Monday, May 29, 2017

Festival 2017 Wrap-up: Another great day!

It always starts out the same - a room full of empty chairs, a podium, a microphone. Posters of book covers and author photos. A few committee members scurrying around on last-minute tasks...

Anticipation. You can just feel it in the air.


And the next thing you know...

MC Roxanne Beale

Brad Smith, Andrew Westoll, Mary Ann Mulhern,
 Rio Youers and Adrienne Kress

...we're off!

Festival 2017 was another afternoon of eclectic, entertaining, though-provoking stories and readings from five uniquely talented authors.

Brad Smith

Kicking things off, Brad Smith read from his latest country-noir thriller, Hearts of Stone, and he left the audience wanting more.

Mary Ann Mulhern
Mary Ann Mulhern read from her collection, How We Fare, poems about the challenges of how we react to - and deal with - the tragedies and triumphs encountered in the news.

Andrew Westoll
Andrew Westoll shared the amazing story of encountering an online video from the jungle - featuring himself! - and read from his novel, The Jungle Under the Mountain.

Time for a break! The intermission brought delicious snacks (thanks, Fountainhead in Fergus!), and refreshments (where would we be without Wellington Brewery?), as well as opportunities for shopping at the bookstore, mingling with the authors and enjoying a sunny respite in the Victorian Garden just steps from Aboyne Hall.

Let's let EWF Writing Contest judges (and Kidlit authors) Lisa Dalrymple and Kira Vermond show us the way:

Checking out the offerings at the mini Roxanne's Reflections...
Yes, it's hard to resist the lure of a new book. Or a few new books...!

A gathering of writers...

Lisa, Kira and author Adrienne Kress had a chance to swap insider writing tips with the first-prize winner of the Youth category in EWF's annual writing contest. Sunshine, beverages, a quartet of writers. Does it get any better?

Well, actually, yes it does! At the start of the second half, prizes were presented to some of the writing contest winners in attendance. And then it was back to the action. Oh yes. There was action!

Adrienne Kress
Kids' author (and actress) Adrienne Kress kept things, um, moving as she read from her latest book, The Explorers.

Rio Youers
And local Elora author Rio Youers read from Westlake Soul, taking us inside the head of a wheelchair-bound surfing dude with a super-psyche - and we bought in, completely! He followed that up with a sweet moment from his latest novel, The Forgotten Girl.

But we weren't done yet. Time to put the authors on the hot seat for an interactive Question & Answer session.

Authors on the hot seat!

Dave Beynon
Chief Inquisitor Dave Beynon (of the EWF Organizing Committee) prompted our five authors to talk about the writing process, the joys (and horrors) and seeing your work on film, and why it's necessary to "kill your darlings."

Rio Youers, Brad Smith, Mary Ann Mulhern,
Andrew Westoll and Adrienne Kress
So as Festival 2017 came to an end, we wrapped things up with a moment captured in the Victorian Garden: our five Canadian authors and their books.

The Organizing Committee saw everyone out the door and got to work packing up the book shop, the chairs, the food, the posters...

And as another successful Festival became a memory, someone was heard to say:

"Hey, about next year. I was thinking..."

Stay tuned! We'll have news about Festival 2018 soon!

We couldn't do this without the ongoing support of our wonderful sponsors:

Wellington Brewery
Centre Wellington Community Foundation
Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop
Community Resource Centre of North & Centre Wellington
The Elora Arts Council
The Writers' Union of Canada
Little Tree Garden Market
The Wellington Advertiser
The Grand 101.1
Centre Wellington Tourism
Wellington Country Museum & Archives

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Announcing the 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival Writing Contest winners!

Since the deadline for our contest closed in April, our judges have been busy reading, considering, evaluating and making their selections.

Finally, the decisions have been made and here they are, the winners of the 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival Writing Contest:

In the YOUTH category (age 13 and under)
(Judges: Lisa Dalrymple, Lisa MacColl, Kira Vermond)

First Prize
Juliet Zimmerman, age 12, of Eden Mills for Timothy and Una

Second Prize
Becca Swan, age 13, of Fergus for The Forest

Third Prize
Maria O’Dwyer, age 13, of Wellington North for The Blue Caribou

Finalists in this category include:

The Castle by Joshua Doupe, 10, Belwood
One Cold Day by Jonah Doupe, 12, Belwood
Finding Home by Angela Pincivero, 12, Guelph
Fears, Maves, Tidal Waves by Miret Morgan, 11, Kitchener
The Letter Mistake by Makenna Law, 9, Fergus
Snowman Revolution by Ian David Gallagher, 10, Maryhill

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

First Prize
Candice Rubie, age 17 of Waterloo for 7 Minutes

Second Prize
Eric Bernhardt, age 19 of Burlington for Big Game

Third Prize
Nora de Vos, age 14 of Guelph for The Chase

Finalists in this category include:

The One by Michael Fuchka, 15, Kitchener
The Crash by Hunter DeLay, 14, Kitchener
As Quiescent as Her by Sydney Lacroix, 15, Palmerston
In Sickness and In Health by Cate Newman, 16, Waterloo
Horrific Terrors: A 9/11 Story by Jiya Gangwani, 14, Kitchener
DIEt by Jiya Gangwani, 14, Kitchener
Trapped in the Future by Manuela Morgan, 14, Kitchener

In the OPEN category (any age; category for adults age 20 and older)
(Judges: Bieke Stengos, Lisa McLean, Michael Hale, Rio Youers)

First Prize
Tammy Gilbert, of London, for Late Spring

Second Prize
Anastasia McEwen, of Fergus, for A Chicken Says “Cluck”

Third Prize
Mary Steer, of Waterdown, for This is not a short story

Finalists in this category include:

Pain is the Beautiful Purpose by Delaine Smith, Barrie
A Cold Beer to Remember by Phil Andrews, Guelph
Goodbye Stranger by Kim Murray, Toronto
A Shared Moment by Jean-Pierre Forget, Mount Forest
Arrival of the Strange Men: A First Nations Oral Narrative by Manuela Morgan, Kitchener
Tiputini by Andrew Lee, Hamilton
One Last Time by Linda Wowk, Edmonton
Keepsakes by Katrine Raymond, Hamilton

Canada 150 Essay: My Canadian Moment
(Judges: Jean Mills, Terry Fallis)

In celebration of Canada’s 150 anniversary of Confederation, we asked writers to tell us about a memorable “Canadian moment” in their lives.

Kathy Robertson, of Kitchener, for My Canadian Moment

Finalists in this category include:

I will remember by Marilyn Helmer, Belwood
Two Official Languages and One Gigantic Mud Puddle by Lynda Golletz, Elora
Up in the Air by Jockie Loomer-Kruger, Kitchener

Congratulations to the contest winners, and a special thank-you to our hard-working judges. We'd also like to send a big shout-out to all the writers who shared their stories and essays with us. Your enthusiastic response year after year proves that you agree with us whole-heartedly: Creative writing is important!

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 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival on Sunday, May 28 (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:

Brad SmithHearts of Stone (another country-noir thriller featuring Carl Burns)
Mary Ann MulhernHow We Fare (poems exploring today’s issues and challenges)
Andrew WestollThe Jungle South of the Mountain (a scientist explores life and loss)
Adrienne Kress The Explorers (for kids – suspense…and a pig in a teeny hat)
Rio YouersThe Forgotten Girl (But why can’t he remember her? Suspense!)

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: