I have never been to the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival before, despite the close proximity of the event. This year I won tickets though, so it was the perfect opportunity to check it out.
The opening night was fabulous! Both Marina Endicott and Guy Gavriel Kay read excerpts from their latest novels. After Endicott read the key scene in her novel, “The Difference”, I wanted to rush right home and devour it. Alas, although I won that novel and GGK’s, “A Brightness Long Ago”, I have yet to achieve that goal. But soon enough!
Both writers were witty and engaging. I particularly enjoyed GGK’s answer to a question about writing process. He said that he doesn’t like giving writing advice, because writers are looking for a key. There is no key: everyone has their own way. Do you know whether or not a person has outlined a novel or not when you are reading it, he asked. That gave me a lot to think about.
I participated in a “Writing for Children” workshop on Saturday. The facilitator was Marie-Louise Gay, who is most famous for the “Stella” series. Gay’s goal in the workshop was to help us see how children see the world. Gay said that she never puts messages in the books that she writes. Instead, she wants to promote the pleasure of reading and the discovery of things. She pointed out that in fact it is only adults who are interested in what message a book has, never the children. More to think about!
Eden Mills is a beautiful little town, and most of the festival’s venues are outdoors. Some are even held in residents’ backyards!
We stuck mainly to “Jenny’s Place”, which is the children’s area.
The first speaker we saw was Mireille Messier, who talked about her books that aren’t even out yet (but will be soon), “Treasure” and “Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War”. I was surprised when Messier told the audience that “Treasure” is entirely in dialogue. When I first started studying picture book writing, we were told that this was a big no no! Hmmmm…Perhaps the trend is changing.
We also got to listen to Kevin Sylvester, Jess Keating, and Eden Mills writer Janet Wilson. Sylvester entertained with his three drawing tips. Keating, whom I saw last year at “Telling Tales”, which is next week, did a wonderful science based talk with lots of audience participation. Wilson tugged at our hearts with her presentation on her book “Our Future: How Kids are Taking Action”.
I bought Jess Keating’s latest book, “Elements of Genius: Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray” for my daughter. While writing my daughter’s name, she accidentally spelled it wrong, but without hesitation turned the mistake into a little rabbit drawing. A genius move!
I will definitely go again to this gem of a festival.
Have you ever been to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival? What stories do you have to tell?
Shoe’s Sunday Stories
@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler