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Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival returns to traditional format

The Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival returns to its traditional format after improvising in 2020 and 2021.

The Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival returns to its traditional format after improvising in 2020 and 2021.

At this year’s festival, audiences can once again mingle with some of the most intriguing writers of 2022, in comfortable venues around downtown Denman.

The festival takes place July 15-17.

History lesson

The Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival was launched in 2003 by two women at the Denman Island Community School. Paddy O’Connell and Nora Wright might not have done it, had they known how much work it would be. But they also believe they got it right from the outset. The basic ingredients haven’t changed much since then (except during COVID). It’s always organized and delivered by a dedicated, hard-working committee of island volunteers. It always includes a mix of fiction, non-fiction and poetry readings from distant writers and more local ones, lively moderated dialogues among invited authors, stimulating writing workshops, and delicious refreshments. Visiting luminaries are always billeted with local hosts. It’s always in July.

Great reputation

Got it right indeed. This festival has attracted prize winning writers, bright lights of BC and Canadian letters since its outset. A casual and congenial event, the festival has a great reputation in the writing community.

Authors get to meet avid readers in a relaxed atmosphere over meals or drinks, chances they don’t often get at bigger events like Vancouver or Toronto.

“There is a natural intimacy to be found at the Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival,” said distinguished Comox Valley writer Jack Hodgins. “Readers, writers, booksellers, artists, artisans, and local residents mingle, indoors and out, sometimes informally over meals but most often at lively, well-planned sessions with guest writers… there is the sense that the entire population of Denman is playing host to this popular series of events, usually involving the local with a mixture of the new, the famous, and the revered…”

Similar feedback is received from festival audiences.

2022 Lineup

This year’s line-up of invited writers? Angie Abdou, Cedar Bowers, Libby Davies, Michael Christie, Dr. Brian Goldman, Kate Harris, Peggy Herring, Anosh Irani, Mark Jacard, and Jónína Kirton. A few local writers of all ages will also read short works. Don’t underestimate those local scribes: Emily St. John Mandel got her start on Denman.

Writer and instructor Angie Abdou will lead this year’s intensive week-long “Writing Week” while a limited number of places are available in half day writing workshops: “Real Character” with Anosh Irani, “Writing the Sacred” with Jonina Kirton, and a dialogue with Libby Davies on “How to Work for Change.”

Check it out at: (where you can see some of the writers who’ve come in past years). Then mark it in your calendar: July 15-17.