Friday, May 30, 2014

Our 20th Anniversary festival was a fantastic success!

What’s the recipe for a successful literary festival? 

Let's start with readings by six Canadian writers who inspire and entertain.

Add an enthusiastic, standing-room-only audience.

Our resident bookseller (Roxanne's Reflections Book and Card Shop in Fergus)
and MC extraordinaire (yup, that's Roxanne showing off her dance moves)
supervises the set-up of her mini-bookshop, aided by some enthusiastic

Why not include a post-readings reception and an illuminating Q&A with the authors?

Of course you also need treats and snacks galore. (Yes, there was wine!)

Throw in an intermission that features a chance to mingle and chat, and then applaud the winners (the young and no-so-young!) of the annual short story contest.

And how about offering a bookshop in the lobby?

On Sunday, May 25 in Aboyne, Ont., the sun was shining and the Museum garden was in bloom – who could ask for more?

Patricia and Laura, ready to take tickets.

Authors Brad Smith and Anita Stewart chill in theGreen Room before
the readings.

Authors Susanna Kearsley, Scott Chantler and Mary Swan
relax with snacks before the readings get underway.

Scott Chantler keeps the audience spellbound as
he explains the background of his graphic novel, Two Generals.

Andrew Pyper reads to a packed house
in Aboyne Hall at the Wellington County Museum.

“Thank you for a wonderful event last Sunday,” said one of the contest winners who was in attendance. “I was thrilled with my prize and learned so much from the Q&A session. Writers are so generous and encouraging to other writers. I hope to attend every year!”

Yes, another successful Elora Writers’ Festival is done, and the hardworking committee is already looking ahead to next year.

Stay tuned for information about some upcoming new initiatives we’re working on, such as the EWF Book Club and an evening of Books & Beer. Details to follow!

Thanks to our six authors – Mary Swan, Brad Smith, Anita Stewart, Scott Chantler, Susanna Kearsley and Andrew Pyper – as well as our volunteers, sponsors and (of course!) all those who came out to support and celebrate great Canadian writing.

We can’t wait until Festival 2015!

Treats from Fergies of Fergus. Yes, those are edible notebooks!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

And the contest winners are....!

It took weeks of careful reading and re-reading, but the judges of the EWF Short Story Contest have finally selected the winners of this year’s writing competition, and here they are:

YOUTH CATEGORY (Age 14-under)

First place:

Alice Kennedy (Elora)  Ma'am

Second place:

Laura Willis (Hamilton-Wentworth)  Succumb

Third place:

Alexandra Beilhartz (Fergus)  Tatum

Honourable Mentions:

Sammy Beynon (Fergus)  Clone
Sophia K. Van Gerwen (Puslinch)  Bob's Birthday Surprise


First place:

Kyelle Byne (Kenilworth)  The Treehouse

Second place:

Carrie May Pakulat (Arthur)  Marlena Throe Traveller Extraordinaire and the Stolen Artifact

Third place:

Emma Chiera  (Guelph)  Instinct

Honourable Mentions:

Kendra Morton (Alma)  The Ceiling Crumbled
Megan Black (Guelph)  My 29th Story


Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Phil Andrews (Guelph)  The Accountant King's Home       
Rita Bailey (Hamilton)  The Promise
Michelle Gibson (Hamilton)  Sea Crabs
Candace Kelm (Erin)  Beginnings
Carole Kennedy (Elora)  The Cost of Living
Sheila McMurrich Koop (Elora)   The Arcana of Living Springs
Jennifer Mook-Sang  (Burlington)  Circling
Laurie Myers (Waterloo)  The Cabana
Donna Starling (Fergus)  Finding Home
Mary Steer (Waterdown)  Arrival


First place:

Carole Kennedy  Cost of Living

Second place:

Laurie Myers  The Cabana

Third place:

Jennifer Mook-Sang  Circling

Honourable Mentions:

Sheila McMurrich Koop  The Arcana of Living Springs
Michelle Gibson  Sea Crabs
Rita Bailey  The Promise 

Prizes will be presented at the end of the Intermission of the Elora Writers’ Festival on Sunday, May 25 to any finalists and winners who are present. For those who cannot attend, Contest Chair Jean Mills will be in touch about sending your prize to you.

Since we understand that Teen and Youth winners may choose not to attend the Festival readings, contest winners in these two categories (including Honourable Mentions) are welcome to drop in to Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum at about 2:15 p.m. (the approximate start of the Intermission).  Look for Contest Assistant Marilyn Kleiber or Judge Lisa Dalrymple for assistance.

The judges commented on the high quality of submissions in all categories. Congratulations to every writer who took the brave step of submitting a story to this year's competition, and special congratulations to our 2014 finalists and winners! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Elora Writers' Festival's First Graphic Novelist!

Join us for our 20th Anniversary on Sunday May 25th from 1-4 pm at Aboyne Hall in Centre Wellington as we welcome the Elora Writers' Festival's first graphic novelist & cartoonist, Scott Chantler.
     Scott Chantler is creator of the graphic novel,  Two Generals - a very personal story from WWII which was long-listed for CBC’s Canada Reads: True Stories, named one of Chapters-Indigo’s Best Books of 2010, and selected for Best American Comics 2012.  Another graphic novel set in the early days of the North American fur trade, Northwest Passage was nominated for Eisner, Harvey, Shuster, and Doug Wright Awards. His Three Thieves series continues to delight kids (and their parents) with each new installment.  The first book in the series, Tower of Treasure, won the Joe Shuster Award for Best Comic for Kids. The latest installment, The King's Dragon, was released just last month from Kids Can Press Ltd.    Scott also teaches Writing for Graphic Novels at Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto.  
     We hope you can join us Sunday to listen to Scott and five other Canadian authors share their work in an intimate environment in one of the prettiest communities you'll find anywhere.  Tickets are only $20.00 and can be bought at the door or in advance at Roxanne's Reflections Book Store in Fergus.

Monday, May 12, 2014

thirst edition


"Each page [of The Drinkable Book] is its own little filter that can clean up to 100 liters of water (that’s around a 30-day supply). This means each book can provide a single person with up to four years of clean water. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and University of Virginia developed a special kind of paper that’s coated in silver nanoparticles, which kill bacteria."
— Lis Stinson, Wired
Read more…

Saturday, May 10, 2014

not just a slip of the tongue

“The Idler Academy, an offshoot of the magazine which offers courses in everything from philosophy to ukulele playing, has announced the shortlist for its 2014 Bad Grammar award, set up to highlight 'the incorrect use of English by people and institutions who should know better.'
     The shortlist is headed by Tesco, for using 'less' not 'fewer' in reference to numbers on loo-roll packaging – 'Same Luxury. Less Lorries' – and for describing its orange juice as 'most tastiest.'"
The Guardian
Read more…

“[…] should grammar be prescriptive or descriptive? In other words, should we all adhere to a set of hard rules from the 16th century or should we just blunder along, let language take its course and assume we know what each other means? Obviously, the answer lies between those two extremes.
     […] One doesn't need to be Thomas Gradgrind to be interested in the rules underlying the English language, or to believe that good communication and understanding depend on clarity. Grammar is not just about learning sentence construction: it's about speaking clearly and plainly and cutting through obfustication. But even aside from that, and most importantly of all, good grammar will help you get laid.”
— Hadley Freeman, The Guardian
Read more…

Hachette Job

“Amazon has begun discouraging customers from buying books by Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Colbert, J. D. Salinger and other popular writers, a flexing of its muscle as a battle with a publisher spills into the open.
     The Internet retailer, which controls more than a third of the book trade in the United States, is marking many books published by Hachette Book Group as not available for at least two or three weeks. [...]
     Generally, most popular books are available from Amazon within two days. [...]
     'We have been asked legitimate questions about why many of our books are at present marked out of stock with relatively long estimated shipping times on the Amazon website, in contrast to immediate availability on other websites and in stores,' said Sophie Cottrell, a Hachette spokeswoman. 'We are satisfying all Amazon’s orders promptly.'
     But, she added, 'Amazon is holding minimal stock' and restocking some of Hachette’s books 'slowly, causing "available 2-4 weeks" messages.'
     For at least a decade, Amazon has not been shy about throwing its weight around with publishers, demanding bigger discounts and more time to pay its bills. When a publisher balked, it would withdraw the house’s titles from its recommendation algorithms.
     ‘Typically, it was about 30 days before they’d come back and say, “Ouch, how do we make this work?”’ an Amazon buyer told the journalist Brad Stone in his book about the company, The Everything Store.”
— David Streitfeld, The New York Times

Buy Brad Stone's book, and all the books mentioned in this New York Times article here...

See a related post here...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

“…the overmanaged, time-sucking, and keystroke-counting world of work.”

“[…] Cubed [ by Niki Saval] takes us on the happy journey from cozy countinghouse rooms at the turn of the last century to open-plan offices in the wide-open ’60s and ’70s to the heinous hell-boxes born out of the mass layoffs of the ’80s. In the wake of this latter shakeout, Saval writes, 'corporations responded by giving a privileged elite the few remaining offices while cramming everyone else into partitioned spaces.'
     This was the era famously captured by Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, in which he birthed the phrase 'veal-fattening pen' as a painfully accurate description of the office cubicle. These holding facilities, Coupland memorably observed, were 'small, cramped office workstations built of fabric-covered disassemblable wall portions and inhabited by junior staff members. Named after the small pre-slaughter cubicles used in the cattle industry.' A grim stop, in other words, where the life-hating, managerially disrespected masses can kill time until they’re led to their own metaphorical killing floor to be laid off.
     All this talk of design and repression brings to mind the resemblance Black Panthers first pointed out between slave-ship design and the layouts of supermax prisons. Saval gives us statistics on the dimensions of a standard worker-bee workstation circa 2006, 'when the average cubicle was seventy-five square feet.' According to the latest information, the average Solitary Housing Unit at Pelican Bay supermax averages about eleven and a half by seven and a half feet. So in this case, if in few others, convicts serving time in solitary come out ahead of salaried cubicle dwellers.”
— Jerry Stahl, BookForum
Read more…

Buy this book here...

Scott Chantler... see him at the Festival on May 25

"'I love to tell stories,'" says Scott Chantler. 'That's what drives me. So when the chance came along to work on a graphic novel, I seized it.'
     Days Like This, illustrated by Chantler and written by J. Torres, is the fictionalized account of a teenage girl group's rise to stardom during the early 1960s. 'This was a fascinating project for me,' explains Chantler. 'It's exactly the type of work I'd been looking for in comics, because I can't think of another book like it. It's personal and character-driven, and makes meaningful use of the time period. It's not just some nostalgia trip. It gave me an opportunity to do a lot of juicy research and challenged me to represent the era properly, but without ramming it down people's throats. There is something iconic to the story that I wanted to reflect in the art.'
     The book hits store shelves March 26 and makes its official debut at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival on March 29. If it is not available at your favourite bookseller, it can be ordered.
     At [the University of] Waterloo, Chantler refined his talents as a visual story teller while he studied Fine Arts and Film. His popular comic strip, 'Manly Man', ran in Imprint 1991-92. More importantly, it was at Waterloo [University] that he met his wife Shari.
     After graduation, he landed a position with Creative Options in Waterloo. He illustrated employee communications campaigns on safety, loss prevention, and customer service for major American retailers such as JCPenney, Pep Boys and Hallmark.
     'But there are only so many ways to creatively illustrate how to lift a box safely and I yearned for work that was more challenging and entertainment-driven,' explains Chantler. Shortly after setting up shop as a freelance illustrator, he started an online comic strip, which caught the attention of comic book writer J. Torres (Sidekicks, X-Men: Ronin). Their online correspondence eventually led to Torres offering him the art chores on Days Like This.”
— James Howe, University of Waterloo

Go to Scott Chantler’s website here…

Buy all his books here…

Spread the word...