Today, I was pleased and privileged to be a part of Wordstock Sudbury, the first of what is hoped to be a biannual literary event. At the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC), Wordstock took over the main stage, lounge, and lobby areas for readings, workshops, and the essential selling of books.
If you would like to have a look at the full schedule, it is available on the site linked above.
I attended primarily to support my friend, poet Kim Fahner, and my fellow members of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild (SWG). I also read the recently revamped opening of my novel.
Kim read with former Sudbury Poet Laureate Roger Nash, and Charlie Smith from Massey, all of them published by Your Scrivener Press (YSP). The theme of their reading was Home and Away. Though all three have very distinctive voices, the reading went well and had a seamless feel. It’s always a pleasure to see such consummate professionals perform their works.
Of course, Kim was fabulous 🙂 She has a way of addressing the audience, slightly self-deprecating yet hilarious, that establishes a relationship. We feel instantly at home with her, and completely comfortable as she shares pieces of her life in verse.
After a brief break, Sudbury Arts Council (SAC) president, Vicky Gilhula took the stage and presented the youth writing contest winners with their prizes. One young man (forgive me, but I forget his name) came prepared to read and his story, based on his grandfather’s life in Sudbury and his career in the mining industry, was spectacular. Amazing: a thirteen year old young man had the confidence and presence to bring us to tears.
He was that good.
Next, the SWG took over the auditorium, beginning with Rosanna Batigelli, who read a couple of chapters from her historical novel, La Brigantessa. The novel’s protagonist takes to a life of a brigand when she is assaulted and forced to leave her home by a tyrannical general. Rosanna is in the process of revising her novel for publication.
Emily Deangelis read from her middle grade/young adult novel about a young girl who loses her father in a car accident and subsequently experiences supernatural visitations when she is left with her great-aunt in Manitoulin Island’s Meldrum Bay.
Irene Golas read a selection of her poetry and flash fiction.
Tom Leduc read a number of his poems centering on his experience of Sudbury and its mining industry.
Margo Little from Manitoulin Island read some of her works published through projects of the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle including one on the War of 1812 and how the soldiers of the time became enamoured of their muskets, called Brown Betties.
Janice Leuschen, a member of both the SWG and of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) read one of her stories, and Heather Campbell, also a member of PWAC, finished off the session with a discussion of creative non-fiction.
I read just after Margo and just before Janice. I don’t have any pictures and I’ll reach out to my fellow guildies to share any pictures they may have of me at the event. It would be a lovely remembrance of the day. Sincere thanks in advance 🙂
As I mentioned, I read the revised opening of Initiate of Stone; it was my first public presentation and I received some excellent feedback from Kim and Emily. The technical director of the STC also found me in the lobby and complimented me on my reading.
I have often been told that I have a great voice. It’s one of the things that helps me both as a corporate trainer and as a writer, a learned skill from my days as a poet, honed by years of practise. I tend to a literary style, even though I write genre, and the voice creates an appropriately dreamy backdrop for my words.
After the SWG session was over, playwright Matthew Heiti took the stage to host a series of readings from plays in which one friend, Paulette Dahl, was reading from a play by another, mutual friend, Louise Visneskie.
The English Arts Society of Laurentian University also hosted a reading, Heather Campbell hosted a workshop on the creative process, and Roger Nash and Daniel Aubin, Sudbury’s current Poet Laureate read their poetry.
And all of that wasn’t counting the Friday night cabaret, the children’s and young adult programming on the patio, or any of the other workshops and events that I couldn’t attend.
Though attendance was modest, I think that it was a good start. The hope of the organizers is to grow Wordstock into a full literary festival at a larger venue, or at several venues throughout the city. I wish them the best and applaud them for this year’s event.
I had a blast 🙂