Thursday, October 22, 2015

Great Location for Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival

During most the recent Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival, the weather was fabulous. Visitors and townspeople sat outdoors in short sleeves and rode their bikes in the sunshine. Elizabeth May, who also has some books out, remains the only Green Party Member of Parliament. Before the election, she tastefully welcomed the crowd of literati to her home riding, eschewing political talk.

Sidney by the sea is a delightful town that boasts at least four independent bookstores, and the  Saanich Peninsula and nearby Gulf Islands are home to many fine writers.

Renowned poet Lorna Crozier, formerly of UVic, opened the readings. Essayist Naomi Beth Wakan, mystery writer Bill Deverell and humorist-philosopher-garden writer and ex-monk Des Kennedy then added their varied offerings to the delight of their enthusiastic audiences. Tree-planting memoirist Charlotte Gill read from Eating Dirt, and Patrick Taylor from his latest Irish Country Doctor bestseller.

From the mainland came novelists Janie Chang, Steven Galloway and Richard Wagamese as well as poet Arleen Pare. Zsuzsi Gartner also appeared. Fred Stenson and a couple of other Albertan novelists rounded out the group, and CBC's Gregor Craigie hosted the Saturday celebration.

All in all, the organizers did a terrific job. They even organized contests for young people and awarded them prizes at Friday evening's reading, which was opened by Kenny Podmore, Sidney's Town Crier. Looking forward to the next one, which will take place in two years' time.

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