Elephant Mountain Literary Festival continues throughout weekend in Nelson

The festival began Thursday night with an opening gala featuring local poets, musicians, BC wines and Nelson Brewing Company beer

Nelson’s second Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, which began Thursday night with an opening gala featuring local poets, musicians, BC wines and Nelson Brewing Company’s offerings, brings literature to life for participants, according to festival director Lynn Krauss.

“This year’s Festival theme is ‘Paths to the Page,’” Krauss said. “Hearing first-hand from authors and publishers how stories, poems and even comics end up on the page is an inspiration for readers to better understand the sometimes twisted route between the initial idea and a finished book.

“Often, knowing the story behind the story increases the magic of a book we love,” she said.

Reading on Friday evening at the Hume Room of the Hume Hotel (422 Vernon Street) will be Giller Prize winner M.G. Vassanji, 2011 CBC Canada Reads winner novelist Terry Fallis, and Order of Canada and Order of BC winner Howard White, publisher, nonfiction author and poet.

Panel discussions on Saturday, held at the Shanti Centre, the former Christian Science Church (237 Baker Street), consider what creative writing courses can and can’t teach, the role of graphic novels, the crooked path toward publication of some of the festival authors, and the state of publishing today.

Saturday evening, a reading at the Hume Room features Trillium Award winner novelist Camilla Gibb, along with popular BC poet, fiction author and musician John Lent, and Quebec graphic novelist Pascal Girard.

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival also includes a credit course in nonfiction writing by Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies, plus participation by publishers Kirstin Cochrane of McClelland & Stewart Doubleday Canada and Tracy Hurren, managing editor of Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly.

The event also offers a chance for festival-goers to pitch their manuscript to a literary agent, as well as a Saturday morning spoken word writing workshop for youth.

Full details on the festival, including how to reserve tickets, are available on the festival website, emlfestival.com.

Festival sponsors, include the Canada Council for the Arts, Nelson and District Credit Union, Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Co-op, College of the Rockies and Selkirk College.

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