Written by Peggy Dymond Leavey
When I first joined Spirit of the Hills (with its mandate to “build and sustain Arts and Artists in Northumberland County“) at the inaugural meeting of the Writers’ Group, I honestly believed I lived in Northumberland!
After all, our three kids had all gone to schools in Northumberland County. But somewhere along the way, when I wasn’t paying attention, the boundaries changed. I discovered we actually lived in Hastings County!
Oh well; at least we owned a cottage in Northumberland, so my membership was legal. As it turns out, though, I needn’t have worried because Spirit of the Hills draws creative people from a wide area. I didn’t have to keep my address a secret.
Our first Festival of the Arts in 2017 was such a positive experience for me that I was thrilled to hear Spirit of the Hills was repeating its success in 2019, from October 24, 25, & 26th, with the theme Sharing Across the Arts.
For the writers, the Book Fair is a great opportunity to chat with the public who come to browse our offerings. I know of at least one writer who became a member of our group later on.
Personally, I like to share a sale table with another writer because it means at least one of us can slip away to take in a workshop or to look at the works of other writers and visual artists, perhaps purchase an early Christmas present.
Initially, I wrote for middle-grade readers. I have eight juvenile novels published by Napoleon Publishing. It was my good fortune that Napoleon was later purchased by Dundurn Press who had published my last young adult novel.
My last three books were biographies of Canadian women, all part of Dundurn’s Quest Biographies series. The following is an excerpt from my most recent book, Molly Brant, Mohawk Loyalist and Diplomat.
“One night, shortly after we’d all gone to bed, someone came banging on our door, and several men entered the house, demanding of mother to know the whereabouts of her brother, Captain Joseph Brant. He was not with us, and Mother invited the men to search our house if they didn’t believe her. They did just that, beginning their search in the sleeping rooms, drawing back the curtains on our beds. All they found was us children. I was terrified.
Mother knew it was no longer safe for us to stay in the country. We fled Canajoharie — Mother, seven children, and our four servants. As we began our journey, we passed within sight of Johnson Hall. It broke our hearts to see lights in the windows of our former home. Someone else was living there, and we — the rightful owners — were sneaking away in the dark, in fear for our lives.”
You can meet her and other authors from Northumberland (and elsewhere!) at the Festival of the Arts, October 24 to 26 in Cobourg, Ontario. Access to the book fair, art and artisan show and the panel “Sharing Across the Arts”, is FREE.