Nelson has long been a huge supporter of literary events. For years after the David Thompson University Centre closed in 1984 the Nelson version of the Kootenay School of Writing hosted scores of Canada Council-funded writers who came to give readings and do workshops. In 2001, when it still got a reasonable amount of funding and could actually consider doing something like this outside the Lower Mainland, the Federation of BC Writers held its AGM in Nelson.
When I first moved back to the area 25 years ago (where did that quarter-century go?) there was the Kootenay Lake Summer School of the Arts. That's where I first dipped my nervous toes back into the murky waters of creative writing, with a memorable class led by Caroline Woodward in 1990 or '91. One warm July evening a bunch of enthusiastic lit folk turned up at the Vienna Café for a reading by Howard White, only it was locked and the person with the key was AWOL so we all trooped up the street and around the corner to Kokanee Travel where I worked at the time and held the reading there.
2013 marks the second year of the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival with writer/publisher guests that include Camilla Gibb, Terry Fallis, M.G. Vassanji, Brendan McLeod, John Lent, Pascal Girard, Kristin Cochrane, Tracy Hurren, and Howard White.
This Thursday (July 11th) the festival kicks off with the festival gala opening that features the Clinton Swanson Trio (they're great) and readings by local poets Sean Arthur Joyce, Jane Byers, Elena Banfield, Magpie Ulysses and Linda Crosfield (me!), as well as spoken word performer Brendan McLeod. It's at The Shanti Centre, 237 Baker Street (former Christian Science Reading Room) at 7:30 PM. You have to get tickets in advance for this event. They're $20 and you can buy them online here.
There will be a book table where, among other wonderful words, you'll be able to pick up a copy of George Bowering's latest chapbook, Los Pájaros de Tenacatita that I recently published AND a copy of my own brand new chapbook, What's Best For Us, with 8 poems, several of which I'll be reading on Thursday. I finished sewing them and cutting the covers last night. No two covers are the same!
Heck, the festival even has its own beverage! Tall Tale Organic Wheat Ale from Nelson Brewing Company was named the official beer for the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. How cool is that?
The rest of the weekend there'll be panels and pitching sessions, a spoken word workshop for young writers, and readings on Friday and Saturday nights. It winds up at the aforementioned Vienna Café at a no-host brunch on Sunday morning. The schedule for all the events is here. You can buy your tickets ahead of time or pay at the door. A gold pass for the whole weekend is $85 which gets you into everything except the spoken word workshop (it's $20), the various panels are $10 and the evening readings Friday and Saturday are $20 a piece.
Hope to see you at some of these events. I'll be taking in as many as I can.
NB: when I visit the link to the festival using Safari I find it difficult to read. Solution: try a different browser like Google Chrome or Firefox.