The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival celebrates the power of words.
On Sunday, over 48 Canadian authors were featured, sharing their recently published books through panel discussions, readings, interviews, and signings at the idyllic riverside village of Eden Mills.
The lineup includes best-selling authors Emma Donoghue, Uzma Jalaluddin, Amy Jones, Ken McGoogan, and Guelph’s own Barbara Kyle who recently published her twelfth book, The Deadly Trade.
Kyle is the author of the internationally acclaimed Thornleigh Saga historical novels and thrillers including The Experiment. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her latest novel, The Deadly Trade, is her first murder mystery.
“This book is set in Guelph. I gave it a different name, but it is in Guelph,” Kyle said.
“So, for any Guelphites, if you read the book, you will see and recognize several of the landmarks, for example, a chase scene at the covered bridge. This is a fictional city based on Guelph.”
Kyle along with fellow Guelph writers James Gordon and Jean Mills, spoke to an audience on a grassy riverbank about their journeys to becoming published authors.
“My pathway to publication has been a roller coaster, with good times, and not so good times,” Kyle said.
For those considering writing, Kyle says her advice to them is to take their writing seriously.
“I don’t think you should take yourself seriously. None of us should do that, but do take your writing seriously,” she said.
“Believe in what you do, and believe that you have something to say to the world that is worth writing.”
The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is a celebration of literature in a warm, welcoming, and unique setting that provides stimulating, thought-provoking and entertaining programming for all ages.
The festival strives to nurture the next generation of writers by supporting aspiring writers through workshops, literary and poetry writing contests, and reading sets for yet-to-be published writers.
The Canadian Literary tradition began on the steps of the general store on Barden St. in Eden Mills, 35 years ago.
“Award winning author Leon Rooke and his wife Connie invited fellow writers to gather and read their work. As Charles Simon told me earlier this year, they hung a banner that said, 'first annual', and they didn’t know if there would be a second,” said festival chair, Theresa Ebden.
With each year, the festival grew, thanks to a dedicated group of supporters and the residents of Eden Mills.
“Now we are all here, years later, with more than 800 Canadian authors having visited our village over the course of the festival’s history. We hope we have another 35 years of open air, open book, and open mind,” Ebden said.
Due to the pandemic, to sustain future festivals, this fall the festival will launch a fundraising drive with a target of $50,000 for anyone who would like to donate and help spread the word.
“We hope we have another 35 years of open air, open book, and open mind,” Ebden said.
The Eden Mills Writers' Festival encourages a culture of reading by presenting events that are inclusive to a range of audiences and that provides a platform for authors to engage readers.
“This place is full of true book lovers,” Kyle said.
“And it’s so casual and in such a beautiful setting. It’s these three things that make this festival such a wonderful event.”