The Whistler Writers Festival

Gibbons Life is proud to sponsor the Whistler Writers Festival. This is a new partnership for us so we asked someone who’s been involved from the very beginning to give us a run down on this grass roots festival that’s celebrating its 13th year this October 17-19.

Telling Stories at The Whistler Writers Festival

By Rebecca Wood-Barrett


Once Upon a Time, remembering the first time.

They say you never forget your first time. I believe this is true. Firsts become etched in our memories in such a way they stand outside time, while subsequent reiterations blur together. I remember clearly the inaugural Whistler Readers and Writers Festival, and its humble beginning in Festival Director Stella Harvey’s living room. Twelve years ago, I recall sitting on a comfy blue leather couch, squeezed in between a friend and a stranger, listening to guest author Andreas Schroeder.

Schroeder sat on a high wooden stool and told us an anecdote and a story about fishing. He cast an imaginary hook and line into the centre of the room of fifteen eager writing disciples. What’s the difference between an anecdote and a story? he asked. If we wanted to be great storytellers, we needed to know. And thus, Whistler’s festival devoted to writing craft was born.

Since then, the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival has invited over a hundred authors to workshops, readings and seminars. Award-winning, bestselling authors. And unknown, first-time authors. The celebrated, emerging, and local are all featured side by side in the spotlight.

Local writer Sue Oakey at her book signing.

While writing craft workshops and literary reading events are the festival’s backbone, it has remained relevant by experimenting with writing as entertainment, through a postcard jam contest, Pecha Kucha event, literary cabaret and invitations to the crowds to try out their voice at an open mic. Signature events now sell out to large audiences of 300 plus. What hasn’t changed since the first festival, is the inclusivity offered through affordable tickets, the intimacy of small-size craft workshops, the friendliness of volunteers, and the hospitality of the venues, where authors mingle with their new and loyal fans alike.

Come join the fun, get your tickets for the Whistler Writers Festival at

Rebecca Wood Barrett is a freelance writer and filmmaker living in Whistler, BC.

Gibbons Whistler

Gibbons has been celebrating with people since 1979. We operate venues, run festivals, brew beer, talk travel and throw parties.