Word of mouth can be a powerful thing — especially in the world of writing.
That’s what the directors of Penticton Wine Country Writers’ Festival credit for the evident growth of their annual event, as seen on Saturday, Sept. 23, inside the Lakeside Resort.
More than 100 writers, publishers and agents from across North America are taking part in the third edition of the festival this weekend, most of whom came in-person with some appearing as special guests virtually.
Just like last year, breaking down industry barriers and making life-long connections are on top of mind for all.
“We’re giving people the opportunity to meet with industry professionals that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Faye Arcand, one of the directors of the festival.
Although the festival features workshops, contests and several networking opportunities, Arcand says it’s the writers’ pitches to agents and publishers that make the event unique.
Along with publishers from New Westminster and Red Deer making the trip to Penticton for the festival, this year’s event also included a Zoom session with renowned New York City-based agent Mark Gottlieb, who accepted pitches from writers looking to get their work published.
“It’s things like this that remind you that even though we’re writers and lone wolves, we are a pack, too,” Arcand said.
“This isn’t you’re normal, everyday job where you’re talking to somebody…it’s a focus and there’s not a lot of input from inside and a lot of writers are introverts, so that’s why this (festival) is so special.”
Arcand and her co-director, Jim Jackson, also spoke to the growing tourism benefits of the festival.
They explained that most of the festival’s participants reside outside of the Okanagan and now look to Penticton every September as their hub for making industry connections.
This year marks the second in-person edition of the festival and third overall.
“For writers to see others in their field face-to-face is so important,” Arcand said. “It’s breaking down barriers.”