Thursday, April 25, 2013

Festival Memories (Chapter One)

Roxanne Beale (she always has a book in her hand, it seems...) plying her
wares at the 2011 Festival (Photo: courtesy of Andy Williams)

Roxanne Beale, proprietor of the eponymous bookstore Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop in Fergus, Ontario has come to be known as "The Voice of Books" in our community, and deservedly so.
     Her bookstore is an island of peace and thoughtfulness in what seems at times to be a churning sea of 21st Century commotion.
     In a world of digital transformation, where reading has become a chore for most of the younger generation (and at best, looked upon as a hobby) she is a champion of books and a staunch advocate of reading. Her frequent events for younger readers have imprinted many members of our community with a lifelong love of books.
     Needless to say, she is deeply involved in our Festival, and has been for many years.

Roxanne's Favourite Festival Moments

"The 2013 Elora Writers’ Festival is fast approaching and once again I am so excited about the featured authors. This is one of my favourite events and I have been giving some thought as to why that is. I really love the intimate feel of the EWF and the fact that I don’t have to make any decisions about which authors to hear and where to find them. It all takes place in one venue and I have the opportunity to hear all six authors, no decisions required.
     I have been attending the festival for about 14 years and that’s at least 75 authors I have had the privilege of listening to. Mimi [one of my co-workers] and I were chatting about our favourite EWF moments. For Mimi, the chance to meet and hear Guy Gavriel Kay is at the top of her list. And she really enjoyed meeting Louise Penny, who is just so lovely and down to earth, and of course, a huge bestselling author now.
     For me, I have 3 favourite moments. I remember many, many years ago, Kim Moritsugu read from one of her books and her reading was just so perfect and she left the audience at a real cliff-hanger moment. You just had to buy the book to find out what happened next. Paul Quarrington’s appearance is also in my top 3. He read from his novel, Galveston, and then he brought out his guitar and sang 'Fictional World' with the wonderful line 'Michael Ondaatje has stolen my girl.' So unforgettable!
      And my very favourite memory is Antanas Sileika’s reading. I was not familiar with Sileika’s work before seeing him at the festival. Among other choices, he read a passage from a book that had not yet been published. I will let you in on a secret; I usually hate when authors read from something that is not yet available. How am I supposed to read something that does not exist yet! This time, though, I loved it. The passage was so clever and hilarious. It was about a young woman teaching English to a young man and she is teaching him about the English article, specifically the use of ‘the.’ The passage when read by him was so wonderful, I couldn’t wait for the book to be published. I remember reading The Woman in Bronze so carefully and expectantly, just waiting for this passage to come and hoping that it had been included. And there it was, in chapter six of Part Two and just as perfect in written form. The entire book is well-written and I highly recommend it.
     Do you have a favourite memory or author reading from past festivals? I'd love to hear it."
— Roxanne Beale

Find out more about Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop here... and while you're at it, buy books by some of the authors mentioned in this post.

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