Postcard from SPARKS

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For those of you who’ve been following this blog or the latest happenings in the Newfoundland writing scene, you will be aware of the SPARKS Literary Festival, which took place this Sunday past at Memorial University. I attended nearly the entirety of the readings and read myself in one of the afternoon sessions. It was a brilliant idea mothered by Mary Dalton with the aid of MUN’s Faculty of Arts, which brought together some of Newfoundland’s biggest names in the writing community for a day of reading and celebration of prose and poetry. It was very well attended, supporting the long-held thought that this sort of festival was long overdue in the province’s capital city.

Stephen Rowe

Me speaking during the Q&A after the reading.

One of the greatest things about the festival was the blending of experience and burgeoning talent. Established writers like Michael Crummey, Jessica Grant, Lisa Moore, Tom Dawe, Patrick Warner, and Don McKay were matched-up in reading sessions that included writers somewhat new to the literary scene (Lynette Adams, Randy Drover, Chad Pelley, Leslie Vryenhoek, and myself). This is not to mention the wealth of authors not reading who attended the festival in the audience. There was no shortage of creative energies in attendance as the festival brought great writing to great readers for the whole of the day. Of course, books by the authors were available, as were products by various literary presses and journals. 

  From a personal standpoint, I had a wonderful time reading my work and talking writing with the other participants. It’s not everyday a young poet gets to meet one of his literary influences and speaking briefly to Don McKay was a highlight for me.

CBC radio recorded the event, so I can assume that snippets from it will appear on the airwaves at some point in the future. If I find out any details on this I will certainly post on it.

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