Lakefield Literary Festival

July 23, 2015 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

The first Saturday we were away was also the opening of the Lakefield Literary Festival, which my granddaughters shortened to the Festival. We planned to attend the Children’s time that was held at the Cenotaph Park, near the town’s library. Our granddaughters perhaps worried that they would have to sit a long time and hear someone read stories, but they soon learned otherwise for the children’s authors had lively presentations planned, in partnership with the Selwyn Public Library .


We arrived to see volunteers hustling around getting things ready and the book selling table in process of being set up and the Children’s Tent ready. People were setting up the book table, where Happenstance Books and Yarn were already featuring books by those authors, Ruth Ohi, Helaine Becker and Aubrey Davis.

According to the website,

The Lakefield Literary Festival celebrates its rich literary heritage each July on a weekend close to Margaret Laurence’s birthday, and showcases many current Canadian authors. The festival was created to celebrate the work of Catharine Parr Trail, Susanna Moodie and Margaret Laurence, among others, all of whom lived and wrote in Lakefield.


The piper walked up and down the green space then escorted the authors to the Children’s Tent along with students who would welcome and introduce those writers.

Ruth Ohi was first on the program and presented a lively time for the children and parents in the audience, telling us about how she started out drawing and writing stories as a child. She asked for a volunteer from the audience, gave the girl and start and stop signal to draw a scribble on the page and then she made a drawing of her own out of that scribble.


She showed how her stories started with words on a plain piece of paper and then were made into a book, but she also showed a drawing of hers when she was 5 years old. She drew quickly, almost always talking as she presented. Our grandchildren and many others were fascinated by her drawing and telling us of her story making. She kept the children’s attention and captivated them throughout.

Ruth Ohi

Her newest series, Fox and Squirrel, are sure to be a hit for the younger audience for the words and colourful art work. She is both author and illustrator.

DSCF9051MC giving us the information on the book table and other important things

Next on stage was Helaine Becker, who told us about her story planning, how some ideas didn’t work out and others did, and how long it took some stories to be done.

It was harder to get her photo since she seemed to face the other part of the audience for the duration, but her presentation engaged the children too, when she asked for audience members to be volunteers and help her in tell her story, Dashing Through the Snow. She talked about different holidays and set off in a new direction when we got to Christmas as a favourite.

DSCN2026She put on her Santa hat and handed a set of bells to each of the four volunteers from the audience.

Helaine Becker

At the end of her presentation, our granddaughters were ready for more than a stretch and so I stayed to hear the introductory story for Aubrey Davis along with his stories, of which there were several.

DSCF9054Aubrey Davis, a lively and engaging storyteller, who thanked the students for an intriguing opening to his part

Aubrey, a well-know author and storyteller whom I introduced at Latitudes in Kitchener about 4 years ago, began with a story that invited audience participation, one that the children enjoyed, then he told part of A Hen for Izzy Pippik, his recent storybook. He closed with another story that children often are fascinated with even if the bear does swallow the people who tromp across his bridge, but I won’t tell the ending here because some day you may hear him tell it again.

Aubrey DavisAfter the performances, I took my grandchildren to the book table to choose a story for their collection. One chose Dashing Through the Snow, the other Fox and Squirrel Make Friends, and together they chose another book by Ruth Ohi, Fox and Squirrel, for their baby cousin.  I will be sure to add A Hen for Izzy Pippik to my collection quite soon.

We stood in line for an autograph with Helaine Becker, but the line was pretty long for Ruth Ohi, and so we settled on sending her a message via Facebook to tell her how much we liked her presentation. And Aubrey Davis got an email too.
We talked about the Festival, as the girls called it, on the way back to their trailer.

“What did you like best?” I asked.

“Getting a book,” one said.

“Did you like the drawing part?” I asked.

“Yes,” the eldest one said. “It was amazing.”

And thus we wrapped the morning of the festival. Over our holidays we read each of their storybooks and this week, their little cousin received her book too and she got to hear her storybook, as read by her father.


Entry filed under: artists, authors, books, holidays, photography, travel in Canada, writing. Tags: , , , , , , .

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