In the lead up to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival this coming weekend, I’ve been sorting through old files and unearthed some interesting bits of nostalgia. The featured image on the left shows an old clip from The Toronto Star. Pictured in the bottom right, listening to novelist Eric McCormack read from, I think, The Paradise Motel, are university students Sylvia Petrik (now Mollison), Ian Mollison, and me. This is 23 years ago at the very first Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. Yes, I can proudly say, “I was there!” And, yes, way back when, I was a huge fan of Canadian literature (still am) and loved going to readings (still do). Eric McCormack was also my favourite English professor at the University of Waterloo, too. I never tired of hearing his Scottish “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen” refrain at 8:30 a.m. classes where he taught us about Beowulf and Milton.
The picture below right is from another Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, sometime in the 1990s. I was goofing around with high-school friends after the afternoon’s festivities had wrapped up. We’d just seen Margaret Atwood up on that rustic and beautiful handmade stage about an hour before. My friends and I took turns playing the author at the podium. So, yeah, that’s me, in role, and being so much the author-wanna-be…long after the events had wrapped up.
So, it’s very sweet, poignant, and just darn amazing, that after all these years here I am on the list of children’s author presenters. I feel so honoured and so excited. This is really going to be a treat!
And, of course, Eden Mills was my home for several years. Lots of memories!Read More »
As I focus on KNOW, my own writing is taking a bit of a break. Nevertheless, I’ll continue to flex my writing muscles; I’ll be writing pieces for KNOW on a bi-monthly basis. (There are six fabulous issues per year.) In the greater community, autumn is upon us and the air is a-buzz with literary novels, mysteries, and luscious picture books. September is a great time for book lovers. The city of Kingston is hosting its third annual Kingston WritersFest from September 22 to 25. Local bookstores are flogging stacks of books by festival authors. I picked up Helen Humphries’ Coventry (2008) and Stephen Heighton’s Every Lost Country (2010). I can’t wait to dip into these books, which look amazing. Steve lives in Kingston. Young Kingston (my children’s writing group) is so pleased to have founding member Y.S. Lee presenting her young adult Victorian spy series—the Agency—at the Kingston Writers’ Fest. I’ve read the first two books in the series and they are fabulous. My daughter really enjoyed reading them, too. (After all, the books actually belong to her!) For the younger set, Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang is launching a picture book called Dogs Don’t Eat Jam.
Last week, from September 15 to 18, the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival took place. I can’t believe this has been going for 22 years. I attended the first as a university student and have attended sporadically since then, whenever I’ve been in the area. Shelagh Rogers, award-winning host of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, acted as Town Crier on several occasions. I’ve had tables there a few times, too. In fact, the Backyard Circus (Annick, 2006) stand, on my mom’s front yard, was a huge success with the kids who got to try out spinning plates, stilts, hula hoops, juggling balls, and a pogo stick. At one point, we had to put away the props to keep the noise down to a dull roar. The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival has a wonderfully bucolic atmosphere and makes a great day trip from the Toronto area.
With the brisk weather, I’m dreaming of evenings by the fire with my nose in a good book. Now, to pull myself away from the computer screen and make it happen!
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