In September of 1989, Governor General Award winning author and Eden Mills resident Leon Rooke invited friends Michael Ondaatje, Rohinton Mistry, Linda Spalding and Jane Urquhart to read from the steps of the historic Eden Mills general store. Hundreds of people showed up and the Eden Mills Writers' Festival was born! Today, the Eden Mills Writers' Festival has grown into a nationally respected literary festival, with up to 1,800 visitors joining hundreds of volunteers from Eden Mills, Guelph and area on a Sunday in September.
Throughout the village, six open air reading sites are set up for Adult, Young Adult and Children's author readings. These sites include: a 19th century fieldstone Mill, an 150-year-old fieldstone chapel, a backyard with the Eramosa River as a backdrop, and a field showcasing a local artist's sculptures. Authors read in hour-long sets of 3 or 4.
JENNY'S PLACE is founding EMWF Board member Jenny Kitson's home, also known as action central for the Sunday festival and houses the Authors' Green Room, hosts children's presenters in the backyard and on the front lawn. The Bookshelf sets up a booth where folks can buy our authors books. Book signing tables are next door.
Author readings at the EMWF are by invitation and we love promoting local writers! This year, we have Guelphites Thomas King, Dr. Nicholas Ruddock, Jo Ellen Bogart, Ben Caesar and Zachary Collins, as well as Janet Wilson (Eden Mills) and Carrie Snyder (Kitchener/Waterloo). Local emcees include Guelph residents Craig Norris, James Gordon and Susan Ratcliffe; Hillside Executive Director Marie Zimmerman; and Guelph Library's Anne McKay.
The 26th EMWF Sunday Authors Festival takes place on September 14th, 2014, and will host over 50 Canadian authors from near and (very) far: current Booker winner, Eleanor Catton will be flying in from New Zealand. Governor General award winner Kate Pullinger will be arriving from her current home in London (England). Plus, writers from Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. will all be converging on Eden Mills and Guelph starting on Thursday, Sept. 11th through Monday, Sept. 15th.
Free shuttle buses will leave from the Sleeman Centre and the University of Guelph's University Centre to Eden Mills (and return) roughly every hour. Check the Festival website at www.edenmillswritersfestival.ca for the all of the details.