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Three days of events for Delta literary society’s re-branded Composed Festival

Written word to be celebrated April 18-20, with short film fest added to expanded event lineup
Delta Literary Arts Society is hosting its newly re-branded Composed Festival of Poetry and Writing April 18-20, 2024 at venues in Tsawwassen, Ladner and North Delta. (Delta Literary Arts Society image)

Delta Literary Arts Society president Angela Rebrec couldn’t be more excited about the group’s upcoming Composed Festival of Poetry and Writing.

“I really just want people to come out. It’s going to be a really great time, and it’s all free!” she gushed in a recent interview with the Reporter.

Happening April 18-20, the event is a re-brand and expansion of the society’s Unbound Poetry Festival, extending it from one to three days and adding programming in each of the city’s three communities to reflect a broader swath of the literary arts.

“We’ve expanded it a bit past poetry reading,” Rebrec said. “There’s something for children and families, [and] people who maybe aren’t necessarily into literature. We’ve got a lot of performance-type events that could appeal to people who just like really good entertainment, so you don’t have to necessarily be a writer or be a heavy reader. It’s just for people to explore and see what else is out there other than picking up a book.

“And it’s a great way for local writers to give something to the community, and for people who actually are interested in writing themselves or who love to read, it’s a good way to celebrate what they like to do. Because there’s always sporting events, there’s always other types of community events, but not often are they about art. So it’s something different that people can go and have a really great day at.”

The festival kicks off Thursday evening with “Writers In Your Neighbourhood,” a roundtable discussion at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre. An all-Delta panel of authors and poets — including Dora Dueck, Raoul Fernandez, Debra Purdy Kong and S.J. Kootz (Sandra Thompson) — will be reading from and discussing their work, as well as taking questions from the audience.

“We’re going to have hopefully a lively conversation with the authors and a host — all of them are either living in Delta now or come from Delta,” Rebrec said. “They’re going to be talking about how living in Delta has influenced their writing, and also about their writing practices and, you know, just a conversation about their works.”

Copies of the writers’ books will be on sale at the event, as well as Composed Anthology of Poetry 2024, a 72-page collection of works donated by DLAS’s members, volunteers and collaborators from the previous two Unbound festivals. Copies are $10, with proceeds benefiting the society.

“We’re hoping to make [the anthology] an annual thing as well,” Rebrec said.

On Friday night, the society is hosting the first-ever Composed Short Film Festival at Harris Barn in Ladner. The two-hour screening of entries from local and international filmmakers will be hosted by Kyle Hawke and feature a short question-and-answer session with the festival’s organizers and any of the filmmakers who are able to attend.

“I’m very excited about the film festival. We have entrants from all over the world — from Spain, Germany, Austria, New Zealand and all over Canada and the States — and locally. It’s [been] really, really exciting and entertaining watching all the films and making our selections. That was something new for me,” Rebrec said.

“There are really amazing films [in the festival] that are not necessarily mainstream but so well done and really entertaining. I’m really, really pleased that we’ve ventured out into this aspect of writing, sort of getting into the visual filmmaking aspect of literature. It’s going to be so great.”

Rebrec said the films fit broadly into two categories: poetic narrative and literary narrative. Organizers will be handing out awards for the best in each, as well as for best in the festival, best by a local filmmaker (dubbed the Burns Bog Award) and an audience choice award (voting will be via a QR code on screen).

Admission is free, however general admission tickets can be reserved on Seating nearer the front of the venue will be earmarked for those who got their tickets online, “so it pays to get your free seating on Eventbrite for the festival,” Rebrec said.

Saturday will be the main festival, with a full day of programming at the North Delta Centre for the Arts.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the event features panels discussions; book and poetry readings; workshops and one-on-one writing consultations; a haiku contest; book launches; literature-focused vendors, exhibitors, installations and interactive exhibits; food trucks and more.

New to this year, the festival will feature live performances in the venue’s lower lobby by Celeste Snowber (“Fragments Can Hold a World,” 12:15 to 1 p.m.) and Kagan Goh (“The Boy Who Faked Kung Fu,” 1:45 to 2:40 p.m.).

Those shows will take place during the intermissions between performances of “Bohemian Caress,” wherein poets Kevin Spenst and Franz Seachel will read from their work accompanied by improvised music by the Bohemian Caress Trio while painter James Picard creates brand new works inspired by the words and music he hears. Showtimes are 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:25 p.m.

“It’s an event for all the senses,” Rebrec said.

Among the discussions and readings planned are an emerging writers panel (10:30 a.m.), a screening of the film Stolen Memories (11:30 a.m.) followed by the “Brave BIPOC Voices” panel (12:30 p.m.), the “Whether the Weather” panel (1:30 p.m.), and “Dueling Editors Live” (2:30 p.m.), where a pair of editors from Editors BC will go over another writer’s work on screen, offering the audience a chance to see and better understand the editing process.

At 3:30 p.m., the festival will host the “Pandemic Screwed Us Over Book Launch,” where three authors whose books came out during the dark days of COVID-19 will get the chance to “officially” debut their recent work.

Also planned are a series of seven free writing workshops, plus (new this year) another three just for kids, as well as the popular “Blue Pencil Edits” free one-on-one writing consultations, which have “sold out” in previous years. Pre-registration for all workshops and consultations is available online via

As in previous years, closing out the festival will be the Poetry Slam competition at 6 p.m. Hosted by Tawahum Bige, the contest is open to all but limited to eight participants, and members of the audience vote to decide the winners.

Top three finishers will receive cash prizes ($100 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third), but all participants will be given a book from “The Abandoned Library of Irene P.,” a collection of about 600 hundred books from an abandoned library that the society is slowly “re-homing.”

Those interested in competing in the slam can register for free via Eventbrite.

More event details and information about the Delta Literary Arts Society can be found at

James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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