we will now have Q&A at the Gala itself.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17

READING EVENT 10: A Walk to Lost Lake and Back

With Howard White, Darrel J. McLeod and Alix Ohlin

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. PDT

Fairmont Chateau Whistler | $20 in-person – Includes a warming hot chocolate and tasty treat.

Sponsored by: Real Estate Association of Whistler

Take a walk with us through the forests of Lost Lake Park to the lakeside and back. Inhale a dose of fresh air, get a little exercise, and enjoy invigorating short readings and writerly conversation with our guest authors Howard White (Here on the Coast), Darrel J. McLeod (Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity), and Alix Ohlin (We Want What We Want) and moderator Grant Lawrence (Dirty Windshields). The flat gravel trail is a 4km round trip, rain or shine, so please bring appropriate outdoor wear.

Moderator: Grant Lawrence

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

WORKSHOP 16: Write for fun! Workshop for young writers

With Sara Leach 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PDT

Whistler Public Library | In-person or Online | FREE (RSVP)

Sponsored by: Vision Pacific

Writers 16 years old and younger are invited to explore writing for fun and enjoyment. We’ll practice writing snappy dialogue and characters that jump off the page. No grades or pressure to share. Just come and write! Award-winning children’s author Sara Leach has published nine books, including Duck Days and Count Me In.  

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

READING EVENT 11: The Sunday Brunch Alix Ohlin in Conversation

With George Elliott Clarke, Omar El Akkad, Robert Jones Jr., Eden Robinson, M.G. Vassanji

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. PDT | $45 with brunch Watch Party | Online $10

Fairmont Chateau Whistler Watch Party

Sponsored by: Penguin Random House

Join moderator Alix Ohlin in an insightful, wide-ranging conversation that delves into nuanced fictional stories and non-fiction subject matter, involving: a meditation on the socio-political and economic forces that created African-Nova Scotia; a view of the global refugee crisis brought down to the level of a child’s eyes; a magical being who struggles against his nature; a forbidden union between two enslaved men; and stories of characters negotiating distance. Featuring George Elliott Clarke (Where Beauty Survived: An Africadian Memoir), Omar El Akkad (What Strange Paradise), Robert Jones Jr. (The Prophets), Eden Robinson (Return of the Trickster), and M.G. Vassanji (What You Are).

Moderator: Alix Ohlin

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

REGISTER TODAY (In-Person)

READING EVENT 12: Storytime for Families: Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose

With Grant Lawrence

12:30 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Whistler Public Library | In-person or Online | FREE (RSVP)

Join author Grant Lawrence as he shares his debut picture book, Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose. In this charming story Bailey, the bat defies Mama Bat’s orders and sneaks out of their hollow tree to follow a mournful cry coming from somewhere deep in the forest. Flying over to the sound, Bailey discovers a young bull moose tangled up in an old fence. On one side of the fence, hunters roam. On the other side, a wolf pack is hunting. Both parties are looking for an easy dinner. Find out whether a tiny brown bat can save a big, tangled moose! Listeners of all ages welcome.

REGISTER TODAY (Virtual)

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READING EVENT 13: Difficult Truths: Providing Children & Youth Context for Tough Topics

With Tanya Talaga, Rebecca Wood Barrett and Xiran Jay Zhao

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. PDT

Whistler Public Library | In-person or Online | FREE (RSVP)

Why is it important to tackle tough topics and ideas when writing for children and young adults? Acclaimed children’s author and moderator Sara Leach delves into the discussion with children’s and YA authors whose stories and non-fiction involve systemic racism and the failure of policing and justice systems; bullying, loneliness and unusual friendships; and the sacrifice of young women pilots in a misogynist, dystopian world. Featuring Tanya Talaga (Seven Fallen Feathers), Rebecca Wood Barrett (My Best Friend is Extinct) and Xiran Jay Zhao (Iron Widow).

Moderator: Sara Leach

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