Once a year the world is invited to the spectacular Sunshine Coast to share in Canada’s best literature and authors, with definitely the most engaged audience I’ve ever been a part of. The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts epitomizes the creative vibrancy of the local community and the creative excellence of Canada’s literary community.
In a magnanimous and down-to-earth gesture by the organizers, locals are invited to participate in introducing the festival’s authors, and so I thought I would share my opening comments for Linden McIntyre’s Friday night presentation. I began with reference to the previous evening, when Mr. McIntyre’s wife, Carol Off, rendered a spellbinding delivery as she related the ten-year personal and journalistic experience of her latest book: All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others. Here is what I said:
“Good evening. This writer’s festival is practically too much of a good thing! I can’t go forward without commenting on last night. In the true spirit of how the festival challenges us, I am still processing Carol Off’s story. In a late night email afterward, here’s what I wrote to a friend… “Such erudition, compassion, nerves of steel and an open heart.”
Last night, in response to a question from the audience about what gives her hope, Ms. Off said: “As It Happens and my husband.” Her husband is Linden McIntyre, our special guest tonight. Both authors create the richness of what the CBC brings us – humanity, courage, hope and darkness. Journalism. Good journalism.
Tonight, the festival draws us toward a work of fiction, The Only Café. I loved reading this book, and here’s why. This novel reads like fiction and non-fiction. It compels you to try to follow and to understand and it leaves you feeling satisfied – entirely – in having endless unanswered questions. It’s brilliant, and it’s written by the award-winning broadcast journalist of twenty-four years at the Fifth Estate, a man who resigned from the CBC in 2014 in protest to federal government budget cuts. He is here, to take us into his world of storytelling. Ladies and gentlemen, Linden McIntyre.”
This year’s festival broke attendance records. Congratulations to the board, the volunteers and, especially, to producer Jane Davidson. Also, the festival’s commitment to reduce waste was a big success. Composting and bringing your own cup resulted in only two bags of garbage going to the landfill.
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