I have been going to the Vancouver Writers Festival since I was 6 years old. For me, it is a place where magic happens.
I love books. I have hundreds of books in my home (it helps living near Banyen Books, one of Vancouver’s best book stores), and every time someone asks me for a book recommendation, I take my finger and slowly browse through my shelves, touching each book and remembering the journeys I have taken.
I have volunteered with the Festival for years, and when they told me that they were gearing up to celebrate their 25th anniversary, I told them I was eager to help. They asked me to capture the VWF story and all of the ways it impacts people in the community, and so I held a story session for people connected to the Festival in different ways. This gathering of people all had a deep love of books and for the Festival, so you can imagine the wealth of stories being passed around the room. After the story session, I set out to interview even more people connected to the organization to ensure that the story I wrote captured all of the prismatic light that bounces off this organization.
Once the stories and experiences were revealed, I set out to capture the essence of the Vancouver Writers Festival in one page (not an easy task). Being a long time member, I know that the Vancouver Writers Festival is more than 6 days in October where authors and readers alike gather to share experiences. The Festival takes place every single day of the year – with the Spreading the Word school program and all of the resources to support budding young writers, and the events throughout the year including the amazingly free Incite reading series. So when I started to climb the mountain in front of me (in a seemingly Herculean task), I was reminded of the pure and simple fact: I love what the Festival brings to my life.
It was with this reminder that I set out to write the story of an organization I so dearly admire. I met Alma Lee, the founder of the festival, years ago when my mom chaired the Board, and I have come to know Hal, Ann and the VWF team well over the years, so I know that the Festival is in good hands. While the future of tangible, physical books remains uncertain, you can be sure that the Vancouver Writers Festival will continue to play an important role in our city, guiding us toward a place where words bounce freely about only to be captured by the writers of our time.