Participants at the 2017 Spoke Literary Festival attend a meet and greet, hosted by Michelle Doege, at the Caetani Cultural Centre. (Photo submitted)

Annual writer’s fest returns to Vernon for third year

Okanagan literary festival presents new writers, new workshops, and new perspectives

Learn how to write the writerly way and fold prose as if it were a towel when a lineup of some of the biggest names in the Okanagan literary world arrive for the third annual Spoke Literary Festival.

Registration is now open for the event, which takes place Aug. 10-12 at various venues around Vernon.

As in the past two years, this year’s three-day event includes an opening reception at the Caetani Cultural Centre, two days of workshops at Okanagan College and a reading with the invited writers at the Vernon library.

This year’s reading, on the Saturday night, is hosted by poet extraordinaire Heidi Garnett.

“All of our invited writers are award-winning published professionals. We have some incredible poets, a novelist of young adult fiction, a non-fiction writer known for her impeccable research, a former journalist who is getting a lot of buzz for her recent memoir and an interdisciplinary artist who is one of the most beloved profs at UBC Okanagan. We even have a workshop on letterpress printing,” said Kerry Gilbert, a member of the Spoke Literary Collective, which hosts the festival.

“Each of our writers offers different stories, ideas and perspectives that they will share with participants.”

Festival attendees have a choice of four exciting and intriguing workshops in all manner of disciplines.

Attendees include Natalie Appleton, Remember Your Parents: A Memoir Intersection; Jason Dewinetz, Letterpress Printing 101: Shaping the Page with Real Type; Ashley Little, Damn Good Dialogue; Sandra Lynn Joseph Lynxleg, Foldn’ Towels, Foldn’ Bones: Poesy in Fold; Michael V. Smith, My Hand is a Red Brick: Marrying Image and Story; Dania Tomlinson, On Beginning and Perfecting the First Page; Sandra de Leeuw Writing “Write” in a Writerly Way; Tom Wayman, Get to Work: Breaking the Taboo.

The festival is open to all interested and established writers, no matter what level they are at in their careers.

“Last year’s festival drew participants from near and far, and we are hoping even more writers from across the Interior will participate this year,” said Gilbert.

A weekend pass, which includes four writing workshops and two literary/social gatherings, is $175, with an optional $25 weekend lunch add-on. They can be purchased by following a link from the Spoke Festival website at A student scholarship is available and all workshops are wheelchair accessible.


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