Outlandish Vancouver convention organizer Koko Pipkin (middle) at the 2018 event with “Outlander” TV show actors (from left) Steven Cree, Lauren Lyle, John Bell and Cesar Domboy. (submitted photo: Darrin Wildeman/DW Photography)

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Fans of ‘Outlander’ TV show make Surrey the site for annual three-day convention

‘Outlandish Vancouver’ planners were first drawn here to meet fantasy-romance novelist Diana Gabaldon

Fans of the time-travel television show Outlander have made Surrey the site of an annual convention timed with the city’s writers’ conference.

For three days and nights in late October, Koko Pipkin will travel here with others who adore the fantasy-romance series, shown on Netflix and also the STARZ network.

The Outlandish Vancouver convention is planned by Pipkin, who lives near Tacoma, WA.

“This is our third year with cast members from the TV show,” she said of the 2019 event, which kicks off with a “Cast Friday Night Mix & Mingle” at Eaglequest Coyote Creek Golf Course on Oct. 25.

For 2019, the convention’s guest actors are John Bell (who plays Young Ian), Braeden Clarke (Mohawk warrior Kaheroton), Keith Fleming (Lesley), Sera-Lys McArthur (Johiehon), Carmen Moore (Mohawk warrior Wahkatiiosta) and Ed Speleers (Stephen Bonnet), along with writer Diana Gabaldon.

Other “Sassenach Gathering” events include a “Cast Panel” at Johnston Heights Secondary, “Cocktails with the Cast” on a Fraser River paddlewheeler boat cruise, a Sunday brunch and more. Details are posted to outlandishvancouver.com.

“We are very excited to have three Canadian actors featured this year, as well as three from the U.K.” said Pipkin, who became a fan of Outlander after falling in love with Gabaldon’s books, on which the TV series is based.

Outlandish Vancouver began as a small gathering of literature fans who came to see Gabaldon speak and sign books at Surrey International Writers’ Conference in 2013.

“That was the first time I met her up there (in Surrey), and it just grew from there,” Pipkin said.

“We’re small among Outlander conventions,” she added, “and we average about 100 people for the entire weekend. Last year we had people from Lebanon and Russia come, and this year it’s more from Canada and the United States. We’d always like more.”

Outlander follows the story of a Second World War combat nurse who time-travels back to 1743 Scotland, where she’s kidnapped by a group of Highlanders and falls for an injured young man.

“I love the scenery, and how my favourite scenes from the book come to life,” Pipkin explained. “And the acting is excellent, and the costuming. It’s a wonderful show. Have you seen it? You should.”

A detailed history of Outlandish Vancouver is told in a Q&A with Pipkin on the outlandercast.com. The website also features photos from past conventions including 2018, when actors John Bell, Steven Cree César Domboy and Lauren Lyle were in Surrey for the event.

“We just became a non-profit in Washington in June, which means that all monies go directly to producing the event,” Pipkin says in the interview. “The Outlandish Vancouver team are all wonderful friends of mine who donate their time and talents all year to help plan and prepare for the weekend. This includes paying for their own travel expenses to attend and staff the event. By engaging volunteer staff, we can keep the event costs as low as possible and pass those savings on to our attendees. We do pay for the security for the event and high school students who run the A/V equipment during the panels.”

Admission for the convention’s Friday-night “Mix & Mingle” at Coyote Creek is $174 ($129 USD), and seats at the two-day panel at Johnston Heights are $127 each.

“With our convention, if somebody wanted to do every single thing, then they would not miss anything, which is unique for a convention, where things typically overlap,” Pipkin noted. “We make sure people can do every single thing if they choose to.”

Meantime, the 27th annual Surrey International Writers’ Conference returns to Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel from Oct. 25 to 27, with workshops, “pitch” sessions, book signings, evening banquets and more. Event details are posted to siwc.ca.

Elsewhere, authors Gabaldon, Chuck Wendig, Liza Palmer, Michael Slade and kc dyer will discuss and sign copies of their latest books at a “Surrey International Writers Conference Gala Night” on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Indigo Grandview Corners store, 2453 161A St., South Surrey, starting at 7 p.m. “Items to be signed by authors must be purchased from an Indigo/Chapters with proof of purchase,” says an event advisory. For more details, call 604-535-8166.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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