The Knowlton Literary Association has had another excellent year where, once again, locals were able to meet some of Canada’s most celebrated writers. The Festival looks ahead this October to its 10th anniversary when Louise Penny, the Festival’s patron, will head the line-up.

The Knowlton Literary Festival is the public face of the Knowlton Literary Association. At the AGM, held on March 23, Tempo learned more about the work that the Association performs beneath the surface.

“It would be incongruous for the Knowlton Literary Association not to pay attention to the significant issues of literacy in our region,” said Philip Lanthier, president. “Every year the Association and Knowlton Academy connect our local school children with an exciting and popular children’s writer. In 2018, the incomparable Werner Zimmermann held 245 students and 15 staff rapt in a series of workshops.”

“The battle for literacy is mainly won before children come to school,” added Judith Duncanson, Vice-President. “The key for young children, even babies, is for them to have their own books at home.” To that end, the Association has co-founded a network called Tales for Tots/Les petits trésors. Partners include Yamaska Literacy, Pettes Memorial Library, Mother Goose (Bedford), Townshippers Association, Avante, Wellness and the Food Bank. The focus of this group is early childhood literacy. Currently, it is working with the Food Bank and with local daycares to distribute books to families with young children.

While the Festival brings the best of Canadian writers to Knowlton, the Association also works to help local writers. In 2018, 60 people attended an evening devoted to local writers where eight writers discussed their work. In 2019, the Festival also plans to showcase local poets. In addition, every year, the Festival brings a leading writer to host a writing workshop. In 2018, Mark Abley worked with a class of 12 for two days.

With the financial support of TBL, the Association brings a free professional Shakespeare production each summer to Knowlton. In 2018, nearly 400 people saw Romeo and Juliet in Lions Park. This summer, on July 20, Repercussion Theatre will offer their production of Measure for Measure. There will be music provided by the Knowlton Harmony Band and food by the Star Café’s food truck.

“The Knowlton Literary Association is so much more than just a Festival,” Lanthier summarized, “It is an integral part of the culture of our community.”