This past weekend was the 28th annual Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, and my first visit!
Eden Mills is a little village of about 350 people, and is actually the first community in North America to attempt to be carbon neutral. It was really cool to see how they kept to that goal during the festival – the food area used real dishes, and there was a free water station (BYO water bottle).
But what about the festival itself? I loved it – it was the perfect balance of people, booths and authors. The crowd wasn’t overwhelming, every seat was a good seat at the author readings, and there was ample opportunity to talk to the publishers and authors in the booths.
The main street was closed and filled with booths (officially called Publishers’ Way by the festival). Many of the booths were run by indie publishers, and it was a great opportunity to learn about new (to me) authors and books.
Author readings were all outdoors, and people relaxed in lawn chairs or on blankets. It was all very casual and friendly.
I attended the Young Adult portion of the readings. First up was Amanda West Lewis, who writes historical fiction (published by Red Deer Press). She read from her new book, The Pact, inspired by a true story of a young boy living in Germany during World War 2. It was fascinating, beautiful and tragic all at once – I can’t wait to read it myself.
Douglas Davey was up next – he read from his latest book Switch, as well as his previous novel M in the Abstract (Red Deer Press). His work is a bit more quirky and modern, which I really enjoyed. I couldn’t resist picking up M in the Abstract. After the readings I had a lovely conversation with both authors while they signed my books.
Back on Publishers’ Way, one booth really stood out for me: the Amnesty International booth. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this organization, they fight worldwide for human rights. At first glance, it’s not really clear why they would have a booth at a festival all about books. But it turns out they actually run a book club as well! The Amnesty International Book Club is free to join. Sign up on their website and receive monthly emails featuring a recommended book, editorials and questions about the book, as well as articles highlighting AI’s latest human rights campaigns.
The Amnesty International booth was also selling a book – and it’s an important one. Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters is an anthology created to raise awareness about violence against First Nations women. 50 Canadian artists contributed to the slim volume, and it was published by Penguin. Only 800 copies were printed, but you can also buy the ebook here. 100% of the proceeds will go towards Amnesty International’s No More Stolen Sisters campaign, so please grab a copy.
So there you have it – my first year at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. I think it’s fair to say I will be back again next year!