Fog Lit Festival Floods Saint John With Authors, Aims to Curb Illiteracy

Fog Lit Festival, Saint John’s annual festival for readers and writers kicks off Wednesday, September 28th at the Saint John Free Public Library. The festival is in its fourth year, and have added a few new events to the schedule this time around, including their first bilingual event, Poetry Prélude on Friday evening.  Other new events include Walking in the Myst, aimed at young adult readers, and a Fog Lit Farewell event to close out the festival Sunday.

Fog Lit Festival is organized by a team of volunteers passionate about the written word and features reading and writing events and for all ages, free of charge.  Popular events include Poetry Slam, Novel Tea and Authors, Ales & Acoustics.  Festival organizer, Andrea Kikuchi, says the five-day event is a labour of love. “We aim to have an all inclusive festival that is easily accessible for aspiring and established writers; while providing an opportunity for readers to meet their favourite authors.”

Kikuchi says the at the festival is of particular importance not only for regular readers, but also to combat illiteracy within the city, “Fog Lit Festival is important because Saint John has several book sales and book clubs, but the city is haunted by our statistics of high rates of illiteracy and poverty among children.  We aim to prove Saint John is a ‘reading town’“.

Fog Lit features a slew of prominent Canadian authors, including journalist-turned-novelist Phonse Jessome, who will help open the festival Wednesday with a reading from his new book, “Disposable Souls”, about a PTSD-suffering cop trying to solve a high profile motorcycle gang-related murder in Halifax.

For the book, Jessome drew on his extensive experience covering the outlaw motorcycle world in his career as a crime reporter.  “The fictional Satan’s Stallion MC is very much modelled after clubs I covered and people from that world I got to know and even ride with.”

Jessome will also host a Writing as Therapy workshop during the festival,  aimed at helping people who have suffered trauma through the act of writing.  The workshop is based on Jessome’s own experience with PTSD and utilizes techniques developed by psychologist James Pennebaker.

When asked what benefits reading festivals like Fog Lit have for authors, Jessome says, “The biggest benefit of a well established festival like this one is it gives an author a chance to meet his or her readers. Writing is a solitary trade and its healthy to get out and meet readers. It also helps to spread the word about a new work which is critical to achieving sales.”

Fog Lit Festival runs from Wednesday, September 28th – Sunday, October 2nd.  For more information or to see a schedule of events, visit foglit.ca.

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