As in-person events return across B.C. this summer, Elephant Mountain Literary Festival retakes the stage for visitors to the mountains and cultural scene of Nelson, June 23 to 26. Most events take place at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, as well as venues around town.
Each year, EMLF unites top Canadian writers and local talent for a destination experience that the Toronto Star has called “one of Canada’s greatest literary festivals.” After two years operating under COVID-19 restrictions, EMLF returns with intimate lakeside encounters featuring writers such as international bestselling author Dr. Suzanne Simard and 2022 writer-in-residence Shaena Lambert.
The festival responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with distanced outdoor readings in 2020 and an online edition in 2021. “We’re so pleased to be welcoming writers and readers to once again come together in celebration of storytelling, in all its shapes and forms,” says EMLF executive director Robyn Lamb.
Simard joins the festival’s All-Star Evening on Saturday, June 25. Simard, one of the world’s leading forest ecologists, has reached millions through her 2021 memoir Finding the Mother Tree.
She is joined by Angie Abdou, whose novel The Bone Cage was a Canada Reads contender, with her new book This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Wilderness Memoir; Tom Wayman, who in 2022 joined Alice Munro and David Suzuki as a winner of a George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, with his poetry collection Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time; and Lambert, author of the B.C. Book Prize-winning novel Petra, about the founder of Germany’s Green Party in the 1980s.
As writer-in-residence, Lambert gives a free interactive talk on building fiction characters on Thursday, June 23 at the Nelson Library. She also offers one-on-one manuscript mentoring, along with Nelson poet and memoirist Rayya Liebich, through the festival’s Blue Pencil Critique series.
On Friday, June 24, the Storytelling Speakeasy pairs B.C. wines and performers, each with their own approach to spoken word: local funnyman Lucas Myers, “rabble-rouser and fancy-talker” Magpie Ulysses (Victoria), and Nelson Poetry Slam winner Ellen Burt.
On Sunday, June 26, EMLF partners with Nelson’s Capitol Theatre for a soul concert with Vancouver’s Dawn Pemberton, followed by an on-stage guest panel all about telling stories through song. Tickets for this event are by separate admission via www.capitoltheatre.ca.
The festival resumes in-person Saturday afternoon panels, and face-to-face writing workshops that include Storytelling through Song with Pemberton; Performing Spoken Word with Ulysses; and Podcasting with long-time CBC Radio reporter Bob Keating. Workshop participants share their work on-stage at a Saturday afternoon happy hour event at The Royal Hotel in downtown Nelson. A no-host brunch on Sunday with festival organizers and authors at the Prestige Resort’s West Coast Grill rounds out the weekend.
Full details and tickets are available at www.EMLFestival.com or Notably Books in Nelson.