Penguin Randomhouse’s website is a wealth of information about Canadian authors and events. It’s a good place to look to find if there are any events near you featuring your favourite authors. I had a glance this morning and discovered that there is an event in my province, Nova Scotia, on July 8 in the small community of River John called Read by the Sea. It’s a literary festival that takes place at the Royal Canadian Legion Memorial Garden from 11 a.m. onwards.
Currently, they have three authors scheduled. I’ve only heard of one, Lesley Crewe. I read a book by her recently and really liked it and I’ve borrowed a stack of books from my cousin by her. The other two authors are Christy-Ann Conlin and Dean Jobb. I’m not familiar with either of them. Conlin has a new novel out called The Memento which sounds quite good, a sort of gothic ghost story/coming of age thing. Her first novel, published in 2002, Heave, also sounds wonderful. It seems to have had a lot of awards and acclaim.
I don’t know Dean Jobb’s work either. He’s written a book, Empire of Deception, about a con man in Chicago, Leo Koretz, who’s scam reaped millions of dollars he swindled from people on the premise of their investing in non existent timberland and oil fields back in the early 20th century. It crashed around him in 1923 and he tried to escape to Nova Scotia. He was the Bernie Madoff of his time. Jobb has also written a number of books about various true crime cases in Nova Scotia’s past, a book about the Westray Mining disaster of 1992, and one about the story of the Expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia by the new English rulers of the province in 1755.
The festival is apparently going to have another author added but it has not been confirmed yet. River John is a small community on the Northumberland Straight, the body of water between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It isn’t too far from the larger town of Pictou and Caribou Island from where the ferry to PEI leaves. It’s a pretty spot. I’ve been there once to a wedding. Less than a 2 hour drive from Halifax, it might be a nice day out. I guess we can decide closer to the day. I’ll have time to read more of the Lesley Crewe books before then as well.
The website hasn’t been updated yet for the 2017 schedule of events but judging from last year’s, they have a theme with readings by the authors in the morning and afternoon. Lunch can be bought on site from food vans or you can bring your own, with live background music for atmosphere. There’s also a Q&A with all of the authors later in the afternoon and a prize draw. The festival has been in place since 2000 and it looks to have attracted some very high profile Canadian authors including Margaret Atwood, Linden MacIntyre, Michael Crummey, Donna Morrissey and more. I’m impressed!
River John is also hosting Wordplay, a similar festival for children on Monday, July 3, 2017, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.) at Mabel Murple’s Dreamery and Book Shoppe on Allen Street, outside on the grounds. Isn’t that a fab name for a bookstore?