Every October, the Greenwood Center for Living History — headquartered in an almost 300-year-old historic home in Hudson — holds a month-long literary event that attracts a who’s who of Canadian writing. If the names Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Ken Dryden and Lawrence Hill ring a bell, then you know we’re talking about major talent. This 18th edition of Greenwood’s StoryFest will again welcome several highly-acclaimed and prize-winning authors, beginning Sunday, Sept. 29 with Anakana Schofield.
“She is from Ireland originally and is an Irish and Canadian citizen,” said Terry O’Shaughnessy, executive director of the Greenwood Center. “She has been nominated for a Giller Prize, among many other prizes, including Irish prizes, and we’re very excited that she is our opening event this year.”
Schofield will be followed by authors Steven Price (Oct. 1), Alix Ohlin (Oct. 6), Francis Itani (Oct. 8), Rawi Hage (Oct. 15), Ann Hui (Oct. 20) and D’Arcy Jenish, who on Thursday, Oct. 24 will talk about his latest book, The Making of the October Crisis: Canada’s Long Nightmare of Terrorism at the Hands of the FLQ.
“I think that’s just going to be a brilliant night,” said O’Shaughnessy. “So many of us lived through it so we all have our memories of that time.”
And in the year that is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Canadian astronaut, and author, Dr. Dave Williams lands in Hudson on Sunday, Oct. 27 for two events. “He’ll speak to kids about the children’s book that he’s written and then later on in the day he’s going to give a general presentation about his other book — about his experience being a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions. So that’s pretty cool, too.”
StoryFest closes things out on November 4 with the screening of Can You Ever Forgive Me? the 2018 Academy Award nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay starring Melissa McCarthy.
“We’ve had a lot of fun doing this and bringing these great writers out to Hudson,” said O’Shaughnessy. “It’s not the centre of Montreal, it’s out in our small town. We enjoy that very much and we think it provides a kind of intriguing experience for the writers as well. It’s also for Montrealers and for West Islanders a chance to come out and see these writers who might not go to Montreal normally — or regularly. So it provides a lot of things for different people.”
O’Shaughnessy says the popular festival could not take place without the help of partners, from Hudson Village Theater, the Hudson Film Society and Quebec Writers Federation to the local artisans, shops and business.
We love having our festival in Hudson. Everyone kind of donates to it or takes part,” said O’Shaughnessy, adding, “There’s a lot of groups in town that we end up working with during this festival, which is really lovely. They helped us make it a success and they help us to keep it going.”