Every April, book lovers from all over gather in the village of Eastsound to attend the Orcas Island Lit Fest (OILF). In its third year, the festival highlights the vibrancy of literary culture, and all activities are curated with the reader in mind. This year’s event is April 17-19. 

A Book Lover’s Festival 

Inspired by their love of the written word, writers Jule Treener and Scott Hutchins co-founded Orcas Island Lit Fest. Having spent time on the island, Treener knew its beauty made the perfect location for an inspiring literary festival, and was  familiar with the community’s love and patronage of the arts. 

“We want to help people reconnect with their love of books, and become part of a community that celebrates good writing and develops a welcoming space where insightful conversations happen,” says Treneer, whose official title is Orcas Island Lit Fest President and Co-founder. 

The April 2020 lineup includes Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Timothy Egan; two-time Washington State Book Award winner Nicola Griffith; award-winning sci-fi and fantasy writer Kij Johnson; international best-selling author Arthur Phillips; Whiting Award-winning poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips; and Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea. Along with these featured guests, there will be more than 50 writers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond in attendance.  

Inspiring A Community Of Readers 

Festivities kick off Friday night with a free Lit Walk where you walk to cafes and bars to hear local and regional writers read their work. The following two days include lively and informative panel discussions and interviews, as well as a book fair where attendees can purchase books and meet authors. Saturday evening marks the main event: a gala with live music alternating a program of several author readings.  

OILF Kids’ Fest, a free community event that requires advance tickets, presents award-winning children’s and young adult authors during the festival weekend. Kids can hear authors give readings at the Orcas Island Library on Saturday, April 18. 

The Lit Fest sells out fast. To complement their stay, festival-goers receive local discounts on hotels and at different cafes around town. To find out more and purchase tickets ($70 for a weekend pass), go to their website at oilf.org.