This morning about a dozen of us braved the elements (some better prepared than others) to gather in Mother Superior’s Chamber at The Convent in Abbotsford for Book Group.

The theme for this month was Happy Endings and the three books were: May Gibbs Snugglepot and Cuddlepie; picture books by Shirley Hughes; and the YA novel The Changeover by Margaret Mahy. The youngest of these was the Shirley Hughes Christmas book, the oldest the almost 100 year old Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

It was fascinating to look not just at the content but the style of these three books and to talk about the way stories are told in different eras – what is the same and what changes. There was discussion about whether illustrations date more or less than text. Discussion also wafted into other territory including writing representing another culture, the difference between cultural respect and political correctness, all the way to epublishing and its challenges.

At lunch we also reorganised existing representative (or not) organisations into new forms that communicated with and supported all stakeholders in children’s literature.

Such is the power of the book group. 🙂

Newport Folk Festival

‘Twas a busy weekend in Newport this last.

There were events all over the place. Words, Words, Words was one and featured a mixture of spoken and sung words, poets, prose writers, non-fiction writers and singer-songwriters. I was amongst the spoken word crowd and read a pb ms I’ve been working on.

There were yodelling workshops, three-part harmony workshops, performances by many bands, including the Mercurials and a reformed-especially-for-the-night Bushwhackers. There was Kamishibai storytelling and open air choiring.

Sunday included a Choirs Festival – 13 choirs numbering 260 choristers in the almost-outgrown Substation Arts Centre. Each choir, including the one I sing in, performed three songs each, then together we sang two. It was sooo much fun.

This is the third annual festival, and it goes from strength to strength. It’s a great way to get to know the local talent, but also a supportive place for beginner and experienced performers.