One of my goals in moving back to Canada from Japan was to interact with more fellow writers, so last fall I determined to volunteer for the Vancouver Writers Fest. I ended up filling a lot of shifts because the production of my last book was on hold and I really got to see how the sausage was made. I lugged chairs and equipment around to set up events, prepped food for authors and volunteers to eat, sold event tickets, manned the volunteer lounge, and wrangled a line of people eager to get a book signed by Margaret Atwood.
It was a great experience and I got on friendly terms with most of the festival staff because I was around so much. It’s been nearly a year now and I’m excited for the festival to kick off again. I’m signed up for even more events this time, with a few more roles with more responsibility too. With luck I’ll be able to squeeze in some events while I’m at it and won’t blow my monthly book budget right out of the water.
As far as meeting writers goes, I can’t say I met anyone and formed a relationship beyond a hello and a handshake, other than some festival volunteers and staff who are writers as well. I had a good time at the Volunteer Appreciation Party and Reading after the event, where I recounted my experience with eating progressively raw food, but I think I have a long way to go before I’m a part of any sort of local writing community.
Here’s hoping that the Writers Fest 2018 is even better!