By Darren Lum
A new chapter is being written for the Haliburton Highlands when it comes to an event that appeals to writers and readers since the successful launch of Bookapalooza.
With 125 people who came to the first-ever free admission event on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Minden Community Centre, the organizing committee was happy about the turnout for what they described as a “tradeshow event” that brought together readers, writers and editors from within Haliburton County and surrounding areas.
“Overall, it went really well. We’ve got lots of good feedback from our exhibitors. We think it’s a good start for the first year of an event. We’re pleased with the way things went,” Kathy Purc, writer and organizing committee member said. “We did run into some issues that we weren’t expecting, but we’ll know next time how to overcome those before we event get into them.”
She added these were minor issues for the event held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which were handled on the day.
Purc said people appreciated how well organized the event, which boasted 36 exhibitors, was and the variety on offer, which included the different genres of literature represented, the informative presentations, the attendance of writers for adult and children’s literature, including a dedicated children’s area, the Haliburton and District Lions’ Children’s Book Nook with public readings and where free books were available.
In addition to the opportunities to meet with writers and editors the public could pick up a “blind date,” which were free books, wrapped with a blank cover and had a written witty caption on them. These books were donated by members of the organizing committee. What wasn’t taken at the event was donated to the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library (HCPL).
As a writer, Purc appreciated being able to network with other writers and readers. She learned event goers welcomed the opportunity to be inspired and to learn from professionals during the presentations about how to start their own writing projects.
“Some people said, yes, I’ve been thinking about writing and you’ve encouraged me to do it,” she said.
The event included award-winning novelist, Terry Fallis.
Fallis, author of such books as The Best Laid Plans and his most recent effort, Operation Angus drew dozens of people to his evening time slot from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Big Book Club. The HCPL’s CEO Chris Stephenson interviewed the Canadian author, who provided an insight into his writing process, political and personal background. Purc appreciated learning how he explained his writing process, which includes developing an outline over a series of months before he sits down to write the book that typically only takes a few months. She believes this could be an approach she could adopt to be far more efficient when compared to what she has done.
“It’s the ‘pantser’ versus the planner … writing by the seat of your pants versus writing with an outline,” she said, laughing. “I’m more of a pantser, but I think I’d like to be more of a planner.”
Fallis also led a hike close to the community centre, which was part of the Hike Haliburton event held from the past Friday to Sunday throughout the Highlands.
Purc said she encourages public’s input for next year’s event, which can be delivered to the Arts Council who can forward it to the Bookapalooza organizing committee. The organizing committee will meet next week and discuss what worked and what didn’t to figure out plans for next year.
This event was sponsored by Haliburton Reads & Writes and The Arts Council Haliburton Highlands in partnership with the Haliburton Lions Club, Haliburton County Public Library, and Hike Haliburton, it is funded in-part by the Haliburton County Development Corporation.
Purc said the community really came out for this event.
“There’s a lot of people interested in writing and … certainly a lot of readers, especially the families with young children. I think a lot of people responded because the media coverage was really good for Bookapalooza, and the advertising,” she said.
There were readers and writers interested in the event and proved to be “a supportive community as they always are.”