Chelene Knight named Word Vancouver’s new executive director


Chelene Knight named Word Vancouver’s new executive director

VANCOUVER, BC – Word Vancouver, Western Canada’s largest free festival of reading and writing, has named Chelene Knight as its new executive director. She will be the fifth director to guide the festival in its 24-year history, following Bryan Pike, the festival’s previous director.

“I'm thrilled to welcome Chelene Knight as the new ED of Word Vancouver and I wish Bryan Pike all the best as he moves on to other endeavours,” said Mary-Ann Yazedjian, president of Word Vancouver’s board of directors. “Chelene's extensive experience in the literary community of Vancouver will be an excellent addition to this festival and the board is excited to work with her to see Word Vancouver grow and flourish.”

Knight was appointed executive director by Word Vancouver’s board of directors following a nation-wide search that culminated in May. Knight will make her debut as executive director with the 2018 Word Vancouver festival, commencing immediately.

“I have helped organize, curate and been an integral part of some of Canada's biggest literary festivals. I'm looking forward to bringing on a team that promises to make Word Vancouver 2018 and beyond an inclusive, literary game-changer,” said Knight. “With a focus on mentorship and amplifying marginalized voices, I hope to take Word Vancouver to a whole new level.”

Both Knight and Pike will be working together for a gradual turn-over of festival administration. Knight looks forward to getting a handle on the logistics this year to guide future changes for the 2019 festival.

The Vancouver Book and Magazine Fair Society was founded in 1995 and hired Bryan Pike of Rebus Creative as the executive director in 1998. As the producer for Word Vancouver, Rebus Creative has built and transformed the festival into a key event in Greater Vancouver’s literacy and literary community. Earlier this year, Pike announced he was stepping down as Executive Director of the Vancouver Book and Magazine Fair Society after 20 years.

“I'd like to thank our literary community for all the support for the past 20 years and I'm looking forward the new direction Word will take with Chelene at the helm,” said Bryan Pike.

Knight has also announced a partnership with Meghan Bell as Development Director. Bell is the Publisher of Room magazine and has workedin marketing and fundraising for multiple arts organizations in the Lower Mainland, including the Vancouver International Film Festival and Just For Laughs NorthWest.

In addition to her new role as executive director, Knight will continue to serve as the managing editor of Room magazine and as the programming director of the affiliated Growing Room Festival, a feminist literary festival that celebrated its sophomore year in March. Knight is a publishing professional as well as the author of two books, most recently the memoir, Dear Current Occupant (Book*hug, 2018). She has been named by CBC as one of 18 Canadian women writers to read in 2018 and will be a familiar face to many in the arts and beyond.

Word Vancouver runs from September 24–30, 2018, and offers workshops, panels, readings, and an annual book fair. Attendance is free and open to the public.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Board member and acting publicist

Word Vancouver



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