Opinion: Another great writers’ festival beckons

If you look straight down Cowrie Street you’ll see my favourite place on the Sunshine Coast. There, nestled in a setting that in my mind rivals the Garden of Eden, is the Rockwood Pavilion, a magical building where every summer authors and readers converge for the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. 

There I’ve laughed, cried and sighed so many times over the years. This year promises to be no exception. Just look at the lineup. 

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A few years ago I had the privilege of introducing humorist Terry Fallis to a festival audience. Quite frankly, I was so in awe of the man I couldn’t imagine what I would say that could do him justice. As it turned out, Terry is one of the wonderful people who, besides being immensely talented, likes people. He was a hit with everyone. It’s no fluke he’s back this year with a brand-new book. Fans take note – it hits the shelves in early August so we’ll be among the first to read it. I can’t wait. 

This winter I reread a riveting tale by a young woman I admire immensely. Although I don’t always remember books or the authors until I see them again, Eden Robinson and her stellar story Monkey Beach are an exception. That book haunts me. Her Trickster tales are next up on my reading list. I’m so happy she’s back to the Festival this year. 

Over the years I’ve heard many authors deliver the Bruce Hutchison Memorial Lecture. This event is an opportunity for a writer to share his or her thoughts on any and all things Canadian. This year’s speaker, Lee Maracle, is no shrinking violet. She’s an Indigenous woman who has stirred many a heart and conscience with her talent. The last time I saw her at the festival I was struck by how entertaining and astute she is. I vividly remember her laughter and her message. I have a feeling she will become number three in my all-time best presenters for this event. The other two, Chantal Hebert and the late, great Richard Wagamese, are hard acts to follow, but I’m betting Lee matches their moxie. 

Along with many patrons, I remember being part of an audience when Naomi Klein challenged our complacency with the world as we know it. This year, Dr. Michael C. Klein, Naomi’s father, will bring a unique perspective on the medical world. This promises to be another occasion we won’t soon forget. 

Tickets go on sale beginning next Wednesday, May 29 at 8 a.m. For details go to www.writersfestival.ca. Aug. 15 just can’t come soon enough for me. See you there!

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