Sunday, July 10, 2016



Just back from a great weekend where I got to immerse myself in words and wine. Words, because it was Nelson's Fifth Annual Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. Wine, because the opening gala has a wine-pairing thing where four different writers are "paired" with four different wines, and you get to try them all out as long as you're not driving; thanks, Ted! The only thing I missed was Caroline Adderson's talk on craft on Wednesday night, and already I'm kicking myself. (I'd just got my studio painted and was attempting to put it back together). Missed seeing Lynn Krauss, who's been part of the festival organization committee pretty much since EMLF began. Next year we're going to see her dancing!

Thursday night's 100-Mile Gala saw the Richard Carver Award for Emerging Writers go to two deserving people. Here's Alanda Greene of Kootenay Bay whose historical novel Napi's Dance was published by Second Story Press

Co-winner of the Carver Award, Donna Macdonald, whose book Surviving City Hall was published by Nightwood Editions earlier this year.

Jazz singer Jill Barber entertained the enthusiastic audience with a few songs.
Jill's husband, Grant Lawrence's reading included some old diary notes about the first time he visited Nelson as a young guy, when he was touring with The SmugglersHe was also frequently spotted wearing the cutest baby!
 Leesa Dean and P'nina Shames working the book table.
Will Johnson (who has much better pictures from the evening on his blog as he was using a real camera) read from his story that won the Kootenay Mountain Culture fiction contest. 
Fletcher Fitzgibbon also read from his prize-winning KMC story.
"Reading the Earth" on Friday night at the Capitol Theatre. The audience was treated to talks, readings, and slides by Richard Cannings (being from the riding Castlegar's in as opposed to Nelson's, he's my MP!), Briony Penn, and J.B. McKinnon. The inimitable Bill Richardson was MC for the evening.
 The recently rebuilt/refurbished/repurposed old CPR Station building housed the Saturday panels where various aspects of the writing life were discussed. The first one was "Writing the Land",  moderated by Calvin Wharton and featuring (left to right) J.B. McKinnon, Eileen Pearkes, Briony Penn, and Grant Lawrence

Next up was a panel that looked at the state of children's literature in Canada, appropriately titled "Once Upon a Time". Verna Relkoff moderated this one which included Murray Kimber who illustrates children's books (among other things), Caroline Adderson, and Jill Barber. The consensus? Canada's children's literature is doing just fine!

What Nelson literary event would be complete without Tom Wayman? (Answer: None.) Here he is, moderating the afternoon panel that looked at the state of publishing in Canada these days. 

Nancy Wise of Sandhill Book Marketing, Julian Ross of Polestar Press fame and calendars, and New Star's Rolf Maurer took on the "Publishing: Perish or Prosper" panel. Consensus on this one? Somewhat grim; although that might be just me.

At the festival's Saturday night wind-up Bill Richardson read from new fiction he's working on as well as sharing a few of the wonderful poems in his latest book, The First Little Bastard to Call Me Gramps: Poems of the Late Middle Ages. 

A pensive Bill. Probably hatching a new poem.

Bill shared the stage with Caroline Adderson who read from her latest book, Ellen in Pieces. Both Bill and Caroline have given readings in Nelson before, when the Kootenay School of Writing (the ad hoc local committee that sought funding from Canada Council to bring in readers, not the Vancouver off-shoot) was organizing such events. If memory serves (and it should be noted that mostly, it doesn't), Bill was here in around 1991when Queen of All the Dustballs came out, and Caroline was here a few years later when she was touring with her short story collection, Bad Imaginings.
Something new at EMLF this year was the Holley Rubinsky Memorial Blue Pencil Sessions, funded in part by a generous bequest from Holley who died last August. Caroline Adderson was the writer-in-residence for this and from what I hear those who took advantage of the 40-minute one-on-one sessions got marvellous feedback from her.

Just some of the folk who came out for the Saturday panels.
And finally, if I was looking for the one photo to sum up the energy and attention to detail that EMLF organizer Anne DeGrace puts into it, this is the one. She does everything!

1 comment:

Kim Goldberg said...

Thanks for sharing these photos, Linda! I hope I can attend this festival in future years. Have been wanting to get to it. Looks like a fabulous experience. :)