Getting ready for Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts November 3rd and 4th 2017, by, Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Spirit of the Hills, the Canadian arts association to which I belong, is planning an exciting and challenging project. To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, celebrate the growing variety and diversity of our arts community, and engage more members of the public in the arts, we decided to hold a Festival of the Arts on November 3 and 4.

Spirit of the Hills is a flourishing organization. It started in 2000 to promote and support the many artists of all kinds who live in Northumberland County, east of Toronto, and surrounding areas.

We have been working on the Festival since last October. How quickly time goes by!

The events—featuring members of Spirit of the Hills who are writers, artists, musicians, performers, and teachers— have now been confirmed.

We’re thrilled to hold the festival at beautiful St Peter’s Anglican Church in Cobourg. It has wonderful facilities, including an auditorium and a great hall, and is known as a welcoming centre for the arts. We are beginning our promotional and publicity campaign, hoping to bring in a diverse audience for the presentation of a bilingual musical, an art show, a book fair, workshops, and a concert combined with the launch of our third anthology, Hill Spirits III.

We will also host a special exhibition, Shades of Our Sisters,created by relatives of two missing women and eight media production students at Ryerson University in Toronto. “From its conception, the mission of Shades of Our Sisters has been to honour the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgender, and Two Spirit People and to put their families at the forefront of telling their stories.” See

I’d like to introduce you to a few of the people who are involved in this project, including some whom you may know from guest posts on The Story Reading Ape’s Blog.

Cynthia Reyes has set up our Facebook page, (find us there at Spirit of the Hills Community Organization), and is working with publisher Jennifer Bogart Jaquith on publicity.

One of Cynthia’s delightful stories will be published in our new anthology, Hill Spirits III.

Cynthia with members of the audience when she read from An Honest House at a recent event, Memoirs and Music

Take a look at Cynthia’s own website and blog

Diane Taylor will be giving a workshop on Memoir Writing in which she’ll help participants write the story of their lives or a slice of it. Diane has given many workshops on this topic, and her book, A Gift of Memoir, has inspired and supported many writers in this genre.

She blogs at

Diane selling copies of her book, A Gift of Memoir at Word Northumberland 2015

Co-chairing the Festival organizing committee with me is Susan Statham. Susan is a well known portraitist who just completed a commission to paint portraits of 12 of Canada’s Prime Ministers.

The show opened on July 1st, one of the many celebrations of Canada’s birthday held that weekend.

Susan is also a writer and one of the editors of Hill Spirits III. You can find out more about her at

And finally for today, our festival will open with a staged reading of Marie-Lynn Hammond’s musical play De Beaux Gestes/Beautiful Deeds.

Marie-Lynn is best known as a singer, with numerous CDs to her name, but she is also a writer, playwright, editor, and animal advocate.


De Beaux Gestes/Beautiful Deeds was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award when it was first produced.

Marie Lynn will direct this presentation as well as perform in it. She, too, has a story in our new anthology. Find Marie-Lynn at and watch her sing at

Marie-Lynn and Reva Nelson selling books at the local Lilac Festival this May

I hope to give you more news of our festival over the coming months, but in the meantime, if you have a moment to visit and like our Facebook page that would be wonderful. And in November you will be able, even if you live on the other side of the world, to read and enjoy Hill Spirits III. I’d better stop here before this becomes one of those “please buy my book” posts!

Spirit of the Hills on Facebook

Felicity Sidnell Reid

Barnes & Noble




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