Western Libraries at Words Festival

Published on December 30, 2016

Western Libraries played a significant role in the Words festival this year thanks to the work of a number of Western Libraries staff. The festival explores the literary arts through author readings and interviews, workshops, displays, performances, and more.

Festival organizers describe the event as “celebrating all things wordy: books, poetry, song, children's literature, writing for the screen and stage, new media, spoken word performances and much more.” The three-day event takes place each year primarily at Museum London, with one foray onto Dundas Street for “Guerilla Poetry”.

Western Libraries participated in the event in several ways. First, we joined the event as a sponsor, to support the all-volunteer organizing committee in creating a program that includes a diverse group of authors.

Western Libraries also contributed to the festival through several exhibits. Amanda Jamieson, Archivist, mounted a display of the works of James Reaney, Emma Donoghue, Joan Barfoot, Penn Kemp, and Alice Munro. The James Reaney Memorial Lecture was held at the festival, and Emma Donoghue and Penn Kemp were speakers at the festival, to these displays contributed to their presence and the discourse about their work.

Robin Keirstead, University Archivist, created an exhibit from the G. William Stuart Jr. Collection of Milton and Miltoniana that included three first and early editions of Paradise Lost. The exhibit complemented a talk given by internationally renowned Milton scholar John Leonard, a Western professor who uses the Milton collection at Western Libraries extensively for his research.

Catherine Steeves, Vice Provost and Chief Librarian, was invited to host one of the author talks. Catherine introduced and then interviewed Nadia Bozak, author of several books, most recently Thirteen Shells. The conversation was wide-ranging, touching on motherhood, Bozak’s use of place to advance the plot, and her choice of point of view as a key literary device.

Western Libraries joined Western’s Arts and Humanities faculty, the Western Bookstore, and Public Humanities at Western this year to make Western’s contributions to this community event even stronger. We were proud to be part of this community event to celebrate “all things wordy” in London. More photos of the event can be found at the Western Gazette photo essay. To see the full program of speakers, visit the Words website, and mark your calendars for the first weekend in November 2017 for next year’s event.