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Press Release:
For immediate release, January 15, 2003


Birthplace of canadian crime
writing expands festival

Wolfe Island, Ont., continues to celebrate its heritage as the birthplace of Canadian crime writing with an expanded writer's festival designed to help advance the popularity of the genre.

"The sell-out crowd at our first Scene Of The Crime Festival told us they wanted to know more about crime writing in Canada," says organizer Maureen Lollar. "They want to know about its history and they want to meet authors and learn about writing."

That fits perfectly with the festival's goal of celebrating the island's heritage as the birthplace of Canada's first crime writer, Grant Allen, born Feb. 24, 1848, at his family home, the manor of the Baron de Longueuil family. The first Canadian to write crime stories, Allen invented one of the most popular plot conceits of the genre — the thief who is the hero of the tale — and was a good friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Events planned for the day-long Scene of the Crime Festival on August 23, 2003, include:

  • A public lecture on Grant Allen by noted literary historian and bibliographer David Skene-Melvin;
  • A writers' workshop and literary lunch with published authors;
  • A panel discussion of the Canadian crime writing scene;
  • A short story contest for budding crime writers;
  • Author book signings.

The festival will also continue its popular old-fashioned church supper with professional crime writers and local celebrities reading the opening paragraph to a mystery story set on Wolfe Island. Some of Canada's top crime writers are scheduled to attend this year's event, including:

  • Rick Mofina, Arthur Ellis award nominated author whose fourth book, No Way Back, is being released in June of 2003;
  • Merilyn Simonds, author of The Convict Lover, nominated for both the Arthur Ellis and Governor General's awards. Her novel The Sower's Rhyme will be published by McClelland & Stewart in spring of 2004.
  • Peter Sellers, nationally known short story writer and editor, whose latest anthology Hard-Boiled Love is being released this spring.
  • Jake Doherty, former Whig-Standard publisher and author of The Rankin Files, a crime novel where Kingston is a key setting.