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Guelph Book Bash celebrates local authors (7 photos)

Over 30 local authors share their works at annual Guelph Book Bash

It was a celebration of Guelph books Saturday at Harcourt Memorial United Church. 

The annual Guelph Book Bash Festival saw over 30 local authors in attendance to sell and sign their books as well as share their stories and writing experiences. 

The authors were joined by many of Guelph’s micro-presses, local bookstores including the Bookshelf and Janus Books, the Guelph Public Library and the University of Guelph Library.

The free event, having just celebrated its sixth year, was hosted by Vocumus Writers Community.

“We have such an amazing writing community here in Guelph with so many amazing authors and we want them to be noticed,” said Jeremy Luke Hill, publisher at Gordon Hill Press and managing director at Vocumus Writers Community. 

Vocamus Writers Community is an incorporated non-profit community organization that provides services to support local reading, writing and publishing. 

The organization runs free workshops and seminars to help writers develop their craft as well as helps connect authors with writers' groups where they can encourage and critique each other’s work.

It also organizes social events to help authors connect with each other and with local readers and provides free consultations to help writers find publishing options.

Vocumus helps writers to publish independently through the Vocamus Community Publications Program and it also sells books for authors at trade shows and literary festivals.

“We offer free promotion for local authors at literary events, through our newsletter, blog, calendar and social media,” Hill says. 

“We are very laid back. We invite anyone to join us,” Hill said. 

And Vocumus puts on the annual Guelph Book Bash Festival to celebrate local books published over the previous year. 

“The barrier today is getting people to notice. This is like a group book launch. We want to give our local authors a boost,” Hill said. 

“It’s all about exposure. Getting people to know that these people exist.” 

And Guelph authors are becoming more and more recognized. 

Robert Munsch’s book Bear for Breakfast was featured as well as the book titled Group of 7 #5 written by Chris Sanagan and Jason Lapidus. 

The Guelph Public Library also featured the ETCH Anthology 2019, a collection of winners from the library’s annual teen writing/art contest. 

“This is now entering it’s sixth year ad every year we choose the top selections and then we make an anthology,” said Lisa Cunningham, communications coordinator at the Guelph Public Library. 

“Guelph is an epicentre for literature and this event is such a great way to bring local authors together.”

Sandra Kenyon was on hand promoting her sister’s book Sea over Bow

After her marriage of 25 years ended badly, her sister Linda Kenyon was determined to never put herself in the way of a broken heart again. After meeting someone, she decided to sell everything she owned and sailed across the ocean with him. 

“They sailed on a 26-day ocean passage. It really is a love story. He became her anchor,” Sandra said. 

For author, Montaha Hidefi, it was her first time at the event as she talked about her book Groping for Truth - My Uphill Struggle for Respect

“It is a memoir of child abuse and domestic violence. I was inspired to write it. It was hard but I knew that I wanted to support others and I wanted people to know that this should never victimize them. This book shows my transformation from someone abused to a successful person,” Hidefi said. 

“This is my first time here. I’m even finding young readers here interested in my children’s book which I’ve translated from French to Arabic.”

Author Elaine Uskoski was excited about the event for the second time.

“It’s just great to be somewhere where you are noticed and appreciated,” Uskoski said. 

Her book Seeing Through the Cracks shed light on her own experience overcoming her son’s video game addiction. 

“It’s a real transition between raising your child and then your young adult. I found it a big struggle and so did my friends. So, I decided to share my story. I started a forum, and now with this book, I’m speaking at schools and coaching others on-line,” she said. 

“I want others to feel supported and not feel as isolated as I was then.” 

For whatever reason the books were written, whether it was for themselves, their families or communities, the group of local authors were eager to share. 

“When you publish yourself, it’s so hard. This is a great way to get the local exposure,’ said author, Bonnie Durtnall. 

Author, Steven Nicolle sees the event as an opportunity to encourage more writing in the community. 

“Being here is so great because there are so many other authors here. There’s a real community here,” Nicolle said. 

Although the event was free, donations were encouraged to help support Action Read Community Literacy Centre which is a non-profit, charitable organization which offers community literacy program for adults and families in Guelph. 

For Hill, the event is all about community. 

“This encourages reading which slows everyone down, to read and to think. And what I hope is that people can say that reading can come from a community level too,” Hill said. 

“You really get to know your community by reading your community.”


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Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community. She joined CambridgeToday in 2021
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