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Press Release:
For immediate release, August 5, 2002

 

Writers festival celebrates Wolfe
Island's heritage as birthplace of
Canadian crime writing

Wolfe Island is celebrating its heritage as the birthplace of Canadian crime writing with a new writers festival set for August 24th.

Canada's first crime writer, Grant Allen, was born on Wolfe Island in the mid 19th-century. The first Canadian to write crime stories, Allen invented one of the most popular plot conceits of the genre and was a good friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

The first annual Wolfe Island Crime Writing Festival is set to take place this summer on land Allen's family donated to the Island around the time of his birth.

The Scene of the Crime Festival is planned for Saturday, Aug. 24th, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at St. Margaret's Hall. Visitors who take the free ferry leaving Kingston at 6 p.m. will be able to stroll to the hall, about a five-minute walk from the ferry dock.

Tickets for the event, sponsored by the Wolfe Island Business and Tourism Association, are $20 and include an old-fashioned roast beef church supper, home-made pie, and readings by professional crime writers and local celebrities.

Pens and paper will be provided at the dinner and there will be an open mike for budding writers who wish to share their own opening paragraph to a mystery story set on the Island.

There will also be author book signings after the event, giving everyone a chance to buy books to read in the line-up for the boat, and for summer cottagers to have something to read while relaxing on the island's sunny waterfront.

Grant Allen was born on the Island on Feb. 24, 1848, at his family home, the manor of the Baron de Longueuil family. The building has long since been torn down but locals still refer to its ruins as "the castle." Allen went on to become one of the most prolific writers of the Victorian period and invented a plot staple — the thief who is actually the hero of the story.

The largest of the Thousand Islands, Wolfe Island is home to 1,300 full-time inhabitants with its population doubling in the summer months with its many cottagers. There are more than 30 operating farms and 70 home-based businesses on Wolfe Island. The community is close-knit, friendly and independent.