The 2nd Annual Word on the Street Festival

As a bookworm, I couldn’t conceal my excitement when I learned about the newest festival Saskatoon formally revealed last September: the Word on the Street (WOTS). This book and magazine festival is a one-day coming-together of Canadian artists, publishers, self-publishing artists, literacy advocates, and a host of other creative vendors in downtown Saskatoon. This year’s festival took place yesterday, September 23rd. In hindsight I really ought to have blogged about it sooner to encourage you locals to make the trip down to Civic Square to partake. My bad! What’s done is done, though, so make yourself a BF (or a “Bring Forward” as we government junkies like to call it) for next year.

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WOTS is a national event with festivities taking place in six urban centres from coast to coast (Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto, and Halifax, in case you were wondering). This is testament to our city’s blooming culture and the importance we as a community place on literacy and the arts. Just another reason to celebrate Saskatoon!

Last year Mike and I had the pleasure of listening to Yann Martel (author of the Life of Pi and former resident author at the University of Saskatchewan) speak about a very thoughtful and, in many ways, humorous motive behind his ‘What is Stephen Harper reading?’ project. I’m sharing the following directly from his website:

And so this is what I propose to do: not to educate—that would be arrogant, less than that—to make suggestions to his stillness. For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written.

This year I was on my own and sat in on a one-hour talk on infectious diseases by Jay Ingram, since-retired host of Discovery’s Canada’s Daily Planet and a man celebrated for making science make sense. I’ll admit that I lean more to the qualitative, story-telling side of psychology than to biochemistry and neuroscience, but I will tell you he was such an engaging speaker that I turned around and bought The Science of Everyday Life and am already one quarter of the way through. If you’ve ever wondered why the moon looks bigger on the horizon but smaller overhead or if you want to learn how to produce blue-green mini lightning bolts using nothing but a wintergreen Lifesaver candy, go and pick up this book.

A new addition to this year’s festival was a children’s tent complete with readings, music, and face-painting. This is truly an event for readers young and old.

Saskatoon shone yesterday and I’m looking forward to what’s still to come.

/jr

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