Frequently Asked Questions

Year-round events and Outreach Programs:

Are there events year-round?
Our Incite reading series runs twice-monthly from January to May at the VPL Central Library and events are free to the public. We also host events with writers at other times of the year. The schedule really depends on the book tours that the writers are on and who happens to be launching a book when. The best way to hear about upcoming events is to subscribe to our free weekly e-newsletter Book News which promotes our events, links to interesting literary reviews and news stories and lists other literary events around town.

I’m not a writer, can I still get involved?
Yes! You can be an audience member, a Member of the Festival (discounts on Festival event tickets and and earlybird ticket buying privileges), or a volunteer. For more information, check out the "Get Involved" section of our website at writersfest.bc.ca.

How can I buy tickets?
Most of our event tickets are sold through Theatre Wire at 604-257-0350, which is a ticketing service run by our colleagues at the Vancouver Fringe.

How long are events? What are they like?
Most events are approximately 90 minutes unless otherwise noted. Sometimes solo events with one author are shorter, and events with an intermission are often slightly longer. Events take many forms: readings, panel discussions, performances or interviews. All events are directed at the book-reading public.

What is Spreading the Word?
The Spreading the Word education program is one of the largest children’s literary events in Canada. Each year we present great children’s writers to 6,000 British Columbian school children, in both English and French. In addition to our festival events for school groups K-12, Spreading the Word also includes components that take the writers into classrooms and schools throughout the province.

Why aren’t there more practical “hands-on” courses or workshops offered for aspiring writers?
The focus of the VWF is on connecting writers with Lower Mainland readers through interviews, performances, panel discussions and readings. However, we do offer poetry and short story contests for adults and gr 8-12 students.

Aspiring writers may wish to check out the Surrey International Writers Conference (www.siwc.ca) which offers several informative workshops from October 20-23, 2016, as well as opportunities to meet with agents, publishers, and editors.

Another excellent resource for aspiring writers is the Federation of BC Writers (www.bcwriters.ca).
Additionally, UBC, SFU and Langara College, among others, offer programs and Continuing Education classes year-round for writers.

General Information:

Is the organization a registered charity?
Yes, our charitable registration number is 12260 5678 RR0001. If you make a cash donation to the Vancouver Writers Fest, we can issue a tax receipt. As our $35 membership comes with benefits such as discounts on tickets and at participating bookstores, that portion of your gift is not deductible.

How can I contact the Festival?
The Festival’s phone number is 604-681-6330. The fax number is 604-681-8400. The Festival website (writersfest.bc.ca) gives emails of specific staff members.

Where is the Festival Office?
The Festival’s address is: 202-1398 Cartwright Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3R8
The main office is located at 1398 Cartwright Street on Granville Island, just east of the Waterfront Theatre. This is also the location of the Writers Festival Box Office, where tickets can be purchased up to one day in advance of events. On the day of events, available tickets can only be purchased at venue box offices!

Annual Festival:

When is the Festival?
The annual Vancouver Writers Fest takes place each October, and starts a week after the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday (which is the second Monday of October). In 2016: October 17-23.

Where is the Festival?
The Festival is held primarily on Granville Island, an urban oasis with restaurants and cafes, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, and a fresh food market.

What happens at the Festival?
Events at the Vancouver Writers Fest take many forms: readings, panel discussions, performances or interviews. All events are directed at the book-reading public.

I’m a writer, how do I arrange to appear at the Festival?
Each year, approximately 100 writers are selected to appear in events at the Festival. The vast majority are pitched to the Artistic Director by their publishing houses who also pay for the writers’ transportation costs. There is no application process as appearance is by invitation only. For unpublished and emerging writers, there are occasionally “open mic” events held during Festival week by partner organizations; please see the Festival program guide.

How are writers selected?
There are several criteria when it comes to writer selection. Firstly, approximately half our events are directed to elementary and high schools, so children’s and “young adult” writers make up a sizeable portion of those involved. In making his selection of adult writers, the Artistic Director has to balance a number of factors including the variety of genres, Western Canadian, Canadian and International representation, writers whose books are published in either French or English, large and small publishing houses, to name a few. Most writers come to Vancouver promoting a new book.

Can I volunteer for this year’s Writers Festival?
The short answer is maybe! Most of our scheduling for this year’s festival is now done, but there are still some empty shifts in Production, Food & Beverage, Box Office and for daytime events in French. If you have lots of availability, have cash-handling experience, and are flexible about what you’re willing to do, we may still be able to place you. The minimum age for volunteering with us is generally 16 years. We ask for a minimum of 12 hours commitment. Please go to our website at www.writersfest.bc.ca and click on the Get Involved tab in the menu bar for more information and access the on-line registration. Registrations will be taken until all shifts are full!

When is the Festival Box Office open?
The Festival box office is open from 10-4 every weekday (except statuatory holidays) and from 12-4 on Saturdays. Tickets can also be purchased online at theatrewire.com or by phone at 604-681-6330 x111.

Are there surcharges on tickets?
The Festival Box Office charges $2.00 per ticket as an order-processing fee for in-person sale. Theatre Wire charges $3.75 per ticket for online purchases.

The event is sold out. Is there a waiting list?
A few events have waiting lists, if we believe that there is a chance of additional tickets being released. However, being on a waiting list is a member privilege; if you are a member, you can call the office to enquire 604-681-6330 ext. 115.

Is there ever reserved seating at events?
All of our events except for ones held at the The Vancouver Playhouse are general admission.

Will books be available for sale? May I bring a copy of a book to be signed?
Books by all participating authors will be on sale during the Festival at the Festival Bookstore located at the rear of Performance Works across from the Granville Island Hotel. Selected books will be for sale at each event by the author participating in that event. All events will be followed by book signings, unless otherwise noted. If a lot of people want to have books signed at a particular event, we ask that only the most current books be signed.

May I get food or drinks at events?
Food is served and is included in the ticket price for the Sunday Brunch and the Afternoon Tea. The evening events generally have a bar service and some also offer snacks.

May I bring children to the events?
Most of the weekday events are geared toward school groups, although Friday events are of more general interest. The age/grade level for which the event is suitable is indicated in the description of the event in the program guide. All school orders will go through our Box Office Manager (ext. 107) or Box Office Assistant (ext. 111). No babies or small children at adult Festival events, please, out of courtesy to other patrons. Please note that there may be adult content at other Festival events.