Eden Mills Writer’s Festival showcases diversity of talent

Local authors gathered at eBar in Guelph, Ont. to present the diverse styles of their latest literary works on Aug. 23 as a preview to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival scheduled for Sept. 15 to 18.

Waterloo cartoonist and author Scott Chantler took the stage first to read, or rather present, his less conventional book. Two Generals is his recent “historic epic graphic novel” that tells the story of his grandfather Law Chantler and friend Jack Chrystler’s experience as part of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada in the Second World War.

Because the form of the graphic novel made doing a traditional reading difficult for Chantler, he opted for a power point presentation highlighting his research, the process of translating history into a graphic story and pages from the book itself.

Chantler admitted that he was reluctant at first to write a book about the war even after finding his grandfather’s relics that included a diary from his first year, in 1943, overseas. “I couldn’t possibly do justice to this material,” Chantler said.

In finally deciding to write the book, Chantler was able to recreate the war with personal scenes from his grandfather’s accounts that won’t be found in any other war story. “I wanted to do something about war they way I knew the war,” he said.

On his choice of the graphic novel for the form of the book, Chantler explained, “In prose, there is no good way to have a character be still and thinking.”

“What the medium does well is quiet,” he added.

Other authors that evening included Claire Tacon, who read from her yet to be published novel In the Field.

In winning the Metcalf-Rooke Award for this novel she was provided with the publishing contract to release the book this September.

While Tacon read a section of her novel from a standard sheet of 8.5 by 11 inch paper, the published book will be making its debut at the Eden Mills Festival.

In keeping with the diversity of books highlighted at the festival preview, Jessica Westhead read from her collection of short stories entitled And Also Sharks.

The night ended off with two very different books, starting with Evan Munday’s book for young adults entitled The Dead Kid Detective Agency. Before reading a passage of his book to the audience at eBar, he said, “My intended audience can’t get into the building,” making light of the venue.

Finally Nicole Lundrigan read from her fourth novel Glass Boys, which follows two families and a dark secret that divides them. With the profanity used by the characters in her book, Lundrigan said it was “the opposite of young adult.”

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