Wonderful Woody Point.

 

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Heritage Theatre, Woody Point. Photo by Tom Cochrane.

It’s hard to imagine a better beginning to the fall literary festival season than the perfect gem that is Writers at Woody Point.

Nestled within the bounds of Gros Morne National Park, the town of Woody Point sits on beautiful Bonne Bay, just across the water (and a water taxi ride away) from another picturesque town, Norris Point — and only a short car ride from some fantastic hikes (check out the Tablelands and Trout River, among others.)

 

 

Woody Point audiences are so incredibly warm and engaged, it’s hard not to feel spoiled.

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View from the community trail, waterside.

I was doubly-spoiled this time around: while I was there myself to read from the new novel, Hysteria, one of the short stories from my first book, How To Get Along with Women, was adapted by David Ferry for his ongoing Short Waves/Short Stories theatre project.

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A stealth shot of rehearsal. Left to Right: Beatrice Freedman (stage manager), director David Ferry working double-duty as narrator, actors Colin Furlong and Jenny Munday as Jim and Nadine, and Sarah Newell singing. Guitar and music composition by Erin Best and Sandy Morris, (who is sadly hidden away in this photo, behind Newell).

Part live theatre, part radio drama, Short Waves/Short Stories took my own story, “Jim and Nadine, Nadine and Jim” to a new audience in a new way. Ferry also dug up a long poem I wrote in 2009: an excerpt from Letter on St. Valentine’s Day was set to music by Erin Best and Sandy Morris and performed live by Morris and Sarah Newell.

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Jody Richardson and Candice Pike break down the fourth (third?) wall of radio.                        Photo credit: Tom Cochrane.

 

This was my third invite to the festival, which happens in mid-August every year. I’ve decided this makes me part of the Three-Timers Club.

It certainly makes me lucky.

Hysteria on the road!

Just back from a whirlwind working trip to Ontario and Quebec, and starting to look forward to some really fun events in the coming months, including summer festivals like Lawnya Vawnya and Writers at Woody Point here in Newfoundland, and fall writers fests across the mainland, including Word on the Street, Kingston Writers Fest, and Calgary WordFest!

Looking to see me in 2018? Keep checking the Events Page here for dates and places. See you soon!

On Top of the World (at Writers at Woody Point)

View of Bonne Bay from The Lookout, high up above the Discovery Centre in Gros Morne National Park.

Just back and resettled after the fabulous whirlwind that is always the Writers at Woody Point literary festival.

Before sunset in neighbouring Trout River.

Before sunset in neighbouring Trout River.

Nestled on the shores of Bonne Bay, within Gros Morne National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site, no less — Woody Point is a charming village 360 days of the year. But for five days, every August, it turns into an absolute fulcrum for writers, readers, and musicians from across the country.

Photo credit: Angela Antle

Photo credit: Angela Antle

I’ve been twice-blessed with an invitation to read at WaWP, and this year I shared the bill with a roster that included Miriam Toews, Steven Galloway, Lawrence Hill, Elizabeth Hay, Bruce Cockburn, and John K. Samson — plus my own husband, the poet George Murray (!!) Most nerve-inducing for fan-girl me: I got to share the stage with Margaret Atwood. (Pictured here: the opening act.)

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Photo taken by the poet himself.

Events are hosted by Canada’s First Lady of Books, Shelagh Rogers, CBC’s Angela Antle, and this year, special guest Ron MacLean stepped up to the podium  to give an all-star intro to Toews and Murray. The Hockey Night in Canada host was so sold on poetry that he bought the merch — here he is later that night, wearing one of Murray’s DIVERSION t-shirts.

Photo credit: Tom Cochrane

Photo credit: Tom Cochrane

Taking a break from the Saturday night party with Montrealer Shane Murphy and his band, official event photographer Tom Cochrane strolled down the road from the Legion to snag this photo of the northern lights (so dazzling that you might not notice the Perseids were also putting on a show.)

Which seems like a pretty solid capper to a great week. Unless you’re me, and you get to wake up to this Tweet from Margaret Atwood the next day: IMG_0709

In that case, the northern lights just kinda can’t compete.