Authors and poets to read at the 2nd annual Words Alive Literary Festival

Get inspired, be intrigued and laugh out loud at the 2nd annual Words Alive Literary Festival on Sunday, Sept. 21 in Sharon, Ont., where new and established writers from across Canada will read from their latest works, including York instructor Karolyn Smardz Frost, 2007 winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and York alumna Beverley Stone (LLB ’93).

This one-day literary festival, founded by York alumna Vali Stone (BA ’95), offers workshops, panel discussions, storytelling, poetry, music and art. A family-friendly event, it is a celebration of Canada’s rich literary heritage and provides a showcase for new and established authors, storytellers, poets and musicians. Beverley Stone, a Newfoundland native, will read from her debut novel No Beautiful Shore (Cormorant Books Inc., 2008) about two friends who plan to leave their Newfoundland home behind and head for the big city, but complications arise.

“The festival has something for everyone. For aspiring authors and poets, there are workshops, contests and the chance to participate in public readings,” says Vali Stone, festival chair. “For readers and book club members our diverse author lineup ranges from the non-fiction of Karolyn Smardz Frost writing about the underground railroad in I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land, to the paranormal worlds of Kelley Armstrong, to rising star on the CanLit scene Barnacle Love author Anthony De Sa. I hope everyone will be inspired by wandering the Sharon Temple grounds listening to storytellers and musicians.”

Right: Vali Stone

The jam-packed schedule includes workshops for writers, such as “What Can an Agent Do for You?” by literary agent Marie Campbell. Editor Allyson Latta will conduct a workshop on memoir writing. Storytellers Heather Whaley, Fay Wilkinson, Brenda Byers and Jim Blake will weave their tales throughout the day.

In addition, poetry plays an important role in the Words Alive festival, says Stone. Readings from award-winning poets Barry Dempster, bill bissett, Allan Briesmaster and Maureen Scott Harris will be featured. Aspiring poets can also participate in the On-the-Spot Poetry Contest for the chance to win prizes.

Left: Sharon Temple in Sharon, Ont.

Words Alive is a literary festival that is growing fast. The historic Sharon Temple in Sharon, Ont., just 40 minutes north of Toronto, is once again the venue for the festival. Click here for directions. Admission is $4, children under 16 are free, as is parking. For more on the festival or a complete schedule of readings and workshops, visit the Words Alive Literary Festival Web site.  

Speakers and performers at the festival include:

  • Allan Briesmaster – poet and publisher
  • Allyson Latta – literary editor conducting a memoir workshop
  • Anthony De Sa – “…an astonishing talent,” says Wayson Choy
  • Barry Dempster – award-winning poet and author
  • Beverley Stone – reading from her acclaimed debut novel
  • bill bissett – unconventional, perhaps anti-conventional, poet
  • Brenda Byers – director for Storywyse Oral Tradition Storytelling
  • Christopher Dewdney – award-winning poet and author
  • Fay Wilkinson – masked storyteller extraordinaire
  • Heather Whaley – storyteller and singer/songwriter
  • Jim Blake – curator of “Fabled City – The Lost Stories of Toronto”
  • Karolyn Smardz Frost – archeologist, historian and author
  • Katherine Belrose – presenting Forgotten Voices of East Gwillimbury
  • Kelley Armstrong – author of The New York Times bestselling Otherworld paranormal suspense series
  • Kim Michele – musical troubadour
  • Marie Campbell – literary agent with over 20 years experience in the publishing industry
  • Marina Cohen – children’s author
  • Mary Swan – winner of the 2001 O. Henry Award for short fiction
  • Maureen Jennings – creator of the famed Detective Murdoch series and nominated for the 25th annual Arthur Ellis Award
  • Maureen Scott Harris – Trillium Prize-winning poet and essayist
  • Menaka Thakkar – internationally renowned classical Indian dancer
  • Peter Unwin – author of the acclaimed Nine Bells for a Man
  • Sommerset – a Celtic quartet with a melodious and distinct sound
  • Uma Parameswaran – author of the acclaimed Mangoes on the Maple Tree
  • Valentino Assenza – engaging spoken word performer and Words Alive emcee