2018 Denman Festival Authors

Registration for Denman Festival opens May 1st

As well as being International Workers’ Day, May 1st is the first day to register for the Denman Readers and Writers Festival.  The Festival’s opening on July 20th is only twelve weeks away, so eager Festival fans can soon sign up for The Writing Week, the workshops, as well as buy 3-day passes and tickets for the solo sessions and main stage events.  Check out the detailed Schedule on the Festival website.

This article feature The Writing Week and the workshops since these events have limited participation so early registration is highly recommended.

Caroline Adderson, the well-known Vancouver author and writing coach is back for a second year leading The Writing Week.  This is a five day intensive learning experience for anyone writing either a novel, short stories, non-fiction or a book for children.  Caroline will review an excerpt or narrative of up to 5,000 words, which will be discussed both with her individually and with a small group of ten other apprentice writers.  I’ve taken this program myself and can attest to its value as a practical and inspiring opportunity to learn writing craft and to move a writing project forward.  This program is limited to 10 participants, and the cost is $350.  See full details here.

Yasuko Thanh, author of the award-winning Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains will present a workshop entitled “Banishing Your Inner Censor” which will focus on different techniques to generate new material, to identify “voice” as well as what hinders writers when they have writer’s block.

Sheri-D Wilson is a nationally recognized spoken word performer from Calgary.  Her workshop is “Spoken Word Map – Point Trill”, and this is how she describes it:  “We will explore the history of Spoken Word.  We will write with our hair on fire.  We will pen-pedal with our paper to the metal.  We will discuss The OutRider/Sider.  And we will play with aspects of bringing it all to performance.”


Geoff Dembicki is a young and experienced  journalist from Vancouver who writes for The Tyee, and has a book with the provocative title “Are We Screwed?  How a New Generation is Fighting to Survive Climate Change”.  His workshop is called “How to Pitch Your Work to an Editor” and is aimed at non-fiction writers who want to get published and paid for their work.


Wedlidi Speck is a First Nations story-teller and consultant, and his workshop is “Metaphors We Live By”.  This workshop will examine indigenous metaphor and how it gives shape to cultural discourse.  Wedlidi says he will “walk, metaphorically, with participants on an appreciative journey to discover the richness, importance and value of story, language, orientation of metaphor and placement of story in reconciliation”.

Workshops are limited to 10 participants and cost $60.  See full details of Workshops.

There is one other workshop: a Book Club Session with Emily St John Mandel and Caroline Adderson.  Emily, originally from Denman and now living in New York, is the author of Station Eleven, a dramatic story of the future.  Participants will be expected to have read the book in advance and will have the chance to share their views and engage directly with the author in a session facilitated by Caroline Adderson.  To encourage interaction, this session is limited to 20 participants, and costs $20 per person.


The Festival events are held in the Activity Centre, Community Hall, Arts Centre and Community School.  Downtown Denman is abuzz with literary action from July 19 to 22.  This is a chance to meet published authors from BC and beyond, to hear them read from their works, to ask them questions, and to watch them engage each other in panel discussions about current issues.

You will also be able to hear local talent … Denman writers will be reading their own compositions at two sessions organized by Jo-Anne McLean who facilitates the monthly Denman Writers Group.

Abraxas Books will display and sell books by the authors, and the usual selection of amazing door prizes will be available at the Main Stage events.  And watch for a surprise new character at this year’s Festival … someone in red shoes who may or may not talk to you …..

Last word:  Sign up for those workshops soon.  They tend to fill up fast!



Stewart GoodingsApril 2018

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