The 2013 Elephant Mountain Literary Festival presenters include novelists Camilla Gibb (left) and M.G. Vassanji.

Literary stars coming to Nelson for writer’s festival

Nelson's second annual Elephant Mountain Literary Festival is July 11 to 14.

Winners of the Giller Prize, Governor-General’s Literary Award, Trillium Book Award, Canada Reads, and the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor are among the lineup of presenters at Nelson’s second annual Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, July 11 to 14.

Along with the roster of nationally-known and local authors and publishers, this year’s Festival will feature all three of BC’s Interior mountain colleges offering in Nelson two-week intensive courses in writing and editing, which may be taken for college credit or general interest.

“Last year’s lineup of authors was hard to top,” said Lynn Krauss, director of the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival.  “But we think we’ve done it.”

Among those reading from their work and speaking on panels are M.G. Vassanji, who has won the Giller Prize twice with his novels, including the In-Between World of Vikram Lall.  He also is a winner of the Governor-General’s Literary Award for nonfiction.

Joining Vassanji in Nelson will be Toronto’s Camilla Gibb, whose novels include Sweetness in the Belly, which won the Trillium Award. Also part of the festival this year will be funnyman Terry Fallis, whose novel The Best Laid Plans was the 2011 CBC Canada Reads winner and was also awarded the Stephen Leacock Medal for humor.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with the festival, Okanagan College, Selkirk College and College of the Rockies will each offer a writing-related course at Selkirk’s 10th Street Campus in Nelson. For half-days July 8 to 19, Okanagan will offer a course in professional editing, while Selkirk presents an introductory creative writing workshop. College of the Rockies is offering a course in creative nonfiction, with an online portion June 26 to July 5, and a classroom portion at the 10th Street Campus July 8 to 12.

These classes have an upper limit, so early enrollment is advised. Further details including how to register may be found under the “Courses” tab on the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival website,

Other authors appearing in Nelson at the 2013 festival include Vernon poet, fiction writer and musician John Lent, who formerly taught at Nelson’s Notre Dame University.  And the Quebecois graphic novelist Pascal Giard, whose Bigfoot won the 2011 Best Book at the Canadian comics’ Doug Wright Awards, will speak and show examples of his work.

Publishers appearing at this year’s festival include the founder of BC’s Harbour Publishing, Howard White. White was in the news most recently as the purchaser of Vancouver’s bankrupt Douglas & McIntyre firm, making him head of one of Canada’s largest publishing consortiums. White is also a poet and nonfiction author, as well as editor of the popular Raincoast Chronicles anthologies.

Also speaking this July will be Kirstin Cochrane, executive publisher of McClelland & Stewart Doubleday Canada and executive vice-president of Random House of Canada. Joining her will be the managing editor of Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly publishers, Tracy Hurren, whose firm publishes leading graphic novelists and cartoonists.

Besides readings and talks by invited guests, festival events include an opening gala featuring several local writers, a spoken word youth workshop, and an opportunity for festival-goers to pitch their manuscript to a literary agent.

Full details on festival events, including how to purchase tickets, are available on the Festival website,  Festival sponsors to date include the Canada Council for the Arts, Nelson and District Credit Union, Columbia Basin Trust, College of the Rockies and Selkirk College.

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