litfest new west 2017

Friday, March 31

LitFest Opening: Pop This Podcast!

Saturday, April 1

Kids Workshops
Adult Workshops
New West Craft / Literary Marketplace
New Media Gallery
Community: Exhibition
Featured Event: Read Aloud, An Evening of Stories
Lit Cafés

Sunday, April 2

Featured Event: In Their Words
Adult Workshops

LitFest New West 2017 At a Glance

LitFest New West Schedule

Download a PDF of the LitFest Brochure

Friday, March 31

716 Sixth St, New Westminster
Click here for tickets

Pop This! Podcast Live Taping
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Join Lisa Christiansen and Andrea Warner in conversation with acclaimed author JJ Lee for a lively discussion about fashion and pop culture.
Pop This! is two women talking about pop culture. It is produced by Andrea Gin and normally recorded at the Vancouver Public Library. This live taping is sponsored by the New Westminster Public Library. Press play and come hang out with your two new best friends.
Tickets will be available March 1. For more information,

PopThis Lisa Christiansen and Andrea Warner

Lisa Christiansen is a broadcaster, journalist, and longtime metal head. Andrea Warner is a music critic, author, and former horoscopes columnist.



JJ Lee

JJ Lee is a fashion essayist, memoirist, ghost story writer, and journalist. His memoir, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s, Charles Taylor, and Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust prizes in nonfiction. His personal and fashion essays have appeared in several magazines including ELLE Canada and he hosted the CBC Radio show, Head to Toe. His serialized novelette The Ghosts of Havenholm appears in Tenth to the Fraser.

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saturday, April 1


810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster

Seeing with New Eyes: Engaging the Imagination to See Beyond Appearances
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Click here for registration

Join children’s author Grayson Smith in a fun, creative journey into the microscopic world of a tiny  mite. Using the rhyming verse and masterful illustrations in his book, Flight of the Mite, Grayson will guide participants through imaginative play, creative problem solving and sensory explorations.  Suitable for ages 5 to 8.

Grayson Smith

Beyond children’s book authoring, Grayson Smith is a police officer, dad and husband. His titles, Flight of the Mite and There’s a Norseman in the Classroom! have enchanted, entertained, and engaged children across BC. He founded and operates Peppermint Toast Publishing, which produces children’s picture books in profit-sharing partnerships with local charities.



Kendra Kandlestar
Kendra Kandlestar

Enchanted Eggs: Using the Five Senses to Hatch Your Very Own Curious Creature
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Click here for registration

Children’s author and illustrator Lee Edward Födi leads a lively interactive session of brainstorming,  prop building, and writing. Lee will show participants his writing process, which combines illustration, building, and traipsing through castles, tombs, and crypts. Participants will get to design, make, and
paint their very own enchanted egg…then imagine what will hatch out of it. Suitable for ages 7 and up.

Lee Edward Fodi

Lee Edward Födi is a children’s author and illustrator — or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming expert. He is the author of the Kendra Kandlestar series and was most recently the official illustrator of the 2016 BC Summer Reading Club at your local public library.




River Market, 810 Quayside Dr, New Westminster
11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Click here for more information

New West Craft is a handmade market hosted by the Arts Council of New Westminster. In celebration of LitFest New West, the April 1 market will feature handmade goods for book lovers and writers. A collection of local publishers will be participating as well.

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777 Columbia St, New Westminster
New City Archive: Reinventing Community through Alternative Poetics
Anvil Centre, Media Room 417
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Click here for registration

Geoff Nilson brings the myriad voices of New Westminster into play through alternative poetic practices. Using quotes, found text and other creative processes, he engages our history while
delving deeper into the unheard voices of the city’s past and present. Discover new, lost or forgotten perspectives, invigorated by the power of writing.

Geoffrey Nilson

Geoffrey Nilson is a contributing editor for Arc Poetry Magazine and the author of two chapbooks,  Alchemy Machine and We Have to Watch. His poems and essays have appeared widely in Canada including in Poetry is Dead, Event, PRISM International, subTerrain, Lemon Hound, The Rusty Toque, and Qwerty. He lives in New Westminster with his daughter.

Our Chaotic World and Writers’ Responsibilities
Anvil Centre, Media Room 417
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Click here for registration

Nasreen Pejvack’s workshop explores the idea of encouraging writers to write for people, not for fame (e.g. Fan Fiction), and interesting people in reading again as opposed to consuming mass social-media. As she points out, today, the social responsibilities of a writer are much more important than ever in our history.

Nasreen Pejvack

Nasreen Pejvack is the author of Amity, a finalist for the 2016 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. She has been a writer/activist pre and post Iran’s brutal revolution. She moved to Canada in the mid-80s and since 2013 has dedicated her life to writing, and challenging the power hungry and warmongers.


Anvil Centre, New Media Gallery
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
For more information, click here

In response to the New Media Gallery’s spring exhibit BRINK, poet Kevin Spenst and visual artist/art therapist Shauna Kaendo will collaboratively perform a work that unfolds around the intersections of movement, expectations, uncertainties, trust and the balance we try to find — and keep — amidst our impossibly complex relations.

Kevin Spensta Pushcart Poetry nominee, is the author of Jabbering with Bing Bong, Ignite (both with Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Ward Notes (the serif of nottingham), and Flip Flop Faces and Unexpurgated Lives (JackPine Press).  His work has won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry, been nominated for both the Alfred G. Bailey Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and has appeared in dozens of publications including Prairie Fire, CV2, the Rusty Toque, BafterC, Lemon Hound, Poetry is Dead, and the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2014. He lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. where he’s an enthusiastic participant in a number of writing communities.

Shauna Kaendo is a mixed media artist and art therapist working in Vancouver BC. She is tirelessly (and gaspingly) excited by the bends that happen in the middle of our plans, our collaborations, and awkwardnesses. As well as the possibilities around community-building by way of peer support and connection, art-making and creative expression. Her approach to both art-making and art therapy is grounded in an emphasis on process, play and exploration of materials – and the belief that we all have the potential (and capacity) to bend.

Anvil Centre Community Art Space
Click here for more information, click here to register

LitFest New West has partnered with the City of New Westminster’s Arts Services to present an exhibition by local artists and writers. Each artist has been paired with a writer to create work that is inspired by a text-based piece. The exhibition reflects the theme of Community in art and words.
The Community exhibition will be on display at the Anvil Centre Community Art Space from April 1 – June 2, 2017.

Join us for the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, April 1 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Visual Artists Literary Artist
Barb Webb Alan Girling
Clarissa Argueta Janet Kvammen
Danielle Bobier Alan Hill
Elena Zhukova Elaine Avila
Iris Low Anna Camporese
Jacky Hosford Gayle Mavor
Leah Floyd Julia Schoennagel
Susan Greig Lisa Strong
Franci Louann Celeste Snowber

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Read Aloud: An Evening of Stories
Anvil Centre Performing Arts Theatre
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Click here for free tickets

Come and be enriched with stories as four acclaimed authors, Aislinn Hunter, Catherine Owen, Carleigh Baker and Nasreen Pejvack, share from their compelling collections of work. The evening will also include readings from the winners of the LitFest New West Short Story Competition, which was sponsored by Dale Darychuck, QC.

Aislinn Hunter

Aislinn Hunter is the award-winning author of six books of poetry, lyric essays, and fiction. Her first novel Stay was made into a feature film, and her most recent novel The World Before Us won the 2015 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Her third collection of poetry, Linger, Still, will be published in the spring of 2017.



Catherine Owen

Catherine Owen is the author of thirteen collections of poetry and prose, including her interviews on writing The Other 23 and a Half Hours; Or Everything you Wanted to Know That Your MFA didn’t Teach You, and her book of short stories, The Day of the Dead. Her work has been nominated for awards and appeared in anthologies and translations. Her most recent book of poetry is Dear Ghost (2017).

Carleigh Baker

Carleigh Baker is a Cree-Métis / Icelandic writer. Her work has appeared in subTerrain, PRISM International, Best Canadian Essays, and The Journey Prize Anthology. She also writes book reviews for The Globe & Mail, The Literary Review of Canada, and The Malahat Review. Her first book, Bad Endings, (Anvil Press, 2017) is now available.


Nasreen Pejvack

Nasreen Pejvack is the author of Amity, a finalist for the 2016 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. She has been a writer/activist pre and post Iran’s brutal revolution. She moved to Canada in the mid-80s and since 2013 has dedicated her life to writing, and challenging the power hungry and warmongers.


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636 6th Street, New Westminster

Facing Danger
2:00 – 4:00 pm

Local author David E. Burnell reads from his novels, A Nightingale Sang and In Moonlight’s Shadow. David’s stories transport you to a time when we knew who the bad guys were, and people were prepared to risk their lives for the good of all. Presented by the New West Writers Group.  Be there for a chance to win $25 towards the cost of a meal.  You will also receive a free copy of Collage – the group’s latest publication.

David Burnell

David E. Burnell’s interest in writing started in the early 1980s. He has published four novels and an anthology of short stories. He is in the process of writing another novel with the working title Jerry Brent’s War, to be published in 2017. For more information, see



447 Columbia St, New Westminster

Meet & Eat: A Literary Feast
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

New West Writers Group will launch their latest publication Collage at this literary feast. The writing menu will cater to all tastes – poetry and tales of World War II bravery for starters, stories of modern-day Scottish knights, vampires and gangster robots for the main course, and guides to the little-known places of the world as dessert. Join us to select your favourites. Be there for a chance to win $25 towards the cost of your meal. The magazine Collage is free. For more information, visit the website:


609 Columbia St, New Westminster

 A World of Stories
7:30 pm– 9:00 pm
Call Judge Begbie’s Tavern to make a reservation: 604 525 4411

Join us for an evening of storytelling from around the globe, shared by people from all walks of life, who are happy to call Canada home. This evening will feature stories that remind us that no matter where we are from, we are all connected through love, laughter and the magic of a good yarn. Sponsored by Laughter Zone 101. The Emcee for the evening is Nic Enright Morin.

Nic Enright Morin
Nic Enright Morin

Marylee Stephenson
Marylee Stephenson

Alison Olgivie
Alison Olgivie

Janice Bannister
Janice Bannister

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In Their Words: A Royal City Reading Series
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Launched at last year’s LitFest New West, this series features guest speakers who will showcase their favourite authors. Each speaker will introduce an author and read from their work. Genres range from fiction to non-fiction, poetry to memoir.  Presented in partnership with Royal City Literary Arts Society and the New Westminster Public Library.

Carol Narod – reads Thomas Hardy (literary fiction)
Kyle McKillop – reads Patrick Lane (poetry)
Sylvia Symons – reads Evelyn Lau (poetry / creative non-fiction)
Sana Ziist Janjua – reads Eduardo Galeano (social commentary)


Centennial Lodge, Queen’s Park, New Westminster
Click here for registration

How Do Writers Improve Their Work? A New West Writers Critiquing Workshop
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The answer to the question is that many seek constructive feedback from their peers. New West Writers Group offers an opportunity to hear members talk on the value of joining a writing community, and to observe a critique session. Bring along your own work or simply listen. But most of all, you will get a chance to discover if a writing group will work for you.

New West Writers hold a critique session on the third Saturday of the month from 10:30 am in The Gallery at Queens Park. All writing is welcome – poetry, novels, short stories, creative non-fiction, and children’s stories. For more information, visit the website:


555 Sixth St, New Westminster

Wordplay: A Sense of Place
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Click here for registration

Alan Girling hosts an idea-generating writing prompt group featuring ekphrastic inspiration. Janet Kvammen will provide photo prompts of New Westminster to spark your creative imagination. Experience new approaches to your writing; unlock that treasure chest of ideas in your head! This group generates some fabulous first drafts; all you need to bring is writing tools, paper, and a ready mind. This is not a critique group; let’s have some fun! Presented by the Royal City Literary Arts Society.

Alan Girling

Alan Girling is a teacher and writer whose work has appeared in such journals as FreeFall, Hobart, Lichen, and The MacGuffin, on CBC radio, in various online journals, at live readings, even in shop windows. He has won two poetry prizes and has had a short play produced. Currently, he writes poetry and sometimes fiction and often works with the Royal City Literary Arts Society.



Janet Kvammen

Vice President of Royal City Literary Arts Society and New West Artists, Janet Kvammen is a poet, photographer and visual artist. Published in over a dozen anthologies, Janet has been a featured poet, host, and organizer of many local events. She is the recipient of a 2016 Nehru Humanitarian Award, 2014 World Poetry Empowered Poet Award as well as 2012 W.I.N. Distinguished Poet and Artist Award.



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