Stories By The Sea: The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts 2011

I’m spending the whole month of August on the beautiful Sunshine Coast and so it was a happy coincidence that the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts happened from 4 until 7 August 2011. The long-running literary event focuses solely on Canadian writers and had a carefully selected line-up of authors (and some musicians), who complemented each other perfectly. The location for the readings was equally amazing, at Rockwood Centre, just a stone’s throw from the beach in Sechelt in an airy, purpose built wooden ‘barn’ with space for about 500 literature enthusiasts.

As there was only ever one event going on at a time, each reading represented a nice focal point of its own. The calibre of work was very high and so I discovered many new favourites: Susan Juby, Lorna Goodison, Alexander MacLeod, Zsuzsi Gartner and Sarah Selecky, to name but a few. It was one of those festivals where, initially leafing through the programme, I hadn’t been familiar with many of the authors. Glancing at the same list of names now, a week after the festival, I remember listening to breathtaking stories and anecdotes, hauntingly evocative poetry and three days spent under shady trees with fellow book lovers. What a wonderful introduction to the Sunshine Coast community!

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