Sunday, June 6 was a big day in Elora. For one thing, it was the day of the Elora Writers’ Festival, a wonderful afternoon of readings from six Canadian authors writing in a variety of styles and voices: Giller Prize winner Linden MacIntyre, Bonnie Burnard, Ray Robertson, poet Barry Dempster, Pasha Malla (“It’s a writer’s festival; will there be rides?”), and Terry Fallis reading from his hilarious political satire. All wonderful.
But the highlight for me happened a few hours before the Festival, when I had the pleasure of announcing the winners of the Young Writers Contest to a room full of young writers and their parents. Who knew so many kids would turn up for this specially-organized celebration of young writers? And who knew so many of the winners would be there to receive their prizes?
Judges Heather Wright and Kira Vermond spoke to the audience about the challenges of choosing one piece of writing over another. I encouraged the kids to think of themselves as writers and be proud of their efforts, win or lose.
Afterwards, kids and parents came up to say thanks – thanks for running the contest, thanks for hosting this event, thanks for the prizes.
No, kids. Thank YOU! Canada’s literary future is in excellent hands – yours!