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Leslie Hurtig named Vancouver Writers Fest’s new artistic director

Leslie HurtigFollowing news that longtime Vancouver Writers Fest artistic director Hal Wake will be retiring this fall, the organization has announced that Leslie Hurtig will take his place.

The Vancouver publishing professional is no stranger to the festival, having served as a board director from 1999 to 2016, and as its chair from 2004 to 2008. Hurtig – whose father was publisher, author, and Canadian Encyclopedia creator Mel Hurtig – has served as a publishers’ representative for Michael Reynolds and Associates, as well as a bookseller at Munro’s Books, a freelance publicist at McClelland & Stewart, and as a foreign rights and contracts manager at Raincoast Books.

Hurtig, who was selected by a special hiring committee, starts in the position on Oct. 2. She will work closely with Wake during this year’s 30th-anniversary festival, which takes place Oct. 16 to 22, and officially take over Dec. 1. Wake said in a press release that he’s “pleased” with the appointment and will be available to “help in any way I can” during the transition.