From Heather O'Neill to Gwynne Dyer – 15th edition of StoryFest opens Sunday
TERRY O’SHAUGHNESSY, SPECIAL TO THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
Published on: September 27, 2016
By the time I was 7 years old I already had my own suitcase. It was dilapidated and very old-fashioned, and filled to the brim with my treasures: a complete set of Eagle colouring pencils, my pencil sharpener and all my books. My dolls were completely secondary to my books, so it’s no surprise that when Hudson’s Greenwood centre’s acclaimed literary festival StoryFest starts at the beginning of every October, I’m in heaven. And this year it’s no different, as we get into gear for the festival’s 15th season — and our biggest lineup of writers ever.
Hudson is only a stone’s throw away from the West Island, and several of the StoryFest writers this year do not often appear in the Montreal area — so Hudson needs to be on everyone’s literary calendar for the next month.
British Columbia author Gail Anderson-Dargatz gets it all started this Sunday when she opens StoryFest. Enjoying positive reviews of her new novel The Spawning Grounds, Anderson-Dargatz has authored such well-known books as The Recipe for Bees and The Cure for Death by Lightning. Satirist Terry Fallis is up next on Tuesday, Oct. 4, with his tales of life in political circles in Ottawa, well-known terrain for this former Liberal party strategist. Then, on Thursday, Oct. 6, the great Newfoundland poet Don McKay takes to the stage of Hudson Village Theatre as well as First Nations’ spoken-word poet and throat-singer Taqralik Partridge. That’s just the first week of StoryFest; there’s plenty more.
During the second week, Saleema Nawaz, author of this year’s Canada Reads finalist Bone & Bread, will make a special appearance on Tuesday, Oct. 11, followed on Thursday, Oct. 13, by Seven Days Dead author John Farrow, a.k.a. Trevor Ferguson, who has already penned some of Canada’s finest literary novels and who has found a second voice in Farrow’s crime thriller novels. On Saturday, Oct. 15, writer and journalist Monique Polak will give a writer’s workshop at Greenwood in the afternoon, while in the evening, Three Authors of Note — Nisha Coleman, Ian McGillis and Eric Siblin — will talk about writing and music, with Hudson’s superb singer Carolina Pla starting off what promises to be a pretty special evening at Hudson Village Theatre.
In the third week of sheer book lovers’ delight, Montreal’s own Heather O’Neill will appear on Tuesday, Oct. 18, followed by Alberta-based Marina Endicott on Thursday, Oct. 20. And then there’s the fourth and final week that will close StoryFest with the big flourish of well-known international observer Gwynne Dyer and multiple Governor General award-winning Guy Vanderhaeghe who is sure to attract an overflowing audience. We rarely get the chance to welcome this prolific Saskatchewan-based writer who has won so many of Canada’s highest literary accolades.
In short, my dilapidated old-fashioned suitcase of books will be sorely missed as I dig out some favourite books of these authors to re-read — or collect the new ones I haven’t read yet. If only I had my old book suitcase, I could carry them all around until I decide.
Greenwood’s StoryFest opens on Sunday, Oct. 2, with Gail Anderson-Dargatz at St. Mary’s Hall, 261 Main Rd., Hudson, at 2.30 p.m. For details on the complete lineup and to purchase tickets or a festival pass, go to: greenwoodstoryfest.com
StoryFest 2016 announces stellar October line-up
Starting tomorrow, lovers of literature can get their hands on passes to the 2016 edition of Greenwood’s StoryFest, one of Hudson’s premiere festivals and the perfect way to support Canadian literature. The annual event takes over the small town every October with a month-long series of lectures, workshops, and film screening; this year the festival will be run by recently-appointed executive director Terry O’Shaughnessy.
“We are thrilled with our StoryFest 2016 line-up--it has something for everyone. In fact, literary voices from right across Canada will be heard this year,” said O’Shaughnessy. “StoryFest will offer a truly pan-Canadian celebration of words this year.”
This Thursday, the festival has a special pre-StoryFest event with Dr. James Orbiniski, a contemporary of Romeo Dallaire’s who writes and speaks at length about his time in Rwanda and his work as president of Doctors Without Borders. Then in October, the festival kicks off on October 2 with two-time Giller finalist Gail Anderson-Dargatz (Recipe for Bees; The Cure for Death by Lightning). She will be followed by Terry Fallis, author The Best Laid Plans and a multiple Stephen Leacock Humour Award winner on October 4. The not-to-be-missed poetry evening is set for October 6 with a talk and readings by two-time Governor General Award for Poetry winner Don McKay and readings by First Nations’ poet Taqriluk Partridge.Other authors on stage during the fest are CBC’s Canada Reads finalist Saleema Nawaz (Bone and Bread); Seven Days Dead author John Farrow, a.k.a. Trevor Ferguson; two-time Giller nominated Heather O’Neill (The Girl Who was Saturday Night; Daydreams of Angels); commentator and columnist Gwynne Dyer; and Commonwealth Writers Prize winner Marina Endicott (Good to a Fault; Close to Hugh).
Writers workshops this year are Finding Fun in Writing with Montreal novelist and journalist Monique Polak and with multiple Governor General Award-winning author Guy Vanderhaeghe (Daddy Lenin), who will also be speaking. One special evening will feature three authors who write about music: Eric Siblin (The Cello Suites), Nisha Coleman (BUSKER: Stories from the Streets of Paris) and Ian McGillis (The Gazette book review columnist and author of A Tourist’s Guide to Glengarry).
This year’s film screening is Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship, which will play on October 24.A pass for the festival is only $100 and they go fast; find one as of July 14 at www.greenwoodstoryfest.com. Individual tickets go on sale August 1 online, at Boutique Pure Art, 422 Main Rd., Hudson, Que., or at the door if seats remain.
StoryFest's small town has big tales to tell
Published on: July 5, 2016
An annual off-island event has a growing base of West Island fans. From Dorval to Pierrefonds to Pointe-Claire, book lovers are gearing up for the literary festival in Hudson called Greenwood’s StoryFest, which will launch its 2016 edition on July 14th.
Greenwood is a venerable historic house in Hudson, and its unique festival held every October with a special Pre-StoryFest kick-off summer event has become “a must” on calendars from eastern Ontario to Kirkland. Because while StoryFest may be in a small town, its growing stature with writers and audience members alike has created a spill-over of interest as far as the heart of Montreal’s cultural life and beyond. Of course, it hasn’t hurt that both Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje set aside a couple of days to be part of the StoryFest line-up in recent years. Or that Ann-Marie MacDonald appeared last October. Or that Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and novelist Emma Donoghue visited before that. Audiences took note.
The summer event that launches the festival is highly anticipated and the first chance organizers have to inform readers of the intriguing, entrancing, stellar line-up of Canadian writers that is headed their way. Writer, humanitarian and past president of MSF (Medecins sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders), James Orbinski will be heading to Hudson’s Community Centre on July 14 at 7.30 p.m. to start the ball rolling. Not only did Dr. Orbinski serve in the field during the genocide in Rwanda, he was president when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to this amazing organization in 1999, and the one who actually received it. Last summer, The Gazette’s own Terry Mosher, aka Aislin, thoroughly entertained a full house with his unmatchable take on events large and small. His unmistakable images have become so much a part of our collective experience, the sold-out audience couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
Off the beaten path of the cities where we might more readily expect to meet them, writers visiting StoryFest often engage in a truly personal way. When General Romeo Dallaire spoke at StoryFest, you could hear a pin drop. Annabel author Kathleen Winter memorably sang an old traditional song from Arctic explorer days. As he spoke about his work, Tomson Highway played the piano in the most virtuoso manner many of us will ever experience. The audience just loved it. And it all gets started July 14 with stories from the frontline of Doctors Without Borders.
Let’s just say, I think it’s going to be pretty memorable.
Tickets for July 14 are available at greenwoodstoryfest.com
BY CHERYL CORNACCHIA, the Montreal Gazette; July 15th, 2015
Now in its 14th year, StoryFest is an annual event featuring a who’s who of Canada’s literary talent.
The tradition continues this year with two award-winning novelists and playwrights, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Tomson Highway.
They are just two of the high-profile names in the lineup of Canadian authors announced last week by the event’s organizers.
“It’s one of our strongest, most diverse lineups of writers ever,” said Audrey Wall, executive director of the Greenwood Centre for Living History in Hudson, which hosts the festival.
Kim Thuy, winner of CBC’s Canada Reads 2015 for her novel Ru, will open the festival Oct. 1. Former CBC foreign correspondent and veteran journalist David Halton will provide one of the closing events.
Scotiabank Giller prize-winner Sean Michaels will appear Oct. 20. Kathleen Winter and Lisa Moore will appear on Oct. 14 and Oct. 17, respectively, and poet Kateria Askiwenzie-Damn is scheduled for Oct. 6.
Novelist Lauren B. Davis will give a writers’ workshop on Oct. 18.
Wall said she is proud of how StoryFest has grown since 2002, when only a couple dozen people came out to hear then Senator Philippe Gigantes talk about his book, Power and Greed: A Short History of the World.
It’s now a major event on the Canadian literary calendar attracting big name writers, poets, novelists, playwrights and journalists.
“People love it because it is associated with this historic house,” said Wall, referring to Greenwood. “They are also amazed a bunch of volunteers have been able to sustain it.”
Last year, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood read to a sold-out crowd as did retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, now an internationally recognized humanitarian.
Other festival favourites have been Quebec mystery writer Louise Penny (2010), author Nino Ricci (2008), Canadian journalist Sally Armstrong (2012) and Emma Donoghue (2013), the author of Room, a shockingly uplifting story of a mother’s love for the son she conceives after being kidnapped and while being held captive.
The festival’s growing popularity in part owes thanks to the authors themselves, said Wall.
She explained it was Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje who urged Atwood to not only participate but to bring her partner, author Graeme Gibson, because he had so enjoyed participating in StoryFest 2013 with his wife, author Linda Spalding.
Lauren B. Davis, who is giving a writers’ workshop this year, is now working on bringing Lawrence Hill, the author of the Book of Negroes, to next year’s event, she said, while the Montreal Gazette’s own Aislin has also vowed to deliver the CBC’s Rick Mercer to a future StoryFest.
Over the years, Wall said, many of the Canadian authors, who have made the trek to Hudson for the festival, have also given signed and dated copies of their books to the private library of the Greenwood Centre for Living History.
She said the close to 100 titles are an enduring legacy of the literary festival and the Canadian novelists, poets, journalists and playwrights it has attracted over its 14-year history.
And although, she said, many of the inscriptions are difficult to read, one stands out clearly:
“To the Greenwood Centre, thank you for letting me tell my story,” wrote Margaret Trudeau in 2010 in the front cover of her book, Changing My Mind.
BY TERRY O'SHAUGHNESSY, special contributor to Your Local Journal; July 9th, 2015
Greenwood’s StoryFest 2015 Committee has been hard at work putting together its 14th season of the crème-de la-crème of Canada’s vibrant literary scene—and this year’s line-up will boast its customary stellar list of Canada’s top writers. From Ann-Marie MacDonald to Tomson Highway to current Giller prize-winner Sean Michaels, StoryFest audiences will also be thrilled to learn that Kim Thuy, celebrated author of "Ru" and "Man", will officially open the annual literary festival in October.
Thuy’s exquisite novel of emigration, loss and new life, "Ru", was the winner of CBC’s 2015 Canada Reads competition in March, a win that had Greenwood’s executive director Audrey Wall as excited as StoryFest’s audiences.
“We were thrilled with the news that our opening author had so deservedly won CBC’s recent Canada Reads contest,” said Wall.
“But this is far from the only fantastic StoryFest news,” added Wall.
“We are so very excited to announce that AnnMarie MacDonald will be coming this year, as well as Tomson Highway. Then we have the multiple award-winning novelists Kathleen Winter and Lisa Moore—not to mention Lauren B. Davis who will give our writer’s workshop this year— who just further underscore that this October will mark one of our most diverse StoryFest line-ups ever.”
Wall announced veteran foreign correspondent journalist David Halton, so well known to CBC audiences for decades, will also be appearing at StoryFest as well as First Nations poet Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm.
“It is one of our strongest line-ups of writers ever,” said Wall. “And we simply can’t wait to present each of them to StoryFest’s audiences in October.”
StoryFest passes will be available online on August 1st. Watch the website for all StoryFest 2015 announcements and news at www.greenwoodstoryfest.com
By CARMEN MARIE FABIO, Your Local Journal: June 11, 2015
The world woke up to a harsh reality this past January with news of the assassination of 11 cartoonists at the famed French Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine over its perceived blasphemous portrayal of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and then witnessed the subsequent international backlash as demands for the publication increased by a hundredfold.
Such is the power of a political cartoon and one of, if not the best-known Canadian political cartoonist, Terry Mosher - also known as 'Aislin' editorial cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette and author/illustrator of 47 books - will open Hudson's pre-StoryFest event Monday, June 15 by discussing the history of cartooning, some of his own work spanning almost 50 years and, in his words, boasting about the quality of cartooning in Canada.
“Cartooning is still very much part of the political equation here,” said Mosher of Montreal’s six daily-newspaper political cartoonists compared to only one working daily cartoonist in the much larger metropolis of Los Angeles. “People realize the power of a cartoon – a good one. All over Quebec, people are very political. If you go elsewhere, it just doesn’t happen.”
Mosher usually prepares for his day by reading - besides The Gazette - The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, Toronto Star, La Press, and even Le Journal de Montréal, “for the outrageous stuff.” He also consumes radio and some television, and still religiously picks up hard copies of The New Yorker and describes the Sunday New York Times as “a holding paper.” Mosher laments the definition of ‘news’ as having been stretched as more entertainment and sports garner ever more media coverage. “In terms of our general lives, it’s far more important to know what a cabinet minister is dealing with than how the Habs did against the Penguins last night,” he said. “It concerns me that there’s less and less care about what happens in Ottawa, particularly with this revolting government we have right now that’s hardly operating under what we consider to be decent Canadian standards.”
Despite having feet – and heart – firmly rooted in paper, Mosher has embraced modern technology, both for how good the cartoons look onscreen and the immediately accessible platform. He's adapted his output to the realities of today's demand for instant information with his cartoons often appearing online up to 24 hours before the paper is published. “People want it now,” he said, describing the cartoon's dissemination process that includes Facebook and Twitter. “Readers are getting the cartoon as the discussion is going on.” Mosher's creations typically begin around 4:30 a.m. as he scours a number of online news sources to get an idea of what's going on and where to focus his pen – or mouse.
His style has evolved from pen and ink cross-hatching, honed when newspapers were incapable of reproducing subtle shading, to much of today's work created directly on an iPad. “It's important to me to keep interested and keep curious,” he said, “so I like to surprise people with different styles, like photo manipulations or a combination of many styles. It keeps readers interested.”
Mosher's work is still finding new audiences as his extensive archives of historical work provides context for topics that, besides the recent death of Jacques Parizeau, includes a retrospective on Mordecai Richler with recent stage production of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
“Political cartooning in Canada is the longest-lasting form of humour. And I don’t see it going away, I just see it changing delivery and style, but pungent humour is very important to Canadians.”
Mosher’s current Gazette contract will have him producing three cartoons a week with fellow cartoonist Pascal contributing two more. “You can’t teach Montreal to anybody. You can’t bring in a cartoonist from Pittsburgh and have them draw a Montreal cartoon.”
Following his speaking gig in Hudson and his ongoing Gazette appearances, Mosher will be drawing the posters for – and appearing at - Comic-Con in Montreal July 3, 4 and 5 at Booth 3318.
Article posted by Carmen Marie Fabio, Thursday June 11th, 2015 at http://www.yourlocaljournal.ca
For information about StoryFest's authors and events over the past years, click on the following links...