“Days spent celebrating words in the woods, to paraphrase Thoreau, are days not subtracted from the sum of one’s life. If books are portals into other lives, other ways of being, so too is the natural world: what a joy to bring them together on the banks of the Mattawa River.” - Kate Harris
What a wonderful weekend with Writers in the Woods!
We began on Friday with a day of workshops to Inspire Your Writer.
We opened up our hearts at a storytelling workshop with Terry Anne Campbell to get our creative juices going; then instruction on how to write the narrative in a story with Helen Humphreys and an insider’s look into book design with Kelly Hill.
Friday night we gathered in the Dining Cabin for a relaxed dinner at a communal table sharing stories and thoughts from the day.
Saturday was our free Family Eco Day Program with our environmentally engaging Canadian Ecology Centre staff. The Shadow Drummers offered the opportunity to smudge with sage. Then they drummed and sang. Their music is First Nation, traditional, contemporary and original songs from across Turtle Island.
Late afternoon began our silent auction to support The Canadian Ecology Centre Educational Foundation.
Before dinner Kelly Hill presented an extraordinary presentation illustrating how environmental Anne from Anne of Green Gables was. She also shared her process creating Anne’s Numbers, published by Tundra Books.
Helen Humphreys shared with us her research for Machines Without Horses published by Harper Collins Canada. This stimulated our audience to ask question after question.
Then we had a homemade meal at our beautifully set communal tables with Waubgeshig Rice, Helen Humphreys and Kelly Hill.
After dinner, Waubshegig Rice told us stories about Wasauksing First Nation. He also had many tales about the origin of Moon of the Crusted Snow published by ECW Press and the process of working with editor Susan Renouf.
The next day, Waub said “I had a truly wonderful time at the Mattawa River Writers Festival. It was a major highlight of my spring. I felt very warmly welcomed and a part of the lovely community that thrives there. To tell stories and share my experiences in the midst of such natural beauty was inspiring, encouraging, and thrilling. The enthusiastic support from community members proves just how an expertly and carefully organized literary event like this can bring people together. The Canadian Ecology Centre is the perfect venue for this gathering, and I can foresee this festival thriving and becoming even greater in the years to come. I would recommend this event to any storyteller. It’s a prime example of how the literary arts build and sustain community.”
Before the night was over, our audience purchased many books and left with signed editions along with memories of having spent a memorable evening with amazing authors.
To finish the day, everyone was invited to gather at the campfire to continue the conversation under the stars. Back Roads Bill created a campfire worthy of the stories we heard that day.
Sunday morning we came together for a hearty breakfast in the Birch Building. Back Roads Bill then took the remeaining group on a guided hike to his Eau Claire Gorge. It was the perfect book ending to our weekend with writers in the woods.
Moon of the Crusted Snow
Machine Without Horses