Announcing the 2024 Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival! Mark your Calendars!

by Stewart Goodings

With the Festival only three months away, we are very pleased to announce the details of this year’s Festival. It’s taken 9 months of planning and here are the results of the DIRWF committee’s work since last year’s event ended.

First things first: mark July 18-21 on your calendars. That’s when Denman will once again be peacefully invaded by top-notch authors from near and far. Tickets will go on sale June 2 on the website.

As usual, we have a diverse group of writers, non-fiction specialists, novelists, both serious, and funny, all ready to intrigue, provoke and inform our eager audiences. Here’s an overview of who’s coming:

  • David Bergen, from Winnipeg, Giller winner for “The Time in Between” to share his latest novel this time, “Away from the Dead.”;
  • Kevin Chong, from Vancouver, returning to Denman for a second time, one of last year’s Giller finalists for his novel, “The Double Life of Benson Yu”;
  • Lenore Newman, a food security expert at the University of the Fraser Valley whose latest book is “Dinner on Mars: The Technologies that will Feed the Red Planet and Transform Agriculture on Earth” co-authored with Evan D.G. Fraser. Her previous book Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food, will be the focus of her solo presentation.
  • Will Ferguson, former Giller winner for “419” sharing the novel he and his brother Ian Ferguson wrote, “I Only Read Murder”;
  • Iona Whishaw, from Duncan, prolific writer of the popular Lane Winslow mystery series will present her latest novel, “Lightning Strikes the Silence”;
  • Angela Sterritt, investigative journalist from Vancouver, will read from “Unbroken” her memoir cum investigation into the murders and disappearances of indigenous women and girls;
  • Frank Tester, of Denman Island, university professor and author of “Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Inuit Relocations” to talk about historical issues in Canada’s North;
  • Siila Watt-Cloutier, long-time advocate from Nunavut will share her book “The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic, and the Whole Planet”;
  • Ian Ferguson, of Victoria, former winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour will share the stage with brother Will in presenting their murder mystery “I Only Read Murder”;
  • and Denman’s Des Kennedy, gardener, raconteur and community legend will bring his latest novel “Commune” to festival audiences.

In addition to these solo sessions, each of these authors will participate in Main Stage events–conversations with each other about literary topics, and their careers as writers.

Let’s not forget The Writing Week, a five day intensive program. This year for the first time, we will have two Writing Week workshops: one will be facilitated by Angie Abdou, BC author and writing teacher–this Advanced one will be for aspiring writers who have either already taken one of Angie’s workshops on Denman in the last three years or other writing workshops. The second regular Writing Week workshop will be led by author and writing coach Kevin Chong and is designed for aspiring writers with a writing project of any genre on the go who are looking for constructive advice to move the project forward.

Tickets for the Writing Week are now available at:

Three shorter Workshops—each lasting three hours—will be offered by both Will and Ian Ferguson, and Iona Whishaw on the Thursday before the official festival program gets started. Details of these workshops are on the website.

Tickets for the Workshops are now available at:

Unlike some of the bigger festivals, Denman’s is small and intimate,  and audience members get to see our invited authors up close and personal, at lunches, dinners, coffee breaks and just wandering around the village. Loyal attendees of the Denman Festival know this is one of its charms. Newcomers, give us a try…if you come once, you’ll come again…see you in July!

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