Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Leacock Summer Festival - July 22-27

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The Leacock Summer Festival in Orillia starts on Tuesday, July 22 and runs until Sunday, July 27. A short trip from Toronto, the stellar line-up for the festival will make the travel worthwhile. Over thirty writers will be reading at the six-day festival including Randall Maggs, Barbara Gowdy, Julie Roorda, Drew Hayden Taylor, Steven Skurka, Marie-Claire Blais, Richard Gwyn, Barry Callaghan, Austin Clarke and Paul Quarrington.

From the press release:

ORILLIA -- Ontario’s largest literary get-together, the Leacock Museum’s annual salute to writers and reading opens in Orillia next Tuesday with over thirty writers and presenters appearing at the six day event.

“We're ecstatic about this year’s lineup,” said the Leacock Museum’s Fred Addis, “It’s a terrific combination of old friends returning and some very popular authors we’ve been trying to lure north for many years.”

Among those festival first-timers are Marie-Claire Blais, Barbara Gowdy and Jane Urquhart. Popular returnees include Barry Callaghan, Austin Clarke and philosopher Mark Kingwell.

“There’s also a showcase for student writers and a fun family afternoon for kids”, he added.

The festival kicks off on Tuesday, July 22 at 4pm with readings by novelist Barbara Gowdy and poet and author Christopher Dewdney. On Tuesday evening the creative writing students from the Laurentian University at Georgian College program will be hosted by artistic director Dr. Bruce Meyer as they present a showcase of their work,

Toronto Star columnist Richard Gwyn, winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for non-ficition for his acclaimed biography John A.: The Man Who Made Us will open the Wednesday program with a reading at 2:00 p.m.

On Wednesday evening, Newfoundland poet Randall Maggs presents an illustrated reading of from his collection Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, highlighting the troubled career of the enigmatic netminder who toiled in the NHL winning four Stanley Cups with Detroit and Toronto. On display at the reading will be the Vezina Trophy courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Author and screenwriter Paul Quarrington, well known to many Orillians and winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour for his book King Leary, will round out the Wednesday evening bill with a reading in prose and song.

The festival has teamed up with the Friends of the Orillia Public Library to present novelist Judy Fong Bates, author of the popular novel Midnight at the Dragon Café, selected as this year’s Orillia’s Big Read.

Award-winning Windsor Star reporter, photographer and poet Marty Gervais is the featured presenter at this year’s festival Letters Dinner. Gervais will present an illustrated program That Summer in Iraq, detailing his travels behind the battlelines to communities in war torn Iraq with a group of young boxers.

On Friday, Stephen Leacock’s niece Elizabeth Kimball will once again be honoured at the Teddy Bears Picnic with the reading of her story The House That Stephen Built. Veteran storyteller Sherry Lawson, from the Rama First Nation will be on hand with her unique brand of captivating stories for kids. The festival, in co-operation with the Early Childhood Education program at Georgian College, will host a fun day from children and families with crafts, face-painting and lots of cake and lemonade.

At 4pm on Friday, Julie Roorda will read from her young adult novel Wings of the Bee.

The Friday night program features 2008 Leacock Medal for Humour winner Terry Fallis reading on a triple bill with Stephen Gardiner and Drew Hayden Taylor.

Each Saturday afternoon of the festival for the past four years has featured writers from the Humber School for Writers. This year’s program will include three authors from the school’s faculty, Anthony De Sa, Steven Skurka and former Leacock Medal winner Joseph Kertes. The program will be hosted by Antanas Sileika.

Philosopher, author and social commentator Mark Kingwell is back in the Saturday happy hour slot at 5:30 pm reading from his newest work Concrete Reveries.

Author and publisher Barry Callaghan has once again assembled a stellar lineup for his Exile Editions Ladies Night, another staple of the festival. Callaghan will introduce readings by Marie-Claire Blais, Lauren B. Davis, Kathleen McCracken and Anne Michaels.

Poetry is the focus of Sunday’s early afternoon program with readings by George Elliott Clarke and Christopher Doda. This session will also include readings from the new Exile Editions release Selected Poems of Gwendolyn McEwen.

The Sunday program continues with readings by novelists David Gilmour, Diane Schoemperlen and Jane Urquhart.

Bajan cooking is once again the highlight of the festival finale at Austin Clarke’s Bajan Birthday barbecue. The celebrated Giller Prize winning novelist has closed the festival for 5 years running with a spicy Caribbean dinner featuring many dishes from his native Barbados. Clarke has selected authors Andrew Macrae and David Chariandy as guest readers at the dinner.

Last year the festival enjoyed its best attendance to date and Addis hoping they can top the mark this year with the star-studded lineup.
“Reading for many people is a personal, if not private activity. If we can coax more of our many avid readers to come out and put a face to the words they read, we’ll be happy with that, “ commented Addis, “ I think people will be astounded to hear and meet the people behind the stories they read.”

The Leacock Museum is marking three important anniversaries in 2008. It was one hundred years ago that Professor Stephen Leacock purchased property at the Old Brewery Bay in Orillia. Leacock’s 19-room summer home was constructed eighty years ago in 1928 and the Leacock Museum was officially opened fifty-years ago in 1958.

For complete festival schedule and details visit the Leacock Museum website at or call 705.329.1908.

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