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Word on the Lake is in the books

Writers' festival honours local and national talent
The winners of the KidsWrite contest had their own awards ceremony as part of the Word on the Lake Writers' Festival

Why write? Why read?

Answers to these two questions and more were provided in an entertaining and thought-provoking way at this year’s Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival that ran May 20 to 22.

Talented presenters read from their works on Friday night, luring participants to a wide variety of Saturday and Sunday workshops.

In his keynote address Saturday morning, Robert J. Sawyer was blunt.

“I’m actually quite pissed off about the state of publishing,” he began.

Sawyer went on to detail the progressive reduction of services and unfair contracts offered by publishers to their authors. He extolled the virtues of self-publishing, particularly with the rising prominence of ebooks.

Sawyer expressed the need for authors to stick together when negotiating with publishers rather than being divided and conquered.

In her well-attended workshop “Why Write?” Alyson Quinn, who has years of experience as an individual and group therapist, explored the need to connect head with heart in order to write authentically.

“There are issues in our tissues,” Quinn said, noting it is important to reveal onself to oneself. “Feelings are the engine of writing, so quit the fear and jump in.”

Howard White, historian, poet, essayist, editor, publisher and author, presented a workshop on writing family histories and memoirs – explaining the difference between the two and offering pointers on how to write either one.

White drew laughs when he reminded participants that while our bodies age, we can remain youthful in our minds – if we allow ourselves to do so.

Saturday night’s banquet was a delicious mix of good food and great entertainment, along with the announcement of this year’s writing contest winners.

A veteran of the Canadian folk and country scenes, singer-songwriter, guitarist and playwright Nathan Tinkham shared his talent – standing in admirably for Victor Anthony who was unable to attend the festival after he broke his foot tripping over his cat.

After presenting a hilarious series of baseball vignettes, his wife Joelle Anthony, laughingly pointed out she had heard so many broken bone stories from festival presenters she was thinking of combining the “broken bone convention” stories in future stories.