Community and connection. It’s the two things on display at Penticton’s Lakeside Resort this weekend for a festival that can’t be found anywhere else in the valley.
A total of 85 writers from across B.C. and Alberta met at the venue for the first-ever in-person edition of the Penticton Wine Country Writers’ Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Whether you’re there to pitch your latest novel to a publishing company or simply just get advice on how to find your way in the world of writing, the festival aims to bring together people who otherwise would have never met.
“Writing is a way of life, so to bring everyone together is phenomenal,” said Faye Arcand, one of the festival’s directors. “What we all love to do is talk about writing… it’s a passion, it’s a drive, so it’s incredibly important to give people a chance to feel like they’re part of the community.”
The format was simple: writers of all skill levels meet and network, with some of which there to present and pitch their ideas to agents and publishers.
Among those listening to book pitches all day long was Mel Anastasiou, a co-founder of Langley’s PULP Literature.
Without the festival, writers in the Interior would have never gotten a chance to have their ideas heard and novels reviewed by professionals, she said.
Andrew Buckley, meanwhile, was there to give advice to aspiring writers across the province. The West Kelowna author is known for bringing the “silly fiction” genre to grade-school children and young adults.
“These events are really important for writers who are trying to find their way,” he said. “Today, we’re breaking barriers between authors, publishers and agents. The Wine Country has done a great job at creating a sense of community.”
Event organizers say they’ll be back with another in-person festival in 2023.
Writers gathered for the first time on Friday at the Lakeside Resort. Festivities, featuring food and drinks, interactive writing activities and friendly contests, wrap up Saturday night.