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Another Sold Out Crowd In 2010

Another sold out crowd. Another fabulous year at the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival.

It wasn't as hot this year as last, and festival goers were comfortable in the old church pews on Wolfe Island and strolling through the quiet, charming streets. The 2010 Grant Allen award winner was Gail Bowen, who has delighted Canadian readers for years with her Joanna Kilbourn series of novels. Gail was proud to discuss her new project at this year's festival, a Rapid Reads series of books from Orca Publishing in the promotion of adult literacy. Not to worry — she will still be writing the hugely popular Kilbourn books.

Joining Gail were prominent mystery authors Michael Blair, Vicki Delany, Susanna Kearsley and James W. Nichol.

As always the day began at the Island Grill where festival-goers were treated to a muffin and coffee breakfast and a chance to meet and greet the five authors. Michael, Vicki, Susanna, James, and Gail moved through the grill with ease, chatting with readers both old and new. While that was going on Barbara Fradkin led a group of about twenty beginning writers in a workshop on writing POV (Point of View).

The two groups joined up at historic Wolfe Island United Church where Michael, Vicki, Susanna and James read from selections of their works and chatted about the creative process. In a quick change of costume — on stage — Vicki Delany had the audience is stiches as she tossed off her Fiona MacGillivray Klondike saloon owner persona to assume that of Constable Molly Smith.

After the readings — and a break to buy books from Novel Idea of Kingston — it was into lunch provided by the United Church Women. As always, the vast selection of homemade pies for dessert caused a pleasant dilemma for festival-goers.

Lunch over and more books bought, it was time to head up the hill to Trinity Anglican Church. Gail joined the other authors for a panel discussion led by board member Barbara Fradkin. The topic was writing Point of View and each of the panellists had interesting, and diverse, opinions on how to best handle that aspect of their books. Then there was one last chance to buy books before the presentation of the Grant Allen Award for Contributions to Canadian Crime Writing. Therese Greenwood interviewed Gail about her long and varied writing career; Canon Chris Carr presented her with the beautiful award designed by Wolfe Island artist Linda Sutherland. Gail then treated the audience to a reading of an absorbing extract from her latest book, The Nesting Dolls.

And then, once again, it was time to eat. A delicious ham dinner was served in the Anglican Church hall, by that church's tireless volunteers. As an added touch, a copy of Susanna Kearsley's The Winter Sea was at each place. We were pleased to be joined at dinner by the three winners of the short story contest: Sue Owen, Michael Januska, and Kris McGonegalwho accepted their awards in person.

The dinner broke up in time for everyone to catch the 7:30 ferry, tired happy, well-fed, and loaded down with books.




Image: Photo of Gail Bowen

Gail Bowen autographs a book.