Denman Island hosts annual literary festival

Readers and Writers Festival runs July 18-21

By Stewart Goodings

Special to The Record

It’s that time of year again. Denman Festival time. For the 17th year in a row, Denman Island will welcome the Readers and Writers Festival, July 18-21.

As usual, there’s a dazzling array of talent to enjoy: from Beverley McLachlin, Canada’s former Chief Justice, with her debut novel, Full Disclosure, to Lindsay Wong, also a first time published author, with her tell-all best-selling memoir The Woo Woo.

From Simon Fraser University teacher and novelist David Chariandy, whose Brother was a finalist in the CBC Canada Reads contest this year, to Darrel McLeod, whose searing memoir, Mamaskatch, relates the hardships and epiphanies of growing up Cree in Alberta. This festival promises literary excitement for everybody.

In addition to McLachlin, Wong, Chariandy, and McLeod, there are six other outstanding writing talents at this year’s festival.

The accomplished novelist Heather O’Neill comes from Montreal, the venue for most of her fictional plots and memorable characters such as in The Lonely Hearts Hotel.

Paula Wild hails from Courtenay and her work is focused on nature and the environment, with her latest book The Return of the Wolf.

Billeh Nickerson is a Vancouver poet, also a writing teacher at Kwantlen Polytechnic, and his most recent book is Artificial Cherry. Andrew MacLeod is a journalist with The Tyee and writes about contemporary issues such as inequality and health (his latest is All Together Healthy: A Canadian Wellness Revolution). Kathy Page is from Salt Spring Island and won the most recent Rogers Trust Fiction Prize for her novel, Dear Evelyn. Rounding out the list is the prolific columnist with the Victoria Times-Colonist, Jack Knox, renowned for his unique brand of humour and whimsy, with titles such as Hard Knox: Musings From The Edge of Canada.

The festival always ends with a Main Stage featuring Des Kennedy as the gentle and probing questioner of one of the invited authors, and this year “In Conversation with…” will feature an interview with Beverley McLachlin, who for 17 years was Chief Justice of Canada’s Supreme Court, a lawyer, jurist, and distinguished Canadian who has become a novelist in her retirement from the bench. What a life she has led, and who better than Des to explore the drama and challenges of her storied career?

To see the full schedule, buy tickets or register for a workshop go to

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