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Festival of Words announces complete lineup

Nathan Liewicki
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Galloway, Krause and Toews among notable literary names

Ken Dalgarno described the Badlands as a place where the past and the present have collided.

Donna Lee Howes, left, executive director of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words (SFW), and festival board member Glenn Hagel announce the complete line-up for the 18th annual SFW at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery Thursday evening. 

“I call the Badlands an archive where stories have been exiled to,” Dalgarno told the Times-Herald. “There’s so much history there. Whether it’s dinosaur history, First Nations history, or even more current history, there are lots of stories that revolve around the land.

“The land – visually – is like an outdoor art gallery.”

Dalgarno, a visual artist and photographer who calls Moose Jaw home, spent three years photographing and writing an estimated 12,000 words to describe the Badlands of the Great Northern Plains.

On June 15, his first major book, Badlands: a geography of metaphors, will be released. One month later, he will be reading from his book and answering questions from inquisitive audience members at the 18th annual Saskatchewan Festival of Words, held July 17-20 in the Friendly City.

Now 50 years old, it’s something Dalgarno is extremely excited to be part of.

“I’m looking forward to meeting lots of authors and sharing what I’ve worked so hard to compile over the last three years,” he said. “It’s a lot of work and to see it come to fruition like that – to be able to share it – will be a thrill for sure.”

On Thursday, Dalgarno was one of nearly 30 authors Festival of Words Executive Director Donna Lee Howes and board member Glenn Hagel formally announced would be part of the literary festival.

Joining Dalgarno in the non-fiction category are five other authors, including award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster Ted Barris and prairie garden book guru Sara Williams.

Nine fiction authors will also be on hand at the festival. They include international best-selling author Steven Galloway, who will be making a return to the Festival of Words; 2013 Leacock Medal award winner for Canadian humour writing Cassie Stocks; and Miriam Toews, whose latest novel, A Complicated Kindness, won her the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.

Toews will be making her first appearance at the Festival of Words this summer.

Mystery authors Anthony Bidulka and Gail Bowen will also be at the festival, as will graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks and a handful of poets, led by Regina’s Judith Krause.

The current Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan, Krause will read from her latest volume of poetry, Mongrel Love, and be part of the Gary Hyland Memorial session.

“As new genres come up, like the graphic novel, performance poetry and blogging, it’s fabulous,” said Howes.

“Moose Jaw has really rich cultural heritage and, for a small community, there are times where you have to pick and choose what you are going to take in that night.”

With such an array of readings, presentations and workshops at this year’s festival, Howes knows festivalgoers will have a tough time selecting which events they want to attend.

And how could this year’s event be the best of all-time?

According to Howes, “if more Moose Javians discovered their hometown treasure and the fact that we play host to one of the premiere literary festivals in the country.”

For further information on authors, the schedule of events and purchasing tickets, visit www.festivalofwords.com. 

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Times-Herald, First Nations

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Friendly, Saskatchewan

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