I’ve been a resident of North Vancouver since 2010 and for the first time, I attended the annual North Shore Writers Festival (Saturday, April 21). This free, local public event ran for its 19th year, hosted by West Vancouver Memorial Library. It’s a celebration of Canadian literature at an intimate venue where readers and writers connect and the audience learns about featured authors. While I value listening to the authors read excerpts from their own books, describe brainstorming processes and offer writing advice, I was intrigued by the telling tidbits of their personal lives. These snapshot stories were told with humour, wit and sarcasm and within moments – transformed a quiet audience into a roomful of laughing readers who were drawn one step closer to the writers on stage.
Crime novelist William Deverell read pages torn from his diary as a sixteen-year-old boy that described the turmoil he suffered being constantly rejected by the girl of his dreams, while desperately hoping to pen the novel of his life. Honourable Pat Carney (former senator and cabinet minister) enticed listeners as she read excerpts from three of her short stories from her collection about coastal lifestyles. She later tells the audience that whenever she bumps into Savary Island residents at the local market, they insist her characters are based on their neighbours; Carny vehemently denies this, albeit with a grin. Non-fiction writer Sanford Osler tells the story behind the “dancing canoe” with two identical human-sized holes carved into the hull.
Ten-year-old Arshia Sorourian, dressed in shirt and tie, promoted his business book; he’s the youngest member of the North Shore Writers’ Association. Award-winning poet Bernice Lever chatted with me about the wondrous view of Cypress Mountain from her home on Bowen Island and how thrilling it was when one of her pieces got published for the first time. I met readers, writers and editors, sipped coffee, nibbled complimentary sandwiches and fruit. I was delighted to spend my dollars supporting book sales for our B.C. writers for this free event. I walked away with a purchase of three books written and autographed by three of the showcased authors, all of whom I was unfamiliar with – until today.
Thank you libraries of North and West Vancouver for promoting this enlightening booklore festival and introducing local writers and books to our community. I look forward to hearing “telling tidbits” from the authors at next year’s celebration!
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