The Whistler Writers Festival has something for everyone – readers, writers, established authors, poetry fans, dedicated non-fiction readers, murder-mystery aficionados – with events for every interest and age.
2023 Festival Highlights
In 2023, Whistler Writers Festival hosts its 22nd anniversary with the theme connecting through story. New events, including a comedy show, more poetry, 20 reading events and 10 workshops, give you plenty of opportunities to share, experience and learn together. Most events are at Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and some offer the opportunity to join online.
Friday, October 13
The Booklovers’ Literary Salon with John Vaillant
Time: 5:30 – 6:45 PM
Details: Celebrated Vancouver-based author John Vaillant is a master of literary non-fiction whose previous titles in the genre, The Golden Spruce and The Tiger, are award-winning international bestsellers. In this much-anticipated event, local science/environment writer and author Leslie Anthony leads a conversation with John about his latest book, Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast, which tells the story of the 2016 Fort McMurray fire in peerless detail. By also exploring the interconnected histories of humankind’s relationship to fire, the oil industry, the automobile, and climate science, Vaillant has crafted not only another brilliant read, but a message that couldn’t be more timely.
The Literary Cabaret
Time: 8 – 10 PM
Details: Thrilling live music. Enthralling in-person author readings. It’s a lively night out at Maury Young Arts Centre for literary and music-loving attendees. Nine amazing guest authors read from their latest works (a mix of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry), set to music by the West Coast Front band.
Saturday, October 14
Thrills and Chills: Mystery and Crime Writers Panel
Time: 1:15 – 2:30 PM
Details: Amber Cowie investigates four new thrillers by award-winning authors Shari Lapena (Everyone Here is Lying), Eve Lazarus (Cold Case BC: The Stories Behind the Province’s Most Sensational Missing and Murdered Persons Cases), Emelia Symington-Fedy (Skid Dogs) and Iona Whishaw (To Track a Traitor) to uncover the secrets behind their seductive suspense and true crime tales. Both structure and storytelling will be explored with short readings and in-depth discussion. Every audience member will be invited to solve the mystery in a fan fiction crime story based on one of the authors’ characters and the lucky winner will take on all four books!
Astonishing Voyage: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan
Time: 6 – 7:15 PM
Details: Join Jasmine Sealy in a captivating conversation with multi-award winning, Canadian literary phenom Esi Edugyan, author of Washington Black, Out of the Sun: Art, Race and the Future, We Are Bone and Earth, Dreaming of Elsewhere, and Half-Blood Blues, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Orange Prize. They will traverse a wide-ranging conversation about Edugyan’s body of work, exploring ideas of racial and cultural identity, the institution of slavery, the language of music, and her latest role as the Booker Prize chair of judges.
Saturday Night Special: A Killer Night of Comedy, Murder and Mayhem
Time: 8 – 10 PM
Details: In comedy, killing is a good thing. From the popular entertainer Brent Butt, comes an unexpectedly dark and twisted thriller, Huge. An award-winning screenwriter and International Emmy nominee, Butt delivers a debut novel that tells the tale of a trio’s standup comedy tour turned terrifying. Join us for a murderously wicked Saturday night of standup comedy, a Huge reading performance, and thriller-themed improv from Whistler’s own Laugh Out LIVE! comedy troupe. Tickets for the Saturday Night Special include your very own copy of Huge, killer appetizers, and a criminally delicious liquid libation.
Sunday, October 15
A Walk to Lost Lake and Back
Time: 9 – 10 AM
Details: Take in the fresh mountain air and enjoy exciting readings and lively literary conversation with awarding-winning authors, Yvonne Blomer (The Last Show on Earth), Justene Dion-Glowa (Trailer Park Shakes) and Rabbi Paul Plotkin (Wisdom Grows in My Garden). Starting from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, you will meander through the forests of Lost Lake Park to the lakeside and back. The flat gravel trail is a 3.2 km round trip. This session will go ahead rain or shine, so please bring appropriate outdoor wear.
Sunday BookTalk and Breakfast
Time: 10:45 AM – 1 PM
Details: Enjoy the Fairmont’s delicious Whiskey Jack Continental buffet breakfast in the good company of other booklovers before the enthralling BookTalk begins. Moderator and author William Ping will engage four award-winning authors — Mona Awad (Rouge), Kevin Chong (The Double Life of Benson Yu), Alicia Elliott (And Then She Fell), and Rowan Jetté Knox (One Sunny Afternoon) — in conversation about their new releases. Their books offer startling and insightful views of: the obsession with beauty and the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters; a graphic novelist who loses control of his own story when his fraught upbringing in 1980s Chinatown resurfaces; a mind-bending look at motherhood and mental health of a young Indigenous woman whose picture perfect life may have horrifying consequences; and a profoundly moving memoir of how recovery from trauma, triggered by online abuse, can lead to newfound strength, resilience and confidence.
View the complete 2023 Whistler Writers Festival Program Guide