Last night my daughter and I attended BookFest Windsor a three day event at the Art Gallery of Windsor. It's a relatively new event, this being it's fourth year of existence. I must admit it was quite an event, we attended the The Story Teller's Bash that featured four authors discussing their experience, answering questions and reading from some of their writings. The authors were Caroline Adderson, Austin Clarke, Russell Smith and Leon Rooke.
All shared their stories of growing up in either households were reading and books were an important part to the horrors of touring across Canada. The horrors were the funniest often sharing the theme of showing up at a place and either having no one come fot the reading, or hearing voices from the recently departed ( you had to have been there). The 'failures' sometimes were followed by going to the local Legion and getting nicely plastered.
It was the readings that were a great part of the entertainment and they were entertaining. Each gave their unique voice to some super stories. But certainly the highlight was Leon Rooke reading a chaper and putting all his emphasis into the action of some one chasing a bus. He had the place roaring with laughter and applauding his effort.
Russell Smith mentioned that the men of Windsor must be cool since the audience that night had a strong contingent of men, which was far from the norm. Not having attended one of these before, I cannot vouch, but with his experience, it's probably true.
What makes this interesting is that it is Windsor demonstrating quite a vibrant literary culture. Certainly the image often portrayed of Windsor is that of a dull industrial city that is now inundated with bars, a Casino and all the vices that follow. Yet it is developing a community of culture that is quite impressive, especially when you consider that the city is often not on the cultural map of Canada.
To demonstrating the developing culture, there's also a
film festival. The Windsor International Film Festival is providing the showing of a number of interesting movies at some of the cinema milieus in the city and the county.
Quite impressive events for a place known more for minivans then the arts.