Saturday, October 16, 2010

Canada Calling: Wordfest/Festivaldesmots

Calgary in October:
The trees are a mixture of bare branches that have given up any hope of a leaf until next May and stalwart dowagers in a battle to hold on to every remaining leaf until the first real winter wind sweeps over the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia. Gardens are in a raggly-taggly state. Flowers in unprotected locations have given up for this year. Those in more protected locations bravely bloom on though a little frost-browned around the edges.

The summer festivals—folk music, the fringe, fireworks and an ever-growing number of celebrations of cultural diversity—are memories. Theaters have started their 2010-2011 seasons. Clubs are meeting again.

Calgarians have entered that fall triangle of emotional roller-coaster celebrations—Thanksgiving–Halloween–Remembrance Day—all of which are big deals in Calgary. And, for the fifteenth glorious year, Wordfest/Festivaldesmots has come around again.

This multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-venue, multi-community event is a celebration that brings together people who read and people who write. Roughly 13,000 people spread themselves over two cities (Calgary and Banff), and gather in thirteen venues (university halls, art galleries, museums, libraries, theaters, high schools, hotels, and The Banff Centre) to celebrate the power and pleasure of words.

Words about Alberta
Words about e-books
Words in English, French, Spanish, and Italian.
Words for kids age 6 to 18 so that they get to meet writers and are encouraged to become writers and readers themselves
Words from both sides of the Afghan War
Words from inside the book industry
Word of mouth, where authors show you how to play with words
Mysterious words (mystery writers at this year’s event are Gail Bowen, Peter Robinson, Martin Solares, Chevy Stevens, and Louise Penny)
Words as poetry
Words and wine
Words and coffee
Words and family

This year is a bittersweet celebration. The festival’s Founding Director, Anne Green, is retiring after 15 years. She’s promised that her successor Jo Steffens, the new Executive Director, will continue to bring the same eclectic mix of writers and events to the 2011 Wordfest/Festivaldesmots.

So here’s an invitation. Instead of coming to Calgary for our world-famous Stampede in July, plan a fall vacation for October and come to Wordfest/Festivaldesmots. Sit around and discuss books with other readers and writers. Which do you need more: midway heat, horses and fried pickles or words, words, words?

The person who normally checks comments over the weekend is away this weekend listening to words, words, words. Anything that needs a reply will be answered on Monday.

Have a good one.

3 comments:

Kaye George said...

Here in Central Texas, the days are still in the 80s, but the nights are dipping into the 50s. We can turn off the AC!

We have to hope the pumpkins last until Halloween, and we don't dare carve them until a day or two before. Unless we want those really scary, blackened, caved-in, rotten ones.

Sharon Wildwind said...

Oh, I've seen those. By all means wait to carve them. I like the artistic ones better.

Kaye George said...

Since we don't have kids at home, and no grandkids within hundreds of miles, we don't carve them at all. We keep them for Thanksgiving decorations. Years ago in Dallas, we did some nice, fancy ones, though.