Western Quebec Literacy promotes literacy

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Organizer Greg Graham (left) with enthusiastic artists at the “Get the Word Out” event held by the Western Quebec Literacy Council at Mill Dam Park in Shawville on Saturday.

Nikki Buechler

SHAWVILLE – Saturday, September 10, was a beautiful day to participate in the Western Quebec Literacy Council’s (WQLC) “Get the Word Out!” literacy festival, held in Mill Dam Park, in Shawville. The festival was put on with support from Carrefour jeunesse-emploi du Pontiac, and Connexions Resource Centre.

According to executive director Greg Graham, the biggest draw of the event involved presentations from six local authors. “Each read from their works, answered questions, and gave their thoughts on literacy and how important it is in our communities.”

Many different genres were represented. The day started with local author and artist, Katharine Fletcher, followed by folklorist Venetia Crawford, then award-winning poet Jamaal Jackson Rogers, fantasy author Seymour Hamilton, award-winning children’s and young adult novel writer Catherine Austen, and finally historical fiction writer Robin Blackburn McBride.

There were also workshops on writing and communication given by Fletcher, Jackson Rogers, and Austen.

The event was relaxed and informal, with entertainment beyond what the authors presented. There was an arts and crafts table, where kids were invited to engage in a variety of age-appropriate art projects. Children’s books were gifted to young readers and the Lion’s Club provided a barbeque.

“It’s great to see people coming out for something like this; I’m impressed at the turnout,” said Graham. “We are happy to see such strong community participation, as the WQLC relies on volunteers to offer literacy skills to English speakers in the Outaouais. This type of event promotes awareness of the services we offer, but also allows participants to sign up as tutors for our adult literacy services, as well as a ‘Reading Buddy’ – helping children in our local schools.”

The event will return next year, but to a different town in Western Quebec. “My goal is to raise our profile in different communities and give us another opportunity for great workshops and guest speakers.”