Sunday @ Leacock

David Gilmour, Lauren B. Davis & others

David Gilmour, Lauren B. Davis & others

 Missed the first Sunday session – it was poetry, featuring George Elliot Clarke and Christopher Doda reading from their own work, and some of the Exile ladies (who read their own work on Saturday night) reading from the work of Canadian author & poet Gwendolyn McEwen 

Recovered after his adventure.

Recovered after his adventure.

Apparently the readings were very good – but the big excitement of that session was Dr. Bruce Meyer ‘s run-in with a hornet. Bruce is the Artistic Director of the Leacock Festival, noted author, and Laurentian University @ Barrie professor – and he’s allergic and didn’t have an Epipen with him. Fortunately, he wasn’t stung.   


The next session – the Fiction Finale at 3 p.m. was one I was especially looking forward to. It included readings from Diane Schoemperlen, David Gilmour and Jane Urquhart.

David Gilmour read from his most recent novel, The Film Club. Gilmour is the winner of a Governor General’s Award (2005) for A Perfect Night To Go To China. The Film Club is, according to Walrus magazine reviewer Marianne Apostolides:

an aytipical memoir…. about men and boys and what they really feel, how they really talk when alone with each other.

Gilmour’s reading was very entertaining, and made me a) decide that I need to buy the book and b) wish that I had thought of doing something similar with my youngest. She would have benefitted, I think.

Right before the skies opened

Right before the skies opened

Next up was Diane Schoemperlen, the author of several novels & short story collections, including:

Schoemperlen read from her latest novel, At a Loss For Words, which I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed.

Here’s the review I posted on Gather:

At A Loss For Words is such an easy and enjoyable read. It’s like reading a journal – not the author’s, not the protagonist’s – your own. So much of it resonates.

She describes the art of procrastinating when one is unable to write. I do that. Exactly like that – well, except that I’m on Gather and Schoemperlen is not.  But otherwise,  it  fit. I know that stuff.

She describes her conversations with her friends. Me. My friends. I know those conversations.

The vast majority of sentences in the novel begin with “I said…”, “I didn’t say…” or “You said…” (referring to the guy who has – well – not exactly dumped her; that would involve him actually doing something – and that is just never going to happen – but ended their relationship through passive aggressive behaviour and out-and-out neglect).  It should, probably, not work. It is so repetetitive that it should become boring. But it doesn’t. Partly, I think, that was a function of the interspersed ~stuff~: writing prompts, lists, a definition of passive-aggressive, horoscopes and so on. But mostly, it is just because the writing is so direct and entertaining.

From the review I read, and the podcast I listened to, I got the impression that there would be angst, and whining, even. I hate whining – it is obnoxious. This character – and this novel – is far too funny, and real, to ever be accused of being obnoxious. I thoroughly enjoyed At A Loss For Words as a reader, a writer, a woman, and especially, as a Canadian.  The weather, the places, the President’s Choice brand groceries: it all contributes to a strong sense of “I know that”.

Need a book to take to the cottage, the beach, or to read on the bridge while the kids stand in line-ups at Wonderland? This is a great choice.

Author: Diane Schoemperlen
Published by Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-00-200881-5

How fast can you run?

How fast can you run?

This reading was on the lawn – the plan being to allow the kitchen staff to get Swanmore Hall set up for the dinner event. The weather did not co-operate though; shortly after Schoemperlen started reading, it started pouring, and we all ended up running across the field and re-convening inside.

These guys didn't mind the rain.

These guys didn't mind the rain.



The last reader was Jane Urquhart, another prolific, award-winning author whose credits include:

Getting sorted. Austin Clarke in of the few dry people.

Getting sorted. Austin Clarke in of the few dry people.


The final event of the Festival was Austin Clarke’s Birthday BBQ  – dinner, and readings from Andrew Mcrae, who read from a story about a man who was ‘locked in’ and David Chariandy, author of Soucouyant. Both authors – as well as a future literary genius (Barry Callaghan’s 4 week old grandson) were introduced by award winning author Austin Clarke.





  1. muffinsprettymom Said:

    I could have sworn I left a comment earlier. Perhaps my brain has evaporated. Or maybe it was a different blog. Or maybe I’m an complete liar.

    No wait, that was a different entry – OK, brain dissolving. I can’t keep track of the days of the week because this was (as I’m sure you know) a different article. This looked like a very enjoyable day despite rain and bees. I’ve never kept a journal; perhaps I should read Schoemperlen to see what I’d say 🙂

  2. flitting Said:

    It was so …. you last commented on the Wednesday article.

    This one just went up.

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