StoryFest Media 2014

Greenwood Centre for Living History proudly welcomed and hosted the following authors and poets during the 2014 season...

Margaret Atwood
Graeme Gibson
Roméo Dallaire
Michael Winter
Kate Pullinger
Paul Thompson
Stephanie Bolster
Merilyn Simonds
Monty Reid
Peter Behrens
Arleen Paré
Ian Keteku
Oana Avasilichioaei
Paris Elizabeth Sea


Here is a sampling of media coverage at that time...


Roméo Dallaire guest author for final edition of Storyfest 2014

By James Armstrong

Your Local Journal: November 6, 2014

A capacity crowd, suspended in silence, was held in the grip of the charisma of a seasoned leader as he calmly and intensely outlined for them the bare bones truth of his life. Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire was the guest speaker for the final event of the 13th Annual Storyfest literary festival held at Hudson’s Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre November 3.

Author of two non-fiction books, “They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children” (Random House 2010) and “Shake Hands with the Devil” (Random House, 2004), Dallaire began his talk by outlining how different peacekeeping situations are today from those that developed post World War II and during the ensuing Cold War. “In this era, there is no conflict anywhere in the world that won’t have an impact on us,” he said, describing the current world.

Dallaire reflected on the new world order following the winning of the Cold War as a complex and ambiguous era. “For 25 years, we have been on-the-job training, ad hocing, our way through this era of imploding nations, genocides, mass atrocities… and the destruction of millions of human beings,” he said in reference to peacekeeping efforts since that time.

He pointed out that the increase in immigration and refugee populations worldwide tends to create a growing diaspora of communities with connections to families caught up in the conflict. “All that stuff is here by extension,” he noted with the added caution that, “There is no place in the world that is too far away.”

It was a deft introduction to Dallaire’s first work “Shake Hands with the Devil” that describes in detail the role he played in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda.” How is it possible that it happened?” asked the author in reference to the Rwandan genocide. For Dallaire, the subtitle of his book sums it up: the failure of humanity in Rwanda.

In the preface he writes, “ In just one hundred days, over 800,000 innocent Rwandan men, women, and children were brutally murdered while the developed , impassive and apparently unperturbed, sat back and watched the unfolding apocalypse or simply changed channels.” He notes that it happened almost 50 years to the day that his father and father-in-law helped to liberate Europe, when the concentration camps were uncovered and when the world said, “Never again.”

In spite of, or perhaps because of, his personal battle with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, Dallaire published his second book, “They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children” in support of a global effort to eradicate the use of child soldiers. “ISIS has recruited over 100,000 young people from the age 12 and up,” he said. He also emphasized the deliberate use of rape as a weapon to destroy society’s ability to sustain itself and influence people with fear. As a champion of human rights, Dallaire founded the Child Soldiers Initiative dedicated to the elimination of the use of child soldiers.

“Leadership is not sorting out a crisis. Leadership is anticipating the future and shaping it,” said Dallaire as he outlined possible ways for finding solutions to conflicts around the world. “We need to go in and prevent the situations from becoming catastrophic,” he said. “We go in knowing we will be there for the next 20 or 30 years.” He placed emphasis on the fact that those who serve in uniform need to be given the tools to do the work, the support to see them through and when they come back, perhaps injured or in a body bag, that they and their families need to be treated with respect and decency.

Article posted by James Armstrong, Special Contributor to Your Local Journal on November 6th 2014 at http://www.yourlocaljournal.ca/pdf/issue.pdf 


Atwood captivates at Hudson's StoryFest

Graeme Gibson and Margaret Atwood chat back stage at Hudson Village Theatre on Monday, Oct. 20. (Photo Peter McCabe / THE GAZETTE)


By Brenda O'Farrell

Off Island Gazette/Montreal Gazette:

October 22, 2014

Just when you think the only headlines coming out of Hudson contain bad news, StoryFest proves you wrong.

It happened Monday evening. I was among the 144 people who were treated to the expected wit and surprising warmth of Margaret Atwood.

The Canadian poet and novelist stood at centre stage at Hudson Village Theatre and read from her book Stone Mattress. The simple act of giving voice to her written words in an age more accustomed to computer-fuelled multi-media presentations with high-definition splash and full-Dolby sound offered a rare experience. It was almost exotic in its simplicity, really. And the crowd was moved.

The audience, you could feel it, went from being awed that such a personage – arguably the biggest in Canadian literature – was there on the small stage in Hudson, to captivated and then arrived at charmed. Atwood subtly nudging them along their path.

Atwood shared the evening’s presentation with her partner, Graeme Gibson, who we in Quebec would call her common-law spouse.

The author of The Bedside Book of Birds and the Bedside Book of Beasts, Gibson talked of birds – their role in literature, mythology, the naming of sports teams and his own, a parrot named Harold. The audience laughed, learned, and learned a bit more. It was an unexpected extra.

And it all came courtesy of a little literary festival that could. StoryFest is a rare collection of events that just gets better every year. Bold, ambitious and humble, it is staking a rightful claim on the Canadian literary map.

Article posted by Brenda O'Farrell on October 22nd, 2014 to http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/off-island-gazette/brenda-ofarrell-atwood-captivates-at-hudsons-storyfest 


Atwood, Dallaire, Gibson, Pullinger among the stellar lineup

Greenwood presents award-winning authors for StoryFest 2014. Lieutenant-General (Ret) and Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire (Photo National Speaker’s Bureau) and Margaret Atwood (Photo Jean Malek)

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Gazette

August 20, 2014

The Greenwood Centre for Living History is betting on ‘lucky 13’ by making the 13th year of StoryFest – its annual fall literary festival – one of the most impressive to date.

The festival launches Tuesday, Sept. 23, with Kate Pullinger. StoryFest is delighted she has included Hudson on the Canadian tour for her latest novel. Her new, contemporary novel, Landing Gear, presents some of the fictional fallout when an Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010 shut down the airspace over Europe for several days. Pullinger’s 2009 novel, The Mistress of Nothing, won the Governor General’s Award in 2009. Her prize-winning digital fiction projects, Inanimate Alice, and Flight Paths: A Networked Novel, have reached people worldwide.

Michael Winter, who joins StoryFest for breakfast Saturday, Oct. 4, is the authour of five novels and two collections of short stories. Winter has the hero of sorts in his most recent novel, Minister Without Portfolio (2013), searching for meaning in life after dealing with loss. The novel was long-listed for the Giller Prize. His impressive body of works includes the Winterset Award for his novel This All Happened.

Montreal native Peter Behrens visits Tues., Oct. 14. The novelist, screenwriter and short story writer received the Governor General’s Award for his 2006 debut novel, The Law of Dreams, about a young man driven into exile during Ireland’s Great Famine. The New York Times calls his second novel, The O’Briens, “a major accomplishment.”

Monday, Oct. 20, StoryFest has the honour of welcoming two icons of Canada’s literary community: Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson. Atwood’s Man Booker prize and more than 55 other awards speak for themselves. A Member of the Order of Canada, Gibson has published four novels, but is also well known for his Eleven Canadian Novelists book of interviews as well as The Bedside Book of Birds. A founding member of The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC), as well as The Writers’ Trust, and PEN Canada, he was recognized by TWUC in 1991 as the inaugural recipient of the newly established Graeme Gibson Award. This extraordinary couple has kindly agreed to participate together in both an afternoon and evening presentation.

This year’s Poetry Invitational on Thursday, Oct. 23, will be very special with Kitty Lewis, the manager of Brick Books (the only press in Canada dedicated to publishing poetry books), leading the discussion and readings by three award-winning poets: Arleen Paré, with Lake of Two Mountains, Stephanie Bolster with White Stone: The Alice Poems and Monty Reid.

Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire hasn’t slowed down a bit since recently retiring from the Canadian Senate, but the former military general, humanitarian and member of the Order of Canada is taking some time out of his busy schedule to visit from Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 3, for afternoon tea. His books include They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, and Shake Hands with the Devil, which received the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction.

Other StoryFest events include a day-long Writers Workshop on Saturday, Oct. 18, led by Kingston writer Merilyn Simonds on memoir and historical fiction writing, and a special showing and discussion of The Farm Show with the Chalmers award-winning playwright and director Paul Thompson on Monday, Oct. 6. There’ll also be a discussion of past family businesses as part of the festival’s annual Storytelling afternoon hosted by the Hudson Historical Society on Sunday, Sept. 28.

More information, as well as an online box office for purchasing tickets and passes, is available at www.greenwoodstoryfest.com

Article posted by the editor of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Gazette on Aug 20th, 2014 to www.gazettevaudreuilsoulanges.com/ 

Michael Winter at StoryFest

Newfoundland novelist Michael Winter will be one of the Canadian literary minds visiting Hudson’s StoryFest literary festival October 4 (Photo Rogatien Piano)

There is still time to purchase tickets for the October 4 StoryFest Breakfast featuring Newfoundland-based novelist Michael Winter, but hurry – they’re disappearing quickly.

Born in England, Winter was raised in Newfoundland and, as a writer, wears the mantle of his province proudly, easily reflecting the many moods that define the land and its people. He is the brother of novelist Kathleen Winter, also highly regarded as a writer.

Winter's latest book is called Minister Without Portfolio. Long-listed for the Giller prize, this novel, much as with his earlier work, successfully burrows into the essence of what sets the Newfoundland spirit apart from the rest of Canada. Sparkling with that Newfoundland core of romance and sardonic optimism constantly put to the test by the quiet mistrust of anyone or anything branded as coming from ‘away’, his writing builds on the unbridled conviction that in life more is bound to go wrong than right. Best to find the humour in it now, he suggests; best to come to terms with the hard times before they occur.

The title of this book is drawn from a label pinned on the main character Henry Haywood by his close friend Tender Morris. Haywood considered the sobriquet an insult ; “…don’t call me that,” he says, “it’s disparaging … it means I have no purpose and no moral compass.” It is only much later that he learns Morris, now deceased, had chosen the title because, in his words, “…no, you’re so capable, you’re to oversee everything.”

And therein lies the dynamic tension of the novel – the way Henry perceives himself measured against the way others see him. How the action unfolds throughout the book, how his search for redemption ebbs and flows as he stumbles toward the finish line makes for a raucous ride – sometimes droll, sometimes tragic, but never dull.

Fellow Newfoundlander writer Michael Crummey , a hit at StoryFest 2013, once said of Winter, “Michael Winter’s fiction is a lot like hearing him talk about his life… harrowing in an after-the-fact hilarious way. Full of wonder and mystery. A hangover you wouldn’t miss for the world.”

You can find out more about Michael Winter and his stories for yourself at the StoryFest Breakfast on October 4. It takes place at the Hudson Community Centre, beginning at 9 a.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Pure Art, 422 Main Road in Hudson, or on-line. For more information about StoryFest, or to inquire about purchasing tickets to this or other events, visit http://www.greenwood-centre-hudson.org/storyfest.html.

Article posted by Bill Young, Special Contributor to Your Local Journal on Sep 25th, 2014 to http://www.yourlocaljournal.ca/pdf/issue.pdf

Paul Thompson - Canadian Theatre Maverick at StoryFest

Writer and theatre director Paul Thompson will be talking about his long career in Canadian Theatre, including a collaborative project undertaken with author Michael Ondaatje

Hudson’s StoryFest literary festival is delighted to present legendary theatre director and writer Paul Thompson Monday, October 6. Thompson is a familiar name to all theatre professionals as his play ‘The Farm Show’ was the first of a new genre of Canadian productions. Theatre students learn about trailblazers when studying their crafts; artists who create new work which is often alternative and thought provoking, reflecting the reality of a segment of our society. Paul Thompson is one of these trailblazers.

In 1970 Thompson was Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille, a Toronto theatre dedicated to Canadian plays and born from the work at Rochdale College. He was a young, dynamic theatre director who wanted to create truly Canadian theatre that spoke to the audience. At that time Canada was flooded with theatre from outside the country, particularly British theatre, and this really did not reflect the Canadian reality. Thompson wanted to perform theatre for the average working person, not for the elite. He worked to create plays with Canadians, by Canadians and for Canadians and he devised a way of creating truly unique Canadian theatre called, “a Collective Creation”.

With this method a team of young actors go out and research a certain topic and come back to the rehearsal hall to illustrate what they learnt. The team then decides what works and what doesn't and puts together a play. This is performed for the local people in a venue familiar to them all –in the case of ‘The Farm Show’ it was a cattle auction ring. The resulting production captures the world of the people in a touching, humorous and realistic way.

A movie, filmed and edited by Michael Ondaatje and called “The Clinton Special: A Film about "The Farm Show" is an extremely memorable documentary of the process. It allows the audience a peek at the way this genre works so that even after 44 years (the movie was made in 1972) the audience can sense the fun the actors had working together as a creative, dynamic and innovative team.

The idea to invite Thompson began with a suggestion from Ondaatje, who was at StoryFest last year. He loved his experience in Hudson and the Hudson Village Theatre. He suggested that we get in touch with his very good friend Paul Thompson to see if he was free to present at StoryFest, as he thought Thompson would be a fascinating speaker, an invitation he willingly accepted.

On Monday October 6, we will begin by showing about 20 minutes of Ondaatje’s movie and then Thompson will take over explaining how the show evolved, along with anecdotes and humorous moments. He will also tell us about his long career in Canadian Theatre. This is an evening not to be missed so mark your agendas. Tickets at $15 each can be bought on line at www.greenwoodstoryfest.com or at Pure Art, 422 Main Road, Hudson. See you at the theatre.

Article posted by Heather Markgraf, Special Contributor to Your Local Journal on Oct 2nd, 2014 to http://www.yourlocaljournal.ca/pdf/issue.pdf 

Award Winning Author Kicks-Off StoryFest

Canadian author Kate Pullinger opened the 2014 StoryFest event Tuesday during a live reading held at the Hudson Village Theatre

Understanding the excitement surrounding the Greenwood Centre for Living History’s annual StoryFest is not difficult once you attend at least one event. Which is what I did Tuesday evening when award winning novelist Kate Pullinger kicked off the 13’ StoryFest season with a live read and a talk held at the Hudson Village Theatre. Not knowing what to expect from my first such event, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the entire experience which felt like spending an informal evening with a gifted visitor . The night began with a word of welcome from Greenwood Executive Director, Audrey Wall, as well as a short speech by MP Jamie Nicholls , who is, fittingly, the Deputy Critic for Official languages. For it is language, in the form of words and stories, that StoryFest celebrates.

Casual Atmosphere

Pullinger, a B.C. Native who lives in London, England where she writes and teaches at a university, was down-to-earth, friendly and approachable when she took the stage. Reading short excerpts from her 2009 Governor General award winning fictional novel, Landing Gear, Pullinger spoke honestly and without pretense about her life and work. Billed as a writer of both traditional written works and digital platforms, Pullinger explained that digital writing is a collaborate storytelling technique that blends written works with videos, images and more.

She said she loves both formats and feels both have a place in our lives. Her digital novel Inanimate Alice (www.inanimatealice.com) has been a huge hit with teen audiences.

The Mistress of Nothing took Pullinger more than 12-years to write and was, she admitted, more than she bargained for. A historical novel about real events and people, the book is about race, class and power in Victoria era England and Egypt. Pullinger said the hard part about its writing was doing enough research about the lives of Sally Naldrett, a servant in a fine British home, and her real-life employer, Lady Lucie Duff Gordon. The book is written in Sally’s voice and is based on countless letters and a 1994 biography about Lady Duff Gordon.

Wall said many people avoid coming to author events unless they’ve read the featured writer’s works. That’s a mistake, because after hearing an author read their works, talk about their writing process and explain their thinking, audience members are hard-pressed to walk away not wanting to know more, and read more.

Up next for StoryFest, which will run until Nov. 3 , is today’s film screening of a live play that is based on a book. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night . The play was filmed live at a theatre in London , England. It will be screened today at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at the Hudson Village Theatre, 28 Wharf Rd. StoryFest event tickets can be purchased at Pure Art store located at 422 Main Rd., Hudson, or through Greenwood’s online box office: www.theatrepanache.ca/storyfesttickets.html.

Article posted by Kristina Edson in Premiere Edition on Sep 27th, 2014 to http://journalpremiereedition.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/fr/viewer.aspx

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