September 17, 2013

Eden Mills!

What a weekend!

A celebration to justify four exclamation marks!!!! 
I was really thrilled to be a last-minute addition to this year's Eden Mills Writers' Festival. I'd attended the festival a few years ago, and it has held a special place in my heart ever since. 

The first night was an outdoor dinner in a gorgeous backyard with a magnum of champagne, Wellington's beer, the lovely cake above (which was even more delicious than it looks and upon which Leon Rooke pronounced the most amazing and booming benediction), and getting to sing Four Strong Winds around the campfire before boarding a school bus with the other writers heading back to the hotel in Guelph. (That's the abbreviated version.)

Then it was the big day, where hundreds of writers and booksellers and booklovers descended upon the beautiful town of Eden Mills. 

The lovely stone mill.

Stunning scenery around town

Lilypads galore

One of the highlights of the weekend was finally meeting Amanda Leduc and Allegra Young in person, aka the Bare it for Books girls. And I saw the (amazing!) calendar, too... but more about that later.

I wish I had taken off my sunglasses! But I was too giddy to think straight.

Then, after a quick wander up and down, we went to check out the beautiful venue for the "Young Writers to Watch" event. It was the same place I'd read the last time I was there, and as pretty as I remembered.

Scoping out our reading site, pre-event

My absolutely brilliant reading buddies, Grace O'Connell and Iain Reid.

The lovely Jael Richardson tweeted this photo of me reading!
I especially like the photographic evidence of people actually in attendance.

I was happy our set was first, as it meant I could relax and enjoy the rest of the day. The only downside was that two of the writers I was most looking forward to hearing, Catherine Bush and Wayne Johnston, were each reading in separate sets at the same time. (This happened again later, when everyone was forced to choose between Miranda Hill/Tamas Dobozy/Emma Donoghue and Andrew Pyper/Linwood Barclay/Ailsa Kay and Michael Winter/Joseph Boyden/Colin McAdam.)  Talk about hard choices!

Along with spending time with my fellow "young writers to watch," some of the major highlights of the weekend included meeting and hanging out with David Bergen, as well as getting to meet Catherine Bush, whose books I have loved. Regrets: not tracking down Wayne Johnston and Emma Donahue to meet them and get books signed. I neglected to realize that the Toronto-area authors could and would pop out at any time to drive home. I also really enjoyed meeting some Twitter folks (readers and writers), as well as some very kind readers and listeners who came to talk to me after our event.

So, to conclude: meeting readers and other writers and hanging out with one's literary idols --- pretty awesome!  Plus there was pie:



Alice Zorn said...

Most envious! Perhaps someday we'll be invited together? Don't you think there should be an event of Montreal writers?

saleema said...

I agree, there should be!!

It would be such fun to be there together. :)