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Elephant Mountain Literary Festival opens this week in Nelson

John Vaillant and Ivan Coyote are among the visiting authors
Ivan Coyote is among the visiting authors at this year’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival in Nelson. File photo

Submitted by Elephant Mountain Literary Festival

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival is back for its 12th year with an exciting roster of interdisciplinary programming, readings and discussions by some of the country’s most renowned authors.

They include Ivan Coyote, one of North America’s most powerful storytellers, and Governor General award-winning author John Vaillant whose recently published book on climate change, Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast, is striking a chord with national and international audiences.

The festival is on now and takes place until Sept. 17 in Nelson (with a few virtual events). Events include author readings, workshops, panels, writing mentorships, a film screening, and an apocalypse-themed zine workshop in the Nelson Museum’s bunker.

Ivan Coyote, Deryn Collier, Sonnet L’Abbé, and John Vaillant: Readings, Mentorships and Workshops

Ivan Coyote is the author of 13 books, creator of four films, six stage shows and three albums that combine storytelling with music. Their stories grapple with the complex and intensely personal topics of gender identity, family, class, and queer literation, but always with a generous heart and quick wit. You can see Ivan on Friday, Sept. 15 at the Cottonwood Reading at Capitol Theatre or take their performance workshop Active Voice at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Sonnet L’Abbé is a poet, performer, editor, and professor who also pairs music with words: the acclaimed author of four books of poetry will also be reading Friday night and will host a workshop on using rhythm to convey meaning titled It’s a Mood: Speaking Between Music and Message on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. Poets can also book a Blue Pencil mentorship with Sonnet, who is also a poetry editor for Brick Books.

Deryn Collier, celebrated mystery author from Nelson, will be reading Friday night from her newest novel, A Real Somebody — a smart, charming postwar historical novel based on the true story of an aspiring writer who dares to dream big. Based on the true story of the author’s aunt, the novel charts the journey of a talented young writer who dares to break the conventions of her time. Writers looking for fiction or memoir mentorship can book a spot with Collier through the festival’s Blue Pencil sessions.

John Vaillant has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Governor General’s Literary Award, British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, and the Pearson Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His newest novel Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast was released earlier this year to international acclaim. Vaillant will be featured at the Cottonwood Reading on Friday, Sept. 15, and also speak at the festival panel Creativity as a Catalyst for Change on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4:30 pm, at Nelson Studio 88.

The festival will also include performances, readings, discussions, and workshops from Susan Andrews Grace, James Pakootas, Amy Bohigian, Greg Nesteroff, and Renée Harper (whose zine session in the Cold War Bunker at the Nelson Museum is nearly sold out).

Get your tickets now!

Tickets for all events are now on sale, including festival Gold Passes that give ticket holders access to all festival readings and panels. Workshops and the Blue Pencil sessions are sold separately. Individual tickets and workshops are offered with sliding scale pricing this year.

For the complete festival schedule, please visit Gold passes and workshops can also be purchased in person at Notably, A Book Lover’s Emporium.

READ MORE: ‘They ran for their lives’: John Vaillant to speak about new wildfire book in Nelson