A comfy bed and a good book sound like the perfect antidote to the onset of fall, but organizers of the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival have something less solitary in mind.
From Oct. 12 to 14, the resort will showcase the art of storytelling with a celebrated line-up of Canadian and international authors. Panel discussions, workshops and speaking events make up the festival, which also pairs authors with wine and jazz at a Saturday-night gala to be held at the Chateau Fairmont Whistler. The Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre will host the festival’s opening night reception.
In the tradition of our own Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, Whistler’s events have an intimate feel, said organizers, who added that book lovers can interact and connect with top authors from all over North America.
Headlining is Canadian author Alistair MacLeod, best known for his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Island, as well as his multiple award-winning novel No Great Mischief. Lawrence Hill, author of the international best-seller and prize winning The Book of Negroes will be there, along with short story author and journalist Zsuzsi Gartner (Better Living Through Plastic Explosives). Also speaking will be young adult writer Susan Juby (Alice, I Think, The Woefield Poultry Collective); non-fiction and fiction writer Margaret Macpherson (Nellie McClung: Voice for the Voiceless, Body Trade); historical fiction novelist Jack Whyte (A Dream of Eagles, The Templar Trilogy); fiction and poetry writer Miranda Hill (Sleeping Funny) and celebrated poet John Burnside (Black Cat Bone). Local author and festival director Stella Harvey will be releasing her new book, Nicolai’s Daughters.
In 2001, Harvey founded the Whistler Writers Group, otherwise known as The Vicious Circle.
“Our first festival was 20 people in my living room,” laughed Harvey. “We had a guest author — Andreas Schroeder — and a workshop the following day. We were finished by 4:30.”
The group now has about 150 members and has seen its annual festival grow to a three-day event, attracting internationally acclaimed writers and about 300 participants last year.
Harvey invited back poet, novelist and Roberts Creek resident Schroeder for the festival’s 10th anniversary. Another Sunshine Coast resident, Nicolas Teichrob, will appear at this year’s festival. The filmmaker will be part of a panel discussion on writing and film on Oct. 14.
In partnership with the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival is offering “Book and Bed” packages. The full “Book and Bed” package starts at $658 and includes two full event passes (entry to 14 events over the festival weekend) for the festival plus accommodation for two nights, based on two sharing.