2012 Vancouver Writers Fest

Welcome to the Vancouver Writers Fest on Granville Island

An anniversary of 25 years is an exciting event to celebrate and we’re marking the occasion with a new name and a fresh look. But the elements that have enabled this wonderful organization to grow and flourish have remained constant. I would like to extend my personal thanks to the staff, volunteers, board of directors, community supporters, writers and audiences who have helped us reach this significant milestone.

In all the events at this year’s Festival, we celebrate new friends and longstanding favourites. But if I attempted to list all the great events and authors in this opening message, we’d have to reduce the typeface to an unreadable size or add more pages and I’d get in trouble for that. So let me tell you about some signature events unique to our Festival. We have received a great gift from Alistair MacLeod who has written a new story to commemorate our 25th anniversary. If you know anything about Alistair’s very fine, but relatively modest literary output, you will know how special this is. We are delighted to be able to offer copies of a signed limited edition chapbook, Remembrance, for purchase at the Festival. And Alistair will be here to talk about his story.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Atwood’s important critical examination of Canadian literature, Survival. To honour the occasion we have assembled a distinguished panel of Canadian writers, including Ms. Atwood, to take stock of our literature: what is the current state, how did we get here and what might the future hold?

We also continue our tradition of glorious collaborations with the men’s choir, Chor Leoni. Some of you may remember the blend of beautiful music and great readings by Alistair MacLeod in 2007 and Jack Hodgins in 2010. For our third collaboration, we are pleased to have Jane Urquhart join the choir to once again create something above and beyond simple words and music.

Also accompanied by choral music will be crime writer Louise Penny who makes a return visit to our Festival. A central concern of Louise’s new mystery novel is the origin of western music, specifically Gregorian chant. We are excited to have her read alongside chanters from Christ Church Cathedral, under the direction of Rupert Lang.

For the final event of the Festival, we will discuss nothing less than the state and fate of the planet. We’ve invited Australia’s climate commissioner, Tim Flannery—distinguished scientist and author of the bestselling and ground-breaking book, The Weather Makers—to sit down with our very own David Suzuki to talk about their assessment of the environmental challenges we face and what kind of progress we are making in meeting those challenges. It will be an illuminating, provocative, essential discussion.

As always, the absolute best way to ensure you see these Festival events and many others is to become a valued member. Not only will you receive early bird ticket purchasing privileges but you’ll get discounts at the box office and at supporting bookstores. Please check the membership section of the guide or our website for details. See you at the Festival!

Hal Wake
Artistic Director