The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts is Canada’s longest-running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers. Featuring established literary stars and growing new voices, it provides the opportunity for writers and readers to mingle amidst Rockwood’s heritage gardens, delighting in the splendor of books, and the written word, in nature.
Beginning as a one-day festival, it has now grown to a nationally recognized event that attracts writers from across the country and an audience of 7,500 over the course of four evenings and three days.
The 2023 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts runs from August 17-20, 2023, at the Rockwood Centre in Sechelt, B.C. See the 2023 events below.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2023:
Adriana Barton, with Simon Paradis, 8:00 PM PST
Journalist Adriana Barton explores music’s profound effects on the human body and brain in her pitch-perfect book, Wired for Music (Greystone Books). This event is a special collaboration with Sunshine Coast musician Simon Paradis.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2023
Tamar Glouberman and Hilary Peach, with Kate Braid, 9:00 AM PST
Delving into issues of women working in “non-traditional” fields, this event with Tamar Glouberman, Chasing Rivers, (Douglas & McIntyre) and Hilary Peach, Thick Skin (Anvil Press) will be entertaining, fascinating and inspirational. Moderated by Kate Braid.
Carrie Mac, 10:30 AM PST
As a writer for teens Carrie Mac has earned numerous prizes and accolades. Last Winter (Penguin Random House), her first novel for adults, is a haunting portrayal of a family and a community caught by disaster.
John Vaillant, 1:00 PM PST
Bestselling author John Vaillant takes us on a riveting journey in Fire Weather (Penguin Random House), his account of a colossal wildfire and a panoramic investigation of the rapidly changing relationship between fire and humankind.
JD Derbyshire, 2:30 PM PST
JD Derbyshire is a comedian, mad activist, performer, playwright and inclusive educator. Their one-person play, Certified, won two Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Miriam Toews calls Mercy Gene (Goose Lane Editions), JD’s debut novel, “an incredible book.”
Corinna Chong and Andrea Routley, with Megan Cole, 4:00 PM PST
Our short fiction showcase features the work of two accomplished and unique writers, Corinna Chong, The Whole Animal (Arsenal Pulp Press) and Andrea Routley, This Unlikely Soil (Caitlin Press). Expect to be illuminated by their readings and discussion on the craft of writing. Moderated by Megan Cole.
Angela Sterritt, 7:00 PM PST
In Unbroken (Greystone Books), a remarkable work of investigative journalism and memoir, award-winning Gitxsan journalist Angela Sterritt shares how she survived life on the streets against all odds while also reporting into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Bob McDonald, 8:30 PM PST
Bob McDonald is an award-winning and bestselling author and long-time host of CBC Radio’s science show Quirks & Quarks. He joins us to speak about his newest book, The Future is Now (Penguin Random House).
SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 2023
Jack Knox, 9:00 AM PST
Popular Times Colonist columnist Jack Knox is known for his witty, wry, heart-warming and hilarious writing. He has four BC bestsellers to his name including his latest, Fortune Knox Once, (Heritage House Publishing).
Danny Ramadan, 10:30 AM PST
Danny Ramadan is an award-winning Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker and advocate for LGBTQ+ refugees. The Foghorn Echoes (Penguin Random House), his second novel, is the moving story of forbidden love between two boys in war-torn Syria.
Tara McGuire, 1:00 PM PST
Tara McGuire, a former broadcaster turned writer, discusses her first book, Holden After and Before (Arsenal Pulp Press), a stunning hybrid work in memoir and fiction that explores grief, motherhood and the overdose crisis.
Jen Currin, Conor Kerr and Cecily Nicholson, 2:30 PM PST
Jen Currin, Trinity Street (House of Anansi), Conor Kerr, Old Gods (Nightwood Editions) and Cecily Nicholson, Harrowings (Talonbooks) are award-winning writers and truthtellers who use imagery, landscape and a sense of place to form unexpected poems that call for change and help forge connection and compassion.
J. Edward Chamberlin and Theresa Kishkan, 4:00 PM PST
The Sunshine Coast is known for its excellent writers. Case in point: J. Edward Chamberlin, Storylines (Douglas & McIntyre) and Theresa Kishkan, Blue Portugal and Other Essays (University of Alberta Press). Both will read from their new books and speak to the power of storytelling.
Tom Rachman, 7:00 PM PST
From the author of the international bestseller The Imperfectionists comes a new novel about a series of writers struggling around the world. The Imposters (Penguin Random House) is Tom Rachman at his inimitable best.
The Rockwood Lecture: The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, 8:30 PM PST
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould served as the Independent MP for Vancouver Granville, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence until her resignation in 2019. Her latest book, True Reconciliation (Penguin Random House), is a national bestseller.
SUNDAY AUGUST 20, 2023
Amanda Lewis, Ellen Schwartz and Caroll Simpson, 9:00 AM PST
Spend time off the beaten track with Amanda Lewis Tracking Giants (Greystone Books) recounting misadventures in the forest; Ellen Schwartz, Galena Bay Odyssey (Heritage House Publishing) sharing stories as a hippie homesteader; and Caroll Simpson, Alone in the Great Unknown (Harbour Publishing) describing remarkable experiences in Northwestern B.C.
Janie Chang, 10:30 AM PST
Critically acclaimed author Janie Chang writes historical fiction drawing on family history and ancestral stories. Vividly rendered and set in WWI France, The Porcelain Moon (Harper Collins) is a tale of love, identity, and belonging.
New Voices: Jessica Johns and Sheila Murray, with Megan Cole, 1:00 PM PST
These writers have created complex, captivating worlds with their debut novels. Jessica Johns’ Bad Cree (Harper Collins) was called “a masterwork of creeping tension,” by Eden Robinson while Sheila Murray’s Finding Edward (Cormorant Books) was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award. Moderated by Megan Cole.
Laura Trethewey, 2:30 PM PST
Laura Trethewey is an author and ocean journalist whose writing captures our changing relationship with water. With The Deepest Map (Goose Lane Editions), she has written a tale of science, nature, technology and extreme adventure.
Ian Ferguson and Will Ferguson, 4:00 PM PST
Between them Ian Ferguson and Will Ferguson have won numerous book prizes, including the Giller Prize and the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. They’ve combined their considerable talents to create I Only Read Murder (Harper Collins), the first volume in a comedic crime series.
Tom and Kalissa Landa, with Steve Mitchell, 7:30 PM PST
Tom and Kalissa Landa are best known for their work with Vancouver band The Paperboys. Their electrifying performance will feature Celtic, folk, Latin and roots music. Joining them is Steve Mitchell, their longtime friend and musical collaborator.