Festival of Words planning coming along with a month left to go

Lisa Goudy
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Sheri-D Wilson, left, guides the spoken word poetry workshop as part of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words at the Moose Jaw Public Library Thursday.

The word is going to hit the street in a few weeks in Moose Jaw’s downtown.

“Everything’s downtown. The historic downtown Moose Jaw is an important feature for tourists who come here and it’s an attraction. It’s a beautiful town so we want to be able to show it off while we bring people in for the festival,” said Sarah Simison, operations co-ordinator with the Festival of Words.

“Things are coming together. It’s just really, really busy in the office this time of year for us, but pass sales are going really well.”

The 2014 Saskatchewan Festival of Words will run from July 17 to 20. Featuring about 25 prominent authors and illustrators, the festival has a number of events including readings, a poetry slam, book clubs, story time and panels with various authors.

 “We have 60 plus events over four days. So it’s really busy,” said Simison.

The only real change for the festival this year is the set-up of the Sunday events.

“We used to do a couple of morning sessions at the library followed by a luncheon, but this year we’re going to do a Saskatchewan-themed breakfast and have some music during breakfast and then followed by a couple of panel discussions,” said Simison.

All of the Sunday events will be at Mosaic Place.

“We like to feature the best that Moose Jaw has to offer and you know, Moose Jaw’s put in a state-of-the-art facility there and it’s a beautiful facility,” said Simison. “We like using it and having everything in one place for that day makes things a lot easier for everyone involved.”

Some other events include a poetry slam competition at Mae Wilson Theatre.

“Spoken word poets and slam teams are coming from across the major prairie cities. So we’ll be getting them in from all over to come and compete in our slam competition. That’s always a really exciting event,” said Simison. “We like to keep the prices low on that so young people can afford to come.”

There will also be a literary trivia night with fish and chips at Bobby’s Place. Rosie and the Riveters will perform on July 21 at Mae Wilson Theatre.

There are some events at the festival that are free of charge. For instance, on July 17, there is storytime for little ones with children’s author Ruth Ohi at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

“We have a teen read-out event, which is free as well. So we have a weeklong teen writing program that leads up to the festival,” said Simison. “The teens have their own event at the festival on Friday … where they read all of their work and get their certificates from taking the program.”

Another free event is a book launch upstairs in the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre at 5 p.m. It is Linda Blastotto’s book of short stories called Sweet Life.

Pass sales are going “really well,” she said, but there are still passes available for $200 each. There are also flex passes for $100 that work “kind of like a punch card.” Individual session tickets are available as well.

Passes are available at the festival office, located at 217 Main St. N., by calling 306-691-0557 or online at festivalofwords.com. The full schedule is available online as well.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Mae Wilson Theatre, Moose Jaw Public Library, Moose Jaw Cultural Centre Sweet Life

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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