You may have heard Canada’s much-lauded master of the modern short story, Alice Munro, took home a well-deserved Nobel Prize in Literature last week.
The first Canuck to win the award — and criminally, only the 13th woman to receive the honour in its 112-year history — it felt like a validation of the quintessential Canadian community as much as it did of the contemporary short story.
It was amazing to see the jubilant reaction from the Canadian literati and media following Thursday’s (Oct. 10) announcement. As much as the honour does, and of course, should, belong to Munro and Munro alone, us self-effacing Canadians couldn’t help but claim it as a victory of our own.
And, why shouldn’t we?
Munro’s works, as diverse as they are, all contain a proud thread of Canadiana that’s often missing from many of our country’s contemporary writers. A bulk of her stories are set in the small, sleepy rural towns of southeastern Ontario, and while not the most dramatic of settings to some, Munro managed to make them distinctly her own.
That’s a tried and true lesson that many of Whistler’s own scribes have taken to heart. For such a small town, we sure seem to churn out a wealth of talented writers, and that wellspring of creativity can likely be traced back to our beautiful mountain scenery and the lust for life that’s imbued in Whistler’s DNA. But if you spend any time talking to the Stella Harveys or the Sue Oakey-Bakers of the world, it doesn’t take long for them to attribute their own successes to the supportive community of writers and readers that has been nurtured in Whistler over the years.
And that community will be out in full force this weekend (Oct. 18 to 20) for the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival, which has grown tremendously in its 12 years to become a must-attend event on the B.C. literary festival circuit.
Despite it’s tremendous growth and star-studded lineup, including acclaimed Giller Prize winner Wil Ferguson and much buzzed-about Vancouver Island-born novelist Patrick deWitt, the focus has kept its intimate vibe and grassroots approach, offering a wealth of affordable workshops and reading events for locals.
Friday features a manuscript workshop, the launch of Oakey-Baker’s touching memoir, Finding Jim and the opening night gala.
Saturday has a plethora of workshops, covering everything from historial fiction writing with Ania Szado, writing for youth, and magazine writing with local Leslie Anthony. Also on Saturday, the Fairmont hosts “Crimes of Fiction,” a reading event with William Deverell, Robin Spano and more, that will entice the seasoned crime and mystery fan.
The fest closes on Sunday with a poetry reading and panel discussion with Michael Crummey, Evelyn Lau and others, as well as a workshop for aspiring young writers with Meg Tilley. The busy weekend closes with the latest addition to the Whistler Debates series, looking at self-publishing at the Whistler Museum.
Whatever your literary bent, you’re sure to find a community of like-minded souls to share your passion with at the 12th annual Whistler Readers and Writers Festival.
Visit www.theviciouscircle.ca for more.
Whistler Music Search
The hunt is on for the resort’s next big star at the fourth annual Whistler Music Search, with top local musicians duking it out for musical supremacy and recording time at Pemberton’s Bunker 7 Studio.
The month-long search is already in full swing, so check out the last night of performances Thursday (Oct. 17) before the finals next week, where the top four acts will compete for the prize.
The night kicks off at 8 p.m. The finals are set for next Thursday, Oct. 24.
The Nita Lake Luna Festival
Get in touch with your creative side this weekend at The Nita Lake Luna Festival, a full-moon celebration featuring yoga, art workshops, expressive dance sessions and local artisans and musicians.
Held at the scenic Nita Lake Lodge, highlights of the three-day festival include a raw cacao ceremony, shamanic dance led by instructor Nolita Ananda and keynote address by Vancouver naturopath Dr. Tasreen Alibhai.
Check out this one-of-a-kind event from Friday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 20.
Visit www.nitalakelunafestival.com for more information.
Gravity at Village 8 Cinemas
Cinephiles have waited seven long years for the latest release from acclaimed Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, whose last film, the staggeringly beautiful Children of Men, one of the most ambitious and affecting works Hollywood had ever seen.
It would appear the wait was well worth it, with Cuarón turning his lens to the cosmos in his latest opus, Gravity, a sci-fi thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
Building on the formalistic flair Cuarón and long-time director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki employed so deftly in Children of Men, the film is a cinematographic tour-de-force, featuring some of the most breathtaking segments set in deep space since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This is certainly a film that needs to be seen on the big screen to be truly appreciated — the stunning visuals of the opening scene are worth the price of admission alone.
Gravity is playing in Whistler now at the Village 8 Cinemas.