Throngs of literature lovers pressed into tents and crowded the streets around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library Sunday to catch a glimpse of or hear a word from their often unseen heroes and heroines. These heroes were not necessarily caped superstars but they did use their magical abilities to transport audiences to other realms, to take them on journeys of the imagination through the delight of a story.
CWILL at Imagination Island: (standing) Children’s authors Janet M. Whyte and Anita Miettunen; (seated) Master’s student in Children’s Literature Valeria de la Vega and Kathryn Shoemaker, Illustrator, Author, and Professor, Master’s in Children’s Literature Program.
CWILL BC Society authors and illustrators have long been a part of the WORD Vancouver festival, Western Canada’s largest annual celebration of literacy and reading. The CWILL panel opened the day offering tales of woe, humour and celebration around the joys of getting published. The conversations touched on some of the very non-superheroish sides of being a writer… rejection letters and what to do with them (some keep them while others take note of them, then rip them up and bury them in the backyard). The panel also provided encouragement and insight into the business and creative sides of writing. “Do I need an agent?” “Tell us about the submission process.” “What is the most rewarding part of being an author?” These were all questions posed by a creative and curious audience. Special thanks to Rachelle Delaney, Linda DeMeulemeester, Lee Edward Fodi, Anita Miettunen, and Beryl Young for participating in CWILL’s panel.
As far as CWILL literary superheroes go… there were many. You just had to stroll down the street and at every given hour there was a familiar face, book in hand, stirring hearts and minds as he or she read from their latest publication and detailed how the story had been born.
The atmosphere was playful and one full of delight, inquiry and connection. The CWILL table on Imagination Island saw a steady stream of families coming to chat to authors, create a bookmark or try their hand at making an artful “I Am” poetry collage. Thanks to Jami Gigot, Cindy Heinrichs, Anita Miettunen, Kathie Shoemaker, and Janet Whyte for manning the volunteer table and letting people know about all of the great work CWILL writers and illustrators do and can do in the community!
Words for WORD: fun, engaging, creative, magical, inspiring, informative, enlightening – and it all happened “on the street.”
— Lori Sherritt-Fleming
— Janet M. Whyte