- Danny McAuley — Owner of Brome Lake Books. I knew just from our emails beforehand that I was going to love Danny. He and his wife Lucy made sure they had a good supply of a range of my titles at the Festival. They told me a great story about a woman coming into the bookstore, seeing Highway of Heroes on display, opening it up, and telling him, “That’s my plane.” She was one of the crew who transported the bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan back to Canada. The readers you never imagine coming across your books…
- Renalee Gore — Principal of the Knowlton Academy. She reads to all the students in her school every week, from Kindergarten through Grade 7, and you can bet she and the teachers there made sure everyone was well prepared for my visit. (One teacher even had her kids do a photography assignment they’d read about on my website.) The students asked brilliant and thoughtful questions, such as: Do you ever miss teaching? How would you compare photography and writing? Which is harder to write, a picture book or a novel? When one of the questions led to my referring to One Year Commencing, Renalee blurted out “Oh I love that book.” Nice, when you think a 20-year old book has been all but forgotten.
- Judith Duncanson — One of a number of behind-the-scenes volunteers devoted to making sure visiting authors feel welcome, valued, loved, and respected, taking care of everything from accommodation at the lovely old Auberge Knowlton to box lunches, to communications, to financial stuff and more. Judith actually provided water and a rawhide chew for my dog who, literate pup that she is, attended many sessions at the festival (because I was in Knowlton on my way home to Ontario from Nova Scotia; I couldn’t leave her behind, or in the hotel where she’d have had comments to make about anyone who passed by in the hall). Renalee is another festival volunteer. So is Phillip Lanthier, uncle to writer Jennifer Lanthier, and many others too numerous to mention of whom I didn’t get photos.
- Writers — A pass to all events at the festival for me and my husband meant getting to attend presentations by a number of fine writers, and to hang out with them in between. So many stimulating sessions and informal conversations in the space of a few days. Should you ever have a chance to hear Donna Morrissey read, do not pass it up!
- Walks — Knowlton is a lovely town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, full of galleries, green spaces, and cafés. The last day of the Knowlton Literary Festival was perfect for a walk through the woods to the shore of Brome Lake, before heading home.
What great Writers/Literary Festival have you taken part in? What made it a standout for you?