By Emily Stonehouse
Calling all readers and writers! The literature event of the year in Haliburton County is just around the corner.
The second annual Bookapalooza will be held on Sept. 15 and 16 at the Minden Curling Club, and this year, it promises to be the biggest year yet. “It’s going to be fabulous,” said Marie Gage, one of the organizers of the event, “it will be much bigger than last year.”
The event is designed to offer a full weekend of networking, learning, and celebrating literature in the Haliburton Highlands. “This is an arts community,” said Gage, “and often, authors work in the background. We want to celebrate reading and writing as a form of the arts. It’s all a part of the vibrant arts community in which we live.”
Kicking off the event is what the organizers are calling the “Big Book Club” at the Curling Club, in which author Lawrence Hill will be interviewed by the Haliburton County Public Library’s CEO, Chris Stephenson. Hill is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author, and has written eleven books of fiction and non-fiction including the well-known Book of Negroes, which has recently been made into a mini-series on television.
The Big Book Club will allow participants to ask Hill questions about the art of writing, as well as a meet and greet session before and after the talk for book signings.
The event kickstarts a full weekend lineup of all things reading and writing, with something for all ages along the way. “The Haliburton Lions Club will be offering their Book Nook, where all children attending will walk away with a free book,” said Gage. There will be readings offered all through the day, to foster the love of reading and writing starting from a young age.
“The feature event for kids will be the storybook walk,” shared Gage, which will be featuring Heather O’Connor, an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer. She will be doing a guided reading of her book Runs With the Stars, or Wiijibibamatoon Anangoonan in Ojibwe, which tells the story of the Ojibwe Horses that used to roam the forests of northwestern Ontario.
For older readers, the event is hosting over 50 exhibitors, with five presentations throughout the day on Saturday. Some of the presentations will include topics such as publishing and purchasing, the art of transforming experiences into memoirs, the Indigenous voice in Canadian fiction, the power of books to define culture, and the “Sounds of Halls Island”, which is a musical performance by singer/song Sanda Bouza. “You can pop into any of these presentations throughout the day,” said Gage. “You may want to look ahead and see which presentations are most interesting to you.”
Gage noted that one of the main priorities for the day is keeping the event accessible to everyone, which means that admission is free for all to attend, but donations are welcome so that the organizers can start planning future events.
For a full lineup of events, as well as additional information on Bookapalooza, visit the Arts Council website at www.haliburtonarts.on.ca/bookapalooza.