Main Stage Mania 2018

Well, ‘mania’ may be a touch melodramatic, but hey, literary license should be OK at a readers and writers festival, don’t you think?

Denman’s literary festival, July 19 – 22 has a range of sessions to enjoy:  solo performances by our invited authors, workshops for smaller groups, a book club session, the five day intensive Writing Week, readings by Denman writers, and the focus of this article:  four Main Stage Events.

These sessions, all of which save the Sunday morning one are held in the Community Hall and usually draw a full house.  Registration is highly recommended.

The first one on Friday July 20 features Sarah Dunant, the noted British writer who is making a return visit to Denman, having been here in 2009.  Sarah is renowned for writing both literary thrillers and historical novels depicting the lives of women in the Renaissance period.  Her latest book is about the infamous Borgia family.  Sarah’s Main Stage session will be an illustrated talk and will reveal how her knowledge of art and history has been a journey into fiction.  She calls her talk, “Getting Under Their Skins“, and it is expected to be an exciting journey for audience members too.


Later Friday evening, there is a two part Main Stage event:  first our Festival Opener, Wedlidi Speck, noted First Nations consultant and story-teller, will begin the proceedings with a half hour introduction to Indigenous story-telling.  He calls this “Stories That Structure Thought“.  Then Des Kennedy takes the stage to engage in conversation with well-known First Nations author and activist Bev Sellars.  Bev’s experiences in a residential school as well as her political activism and the current efforts by Indigenous peoples across the country to reclaim their voices, their land, and their sovereignty will be the focus of this lively interview.


Saturday evening’s Main Stage line-up features a quartet of lively and creative fiction writers:  Marina Endicott,  Des Kennedy, Emily St John Mandel, and Yasuko Thanh.  Throw in novelist Caroline Adderson as Moderator, and the discussion is bound to be both illuminating and provocative.  Confronted with the somewhat ironic title of “The Truth of Fiction“, this gang of four is set to explore how they create characters and plots as well as some of the ups and downs of being an author.  Saturday evening’s panel is noted for a certain ‘letting the hair down’ by authors and audience, so get ready for a fun and profound experience!

The final Main Stage event takes place Sunday morning, again a ‘double-header’, starting off with Sheri-D Wilson, our effervescent and riveting spoken word performer recently named Poet Laureate for the city of Calgary!  She calls her performance “Eco Echo” and based on her You Tube posts, this will hit home with energy and style.  Closing off this Main Stage will be a panel called “What’s the World Coming To?”  Along with moderator Stewart Goodings, three talented writers, Geoff Dembicki, James Hoggan, and Christine Lowther will share their distinctive perspectives about the challenges facing the world in this final session which traditionally puts a focus on social justice issues.


Main Stage events are often full of surprises, as the authors engage with each other.  There is also usually time for audience members to ask questions and get in on the action.  Don’t miss ’em!

Stewart Goodings
June 2018

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