GREENSTONE, Ontario – A local committee is organizing a literary festival of regional authors for Canada Day weekend to coincide with Geraldton’s celebrations of its 75th Anniversary of Incorporation.
The Squatchberry Literary Festival begins Friday evening, June 29th, and runs until Sunday afternoon, July 1st, in Geraldton’s Community Centre.
More than a dozen published writers from Greenstone and Thunder Bay will offer readings of their works and lead workshops and panel discussions.
On Friday evening, the Festival kickoff will feature a presentation by award-winning Charles Wilkins, whose recent adventure of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean will soon be narrated in a new book.
On Saturday evening at the Festival banquet, Arthur Black, the syndicated columnist, will be guest speaker. His literary awards include three Stephen Leacock Medals for Humour.
The Festival has launched a website at SquatchberryFestival.ca. The committee will soon be accepting registrations through this site. Edgar Lavoie, Chair of the committee, said, “We are excited to be presenting our home-grown or home-nurtured writers to a national audience.” The 75th Anniversary Celebrations will be hosting homecomers from across Canada.
One of the inspirations for the 2012 Festival was the 2011 Word on the Water festival held in Kenora last October. A local committee sponsored that event, which featured not only local writers but writers from the Canadian West.
The original Squatchberry Festivals ran as annual events from 1981 to 1984, sponsored by The Squatchberry Journal. The Journal was the first little magazine of Northwestern Ontario about arts and literature, publishing sixteen editions from 1975 to 1984. Lavoie served as editor and publisher.
Both The Journal and the Festivals broke new ground by featuring writers and artists from this region.
“Both the magazine and the festivals, which feature local and regional talent, have never been replicated,” said Lavoie. “Maybe it’s time to resurrect them.”