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Over this past weekend, from July 19-22, the Grapevine newsletter certainly received fresh fodder, as the ferry in Buckley Bay, BC was positively bottlenecked with visiting writers and personalities waiting to cross the water for the 2012 Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival.
Indeed, the island had to put aside all talk of artistic assemblage for the moment to welcome Carmen Aguirre, Grant Lawrence, Tzeporah Berman, Daniel Francis, Steven Galloway, Mark Leiren-Young, Garry Thomas Morse, Nikki Tate, Timothy Taylor, and Audrey Thomas.
Highlights included Carmen Aguirre reading from her Canada Reads winning and much celebrated memoir Something Fierce (Douglas & McIntyre), before joining Tzeporah Berman and Audrey Thomas to tread through a minefield of questions posed by the eminent author Des Kennedy, whose razor sharp witticisms made for a highly entertaining evening.
(Carmen Aguirre, Tzeporah Berman, and Audrey Thomas enjoy a lighter moment)
Garry Thomas Morse read poetry from his prize-nominated Discovery Passages and also gave the first “prehear” of his new book of fiction Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus, which Denman resident and opera fan Linda Nessel-Treen has…yes…just confirmed…was the talk of the B&B!
The following day, the infinitely winsome Audrey Thomas read “The Man with the Clam Eyes” from her book of stories The Path of Totality (Penguin) and also a bilingually intense short story about the École Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal in 1989.
Then Stephen Leacock Award-winner Mark Leiren-Young demonstrated how it’s not easy being green in his new solo show “Greener Than Thou” that addresses the challenges of sustaining sustainability.
Once again, the panel discussion drew in a large crowd, as CBC personality Grant Lawrence asked authors Steven Galloway, Timothy Taylor, and Garry Thomas Morse about writerly preparation and then about their respective processes.
(Steven Galloway, Timothy Taylor, and Garry Thomas Morse chat with Grant Lawrence)
Throughout the festival, the visiting writers were treated to intriguing and spellbinding readings by Denman Island writers Graham Brazier, Jo-Anne McLean, Sarah Joyce, Dante Ambriel, Sheila Nopper, Sandy Melnyk, Bill Engleson, Karl Goodwin, Tashi Draper, Ron Sakolsky, Marc Randall, Jennifer Lee, Mica Gries, and Ana Miriam Leigh.
(Denman Island writer Sarah Joyce reads from her work)
Suffice to say, the extraordinary dynamics of this engaging (and potentially explosive, just ask the local professor of Chaos Theory!) combination of characters is worth at least a novel or two in itself.
However, visitors should take care. If you leave your car unlocked on Denman Island, you may just find it full of zucchini when you return.