The Malahat Review's signature literary festival returns for 2016

Humanities, Fine Arts

- Patrick Grace

Just as the cherry blossoms hit full bloom, The Malahat Review will host its annual literary symposium, WordsThaw, from March 16 to 20. Mingle with over 30 poets, novelists, short-story writers, film makers and journalists on campus for the renowned literary quarterly's fourth-annual writing festival.

WordsThaw kicks off with a screening of The Trick with the Gun at Cinecenta on Wednesday, Mar. 16. The film documents magic's most notorious illusion, the bullet catch, as reinterpreted by the film's writers Christopher Gudgeon and Scott Hamell. Last year's Southam Lecturer, Mark Leiren-Young, will interview Gudgeon on stage after the film. (Tickets must be purchased through Cinecenta.)

On Thursday, Mar. 17, as part of the Faculty of Humanities' Lansdowne Lecture series, Toronto writer Molly Peacock will present commonalities between thepoem's intuition and the essay's savoir-faire in "Fact, Metaphor, and the Single Voice: Where Creative Nonfiction Meets Poetry." This is a free event, open to the public.

Words on Ice-an evening reading ranging from poetry spoken word, fiction to nonfiction-takes place on Friday, Mar. 18 and celebrates the breadth of literature. Featured readers include Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Victoria City Councillor Jeremy Loveday, Lansdowne Lecturer Molly Peacock, as well as M.A.C. Farrant, Kim Trainor, Jordan Abel, Stella Harvey, and UVic alumni Laura Trunkey and J.D. Zapf.

Saturday will be a full day of panel discussions around creative nonfiction. In the morning, explore writers' archives in "Literary Afterlives" with UVic Professor Nicholas Bradley, MacPherson Library's Lisa Goddard, esteemed philosopher and poet Jan Zwicky, and moderator Heather Dean, MacPherson Library's Associate Director of Special Collections. In the afternoon, dig deep with Vancouver poet Kim Trainor, UVic Writing alumni Arleen Par&e#180; and Kyeren Regehr, and moderator Anita Lahey in "The Investigative Poet." Explore 'truths' in "Creative Nonfiction in Canada Today: Fact, Fiction or Scandal?" with Christopher Gudgeon and UVic Writing faculty Lynne Van Luven, Frances Backhouse, and Alisa Gordaneer, moderator.

Early-bird registrants are eligible for a "Brief Encounter"-a 15-minute blue-pencil workshop during the noon lunch hour with one of six local writers: Troy Sebastian, Keith Jones, Katherine Wagner, and UVic Writing notables Melanie Siebert, Stephanie Harrington, and Annabel Howard. Participants may sign up for critical feedback on works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or graphic novel / cartooning.

WordsThaw wraps up its biggest year yet with Molly Peacock's Master Class on Sunday, March 20. The afternoon workshop will focus on the sonnet as a secret essay, and will be held downtown at the Greater Victoria Public Library. Advance registration is required.

WordsThaw passes may be purchased in advance for $35 ($20 for students) or during the symposium for $50 ($25 for students). Individual tickets will be sold at the door to Words on Ice for $10 ($5 for students) and to each panel for $18 ($12 for students).

For more detailed information, go to, email WordsThaw at, or call 250-721-8524. Follow WordsThaw announcements on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsthaw.

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Keywords: English, literature

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