Fest a feast for writers, readers in the Shuswap

Shuswap Association of Writers presents its ninth annual festival for writers and readers May 25-27

Keynote speaker: Award-winning author of seven books

Readers and writers prepare to enjoy.

Shuswap Association of Writers presents its ninth annual festival for writers and readers, Word on the Lake, at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort and Okanagan College May 25-27.

Festivalgoers will find a feast of experiences at this year’s event.

Keynote speakers include Ivan Coyote (www.ivancoyote.com).  Her seven books have attracted six award nominations including the 2007 ReLit Award for her novel Bow Grip published in 2006.

In 2007, the Yukon-born educator and performer was writer-in-residence at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Sylvia Taylor is the author of more than 400 magazine and newspaper articles, 75 commercial and business writing projects and has edited more than 100 manuscripts.  Her latest novel, Fisher Queen, is scheduled for release in May.  Her work has been short-listed for the CBC National Literary Awards and led to her nomination for a Women of Excellence Award.


• Gurjinder Basran is the author of Everything Was Goodbye, which won the 2010 Search for the Great BC Novel Contest, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Award and was shortlisted for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in 2008.

• Shawn Bird is a secondary school teacher and author of two novels for young adults that blend modern first love with Greek mythology. Grace Awakening: Awakening Dreams was e-released in July 2011, and the sequel Grace Awakening Power, was e-released this spring.

• Peter Blacklock is an educator and author of numerous plays for children and adults including: Emily, a Musical; Renovations, a Musical; The Murder of Dutch Charlie and Maw’s Jam Eaters.

• Nancy Flight is the associate publisher of Greystone Books. During almost four decades in the industry, she has received numerous awards for her work as an editor and educator, including serving as adjunct professor in the Master of Publishing program at Simon Fraser University.

• Gracesprings Collective –  B.C. Writers Kay McCracken and Deanna Barnhardt Kawatski will be presenting The Third Way, a lively discussion on publishing options.

• Diana Hayes is the production manager of Salt Spring Island’s Theatre Alive and author of the plays This is the Moon’s Work and The Choreography of Desire.

• Kay Johnston’s first book, Spirit of Powwow combines  writing, photography, and her love of the First Nations People. Her next book Amazing Mazie is the biography of Mazie Baker, a Squamish Nation Elder.

• Alex Leslie is the author of a short story collection, People Who Disappear, which was scheduled for release in April. Her writing has won a Gold National Magazine Award for journalism and a CBC Literary Award for short fiction.

• Derek Lundy is the author of Borderlands: Riding the Edge of America, which was recently shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction prize. He is also the author of  The Bloody Red Hand, The Way of a Ship and the bestseller Godforsaken Sea, which has been translated into nine languages.

• Leah Shaw is a CBC broadcast journalist, radio morning-show host, MC and educator. She has also written for print and the screen, and has produced more than 100 radio dramas based on First Nations myths and legends.

• Eric Wilson is the author of 22 mysteries for youth and young adults. The Tom and Liz Austen Mystery Series have been published in 10 languages and sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide. Wilson received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 for promoting literacy and Canada.

The festival opens Friday, May 25 with registration at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. A coffee house follows at 7 p.m. at SAGA Public Art Gallery.

Saturday begins with registration and book sales from 7:45 to 8:45 at the Prestige.

Sessions follow at the resort until 5 p.m. with a book-signing session from 5 until 5:45.

Then it’s time for a schmooze session at Okanagan College at 7:30.

Sunday morning festival sessions begin at 9 a.m. and tun until 1:30 p.m.

The Shuswap Association of Writers is offering seven prizes in a fundraising raffle including a four-day houseboat vacation and a luxury weekend in Vancouver.

Tickets are available in Salmon Arm at Hidden Gems and Book Nook bookstores and Lady in the Tub, and on select dates at Centenoka Park Mall, the Mall at Piccadilly, Shuswap Farm and Craft Market in Salmon Arm and Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market. Tickets sell for $5 each, or three for $12, with only 2,004 to be sold. Winners will be announced during the Saturday night social “schmooze” at Okanagan College.

Registration fees can be paid online or by mail, with discounts for SAW members, seniors and students. Check www.saow.ca for forms, workshop schedule, bursary information, hosted accommodation, etc.

Shuswap Association of Writers’ mandate is to organize events to enrich cultural life in the BC Interior, especially the written and spoken arts.

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