Saturday, September 10, 2016

Douglas Gibson: You liked him so much, we've invited him back!

Hey, remember this?

Douglas Gibson at Festival 2016 (Photo by Francis Baker)
Yes, that's publishing veteran and author Douglas Gibson at Festival 2016, sharing his stories of Canadian authors - from inside the trenches of CanLit. He made us laugh, drew a few exclamations of
 "aahhhh" (translation: "I did not know THAT!") from the audience, and mingled easily with everyone in attendance. Like this:

 "Best wishes, Doug Gibson..."
We only heard a few short anecdotes that day (and they were awesome), but Doug has tons more, and he's going to share them with us on Saturday, October 1, 8 p.m., at the Fergus Grand Theatre (244 St. Andrew St. W. in Fergus, Ontario), in an evening of literary fun presented by partners Elora Writers' Festival and Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop.

Here are the details:

Click HERE for tickets.

Saturday, October 1, 8 p.m. at the Fergus Grand Theatre - see you there!

Stay tuned for details about Festival 2017, Sunday, May 28 at Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum and Archives.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Festival 2016: Five terrific authors and a full house - a fantastic day!

The Weather Fairies woke up in a bad mood on May 29 - Festival day! - but no one was daunted. Not our five wonderful authors - J.M. Frey, Dietrich Kalteis, Douglas Gibson, Pamela Mordecai and Terry Fallis - and certainly not the nearly 100 book-lovers who joined us at Aboyne Hall for Festival 2016.

Thunderstorms? Not allowed on Festival day!
As 1 p.m. approached, and Aboyne Hall started to fill up, the authors took a pre-Festival break in the Green Room (also known as the Board Room at the Wellington County Museum & Archives) to swap stories and warm up for their readings. (And just so you know, what happens in the Green Room, stays in the Green Room.....)

(Left to right) Terry Fallis, Douglas Gibson, J.M. Frey, Pamela Mordecai (and her husband, Martin), and Dietrich Kalteis
And all of sudden - we were underway! Mistress of Ceremonies Roxanne Beale welcomed everyone to Aboyne Hall and made a point of thanking some of our sponsors, including the Writers Union of Canada and the Wellington County Community Foundation.

Roxanne Beale: Best. MC. Ever.
The rest of the afternoon passed in an exciting montage of words, stories, laughs, moments of drama, moments of hilarity, food, drink, and a little interactive fun as well. Take a look:

J.M. Frey - Photo by Francis Baker

J.M. Frey had us on the edge of our seats. Dragons. Yup.

Dietrich Kalteis
Things got a little, um, spicy with Vancouver's Dietrich Kalteis. "You never think when you write this stuff that you're going to be reading it out loud. Am I turning red?" (The crowd loved it!)

Douglas Gibson

Doug told us some amazing stories about well-known CanLit heros such as Alice Munro (and why she stuck with writing short stories. Thanks, Doug. CanLit definitely owes you!), Margaret Laurence (long dresses to hide fear-trembling knees), and Lucy Maud Montgomery (a little note in a long-ago notebook about a story idea involving an elderly couple who want to adopt a boy to help on the farm and get a girl instead....) Magic.

And then, Intermission!

Debbie and Suzanne on the refreshments

It's thirsty work listening to all those great stories. Time for some hydration, thanks to Wellington Brewery (with a little help from the LCBO...)

And thanks to Fergus's Fountainhead Café, we didn't go hungry!

Kim, of Roxanne's Reflections, hard at work during intermission.

Intermission was a busy time because, of course, there were books to be bought at the Roxanne's Reflections mini-bookstore.

Douglas Gibson, a fan, and a bemused Terry Fallis

And of course, the authors were available to visit and sign books....

(Left) Pamela Mordecai

...and schmooze with fans!
Tammy Gilbert (left) and friends

And out in the garden, Tammy Gilbert and friends enjoyed some fresh air in preparation for the start of the second half - beginning with the presentation of First Prize to Tammy in the EWF Short Story Contest. No wonder she's celebrating!

Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis made us laugh (of course!) and....

Author Q&A

... Pam Mordecai made Terry laugh, during the final session of the afternoon, a Q&A with questions from the audience, moderated by EWF committee member Dave Beynon. Pam also gets the prize for Best Cliffhanger Of The Day.

And suddenly, it was over!

A huge thank-you to everyone who joined us at Aboyne Hall on Sunday, May 29. Thanks for your enthusiasm, your participation and your much-valued feedback.

Thanks also to our wonderful sponsors:

Elora Arts Council
Wellington County Community Foundation
Writers' Union of Canada
Wellington Brewery
Community Resource Centre of North and Centre Wellington
Fergus-Elora News Express
Dr. Radka Novak
LittleTree Garden Market
Grand 101.1FM
Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop
Wellington Country Museum & Archives

... as well as the many local businesses who donated to our gift basket raffle.

And a BIG thank-you to J.M. Frey, Dietrich Kalteis, Douglas Gibson, Pamela Mordecai and Terry Fallis. We couldn't have done this without you.

Stay tuned for news about Festival 2017. We can't wait!

The EWF Organizing Committee:

Roxanne Beale
Dave Beynon
Marilyn Kleiber
Francis Baker
Nada Small
Suzanne Sutton-Curry
Jean Mills

The end of a PERFECT day!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Announcing the 2016 EWF Short Story Contest winners!

It all started here...
We received almost 100 entries to our contest this year, and our judges have spent the last six weeks reading, considering, evaluating and making their selections.

Finally, the decisions have been made and here they are, the winners of the 2016 EWF Short Story Contest:

In the YOUTH category (age 14 and under)
(Judges: Lisa Dalrymple, Lisa MacColl, Kira Vermond)

First Prize
Madeline Vukovic for Dear World

Second Prize
Becca Swan for The Journey

Third Prize
J. Zimmerman for The Most Colourful Climbing Tree

The final round of judging also included:

Jiya Gangwani Believe
Joshua Doupe I Am an Orange
Jonah Doupe One Cold Day
Benjamin Richards 240 Hours
Turner Duldhart Opportunity Knocks
Mariana Lalla My Family

In the TEEN category (age 15-19)
(Judges: Heather Wright, Heather Debling)

First Prize
Eric Bernhardt for October’s Storm

Second Prize
Candice Rubie for Gloves

Third Prize
Hunter Gutman for Itch

The final round of judging also included:

Cate Newman In Search of the Elusive Moonflower
Madeline Burgess It’s Not a Mistake
Sammy Beynon Stalemate
A.C. Franklin Reflections
Emma Chiera Advancements

In the ADULT category (age 20 and older)
(Judges: Bieke Stengos, Lisa McLean, Francis Baker, Michael Hale)

First Prize
Tammy Gilbert for If You’re Gonna Live

Second Prize
Vera Constantineau for Searching for Peace

Third Prize
Melanie Scott for Jump

The final round of judging also included:

David S. Cross White
Mary Steer Miracle at IKEA
Katrine Raymond Fifteen Minutes
Lisa MacColl A Day at the Park
Marion Reidel The Diagnosis
Kim Murray The School Bus Graveyard
Lori Twining Seashells, Swans and Ice Cream

Congratulations to the contest winners, and a special thank-you to our hard-working judges.

Thanks also to our two sponsors, The Community Resource Centre of North and Centre Wellington (Youth category), and the Elora Arts Council (Teen category), two organizations which join us in recognizing the importance of supporting and encouraging young writers.

During the intermission of the 2016 Elora Writers’ Festival on Sunday, May 29 (1-4 p.m.), any winners in attendance will receive their prizes – along with a big round of applause from the Festival audience and authors.

And speaking of the Festival authors, here’s our fantastic line-up, in case you missed it:

J.M. FreyThe Untold Tale (Fantasy and beyond – think “ComicCon goes wild”)
Dietrich KalteisThe Deadbeat Club  (Gritty crime thriller of the noir persuasion)
Douglas GibsonAcross Canada by Story  (Behind the scenes with some of Canada’s favourite authors)
Pamela Mordecai Red Jacket (Joyful Caribbean heart and voice)
Terry FallisPoles Apart (Feminism rules! But wait a minute….)

Please join us! You can reserve and pick up tickets at Roxanne's Reflections Book and Card Shop in Fergus (Phone 519-843-4391) or by ordering online through the Theatre on the Grand box office (find the link to their ticketing website, here.)

Monday, March 28, 2016

There’s something for everyone in our Festival 2016 Line-up!

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be transported to other worlds and places – all carried on the words of five terrific Canadian authors during the 2016 Elora Writers’ Festival on Sunday, May 29 at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. 

Join us as we hop from genre to genre – crime, sci-fi/fantasy, memoir, poetry and humour – and meet the authors up-close-and-personal once the readings (and another classic Q&A session) are done.

Ready? Here’s our Festival 2016 line-up:

Dietrich Kalteis, author of The Deadbeat Club

Dietrich Kalteis joins us – all the way from Vancouver, people! Yes, Dietrich is making the trip from B.C. to share his West-Coast noir thrillers – The Deadbeat Club is his latest, with Triggerfish coming out in June. His novel Ride the Lightning won a bronze medal for Canada West Regional Fiction at the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

J.M. Frey, author of The Untold Tale

J.M. Frey will transport us into other worlds – think science fiction and fantasy with a big dose of steampunk for good measure. She’s an actor, an academic, a voice artist – and much, much more. Her latest novel is The Untold Tale, which she calls “an epic-length feminist meta-fantasy.” Her debut novel, Triptych (2011) was a winner at the San Francisco Book Festival. Coming soon, a steampunk trilogy featuring “a girl vigilante and her mysterious rocketpack.” (Yup. We need to know more about this, please!)

Douglas Gibson, author of Across Canada by Story

Douglas Gibson, former editor and publisher, will spill the behind-the-scenes details of his life in the Canadian literary universe with Across Canada by Story, the follow-up to Stories about Storytellers. He’s been wowing audiences across Canada as he performs his one-man literary stage show, too. Want to know the real stories about Canadian books and writers? Get your questions ready, because Doug is the guy with the answers.

Pamela Mordecai, author of Red Jacket

Pamela Mordecai is another award-winning author whose resumĂ© hops from genre to genre – poetry, novels, children’s books – and includes teaching as well. Her novel Red Jacket was shortlisted for the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and her poems have been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Award.

Terry Fallis, author of Poles Apart
Finally, a familiar face to EWF audiences – Toronto novelist Terry Fallis makes his third appearance at our Festival, with his latest comic hit, Poles Apart, in hand. Terry just won his second Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, too (for No Relation). We remember his first appearance, where he read from the now-classic The Best Laid Plans and apologized to us for his flawed Scottish accent. (And then, of course, there was his second appearance, where fellow-author Sonia Day’s passionate reading about gardening inspired him to comment on his “peony envy”...!) Delighted to have you back, Terry!

That’s the line-up. Do you notice anything different?

Yes, there are only five authors, instead of the traditional six. That’s because we’re going to do something new. At the conclusion of the readings, we’ll invite all five authors back to the stage for an informal Q&A with questions provided by you, the audience. Expect the unexpected!

There will also be food, drink and schmoozing galore – a trademark of our Festival.

Sound good to you? It sounds great to us – and it’ll be perfect if you’re there too. Please join us!

WHEN: Sunday, May 29, 2016, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (…or a bit longer?)

WHERE: Aboyne Hall, Wellington CountryMuseum and Archives (lots of parking!) 

HOW: Tickets are $25, available by visiting or contacting Roxanne’s Reflections Book & Card Shop, 152 St Andrew St W, Fergus, Ontario, 519 843-4391. 

Need more information? Roxanne, our wonderful Mistress of Ceremonies, can also answer any questions you may have about the event. Call her at the store, 519 843-4391, or email us at

See you on May 29 in Aboyne Hall!

Keep up to date on our latest news, including the upcoming Books & Beer event . You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@EloraWF)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Our contest judges weigh in: What do you look for in a good story?

The EWF Short Story Contest deadline is almost here! (In case you’ve forgotten, your entry needs to be postmarked by Wednesday, April 6…). 

No doubt your story is well underway. Or maybe it's still in the "thinking stages." In any case, it might help to have a little motivation and inspiration. So, we asked some of our contest judges to answer this question: What do you look for in a good story?

Here's what they said:

Heather Wright

Heather Wright
(Educator, editor, and author of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens as well as numerous novels and stories for young readers)

For me, a good story is the complete package: a compelling opening that makes me want to read more, real characters (even if they're elves or owls) that have both good and not-so-good qualities and whom I'm sorry to say good-bye to at the end of the story, and a plot that has a beginning, a middle and an end.


Lisa Dalrymple

Lisa Dalrymple
(Award-winning author of Skink on the Brink and A Moose Goes A-Mummering)

It seems like such a simple idea but I love a story that gets me into a character’s head. If I know what the main character is thinking, what she’s feeling, and what’s important to her, then the plot–and everything that happens to her–grips me all the more because it’s happening to someone I care about. When I’m reading through a pile of wonderful contest submissions, that’s what is going to make one stand out over some of the others I receive.


Kira Vermond

Kira Vermond:
(Author of The Secret Life of Money and Why We Live Where We Live, which won the 2015 Norma Fleck Award for Non-Fiction)

I look for a story that makes me feel something, whether that’s happy, sad, angry or uncomfortable. And the best stories? They make me think, ‘Wow! I SO understand what the writer is saying! This person has put something into words that I’ve been feeling for years — but never knew how to express to myself.


Michael Hale

Michael Hale
(Author of The Other Child and A Fold in the Tent of the Sky)

A good story changes the way the reader looks at the world. It brings fresh insight to the commonplace, and transforms what at first seems peculiar and unconventional — foreign, if you will — into something intimate and personal.


Francis Baker

Francis Baker
(Writer, editor and journalist with almost 30 years experience in community daily and weekly newspapers in Ontario, a Canadian Community Newspapers Association and Metroland Media award for editorial writing)

I don’t think there’s a formula for a “good story.” Entice the reader with something exciting, original or unique. Good stories are usually about people, so make them interesting -- write characters with real motivations and feelings, not stereotypes. Don’t mumble, Stephen King says. Be honest. Reach for something no one’s done before. Experiment -- I’d rather read a story that strives beyond itself and misses a little, than an utterly competent retelling of the same old thing.


Bieke Stengos
(Guelph poet and short story writer)

My advice: Write from the heart. Then use your head: let others read and edit your work. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.


Find everything you need to know about the 2016 EWF Short Story Contest here

Story ready to go? Mail it to EWF Short Story Contest, c/o Elora Arts Council, Box 3084, Elora ON N0B 1S0. Youth and Teen categories, no entry fee. Adult category, $15 entry fee (cheques made out to Elora Arts Council - thanks!)

And if you need one more nudge, remember this advice from American writer, Mary Heaton Vorse:

"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants
 to the seat of the chair." 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Books & Beer II is in the books!

Books & Beer II drew an enthusiastic crowd of book lovers. Okay, book lovers AND beer drinkers - thanks to the hospitality of our venue sponsor, Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop, and our beer sponsor, Wellington Brewery.

So what happened at Books & Beer II?

 Tables and chairs? Check. Snacks? Check. Ready!

We're all set up and ready to roll. Books everywhere and beer...

 Beer. 'Nuff said.

... also everywhere. Please check out the distinctive "wellie" tread on the bottom of the packaging. Is Wellington Brewery classy, or what?

"So I said to my editor, I said...."

Our special guest, author J.M. Frey, arrives and wades into the crowd to make some friends - fellow writers Lisa Dalrymple (award-winning author of kids' books like Skink on the Brink and A Moose Goes A-Mummering) and Francis Baker (he writes, he photographs, he works hard on the Elora Writers' Festival commitee, too). In the background, committee member Suzanne Sutton-Curry rocks some steampunk-inspired millinery while keeping an eye on things. And yes, a film crew from TVCogeco prepares to film the evening for Turning Pages, the book show hosted by EWF committee members Dave Beynon and Roxanne Beale.

I mean, the place is rocking! And then Jess cracks open her latest novel, The Untold Tale and holds us in thrall...

..including our brilliant MC, Dave Beynon (yes, also an author!), who is clearly deep in "the zone", which is okay because we were all in there with him. Weird, wonderful, witty storytelling gets us every time.

Thinking, thinking...

And then we put Jess on the spot: Hey Jess, how about coming up with a story for this amazing steampunk lamp created by artist Doug Mills of Elmira, our raffle prize for the evening? No problem. Her story had something to do with the universe, and spheres and stars and weird cosmic energy. She came up with it - like magic. Awesome.

It was a fantastic evening, with insights into the writing and publishing process as well as a bit of literary education (Do you know what "steampunk" means? Do you know what "meta-fiction" is? No? Well, sorry, you had to be there for the lively Q&A...) provided by the supremely articulate, funny and multi-talented J.M. Frey.

J.M. Frey, MC Dave Beynon, EWF committee member Suzanne Sutton-Currry:
 a trio of troublemakers. Just saying...

And we attracted a diverse and eclectic crowd, too.

Talking, visiting, watching - the room is buzzing!

 "That's ginger ale in my cup, honest, Mom!"

Books & Beer II is in the books, and we're so grateful to those who came out to share it with us and support the Elora Writers' Festival, coming May 29 to Aboyne Hall (Wellington County Museum and Archives).

And speaking of Festival 2016....

Yup. This.

Our authors: Dietrich Kalteis, Pamela Mordecai, Douglas Gibson, Terry Fallis and the star of Books & Beer II, J.M. Frey. Books - and tickets! - available at Roxanne's Reflections.

Need more information about Books & Beer, our Festival (including our Short Story Contest) and our authors? Feel free to email us at elorawritersfestival [at] gmail [dot] com.

Books & Beer II is in the books! See you on May 29 at Festival 2016!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Books & Beer II: Yup, we're doing it again!


Questions? Need tickets? 
Drop in to Roxanne's Reflections, 
152 St. Andrew St. W., Fergus, 
or call 519-843-4391
Email us at: