Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

"North Words," The Muskoka Literary Festival

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"North Words," the Muskoka Literary Festival, came into existence this Thanksgiving Weekend in Huntsville, Ontario. Until then, there had been no literary festivals north of Orilla and south of Thunder Bay, a considerable stretch of the Canadian landscape. So, it was about time, and considering the roaring start it had and the calibre of writers on its stages, one can assume (and hope) that this event will become a regular on the Canadian literary scene, one that writers will line up to take part in, and that readers from the Muskokas and elsewhere will be excited to attend.

Joseph Boyden, Roy MacGregor, Tish Cohen, John Ibbotson, Jack Whyte and Giles Blunt were among the authors who read from their work. A statue of Tom Thomson provided just the right feeling as a large crowd entered the sparkling new Algonquin Theatre on Main Street in Huntsville on Friday for the gala night. Other venues, from a school to a large church, to a restaurant where Boyden presided over breakfast for an audience hungry to hear him, were employed to spread the literary word.

The setting, of course, was stunning. Under bright blue skies and amidst warm temperatures, the Muskoka forests were bursting with those burnt reds and blazing yellows that draw folks from the south at this time of year. All weekend, it was like finding yourself inside a Group of Seven painting, gazing at the sort of natural beauty that only Canada can provide.

I was fortunate enough to be the first author to speak at this event, entertaining (I hope) a couple hundred students at Riverside Public School, before I spoke at another event on Saturday. I was struck by how professional the organizers were - there seemed to be no glitches and we writers were treated like royalty. Most importantly, all the audiences seemed to greatly enjoy themselves.

Here's to hoping that this is the first of many, many "North Words" Muskoka Literary Festivals! If you want to experience the beauty of Canadian nature and of the Canadian written word, book your tickets for this Literary Thanksgiving banquet next year!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shane Peacock

Shane Peacock is a biographer, journalist, screenwriter, playwright and novelist. He has received many honours for his writing, including the prestigious Arthur Ellis Award for Eye of the Crow, the first of his Boy Sherlock Holmes series.

Go to Shane Peacock’s Author Page