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Readers and Writers Festival on Denman

Maude Barlow

From July 17 to 20, Denman Island will once again host its annual Readers and Writers Festival.

But this festival is not like the others. Come for the authors, come for the music, come for the food and don’t forget the ambience of this idyllic isle.

At most book festivals, the authors give their reading and then leave. On Denman, they stay around, mingling with the audiences, eating with them, and interacting like normal human beings, except they are talented nationally recognized writers.

Solo sessions designed by the writers or performers themselves focus in some depth on aspects of their work — usually their current work, work that they are immersed in and excited about. In the case of Zaccheus Jackson, spoken word artist extraordinaire, audiences will marvel at this young artist’s ability to take language into new and soaring flights of imagery.

As well, main stage events challenge a mix of authors to share their perspectives with each other, and to respond to audience questions. One eagerly awaited main stage event will feature Maude Barlow, the nationally-known activist and environmentalist as well as Chris Turner, the journalist who has written about the federal government’s so-called ‘war on science.’

On Sunday they will sit “in conversation” with well-known writer and activist Des Kennedy.

If honing your writing skill is a goal then this festival has lots of opportunity for you. Workshops at the Denman festival allow small groups of 10 to learn important lessons about writing, in three-hour sessions. This year, six workshops are planned: Douglas Gibson on Working with an Editor and a Publisher; Richard Wagamese on Speed Work: Driving your Creative Process; Caroline Adderson on How to Get that Novel Done; Angie Abdou on Creating Authentic Characters; Pauline Holdstock on Taking the Writer out of the Writing; and Zaccheus Jackson on REAL Life (w/a little bit of Rhythm).

Let’s not forget the five-day intensive Writer in Residence program which is a unique feature of the Denman festival, allowing aspiring writers to take part in a workshop with a successful published writer, this time featuring Steven Price, novelist and poet from Victoria.

Music is also a part of the Denman festival, with open air performances by local musicians, and Denman chefs will provide tasty meals based on local products.

Registration is ongoing, and further details about the program and the invited authors cane be found at

To register or by tickets by phone, call 250-335-2113.


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