Awesome kick-off planned for NorthWords
MUSKOKAN - NorthWords Muskoka Literary Festival is an annual celebration of excellence in Canadian literature, providing a unique opportunity to meet some of Canada’s finest writers. It also prides itself on its diversity, providing something for everyone. This year the festival with take place on Sept. 28 to 30.
Muskoka literary festival takes place Sept. 28 to 30 at the Algonquin Theatre
Neil Pasricha, author of the New York Times bestseller The Book of Awesome, will kick off the festival on Sept. 28 at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville with a humorous and uplifting presentation celebrating the little moments in life that are often overlooked but can brighten a day. Pasricha created a blog, 1000 Awesome Things, in 2008, which was a countdown of the best of these moments. The blog, with over 40,000 hits daily, ended on April 19 of this year, with his No. 1 pick.
With passion, charisma, and humour, Pasricha will discuss how focusing on the “awesome” has helped him through difficult times and how savouring the joy in these moments can change anyone’s perspective on life. The presentation will be a poignant reminder of why life really is awesome. He will be joined by students from Huntsville High presenting slam poetry on being awesome.
The rest of the weekend’s events will include a series of discussions, readings and book signings by a diverse group of authors. Fans of literary fiction can enjoy a breakfast with two of Canada’s leading women novelists, Elizabeth Hay and Eva Stachniak. Hay, who won the 2007 Scotiabank Giller prize for her novel Late Nights on Air, will discuss her latest novel, Alone in the Classroom, one of Amazon’s best books of Canadian Fiction for 2011. Stachniak will be presenting her third novel, The Winter Palace, based on the life of Catherine the Great.
Linden McIntyre, winner of the 2009 Giller Prize for The Bishop’s Man, and co-host of CBC’s The Fifth Estate will provide insight into his own writing process and present his latest novel Why Men Lie. He will be joined by acclaimed Canadian crime writer, Andrew Pyper, author of numerous Canadian bestsellers, including The Guardian, who will read from his latest book, The Demonologist.
Memoirist Marina Nemat will discuss her book, Prisoner of Tehran, which chronicles her life in Iran, including time spent in Evin, where as a political prisoner she was tortured and nearly executed. Carmen Aguire, actress and novelist, will read from her memoir, Something Fierce – Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, the winner of the 2012 Canada Reads contest. The memoir details her time as a child and teenager spent moving with her parents throughout Chile, where they were members of the resistance movement against Augusto Pinochet.
On a lighter note, the festival will present a dinner with two of Canada’s most talented humour writers, Terry Fallis and Trevor Cole. Fallis is the recipient of the 2011 Canadian Reads with The Best Laid Plans will read from his latest novel, Up and Down, due out in September 2012. Also participating will be Trevor Cole, winner of the 2011 Leacock Medal for humour for his latest novel, Practical Jean. Cole has been rated one of the best young novelists in Canada by the Globe and Mail. Kevin Callan, host of CBC’s radio show The Happy Camper, will give a presentation based on the book of the same name, including a special demonstration on camping and canoeing at a breakfast in the park.
A free event for families will take place in the afternoon Sept. 30. Renowned children’s novelist Gordon Korman will give a humorous presentation about his writing, including his latest trilogy, The Titanic Series. Illustrator and author, Ruth Ohi, author of the Chicken Pig Cow series will also be a part of the afternoon. Other participants include: storyteller and author Aubrey Davis, whose picture book Bagels for Benny won a Mr. Christie (Silver) award and the Canadian Jewish Book award for children’s literature; Frieda Wishinksky, winner of the Governor General Award for her picture book Each One Special; and Vikki Van Sickle, author of middle grade novels, including Words that Start With B and Love is a Four Letter Word. Multi-award-winning illustrator Werner Zimmerman will also be reading and providing mini-workshops for participants.
A daylong workshop for local writers will be held on Sept. 28. David Layton, author and teacher of Creative Writing at York University and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, will present a morning seminar focussing on the techniques needed to keep your novel going and sustain several hundred pages of prose. Topics such as the use (and abuse) of plot, narrative arc, character, writer’s voice, and dramatic dialogue will be examined.
By popular demand, Carolyn Forde from Westwood Creative literary agency will return to give an overview on getting published in various genres. The afternoon session will break into smaller groups with four different options for participants: fiction writing with David Layton, crime writing with Peter Robinson, romance writing with Sherri Somerville and humour writing with Trevor Cole.
Once again local elementary school students will be invited to participate. This year Gordon Korman will offer readings and Q-and-A sessions at the Algonquin Theatre.
Additional information can be found at northwords.org or by dropping in to the Bookcase in Huntsville.