First Wellington County Writers Festival draws wordsmiths, readers together

ABOYNE – The inaugural Wellington County Writers Festival launched here on April 23 was a hit with writers and readers alike.

A total of 45 authors and book vendors were on hand for the event, which featured readings and storytelling sessions from 20 authors, at the Wellington County Museum and Archives (WCMA).

Festival chair and WCMA archivist Karen Wagner said the event was “well received,” with about 345 members of the public attending.

“Participants and attendees alike have let us know it was  ‘fabulous’ and  ‘well organized,’” said Wagner.

“Many participants have said they are looking forward to next year.”

Live music, food, children’s stories and puppet shows were also part of the fun.

Stephanie Lines-Toohill of Elora was among the presenters at the festival.


“I think it’s fantastic,” said Drayton author Glynis Belec. 

“It’s a great opportunity to network with authors …. We’re just having a chance to meet our readership and to exchange a little bit of information and learn a little bit about the craft of writing.”

Shayne Coffin, a Harriston resident who has written and self-published five books of poetry over the past five years, said, “I think it’s a wonderful idea. It really brings out a whole different group of people and they come together to celebrate art and just the creative process.”

Coffin, who was raised in Guelph and lived for a time in Fergus, said he found the festival had some “pretty busy periods” and “a good rotation of people” passing through.

Celtic poet James Lafferty of Guelph was also impressed with the event.

“I’m delighted to be here. I think it’s a great venue for what we do. Being a writer is a very solitary place,”he pointed out.

Poet Shane Coffin of Harriston at the Wellington County Writers Festival.


The Wellington County Library is planning a series of Writers Festival events through May and June, including:

  • children’s publishing panel on May 7;
  • memoir writing panel on May 12;
  • writing for young adults panel on May 19;
  • literature at the library panel on May 26:
  • the Drew House of Elora with Elysia DeLaurentis on June 2;
  • Death as a Life’s Work with Marion Roes at the Drayton Library on June 6;
  • an afternoon of storytelling with James S. Gordon at the Puslinch Library on June 14; and
  • self-publishing workshop with Pat Mestern and Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy at the Elora Library on June 16.

The closing event and summer reading club launch will be held at the Hillsburgh Library on June 25. 

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