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Art Beat: Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts reveals partial guest list

The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts has announced the first 10 names from its 2024 lineup of authors. The annual gathering of Canada’s literary cognoscenti will take place Aug. 15 to 18 at the Rockwood complex in Sechelt.
Anthropologist and 2009 Massey lecturer Wade Davis (centre, with camera) will be among the authors at the 2024 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.

The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts has announced the first 10 names from its 2024 lineup of authors. The annual gathering of Canada’s literary cognoscenti will take place Aug. 15 to 18 at the Rockwood complex in Sechelt. 

A couple of marquee media personalities will headline the festival. Standup comedian and TV star Brent Butt (familiar to fans of the hit series Corner Gas) plans to present his national bestseller Huge. Journalist Gregor Craigie — well-known as the host of CBC’s On the Island — will speak about his forthcoming book Our Crumbling Foundation (due for release in March). 

UBC anthropology professor and former National Geographic explorer-in-residence Wade Davis will trek from his home on Bowen Island to discuss his new release Beneath the Surface of Things. 

Sam George, a Squamish Elder and a survivor of the Canadian Indian Residential School system, will appear with Jill Yonit Goldberg, who collaborated with George to produce The Fire Still Burns, published last year. Goldberg is a literature and creative writing instructor at Langara College in Vancouver. 

Susan Juby is a recipient of the Leacock Medal for Humour whose newest novel, A Meditation on Murder, was launched in February. Juby lives on Vancouver Island where she teaches creative writing at Vancouver Island University. 

Journalist and bestselling author Naomi Klein (also a UBC professor of climate justice and the founding co-director of the UBC Centre for Climate Justice) will speak. Klein’s latest book, Doppelganger, came out in 2023. 

Novelist, playwright and broadcaster Ann-Marie MacDonald was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2019, the same year that her play Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet was performed locally by the Driftwood Players. MacDonald’s 2022 novel Fayne is due for publication as a paperback this year. 

Essayist and author Kyo Maclear has had her books translated into 18 languages and published in over 25 countries. Her latest book, Unearthing, was published last year. 

Journalist and workshop leader Waubgeshig Rice hails from the Wasauksing First Nation. Well-known for his public speaking, Rice last year released Moon of the Turning Leaves, a follow-up to his best-selling 2018 book Moon of the Crusted Snow. 

Sunshine Coast author Kara Stanley (author of the soon-to-be-released volume The Pain Project) will appear alongside her husband, local musician Simon Paradis. Last summer Paradise captivated book fans with the story of his rehabilitation after a life-altering injury, and his passionate return to musical performance. 

Additional authors will be announced soon, according to the festival’s artistic and executive director, Marisa Alps. Writer biographies will appear at The festival’s new subscriber service offers early access to upcoming ticket sales. 

More dancer distinctions 

Late-breaking results from the Chilliwack Music and Dance Festival in late February spotlight high achievement by dancers from the Waldorf Ballet in Sechelt. 

The school’s Contemporary Ballet Group seized the Chilliwack Lions Trophy with a first-place award. 

Isabella Watts took third place for her ballet solo and earned a second-place prize in the contemporary ballet competition. 

Audrey Altenburg finished third with her ballet solo and third in the contemporary ballet round. 

Meanwhile, Waldorf Ballet’s artistic director Johanna Waldorf announced that many of the studio’s dancers have been accepted to summer programs throughout North America. Final commitments include Brooklyn Turner’s plan to attend Ellison Ballet in New York City with a scholarship. Annah Kotai and Adele Dubin are both enrolled at the Boston Ballet School. Waverlee Meisinger is signed up for San Francisco Ballet and The Rock School with a scholarship. Lyla Wilson will be training at The Rock School in Philadelphia. Audrey Altenburg is set to travel to Next Generation Ballet in Tampa at the Straz Centre for the Arts. 

Alumna Natalie Martin (currently studying full-time at the Miami City Ballet Professional Division) has been awarded a full scholarship to Pacific Northwest Ballet for summer 2024. She was cast in Miami City Ballet‘s production of The Nutcracker in December and is currently rehearsing with the company again for its upcoming Swan Lake in April. 

Ancient traditions mark new year 

A series of events are scheduled in and around Roberts Creek to welcome the Persian New Year (Nowruz). A free screening of the documentary film The Voice of Dust and Ash will take place at the Roberts Creek Community Hall on March 7 at 7 p.m. This film highlights the life of Mohammad Reza Shajarian, one of Iran’s most recognized maestros.  

A Chaharshanbe Suri Fire Jumping Ceremony takes place on March 12, starting at 3 p.m. at the Roberts Creek pier. The “Scarlet Wednesday” event (as it’s known in Farsi) will observe an ancient Persian practice that takes place on the last Tuesday night before the spring equinox. 

Tickets are available online for a Persian New Year party (March 23 at Roberts Creek Hall) via The 13th and final day of the New Year celebrations are marked by Sizdah Be-Dar, when families and friends gather and picnic in a park near a body of flowing water. This celebration of nature is scheduled for March 31 at noon in ?iyuls (Cliff Gilker) Park.