Summer Festivals

There are music festivals, fringe festivals, art festivals, film festivals, and even kite festivals! Check out the top ten Canadian festivals according to Trip Savvy. But also scattered across Canada, and I’m assuming the world, are also festivals for readers and writers.

Last weekend was the annual Saskatchewan Festival of Words held in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and it was my first time attending and I can’t figure out why. It was an awesome experience. I met so many wonderful people and fellow reading enthusiasts.

There were interviews, author readings, and panel discussions. I attended my first ever poetry slam competition. In this photo author, and sometimes guest host on CBC’s q, Jael Richardson is interviewing award winning author, Eden Robinson, who is also the owner of the best laugh around.

One of my favourite functions was the Dinner with Renee Kohlman, a Saskatchewan chef and food blogger from Saskatoon. If you get a chance, check out her wonderful blog, Sweetsugarbean. Also, Renee’s cookbook, All The Sweet Things, is a delightful mix of heartwarming stories, soft, bright colours, and beautiful recipes. We also dined with a delightful couple of ladies whose husbands had been RCMP officers (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) stationed in rural British Columbia. Talk about natural born storytellers, they regaled us with story after story.

Sunday included two panels discussions and it’s always helpful when authors talk about craft, their process, and how they market their books. Left to right: Tanis MacDonald, Eden Robinson, Jael Richardson, Gail Bowen, and Drew Hayden Taylor.

I think the best surprise about attending the Festival Of Words was the connection I made with people from across Western Canada. People from places like Red Deer, Alberta; Swift Current, Saskatchewan; Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the list goes on. People were more than welcoming and happy to include you in their group. Next year we’re going to win Trivia Night.

Until next time…

Are you big on summer festivals? What festivals are popular in your area?

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My Own Personal Reading Challenge

My first blog hop is over and it was a blast. Thanks for all the lovely comments and for taking the time to travel the web in search of why we love heroes. My winner for the $5 Amazon Gift Certificate and a copy of The Storytellers’ Bouquet was:

Jan D.

Go Canada!

We all know unless you live under a rock the London 2012 Olympics Games are underway in Great Britain. So exciting to watch and cheer on your country. But I can’t help thinking about those parents in the stands. I mean good luck to all the athletes and everything, but seriously? How hard it must be to sit in those seats and wait for your son or daughter’s turn to be the focus of the entire world. OMGosh, if you’re a parent of a gymnast you have my sympathies. They are in the spotlight and they love to show the parents whether things have gone their way or it wasn’t their day. And you really have to love pink!

I’m not what you’d call an athlete (how’s that for understated sarcasm) but in honor of The Games I’m creating my own event – Book Reading. I’m combining this with love of country and an unreasonable desire (because I have absolutely no free time) to participate in a some type of book reading challenge. See? Three birds with one stone. Kind of. Maybe.

Okay, not really. But here it is anyway. I know there are challenges out there that encourage you to read a 100 books or some crazy number. If you’ve tried this and succeeded I applaud you. You deserve a medal. I’m going to try and read – wait for it – 7 books. I know, crazy ambitious right? Let me explain. I had some criteria. They had to be Canadian authors. The stories had to be set in Canada. Mostly. They had to genre fiction (because my book club reads mostly ‘literary fiction’). They had to be new-to-me authors. I love it because now I know what I’m going to be reading for the rest of the year. Or at least along side my book club’s picks and my go-to authors releases.

Hopefully, I’ll be more organized with this challenge than with Jane Eyre which I planned to read while away on holiday for our Summer Reading Challenge. Which was family reunion fun than camping capers. With kids. Two of whom belonged to my sister and who are aged one and four. And adorable. But exhausting. If they were a TV channel I would watch it all day. I’m back on track though and making my way through Jane’s time at Lowood. The plague (or whatever they’re calling it has arrived) and children are dying. Something terrible is going to happen to Helen and I’m dreading this next part.

Anyhoo…The List for my 2012/2013 Personal Reading Challenge:

September – Anthony Bidluka – Dos Equis – Mystery – Saskatchewan

October – Pamela Callow – Damaged – Crime – Nova Scotia

November – Janet Gurtler – If I Tell – Young Adult – Alberta

January – Louise Penny – Still Life – Mystery – Quebec

February – Maureen Jennings – Murdoch Mysteries: Except the Dying – Mystery – Ontario

March – Barbara Dunlop – A Cowboy Comes Home – Romance – Yukon

April – Nadine LaPierre – The Slayer – Mystery/Thriller – Nova Scotia

Wish me luck. Or better yet join me! It’ll be fun. Do you participate in reading challenges? Book clubs? Read-offs?

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