Media Release: Pen & Inkling Festival

A start-studded celebration of the literary arts will take place in Charlottetown between September 27 and October 2, 2011. The festival will kick off with Wayne Johnston, author of *The Colony of Unrequited Dreams*, reading from his new book: *A World Elsewhere* at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Illustrious poet and musician Tanya Davis, as well as local celebrities Meaghan Blanchard, Fraser McCallum, Nudie, and Drea Macdonald will fill the Haviland Club with song on September 28th, for a songwriters circle that will reflect upon the art of writing poetry as lyrics.

Several workshops will strengthen the literary and artistic skills of the community; Ray Cronin of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will do a valuable workshop on writing critically about the arts; Tanya Davis will offer a workshop on writing and performance; and Brent MacLaine will offer a workshop on character voice in poetry and prose.

Pre-registration is available by email:

Children are in for a treat on Thursday morning, September 29th. Island gem Deirdre Kessler will offer a sneak preview of her new book for young children: *DREAMTIME * at the Confederation Centre Public Library. *DREAMTIME *will be launched on October 29, 2011, by The Acorn Press at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and is a picture book for very young children in the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic, *Goodnight, Moon.*

Celebrated Native playwright, filmmaker, comedian, and novelist Drew Hayden Taylor of Curve-Lake First Nations will be the festival’s guest of honour, and is not to be missed. He will deliver educational and laughter-filled presentations to schools, UPEI, and the general public on September 30th.Taylor’s recent novel *Motorcycles and Sweetgrass* was shortlisted for the 2010 Governor General’s Award.

On the weekend of October 1st and 2nd, the Pen & Inkling Festival will make its home at The Guild on Queen Street. The Guild will host workshops in the gallery and exciting events on the main stage. The public is invited to soak in the home grown talent of some of PEI’s best and brightest featured readers. Following this, the public is invited to step up and take part in the writers’ open mic. Early evening will see Island treasures, former PEI

poet laureates John Smith and David Helwig in conversation–a reprise of their sublime Fireside Chat during the first Pen & Inkling Festival.

The evening will end with the gala-dance, where Count & the Cuban Cocktail & the Blue Prints will keep us dancing into the night.

After this action-packed week of music, workshops, fiction writers, poets, and visiting guests, the Pen & Inkling Festival will culminate in the 24th annual Island Literary Awards Ceremony on Sunday afternoon, October 2nd. For almost a quarter century the Island Literary Awards have recognized the best in Island writing with cash awards sponsored from the community for winning entries in short story, poetry, children’s literature, and creative non-fiction categories from writers of all ages. This year, for the first time, the Island Literary Awards were able to accept submissions in French with the support of the City of Charlottetown, through its 2011 Cultural Capital of Canada designation. The PEI Writers’ Guild is pleased with the response, welcoming a total of 57 French submissions from students across the province.

Tickets for weekend events can be purchased at the Guild. A festival pass can be purchased for $25, and allows admission to all events, with the exception of workshops. More information can be found on the official PEI Writers Guild website: and questions and workshop registration can be directed to

These initiatives have been made possible through the 2011 Cultural Capital of Canada Designation through the City of Charlottetown, a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage with additional funds by the province of Prince Edward Island and the City of Charlottetown. The Island Literary Awards are also made possible year after year by countless private sponsors and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.  For information and the schedule of the Pen & Inkling Festival, visit

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