Dr. Brian Goldman (Photo, Christopher Wahl)

Campbell River literary festival again features top authors, newcomers

Dr. Brian Goldman will be among the writers at Words on the Water this March

A well-known doctor and CBC personality, a philosopher musing on romantic love and the current Haig-Brown House writer-in-residence – those are just a few of the writers sharing their work at this year’s Words on the Water Festival.

The annual literary festival takes place again at Campbell River’s Maritime Heritage Centre on March 15 and 16.

“We’re very excited about this year’s lineup,” says Paul Murphy, president of organizing committee. “What we try to do is have a mix of established authors and then people who are up-and-comers.”

One of the notables is Dr. Brian Goldman, perhaps best known for his radio show, White Coat, Black Art.

“We felt that Brian Goldman is a name a lot of our audience will know because of his show on CBC,” says Murphy.

Goldman has written several books, most recently The Power of Kindness, in which he, as a physician, goes looking for his own lost compassion.

RELATED STORY: Campbell River’s Words on the Water Writers’ Festival bringing eight award-winning writers who will move you

Also featured is UBC philosophy professor Carrie Jenkins, who’s written about her theory that reconciles the humanistic and scientific components of romantic love in her book, What Is Love.

Also on the bill is current Haig-Brown writer-in-residence Terry Jordan, who’s written award-winning fiction and drama.

RELATED STORY: Campbell River writer-in-res looking for aspiring playwrights

Others include Giller finalist Alix Ohlin, author of Inside, and Monique Gray-Smith, an award-winning, best-selling author and sought-after consultant. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Literature. Newspaper columnist and author Jack Knox is also coming for the festival.

“He’s got some Campbell River connections and written about living on the Island,” says Murphy.

The festival likes to mix established authors with new voices, which this year includes Ahmed Danny Ramadan and Lindsay Wong.

On the Friday, the writers pair off to interview each other on the stage for the event featuring everyone.

“It’s probably the most popular part of the festival,” Murphy says. “It’s always sold out.”

He says it’s great introduction for first-timers at festival, who use it as a way to pick and choose what to see the following day.

On the Saturday, there are four sessions through the day, each with two authors, and that night each writer gets about 10 to 15 minutes to do something fun, unique or interesting. It might be something new they’re working on or about something that has inspired them.

“It’s meant to be a little bit of a celebration,” Murphy says.

Also this year, local John Elson is back as MC after a few years away. Murphy says Elson can be as much of a draw as some of the writers.

“He’s super well-prepared, he’s funny,” he says.

If you’re new to Words on the Water, Murphy emphasizes the event is not intended exclusively for writers but rather for all those who love reading.

The event will have appetizers for the evening events, lunch during the day on Saturday and other refreshments throughout the weekend, so Murphy encourages people to get the weekend pass.

There will also be live music at the evening events.

“You get a lot of bang for your buck out of the pass,” he said.

Over the years, the festival has featured such top writers as Richard Wagamese, Ivan Coyote, John Vaillant, Gabor Mate, Susan Musgrave, Rawi Hage, Bev Sellars, Ruth Ozeki and Wayne Johnston, who told Murphy that “pound for pound” it is one of the top three literary festivals in the country. Murphy is pleased with the response they get from the writers.

“This is their job. We want to make them feel valued, and I think a big part of that is our audience,” he says. “We have a terrific audience that sells the place out…. Our festival gets a ton of community support too.”

Coho Books is the official bookseller and sells tickets for the festival.

Advance tickets can also be purchased at the festival website.


Some authors have said “pound for pound” Words on the Water is one of the top literary festivals in the country.

Just Posted

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Press release: Port Alice Health Centre service model announced

“a sustainable and dependable model of health care service delivery in Port Alice is a priority”

First annual Pride Day coming to Port Hardy in August

Pride contributes to a more inclusive and safe community for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals.

Blaney plan helps seniors late with taxes

Simple solution to important issue: North Island-Powell River MP

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read