Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The 2012 Lakefield Literary Festival!

On the weekend of July 20-22, I participated in the Lakefield Literary Festival, in beautiful Lakefield, Ontario!

Lakefield, in addition to being one of the prettiest places in Ontario, is also one of the friendliest! I was greeted with warmth, generosity, and hospitality everywhere I went.

The town also has an impressive literary history; Canadian authors Margaret Laurence, Susannah Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail all chose Lakefield as their home.

Me in front of Margaret Laurence's Lakefield home, hoping to soak up some of her literary Karma.

The grave of author Catherine Parr Trail, sister of iconic Canadian author Susanna Moodie.

The Lakefield Literary Festival was a great event. There was an impressive roster of authors and events for all ages, presented in beautiful and historic venues all around town.

Lakefield United Church, where I presented on Saturday.

The events were as well-organized (and as well-attended!) as some of the biggest international literary festivals I've visited.

Even more impressive is that the festival is entirely volunteer-run, and it receives no public funding whatsoever; all events are sponsored by local businesses and private donors. Hats off to organizer Stephanie Ford Forrester, and her small army of volunteers!

And what volunteers! Every author is assigned a "handler", who ensures that we get to our events with no difficulties; mine went above and beyond the call of duty! Tom Passarello took me on a tour of the town and it's surroundings, and even invited me back to his lovely lakefront home for lunch and a spirited Karaoke singing session! Thanks, Tom! I had so much fun!

On Saturday, my morning began with a Parade of Authors to Cenotaph Park. The parade was led by local kids, and we were piped in by a local bagpiper! Talk about getting the Royal Treatment!

Later in the day, I was involved in two different events at the festival:


After a terrific introduction from three talented local teen volunteers, I read from Featherless Bipeds and The Monkeyface Chronicles, and then did some Q and A with the enthusiastic audience.

I was joined by my friend, author Rachna Gilmore, who read from That Boy Red, the adventures of a boy living in Prince Edward Island, which was nominated for a Silver Birch Award this year.


At the Bryan Jones Theatre at Lakefield College, I had the great privilege of introducing and interviewing Dan Needles.

As most Canadians know, Dan is the author of the famous Wingfield Farm Series plays, based on the adventures of a stockbroker turned farmer. He also writes columns for several magazines including Harrowsmith-Country Life and Country Guide magazines, and has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour.

Interviewing Dan Needles at the Bryan Jones Theatre.

Dan is a funny and engaging speaker, and, since he attended Lakefield College, the capacity crowd was treated to many "inside stories" from Dan's Lakefield days. About a dozen of my friends and family asked me to tell Dan how much they love his Wingfield tales. I did!


As if the festival's terrific volunteers hadn't already done enough for us, on Sunday morning, Rachna Gilmore, Ian Wallace and I were were treated to a beautiful boat tour by Robin and Bill Robb! Thanks for such a beautiful conclusion to a great festival weekend!

Events like the Lakefield Literary Festival are one of the reasons I love my job! Thanks to everyone involved!

The official Lakefield Literary Festival website can be seen HERE!