Jennifer Manuel is the latest Whistler Writer in Residence

Jennifer Manuel, author of celebrated books The Heaviness of Things That Float and The Morning Bell Brings the Broken Hearted, is the Whistler Writer in Residence this year. She’s gearing up to support emerging and established writers for this intensive program from the Whistler Writers Festival.

Applications for the Whistler Writer in Residence program are now open. This workshop series is designed for writers who are aiming to raise the level of their writing craft, or who are working on a specific project and are ready to take the next step, but need additional support.

Every year, the Whistler Writers Festival brings a new guest author to mentor and guide participants, and this year’s writer in residence is Jennifer Manuel, who appeared at the festival last year with her second literary novel, The Morning Bell Brings the Broken Hearted.

“Jen is an extraordinary writer and has extensive teaching experience, so this is a tremendous opportunity for writers of all levels to advance their work under a steady and supportive hand,” said Rebecca Wood Barrett, the artistic director of the Whistler Writers Festival. “Her book was a big hit at the festival in 2023, and moved so many readers. I can’t wait for Jen to bring her talent and skill to the residency program this year.”

Manuel achieved acclaim for her short fiction and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2017 for her debut novel, The Heaviness of Things That Float, which has been optioned for film. She has published one Young Adult novel and two children’s novels. Head to Head was a finalist for the Red Cedar Award. Her second literary novel, The Morning Bell Brings the Broken Hearted, was published in April 2023. Manuel lives on Vancouver Island and teaches English literature at Shawnigan Lake School on Cowichan and Malahat traditional territories.

Participants in the program, which is open to residents from the Sea to Sky Corridor, get feedback on their manuscripts during three one-on-one sessions with Manuel. There are also three group lectures that focus on aspects of the writing craft, writing life, or publishing industry. The sessions are at the Alta Lake Artists’ Cabin, next to the Point Artist-Run Centre. This year’s sessions are in-person, but there may be online options available on a case by case basis.

The Whistler Writer in Residence program runs from Sept. 21 to Nov. 16.

Those who wish to apply must submit up to 15 double-spaced pages of their manuscript by Aug. 1 or earlier, as spaces are limited. The program is targeted towards fiction or non-fiction works. The Whistler Writers Festival’s website has more detailed application information.

To support writers who might not otherwise be able to participate, the festival offers the Amplifying Voices Scholarship to help local writers partake in the Whistler Writers in Residence program. Regional writers living in the Sea to Sky Corridor receive priority. This scholarship supports underrepresented voices in Canadian publishing, particularly those who are Indigenous, racialized, Deaf or hard of hearing, living with a disability, and/or LGBTQ2S+.

“This scholarship is designed to help local writers reach for their writing dreams,” Wood Barrett said. “We want to make sure that underrepresented writers have opportunities to be supported in an equitable way, because their stories add to the rich creative tapestry of the place we call home.”

The deadline for application is Aug. 1 at 11:59 p.m. Visit the website for more information and application requirements.