The festival features emerging and established London writers and some of Canada’s most celebrated authors, poets and journalists reading and talking about their work and leading workshops on a variety of topics.
Other familiar names attending the festival are Western University’s writer-in-residence Cherie Dimaline, London’s poet laureate Tom Cull and poet, performer and playwright Penn Kemp, whom Ricci met in Whitehorse at a similar festival in the early 1990s.
Kemp is part of the session called Poet Laureate Presents, River of Words on Saturday at 4 p.m. featuring writers and musicians. Kemp will be reading poems from River Revery (to be published next year by Insomniac Press), a collaboration with film artist Mary MacDonald’s Augmented Reality presentation (check it out online at riverrevery.ca.)
On Sunday, at 11 a.m., Kemp and poet and children’s writer Susan Musgrave will give readings and be in conversation with Western professor Allan Pero.
“I love these festivals, both as an outreach to the public and as a way for writers to see each other,” said Kemp, 74, who served as London’s inaugural poet laureate and a Western writer-in-residence as well as the League of Canadian Poets’ Spoken Word Artist in 2015.
“These festivals really bind Canada’s literary community together. But the best thing for me is it keeps me current in terms of what’s happening in the field, especially among the younger, new writers, but also the writers we’ve known for decades.”
Kemp said the “best” part of a Words festival is that it’s free (with the exception of Friday’s opening reception).
“These are among Canada’s most accomplished writers and I’d suggest it’s essential for young writers to attend,” said Kemp.
“You get to hear the poets (and writers) express their work, present it in keeping with their intention, so the voice and the written word match.”
IF YOU GO
What: Words: The Literary and Creative Arts Festival featuring more than 40 authors, poets and other writers from the region and across Canada, presented by Western University, Museum London and London Public Library.
When: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m-7 p.m.
Where: Museum London, 421 Ridout St. N.
Tickets: All events are free. Visit wordsfest.ca for a schedule and details.