Readers and writers get to go behind the pages, together, on Quesnel Author’s Day at the library.
The event has been done once before, as a smaller startup function in 2022. Lessons were learned, the most important one being all the writers involved got inspiration and association out of being together. They came to the conclusion that Quesnel has many writers in the community, but there is no community of writers in Quesnel. In other words, they liked hanging out together and saw the opportunity to help each other along.
“We’ve got a nice group of writers who have been working together to make this happen, and expand on how we started out last year,” said one of the organizers, Kathy Fowkes, a local children’s author and long-time educator. “We’re trying to develop a writing community in Quesnel, and we’ve got a really good start with the group that’s been doing the planning of this. There’s about eight people who have pretty consistently involved, coming to meetings, and offering input, and supporting one another, and that’s actually one of the topics for the mini-sessions is developing the writing community so you’ve got people to bounce ideas off of, help you out if you’re going down the road but you don’t know where to go, or just be there to support one another. It’s got a good start; we’re hoping it’ll grow.”
So far, that has been the group’s primary storyline. More authors than last year are going to set up tables. The list of featured authors includes: Fowkes, Margaret Pacuzzo, Vicki Nelson, Lin Weich, Shannon Matter, Tristan Bueckert, Sarah Neeson, Norma Rae, Mary Ann Sturdy, Ginny Dunn, Judy Alsager, and Emma Jarrett, all of whom will have display tables where readers and writers can pass by and see their material or discuss their craft.
This year’s expansion also includes feature discussion on writing topics. Sarah Neeson will discuss the mechanics of writing communities and also hold a second discussion on the business of writing.
Stan Krumm will weigh the pros and cons of editors or no editors.
Shannon Matter and her band The Electric Comets will perform some songs to take the audience into the writing of songs as one element of literature.
Emma Jarrett will lead a discussion on poetry.
Frank Peebles will do the same with journalism.
Fowkes will take the audience into the empirical skills and joys of children’s literature.
“I’m so passionate about children’s literature, because I feel it can be used in so many different ways, and that goes back to my background. I’m an educator by profession for 35 years, and I’m a mother, a grandmother, and I just know stories can teach so much to kids, and I see how children’s literature is vital to their developing brains, and vocabulary, and don’t get me started,” she said.
Quesnel Author’s Day is getting a big boost in profile, as well as a change of calendar date, thanks to BC Culture Days. The province-wide extravaganza kicks off in Quesnel, this year, and the local organizers, the Community Arts Council, asked the writers if they would like to slide their special day into their set of events.
Literacy Quesnel is also a big backer of Author’s Day, supplying the event with a trove of books for use as prizes for various elements of the writer’s special time with the fans.
Another theme running throughout the event will be the writers’ affection for Quesnel fantasy writer Linda McIntyre who helped organize the 2022 Author’s Day but died of cancer before this year’s function could be held. The 2023 event will be dedicated to McIntyre.
Events at the Quesnel Public Library get underway at 10 a.m. and will run until about 4 p.m.