Reading event: Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Eden Mills, September 8 2019:

The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is an annual event featuring dozens of readings taking place at several different venues located around the picturesque village of Eden Mills. I’ve been several times before but hadn’t gone in the last couple of years and was interested in seeing how it was doing.

The weather was beautiful, as it always seems to be. I hate to imagine all the booksellers on Publishers’ Way having to run for cover if the skies ever opened up.

Everything was very well run. All the readings were starting on time and the shuttle bus service was excellent. I don’t know why so many people drive to Eden Mills. The buses are more convenient.

I noticed a couple of somewhat minor changes. In the first place, they’re trying to mix the readings up a bit by adding a brief discussion period among the panel of authors at each venue. I think this is a good idea. None of the readers I saw this year was bad, with Anakana Schofield probably being the best, but I think most people would like it more if they just got to listen to the authors in conversation.

The other big change, which is something that has been ongoing, is that there are now no major publishers attending. Publishers’ Way just consists of individual authors and various other organizations. Some of these latter groups I could understand, like the public library. I’m not sure what others, like the Council of Canadians or Amnesty International, were doing. I also noticed that Amnesty International was handing out the same literature they were three years ago.

I’m disappointed by what’s happened to Publishers’ Way. I like seeing the independents and individual authors handselling their books, but this is a book fair and it would be nice to see more publishers working the big crowd, most of whom would love to buy their books. My advice? Offer some discounts for cash-only deals. None of this full list price stuff, with tax. Just call it $10 a book, or two books for $15. Don’t make this difficult!

This was, however, my only complaint. Eden Mills is a great event, even though a full afternoon of it tires me out. At one point I ended up sitting in one of the handicapped chairs because I didn’t see the wheelchair sticker on the back. Oh well. Sorry if that inconvenienced anyone, but I’m getting old!

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