The words start flowing tonight, as the ninth annual Whistler Readers and Writers Festival kicks off with the launch of local author Leslie Anthony's latest project, White Planet: A Mad Dash through the Modern Global Ski Culture , at the Whistler Public Library.
The book launch is just the first of many events featured on this year's festival schedule: there are also plenty of seminars on offer for writers and readers at all levels of ability, great guest author appearances and readings, and even spoken word events to tick off your to-do list.
This year, organizers have decided to offer a total of 10 seminars split between two "streams" of programming: Where Traditional and Digital Media Collide and Crafting a Great Story. Participants can sign up for the whole day for $110, or cherry-pick and pay $25 per class, instead.
"We do have some that have signed up for the entire day, which is great for our planning, as well, but because we offered both options, I would say the majority have picked and chosen what they wanted so that they could take things from both streams," said Stella Harvey, founder of the festival and the Vicious Circle writers group.
Young writers between the ages of 12 and 19 can also get in on the action (for free) by taking part in Stop Making Sense, or How To Keep It All Remarkable, a Saturday session sponsored by Creekbread and hosted by Terrence Young, designed to take participants through a range of exercises to help them craft their own responses to prompts, questions, riddles and exemplars, strengthening their imaginative powers in the process.
Thanks to a new partnership with the Vancouver International Writers Festival (VIWF), Whistler is getting access to a bigger and better roster of guest authors, this year: Kate Pullinger, author of The Mistress Of Nothing and winner of the 2009 Governor General Award; two-time Governor General nominee, Patricia Young; and the 2009 winner of the Writers Trust of Canada Non-Fiction prize and the B.C. Booksellers' Choice Award, Brian Brett, are just a few of the literary figures on board for this year's festival.
"I'm really excited to see people that we just wouldn't have necessarily been able to bring in from a financial perspective," Harvey said. She pointed out that Pullinger and Russell Wangersky are being brought to B.C. from the UK and Newfoundland, respectively, by VIWF.
"The partnership hasn't made us another arm of Vancouver, we still have our own sort of unique stamp," she said, adding that workshops are different from those bring offered at the Vancouver festival.