Kootenay Literary Society

The ad hoc committee that became the Kootenay Literary Society began meeting in 2008 with the aim of returning to Nelson a credit post-secondary program in writing, editing and publishing. This mandate was formerly part of the role of the Writing Studio (department) of Nelson’s Kootenay School of the Arts (KSA); the department was eliminated in 2002 as a consequence of provincial government cutbacks. The group’s membership includes the former co-directors of KSA’s Writing department, and KSA’s former executive director.

Also part of the group’s mission is to augment Nelson and area writers’ and readers’ access to Canadian authors and publishers, and to showcase area writers to local audiences.  After some years of functioning as a network and information exchange, the group resolved to undertake the organization of a summer literary festival in Nelson, accompanied by the offering of credit writing-related courses, as a first step toward meeting the group’s goals.  Since February of 2011 the Festival committee has met every two weeks; in August 2011 the group, now named the Kootenay Literary Society, was incorporated and officially registered as a B.C. nonprofit society.

Kootenay Literary Society Members

Co-founding Director Tom Wayman introduces panelists at the 2016 EMLF. (Will Johnson photo)

Antonia Banyard

Antonia Banyard  Antonia Banyard has worked on both sides of the publishing desk as a writer and editor.  She has been published in literary magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US, England, and Australia. She has degrees in writing from the University of Victoria and the University of Queensland. She has published books for children and adults, including the 2007 children’s nonfiction book Dangerous Crossings!, and her 2010 novel Never Going Back.

Leesa Dean

Leesa is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program and teaches English and Creative Writing for Selkirk College. She’s been a finalist for literary accolades such as the Irving Layton Award, the Litpop Award, Kootenay Mountain Culture’s writing contest and the Quebec Writing Competition. Her first book, Waiting for the Cyclone, was published by Brindle & Glass in October.

Anne DeGrace

Anne is a librarian, writer, incorrigible volunteer. She is the author of four traditionally published novels, several self-published regional books, and also writes for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Work in community cultural development has been ongoing in various capacities for more than three decades. Most recently she was president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which turned a defunct movie theatre into a successful social enterprise.

Wendy Kelly

Wendy holds a degree in English & French Literature with a minor in Business Economics. She currently freelances for a performance analytics company, and has recently studied website development, software applications, and DevOps. She has lived and worked in several countries around the world and currently lives in Nelson with her brewmaster husband and four boys.

Verna Relkoff

Verna is an author and editor. From 1991 – 2002 she was a director of Kootenay School of the Arts (KSA) Writing Studio, and was a KSA founding board member. She has been a member of organizing committees for (among other literary events) Terrain festival, Nelson, August 1996, and From Eh to Zee, Student Writers’ Weekend, Nelson, March 1998. Most recently she was a principal of Mint Literary Agency.

Judy Toews

As a career nutritionist, Judy penned three non-fiction books about healthy living (Key Porter Books). Now, Judy’s fascination with forensics and training in science come in handy in her second career as a crime fiction writer. Her first novel, Give Out Creek (Mosaic Press, 2018) was shortlisted for the 2016 Arthur Ellis Award by the Crime Writers of Canada. She writes under the pen name J.G. Toews.

Tom Wayman

Tom is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His 2012 poetry collection Dirty Snow won the Acorn-Plantos award; his 2015 collection of short fiction, The Shadows We Mistake for Love, won the 2016 Diamond Foundation Prize for Fiction (Western Canada Jewish Book Awards). He formerly taught widely in the B.C. community college system, including Nelson’s Kootenay School of the Arts, and his stints as writer-in-residence include the University of Windsor, University of Alberta, University of Toronto. He taught English and writing at the University of Calgary 2002-2010.

Executive Director Natasha Smith

Natasha is an artist, teacher and arts administrator. She holds a BA hons in Fine Art Printmaking from Duncan of Jordanstone College, University of Dundee, Scotland. She has worked in the non-profit arts sector for nine years as an administrative assistant and project coordinator for the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council and grant advisor and administrator for the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. She currently coordinates the Oxygen Art Centre’s Education Program, is Executive Director for The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival and continues her fine art practice from her home studio in Krestova.


Elephant Mountain Literary Festival seeks Executive Director

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival in Nelson, B.C. is looking for an EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. This is a paid part-time job starting in October 2018. The festival, now in its eighth year, was named by the Toronto Star in 2016 as one of Canada’s 10 greatest literary festivals (Elephant Mountain and the Vancouver literary festival were the only B.C. ones so honored). The Executive Director works with the festival’s organizing committee to ensure the July event’s continued success.

A full description of duties can be found in the job description posted below. The job involves approximately 860 hours over 11 months. Base rate is $12,000, with remuneration rising as the budget increases.

To apply, please send a letter of application and CV to: Tom Wayman, Secretary-Treasurer, Kootenay Literary Society at appledor@netidea.com  Any questions regarding the position can be addressed to the same person. Deadline for applications is Sept. 21, 2018.

Elephant Mountain Literary Festival

Job Description for Executive Director

Job Title: Executive Director

Job Summary

The executive director is responsible to effectively manage all aspects of the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival as determined by the Kootenay Literary Society Board of Directors and the EMLF Committee.

Duties and Responsibilities:


The executive director is required to keep the Board and EMLF Committee members apprised of all pertinent information regarding the planning, organization, and execution of the Festival.


  • Ensures that all correspondence is handled in an effective and timely manner, and keeps records of important communications, agreements, and transactions
  • Ensures adequate maintenance of all assets and property of the organization
  • Keeps accurate records pertaining to all areas of the Festival operation


  • Assesses short and long-term financial needs and keeps the Board and EMLF Committee apprised
  • Works closely with the Board to establish and maintain the annual operative budget
  • Authorizes expenditures in line with the approved budget
  • Identifies and pursues appropriate revenue sources and government grants
  • Maintains good communication with funders and files final reports
  • Assists with fundraising activities and events undertaken by committees
  • Performs regular banking duties


  • Is ex officio member of all Festival working committees
  • May establish working committees as necessary
  • Keeps lines of communication clear and assists where possible

Public and Media Relations

  • Develops and maintains positive working relationships with volunteers, committee members, Board members, artist presenters, community groups, the public, government departments, cultural agencies, and the media
  • Liaises with other festivals towards shared information and resources
  • Maintains oversight of social media, website, advertising, promotional materials, and general publicity
  • Gives media interviews as required

Program Management

  • Develops ideas, programs, opportunities and partnerships
  • Under the direction of the Board and EMLF Committee, plans, organizes, implements and evaluates programs
  • Assists in organization and execution of Festival-related events outside of the regular Festival program
  • Assists the EMLF Committee in attracting, training, and retaining a volunteer base
  • Negotiates with and secures venues, accommodation, food service and other Festival and special event considerations

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

This position requires experience in management, the arts, grant and report writing, sales, event management, and working with boards and volunteers in a non-profit setting. The person must be energetic, creative, stress-tolerant, hard-working, diplomatic, a team player, and have knowledge of the arts and Canadian writing.

A background in the media, public relations, event management, community programming, arts education or arts administration would be an asset

Time and compensation:

The duties outlined in the job description for executive director are undertaken in a part-time capacity over an 11-month period:

September through April: 15 hours per week

May and June: 20 hours per week

July: 40 hours per week

It is understood that hours may increase or decrease from estimate from week to week.

Compensation for the dispensation of duties as outlined in the job description: 

The base rate is $12,000, based on a $30,000 – $40,000 budget

Optimum wage should be $20 per hour

Remuneration target shall be 35% of budget

Salary cap is $20,000 regardless of budget.

This compensation plan shall be reviewed by the KLS Board annually.

Volunteer opportunities:

There are plenty of ways to be involved! EMLF can use good heads, good ideas, and good energy in committees such as fundraising, publicity, and education, as well as during the festival itself. Do you have skills and abilities to lend? Contact us.

Wendy Kelly and Verna Relkoff at the door during the 100-Mile Opening Gala in 2015.

Sharmaine Gray and Leesa Dean at the Saturday book tables.

Anne DeGrace and Natasha Smith at EMLF 2017

Book table coordinator P’nina Shames with author Grant Lawrence at EMLF 2016

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons