A Good Home, Book Festivals, Book lovers

When Books and Music Go Together

Blog Cynthia reading at Word Northumberland

The charming downtown of Cobourg, east of Toronto, played host to two festivals last weekend: the Coal Train Music and Blues Festival and Word Northumberland, the region’s brand-new book festival.

Blog Felicity and Jessica reading

I got to experience both.

Standing in front of the Historic Firehall Theatre on Second Street, you could hear the voices of authors inside, reading from their books. And hear some pretty good live music outside.

There was no conflict between the two.

It was as if one was a soundtrack for the other.

Hamlin Grange, whose photo adorns the front cover of A Good Home, was invited to exhibit his photograph and I was asked to read from the book.  What a thrill it was for us both to share our work with an audience of book lovers – readers,  publishers, illustrators and authors taking part in Word Northumberland!

Blog - Erika pointing to Hamlin's photo

A steady stream of people dropped in to the book festival, where they heard a remarkable variety of readings and got to meet the authors.

In the afternoon, I sat outside with fellow writers Erika Rummel, Felicity Sidnell Reid, and Susan Statham (Word Northumberland’s lead organizer). Residents and tourists alike stopped to chat with us and buy our books.

Cobourg, Port Hope, Warkworth, Rice Lake, Grafton, Cramahe and the many other towns and villages that make up Northumberland County are teeming with cultural activities. Artists of all kinds live and work in this region that’s bordered by lake Ontario at one end, and stunning hills, valleys and farmlands on the other. More and more nature and culture lovers from the bigger cities are moving to the area, which many call “the best-kept secret in Canada”.

Blog - cynthia talking to guest

I met people who’d moved to Northumberland from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and elsewhere. A former journalist with the Toronto Star. A dentist. Several writers and painters. A librarian. An office worker. A photographer. A corporate executive. And more. All professed their love for the region and its cultural offerings.

Congrats to Susan Statham and The Spirit of the Hills writers for their groundbreaking festival. And spirits were indeed high – despite rain in the morning. Visitors and organizers alike, thrilled with this inaugural success, are already expecting a bigger event next year.



Northumberland County – something to write about!

The rolling hills of Northumberland County in Ontario, Canada, have drawn artists of all kinds for centuries now.

Something about the bucolic countryside of places such as Warkworth and Roseneath — and quaint villages and towns such as Grafton, Cramahe and Port Hope, or lakeside resort living in places such as Cobourg — something about Northumberland has tugged at the hearts of creative people and brought them here in droves.  Many well-known painters, sculptors,  illustrators, photographers, writers – including famous names such as Farley Mowat, David Blackwood and others have called this area home.

So it’s a great privilege to be invited to be the guest author at the monthly gathering of the Spirit of the Hills Writers group. It represents a wide variety of Northumberland artists. It was a bit nerve-wracking too.

Cynthia signing book spirit of the hillsThese are serious artists, some with several books and other works of art to their names. Some are publishers. A very discerning group.

Authors at book reading Spirit of the HillsAnd there was even more at stake: Northumberland County – its villages, countryside, homes, people and way of life — are vividly described in my book, A Good Home. What would this illustrious group of Northumberland residents think about me and my book?

Well – Yippee! – Were they ever welcoming of  A Good Home, and me!  The event took place in the elegant-but-homey Grafton Village Inn,  and there were times during my reading when you could have heard a pin drop. Seems I nailed it. Whew!!

Cynthia talking to authors at Spirit of the Hills

Thanks to Felicity Sidnell Reid and her Spirit of the Hills team, who invited me to read excerpts of the book to this group long before anyone knew that A Good Home would become a success, months before it was even published. Spirit of the Hills member Susan Statham and the Writers group are also behind Northumberland’s new book festival, being held on September 7 in Cobourg’s historic Firehall Theatre. Word Northumberland features readings from well-known local authors and others, and a wide variety of books for sale.

I’ll see you there. It’s worth the drive to beautiful lakeside Cobourg! For more information, contact: Susan Statham,  sstatham@eagle.ca