Writer in Residence: Spring 2013

The Writer in Residence program connects authors with schools and communities throughout British Columbia. This one-week residency provides students with the opportunity to work intensively with an author, to improve their writing and reading skills and tap into their creativity.

This spring, the Vancouver Writers Fest sent award-winning slam poet Chris Gilpin to George Elliot Secondary School in Winfield, BC. During his week-long residency, Chris mentored a group of young writers and held a teacher’s workshop. He reached out to the larger community by facilitating a writer’s circle and presenting a spoken word performance to students at a nearby school in Kelowna.

Chris’ residency ended with a celebration of the students’ hard work: a spoken word slam performance, where the mentees could present their work to the school. Chris felt he really got through to the students and helped several discover their voices. Fourteen students participated in the slam and, “students who started off very shy became much bolder throughout the week.”

“The intended results were to open the door to poetry for our students and it was flung open. Chris exposed students to literacy, demonstrated that their voices can be used in creative ways and gave them the confidence to perform. The intimate readings and conversations that Chris facilitated opened the doors to collaboration and, for me, revealed the value of writer’s circle discussions.”

 Chad Wardman
Teacher, George Elliot Secondary School



The Writer in Residence program offers communities that cannot attend the Festival due to geographic and economic limitations the opportunity to have fantastic authors come to them. The program is generously sponsored by Amazon and supported by the Writers Fest’s Michael R. Shaw Fund, and made possible by the generous contributions of our individual donors.