Orcas Island Lit Fest 2023

For such an isolated island with a small community of year-round residents, Orcas Island sure has a bountiful schedule of events and festivals – many of which are nationally renowned. The more time you spend on the island, the more you realize there are unicorns everywhere. Brilliant, passionate folks who don’t wave their incredible talents around but quietly go about their business bringing to life amazing works of art, conceiving and growing creative restaurant concepts, starting and sustaining inspired businesses, or organizing incredible events that blow your mind once revealed. Visionaries.


The Orcas Island Lit Fest is one of those awesome events and is celebrating its fourth anniversary of bringing world-class literary talent to the San Juan Islands this weekend!


The festival highlights the vibrant literary culture of the Pacific Northwest and beyond while showcasing writers ranging from National Book Award winners to gifted new voices. Each featured artist represents the finest in contemporary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, and more. One of the hallmarks of the Lit Fest is its inclusivity and the fact that the events are held in intimate settings where book lovers can warmly engage with world-class writers and their work.


The festival kicks off tomorrow evening, June 2, with the popular open-to-the-public Lit Walk held at multiple venues around the village of Eastsound. The next day features the OILF Kids’ Fest, a free event on Saturday morning at the Orcas Island Library starring Haitian-born storyteller Ibi Zoboi, whose 2017 book American Street was a National Book Award finalist. Honestly, this is just incredible.


Also on Saturday, the Orcas Center will host a full day of panels and readings featuring Kirstin Valdez Quade, whose book The Five Wounds has been shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence; Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King; New York Times bestselling author and “5 under 35” honoree Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; and Garth Stein, whose novel The Art of Racing in the Rain sold six million copies and was made into a feature film. And the Saturday-evening spoken-word and music celebration with all the headliners plus musician Haley Heynderickx and friends is not to be missed!


It’s easy to overuse superlatives when writing about events such as this, but we’re so very lucky to have such an incredible festival here on our little rock.


Detailed information about this year’s artists, events, and tickets can be found at oilf.org. Festival news and updates are available on  Facebook and Instagram and by signing up for the Lit Fest newsletter.


Check it out!