Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Before the Bench in Brockville

This past weekend marked the second annual Thousand Islands Writers Festival held in Brockville on the Saint Larence. Bev and I attended and I did a reading in the Saturday afternoon mystery session in the Court House. It’s difficult to imagine a more exciting, and daunting, location to read about murder and mayhem than an actual court room, especially with Judge Cosgrove, in a manner of speaking, presiding. It was memorable. I even got to address members of the jury (that part of the audience seated in the jury box). It was a bit unusual to address the court with my back to the bench, but not being a lawyer, I adjusted.

The organizers of the Festival, especially Doreen Barnes as Chair and Russ Disotell, who acted as MC, did a great job, bringing together a diverse cluster of writers and an enthusiastic gathering of readers. There were many volunteers who should be thanked, but I don’t have the names. Thank you, all. A great deal of thought went into everything from the writers’ goodie bags at the beginning to the wine and cheese celebration at the end. It all helped make this a great event.

Bev and I stayed at the Victoria Inn where the gracious host, Susan Szaraz, offers wonderfully contemporary service in a truly charming and authentic period setting (www.brockvillevictoriainn.ca/index.htm).

I do want specially to thank Jake and Pat at the Leeds County Bookstore (73 King St. West) for their enthusiastic support. From a writer’s perspective, there is nothing more gratifying than finding a bookstore where they genuinely love books and believe in the books they sell (including mine).

I would go back to the Thousand Islands Writers Festival in a minute or, in fact, next year, as a writer or as a reader and listener. Just consider the line-up this year. It was stellar. Reading with me in the mystery segment were R.J. Harlick and Janet Kellough. Also reading, on Friday and on Saturday morning, were Sarah Perry and Tish Cohen, Charlotte Gray and Roy MacSkimming, and children’s writer, Elizabeth Kelly. Due to health problems, I couldn’t be there for the entire weekend. Next time, I’ll do better.

It was a real pleasure and privilege to read with R.J. and with Janet in our session chaired by the irrepressible Russ Disotell.

It’s a pleasure to affirm that the TIWF is well on it’s way to being an institution (especially if they continue to hold readings in the Court House)!

And Brockville! What a beautiful historic city. We’ll be going back for sure, one way or another.