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Vancouver Writers Festival Sets Record for Sold-Out Events

(Vancouver – October 26, 2009) The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival wrapped up on Sunday, breaking all previous records for sold-out events.

Out of a total of 66 events over the six-day Festival, 65 per cent were either sold out or were at more than 90 per cent capacity. “It’s rewarding to have so many people flock to Granville Island to see and hear writers,” says Hal Wake, the Festival’s artistic director. “For thousands of people, this Festival strikes a chord, putting them in touch with other readers and writers who share their enthusiasm. But this is also an arts and culture event that brings an economic benefit to our city, the direct result of 14,000 people coming out to events.” More than 100 national and international authors appeared at the Festival, drawn to Vancouver from Australia, the UK, the US, Belgium, China, Italy, France and Bolivia.

Internationally acclaimed Canadian authors were also in abundance. “Even during a year when the economy was on everyone’s mind, we were able to match our record-breaking attendance numbers of last year,” says Wake. “Even before the Festival week began, more than 1,100 people came to hear Margaret Atwood, resulting in another sold-out event. Audience turnout like that makes us confident that the arts are important to people in this province.” 

The Writers Festival ended Sunday evening, Oct. 25, with CBC’s senior correspondent Peter Mansbridge telling stories about his experiences interviewing US President Obama, volunteer nurses in Sri Lanka, a mother in Holland and other ordinary and extraordinary people, which had the capacity audience both laughing and somber before they handed Mansbridge a standing ovation at the end of the evening. 

A record number of school groups also attended the Festival’s first three days, with 91 different schools from the Lower Mainland, Squamish and Vancouver Island coming to see authors talking about writing and reading in both French and English. 

One more special event will take place on Nov. 1, with US humorist David Sedaris appearing at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.

Tickets for that event are on sale now through Ticketmaster, 604.280.3311.

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