Fes­ti­val com­ing to­gether

Cabot Trail Writ­ers Fes­ti­val pre­par­ing for an­nual fall event

Cape Breton Post - - Arts/Entertainment - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

Even with the can­cel­la­tion of its head­lin­ing writer, an or­ga­nizer of the Cabot Trail Writ­ers Fes­ti­val says he’s con­fi­dent this year’s event will be big­ger and bet­ter than ever.

Poet and Metis ad­vo­cate Kather­ena Ver­mette had to can­cel out of the an­nual event re­cently and ne­go­ti­a­tions are cur­rently hap­pen­ing to find a re­place­ment.

If that doesn’t work out, long­time event or­ga­nizer Gary Walsh says the re­main­ing writ­ers present a strong vol­ume of work on their own.

“Right now we’re ne­go­ti­at­ing — we haven’t heard back from some­body so if we do, we do, if we don’t, we’re just go­ing to go with the ones that we have — it’s a pretty strong lineup even with­out Kather­ena,” said Walsh ear­lier this week. Among those tak­ing part in this year’s event — which runs Sept. 28-Oct. 1 — are Carol Bruneau, Wayne John­ston, Lin­den MacIn­tyre, Dou­glas Gib­son, Sheree Fitch, Sarah Faber, Sarah MacLach­lan, Mona Knight, Re­becca Sil­ver Slayter and singer/song­writer James Kee­laghan. Sev­eral of the writ­ers, in­clud­ing Re­becca Sil­ver Slayter, live in Cape Bre­ton and two are first­time nov­el­ists, Sarah Faber and Mona Knight.

Orig­i­nally from Toronto, Faber lives in Cape Bre­ton with her hus­band and their chil­dren. “All Is Beauty Now” is her first novel.

Knight was a for­mer cor­re­spon­dent for a Third World spon­sor­ship agency and when she moved to Cape Bre­ton she con­trib­uted to the Vic­to­ria Stan­dard. “Banjo Flats” is her first novel.

Al­though not known as a writer of books, Kee­laghan is known to be one of Canada’s most re­spected song­writ­ers. He’ll be tak­ing part on a panel and per­form­ing at the fes­ti­val’s Sun­day brunch.

This year’s event in St. Anns will also see the re­turn of sev­eral writ­ers to the area.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited that Sheree Fitche is com­ing back and Carol Bruneau — they’ve been here be­fore,” said Walsh. “They’re both giv­ing work­shops on Satur­day morn­ing … We’re do­ing it a lit­tle dif­fer­ently this year. We’re just hav­ing two work­shops on Satur­day morn­ing and early Satur­day af­ter­noon so we’re just go­ing to reg­is­ter 20 peo­ple max­i­mum so it will be first come, first serve and each work­shop com­pli­ments the other so it’s an in­ter­est­ing few hours with lunch in­cluded.”

MacIn­tyre will also be re­turn­ing to the event and pub­lish­ing icon Gib­son will be giv­ing his At­lantic Cana­dian de­but to his stage show that ex­am­ines writ­ing through 150 years of Cana­dian his­tory. He chooses one writer per decade and uses art and mu­sic to fur­ther ex­plain their im­por­tance.

In the past the fes­ti­val has at­tracted be­tween 800 and 1,000 peo­ple to its events, which in­clude read­ings in schools and fundrais­ers.

This year, writer Vickie Grant will be do­ing three work­shops in In­ver­ness County schools and two fundrais­ers are planned for Sept. 7. Cape Bre­ton Post colum­nist and au­thor Paul Mac­Dougall is or­ga­niz­ing an evening with writ­ers event to be held in Sydney and St. Anns Tea­room will fea­ture a night of dra­matic sto­ry­telling. Fur­ther de­tails on both events will be avail­able shortly.




Sil­ver Slayter




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