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Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival
Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 9:00 AM – Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 11:00 AM PDT
“Come for the food, stay for the conference.” That’s how one of last year’s presenters summed up the first annual Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival. “The food is outstanding,” agrees writers’ conference organizer Dawn Renaud. “Casual chatting over meals is key to what sets us apart from other similar events. We bring in several of the same high-quality presenters writers would hear from at other conferences, and make sure there are plenty of opportunities over the weekend for anyone to strike up a conversation, ask a question, or just listen in as other writers talk with them about their projects.”
Returning this year are agent and publisher Robert Mackwood and popular author of YA fiction Lorna Schultz Nicholson. “The response at OVWF 2016 was overwhelmingly positive,” says Renaud. “We thought it likely many of those writers would want to return, so we’re varying the line-up somewhat from year to year. Our selection process emphasizes approachability and willingness to be accessible between workshops and panel discussions, and at the buffet and during meals and break times. These presenters are excited about being really available, ready to help writers achieve their goals.”
There’s a wealth of award-recognized writing and publishing experience to draw from. Elma Schemenauer worked in the publishing industry in Toronto; Jennifer Manuel mentors other authors through The Story Intensive. Poet and author Michelle Barker hosts writing workshops; PJ Reece made his living writing screenplays; Robert W. Mackay spent 13 years in the navy before becoming a teacher, practicing law, and becoming a bestselling author of historical fiction. Simon Rose has written ten novels and more than 80 nonfiction books for young adults, along with writing for the business community. Suzanne Anderson, who literally wrote the book on self publishing in Canada, shares her expertise; Sylvia Taylor, whose poetry and prose have appeared throughout North America, has edit-coached over 120 manuscripts.
The popular Friday night variety show will be back, too, hosted by playwright, novelist and performer Caitlin Hicks. “The public will be able to buy tickets for the Friday evening event,” says Renaud, “and we’ll probably arrange some free readings again as well.”
The conference runs April 7–9 at the Shatford Centre in Penticton. Registration includes five meals plus snacks and beverages at breaks, plus four concurrent sessions (five options in each session), two panel discussions, and entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings, all for $250. Seating is limited. Register at the Shatford Centre, 760 Main Street in Penticton, online at shatfordcentre.com/osa/courses, or call 250.770.7668. More information at okanaganvalleywritersfestival.com.