GREENSTONE, Ontario – Squatchberry Literary Festival will host a banquet on June 30th with Arthur Black as guest speaker. The Festival runs concurrently with the celebrations for Geraldton’s 75th Anniversary of Incorporation on Canada Day weekend. Seventeen published authors will be offering readings and workshops.
When he learned of the Festival, Black leapt at the opportunity to return to Geraldton. His first public appearance there occurred in 1976 when he entered the annual Hot Air Contest. The grand prize of the popular liars’ contest was the Golden Shovel Award. Black did not achieve the distinction of winning one.
In 1981, the first Squatchberry Festival occurred in Geraldton, followed by annual gatherings until 1984 in Dryden, Kenora, and Thunder Bay. Black recalls attending at least one of them. For Canada Day weekend 2012, the Festival has been revived.
In his tongue-in-cheek resume, Black states: “CRIMINAL RECORD: One conviction – Harbouring un-de-scented skunk within city limits.” Perhaps he is gearing up for another crack at the Golden Shovel Award.
Black, a syndicated columnist, has published several of his collected works, three of which won him the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 1997, 2000, and 2006. In four other years he received the Leacock Award of Merit. As a radio broadcaster he was won several awards, including the Radio Actra Award twice for his program Basic Black. He lived for several years in Thunder Bay.
The Squatchberry Banquet on Saturday evening will have a few surprises. Edgar Lavoie, Chair of the Festival Committee, stated, “We have real squatchberries on the menu. Diners will have an opportunity to see them, taste them, and even feel them.”
Many people believe that squatchberries are a mythical fruit, native to the region, and identifiable by sight, taste, and touch.
The Festival program begins Friday evening with a feature presentation by author Charles Wilkins, and winds up early Sunday afternoon, July 1st.
Many authors will be bringing their books and giving registrants a chance to purchase them. Arthur Black’s newly released book, Looking Blackward, will be on hand.
Registration forms as well as program and author descriptions are available on the website: SquatchberryFestival.ca. Early registrants will qualify for seating at the banquet.