New literary festival to take place in Dunedin

By Trina Berlo
July 29, 2016 

A lush, natural haven just west of Creemore will welcome Anne Michaels and other renowned authors to its first literary festival on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The First Dunedin Literary Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Dunedin, a tiny, green hamlet by the scenic Noisy River.

International award-winning poet and novelist Anne Michaels will head the festival with two appearances.

The afternoon will feature a performance of Michaels’ young adult book, The Adventures of Miss Petitfour.

Later on, a reading and interview will mark the 20th anniversary of Michaels’ acclaimed novel, Fugitive Pieces. Afterward, she will be joined by some of this country’s most accomplished musicians: David SeredaDavid Gray and Colleen Allen, for an intimate evening of music, words, poetry and theatre.

Michaels, who is the current Poet Laureate of Toronto, has books published in more than 45 countries. She is the recipient of dozens of literary awards including the Orange Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Lannan Award for Fiction. She has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize (twice) and the Governor-General’s Award, and longlisted for the IMPAC Award (twice).

The inaugural festival will also host Hungarian-born writer Joseph Kertes. His acclaimed 2009 novel Gratitude won a Canadian National Jewish Book Award and the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Fiction.

For those with a taste for forests, Caledon Hikes: Loops and Lattes author Nicola Ross will lead a guided hike in the area, as well as a nature-writing workshop.

Visitors can attend a kitchen demonstration for the cookbook Goodness by Peter and Chris Neal, which includes recipes by area food activists Miriam Streiman of Mad Maple Country Inn, and The New Farm’s Brent Preston and Gillian Flies.

At Storybook Park, younger readers can participate in day-long activities with children’s authors, which focus on fun. Pet a sheep while listening to The Sheepover by John and Jennifer Churchman, who will be leaving their farm in Vermont to join us at the festival, or colour large-format pages from local artist Steve McDonald’s Fantastic Cities and Fantastic Structures colouring books. The park will also feature an art installation of life-sized wired horses by Dunedin metal and wood artist Jim Leithead of Cedarfox Sculpture.

To date, other confirmed authors include mystery writer John Brooke; poet and translator Paul Eprile and organic farmer Brent Preston.

Readings and activities in the park are free. Tickets ($10 each) will be available for Nicola Ross’ guided hike and nature-writing workshop, and for Anne Michaels’ evening performance and reading at the Dunedin Hall.

Creemore-based indie bookstore Curiosity House Books & Gallery will set up a pop-up shop in a vintage trailer to sell books. There will also be gourmet food trucks, an artisan vendor area and live music.

The First Dunedin Literary Festival is made possible in part by funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and Clearview Township.

For more information about the new literary festival, visit www.wordsinthewoods.ca, on Facebook at Dunedin Literary Festival and on Twitter: @wordsinthewoods.ca. Festival organizers are need of volunteers. For more information and to volunteer, contact info@curiosityhousebooks.com.