COLUMN: Bibliobrilliance comes to Nelson

Full disclosure: I am a bibliophile. I am also a bibliophage, and at times even a bibliotaph. Luckily, I’m not alone.

Kinderbiblioscriblioaudiophile Jill Barber will perform at the 100-Mile Gala that opens the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival next month.

First in an Elephant Mountain Literary Festival mini-series

Full disclosure: I am a bibliophile. I am also a bibliophage, and at times even a bibliotaph. Luckily, I’m not alone.

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival a readers’ and writers’ festival could be called a biblio-scribliofest. The Fest, which runs July 6 to 10, is a celebration of words and books: the people who love them, the people who write them, and the people who make them happen. This column is the first of four leading up to EMLF 2016 that will open the book on what’s in store.

The 100-Mile Gala is the official festival kickoff, with festivities beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Hume Hotel. A festival favourite, the Gala pairs local wines from Skimmerhorn and Baillie-Grohman wineries with writers, the better to appreciate the bouquet, character, and yes, the brilliance of our wordsmiths, be they ripe with allegory and apricot, or displaying undertones of simile and citrus.

Memoirist, humourist, indie-rock alumnus and CBC personality Grant Lawrence will read from The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie. A nerdy player with wonky knees, Grant learned a thing or two about himself and life from his position between the pipes, offered up unabashedly in his memoir. And we’ll raise a glass perhaps a white (around the gills) pinot with nuance of locker room.

Grant’s wife, jazz chanteuse Jill Barber, is a musician and an author of children’s books, which makes her a kinderbiblioscriblioaudiophile. A multi-award-winner with eight albums (the most recent one for children), Jill has a huge following and we’re thrilled to have her share her musical talents at the 100-Mile Gala and her kidlit expertise in our Saturday panel “Once Upon a Time.” What smooth and sultry fermentation will be paired with Jill?

The two Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine fiction winners call for a full-bodied wine with an edge of je ne sais quoi. Will Johnson won first place for his story “Animals Don’t Have Souls,” which the jury described as “an explosion of literary colour.” Fletcher FitzGibbon took second spot for his story “In Silence, You Can Hear,” described by the jury as “smart, insightful, and oddly charming.” They’ll read from their winning entries.

The Richard Carver Award for Emerging Writers is awarded annually to a promising author. Presented by the Nelson and District Arts Council, the award memorializes the late Richard Carver, a colourful man and a mover and shaker in the arts community; EMLF is proud to be a partner. This year, the award is split between two recipients who will both read at the Gala and we’ll raise a glass to their bibliosuccess.

East Shore author Alanda Greene will read from Napi’s Dance, a meticulously researched historical novel set in 1800s Alberta. Co-winner Donna Macdonald, freshly retired after 19 years on Nelson city council, reads from her memoir Surviving City Hall (she did!). My inner vintner predicts a sensitive, multi-layered bouquet with undertones of earthy humour.

The weekend continues with the eco-literary event Reading the Earth on Friday, July 8 at the Capitol Theatre featuring J.B. MacKinnon, Richard Cannings and Briony Penn, with MC Bill Richardson. Saturday Night Live! the following night at the Hume Hotel features Caroline Adderson and Bill Richardson, plus there are Saturday panel discussions and more.

Bibliotherapy is the art of prescribing just the right book as antidote (via anecdote) for what ails you. The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival offers up the whole pharmacy in a four-day bibliopalooza.

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival runs July 6 to 10 in Nelson. For information and tickets go to emlfestival.com.

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