Welcome to the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival on Granville Island. We’re 16 years old this year, sweet 16 indeed.
When the Vancouver International Writers Festival began all those years ago, I wanted to bring some of the most interesting writers from around the globe to Vancouver. I wanted to give you, as readers, an opportunity to hear writers read and talk about their work, to speak with writers about their work, and to listen to them discuss the world of words with each other. It worked! We have a first-class Festival now—an exciting and exceptional celebration of writing and reading. We’ve built on our success year after year, thanks to the loyalty and trust of readers.
Your loyalty has kept us going. Each year the number of readers enjoying the Festival grows and grows—to more than eleven thousand last year. And your trust keeps me going, seeking writers who have unique perspectives, fascinating backgrounds and wonderful ways of expressing their thoughts and experiences. Many of the writers who come to the Festival may not be known to you (yet!), and I particularly appreciate the trust you show through your attendance and your warmth. So many of the writers I speak with remark on how welcome and appreciated they feel on Granville Island.
Canada continues to be a strong presence on the international literary scene and again this year I am proud to present some of our country’s best authors in the Festival lineup. The Festival also features wordsmiths from Australia, the USA, Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, Israel, Mexico and New Zealand—a sampling of some of the world’s best literary talent. I trust you will be both stimulated and entertained by them.
It has always been important to me that our readers—our patrons—enter into a dialogue with the writers. This year is no exception. I have created lots of opportunities throughout the week for you to interact with writers as well as listen to their readings, opinions and views on many topics. We try our best to ensure that the atmosphere at the Festival is comfortable, casual and informal, but we also want you to feel challenged and engaged. Please talk to me when you see me around the Festival. I want to hear your feedback—as readers, you are our most important asset.
Alma Lee, Artistic Director