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...