Since March 2020, the Readers and Writers Festival literary bus has been stalled, stuck in a Covid cul-de-sac, like a masked actor eager to go on stage, but waiting in the wings, the curtain resolutely closed. Mixing my metaphors, I know, but that’s what happens when plans for the Readers and Writers Festival get frustrated for two years in a row.
But at long last, there is a glimmer, nay a bright beacon of hope that 2022 will see the full return of Denman’s Festival, an eagerly-anticipated feature of island life for the past 18 years. That’s what we’re planning, anyway! So loyal festival participants, get out your calendars, daytimers, iphones, and mark these dates down: July 14 – 17.
We have our authors lined up …. happily still the same ones we’d hoped to bring you in 2020: Dr. Brian Goldman (The Power of Kindness), Cedar Bowers (Astra), Libby Davies (Outside In: A Political Memoir), Mark Jaccard (The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success), Kate Harris (Lands of Lost Borders), Michael Christie (Greenwood), Jonina Kirton (page as bone ~ ink as blood), Peggy Herring (Anna, Like Thunder), Anosh Irani (Translated from the Gibberish).
We have a new leader/facilitator for our highly regarded five-day intensive Writing Week: Angie Abdou, renowned novelist from Fernie, BC, who entranced Denman audiences at the 2014 festival. Here are some of her novels: In Case I Go, The Bone Cage, The Canterbury Trail. She’s also written two non-fiction books: Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, and A Mom-Daughter Wilderness Memoir. She is also an accomplished and experienced writing teacher at Athabasca University, the Banff Centre, and the College of the Rockies. As well, three of the authors are offering 3-hour workshops. Anosh Irani Real Character, Jonina Kirton Writing the Sacred, and Libby Davies How to Work for Change.
We have gained four new members for our organizing committee in the last few months: Claire Kennedy, Daryl McLoughlin, John Mills and Howard Stewart. They’ve brought new ideas and energy to our work.
Our focus now, in the coming months, will be making sure we have enough billets to accommodate our invited authors, lining up food services to provide tasty lunches and dinners for festival attendees, putting final touches to our solo and main stage program, and taking care of all the logistical and technical details that have made previous festivals seamless and enjoyable experiences for both authors and audiences.
Registration will begin May 15th. There is no increase in ticket prices since 2019. With public health guidelines now easing, we expect full houses in both the Activity Centre and the Community Hall, though proof of vaccination may still be required. So Denman – and all points beyond – get ready to celebrate the return of the Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival!
Stewart Goodings, March 2022