Wayne Grady to read at Festival of Words

Lisa Goudy
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Festival of Words

It’s even more of an honour to be invited more than once.

“The Moose Jaw Festival of Words is one of the festivals that writers in Canada really look forward to being invited to or really hope to be invited to because it’s not a huge festival,” said Wayne Grady, who has accepted an invitation to read at the festival in July. “It’s a good size and there’s a lot of opportunities to meet other writers and to meet audience members who are very keen on Canadian literature, which is great.”

Grady, who was at the festival a few years ago, said he would be reading from his novel Emancipation Day that came out last fall. Grady has written 15 non-fiction books, has translated 15 books from French to English and has edited more than 12 anthologies of Canadian short fiction and non-fiction.

Emancipation Day is approximately his 44th book, but his first work of fiction.

When asked what made him decide to write his first piece of fiction, he said, “Well actually it was the book that decided.”

“I originally started writing it as non-fiction, but there were just too many things that I didn’t know. The book is based on the lives of my parents and they’re both dead and so there was things I needed to know that I couldn’t ask them,” said Grady. “So I had to make things up and once you start making things up, you’re pretty much in the realm of fiction.

“So I just went with that and it turned out. It wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. I’m now in the middle of writing a second novel. It seems to be where my writing life is taking me.”

Emancipation Day is the story of a young man and young woman who marry in St. John’s, Nfld. in 1945. They return to the young man’s hometown in Windsor, Ont. where they discover a family secret.

Immediately following the festival, he and his wife Merilyn Simonds, who will also be appearing at the festival, will teach at Sage Hill for emerging writers.

He said the festival is “so well run and so well organized” with interested audiences and all of that makes it a “great place to read.” He said he is looking forward to the festival.

“(I’m looking forward to) staying in the hotel with the spa,” he said with a laugh. “No, I think I’m mainly looking forward to being in Moose Jaw. It’s a great town and there’s a lot of other things to do between festival events. The first time I was there I saw my first burrowing owl … I’m a bit of a birder and I really remember that quite vividly.”

The festival will take place from July 17 to 20. Early-bird passes are now available for $175. As of June 1, the pass is $200. Flex passes, which apply to individual sessions, are available for $100.

For more information, visit www.festivalofwords or call 306-691-0557.

Lisa Goudy can be reached at 306-691-1289 or follow her on Twitter @lisagoudy

Geographic location: Canada, Windsor, Sage Hill Moose Jaw

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