Wellington County Writers' Festival

Join us for the second annual Wellington County Writers' Festival!

Wellington county museum building with trees changing colour

This summer the Writers' Festival will take place on Saturday June 10, 2023 from 11:00AM - 4:00PM at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. Join us for a day filled with writers' talks, creative workshops, live entertainment, and a book fair!

Author Panels

Stop by our restored 1877 Heritage Barn, on our national historic site, to listen to this year's keynote address and author panels. Authors will read from their work, participate in discussion with colleagues in their genre, and participate in Q&As with the audience.

Photograph of Rio Youers

Master of Ceremonies, Rio Youers

Rio Youers is the British Fantasy and Sunburst Award–nominated author of Westlake Soul and Lola on Fire. His 2017 thriller, The Forgotten Girl, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel. He is the writer of Refrigerator Full of Heads, a new six-issue series from DC Comics, and Sleeping Beauties, based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King and Owen King. Rio’s new novel, No Second Chances, is available now from William Morrow.


Keynote Speaker, Robin LeflerPhotograph of Robin Lefler

Robin Lefler lives near Toronto with her husband, two children, and an anxious goldendoodle. Over the course of a career in tech, she has traveled the globe but generally prefers to be at home, where she can easily locate coffee, wine, and high-quality waffles.

After high school, Robin spent one semester attempting to become an English teacher before settling on equine massage therapy as her career of choice. She graduated two years later and made the only reasonable choice, fleeing to Australia. Doing everything from leading trail rides through rainforests to being a fit model for a clothing company catering to women of retirement age, Robin continued to fail at finding her life’s work and eventually returned to Canada.

Throughout this time (and, like so many, for as long as she can remember) Robin wrote. Short stories, blog posts, the first fifteen pages of countless novels. After stumbling into a job in tech sales, she experienced publication for the first time – a personal essay about buying her first home in The Globe & Mail.

More than a decade later, Robin found the gumption to push past those first fifteen pages. REASONABLE ADULTS is her debut novel.

Writer's Talks at the Heritage Barn
11:45-12:15 Keynote Address Robin Lefler
12:15-1:00 Children's Literature Phil Bean, Marilyn Helmer, and Vanessa Ireson
1:00-1:30 Poetry Melinda Burns, Jeremy Luke Hill, James Nowack, and Samantha Blair White
1:30-2:15 Mystery Pam Blance, Gloria Ferris, Liz Lindsay, and Donna Warner
2:15-3:00 Fantasy Tristan Dineen, J.M. Tibbott, and Marian Thorpe
3:00-3:45 Historical Carol Devine, Jan Feduck, Carol Marie Newal, and Marion Roes


 Creative Workshops

The Festival is excited to announce three creative workshops this year. Workshops will be free and available for registration on a first come, first serve basis. Registration opens on Friday May 26th at 12:00PM. 

Get creative! Register for workshops at the link below. There is no charge for participating in workshops. There are ten spots available for each workshop. For questions, comments, or to be waitlisted please email writersfest@wellington.ca

Bookbinding with Our Storied Lives 1PM-2PM
Have you ever been curious about the art of bookbinding? Join Brenda from Our Storied Lives to create your own journal using bookbinding skills. In this introductory workshop, you will gain an understanding of basic principles and create a unique journal with supplied materials. Register here.
Historical Writing from a Curator's Perspective 2PM-3PM
Join former Wellington County Museum and Archives Curator and published author Susan Dunlop to explore the fascinating world of historical writing. This workshop will include a short walking tour featuring spots from Susan's book If These Walls Could Speak: The Story of the Wellington County House of Industry and Refuge as well as a presentation on historical research for writing, sources, and citations. Register here.
Type with Willowcreek Typewriters 12PM-1PM Workshop, typing available all day!
Grab a typewriter and some writing prompts to explore writing in a new (or familiar!) medium. If you have ever had questions about using or owning a typewriter, the experienced staff at Willowcreek Typewriters may have the advice you have been looking for! Register here.

Book Fair

Visit authors and vendors at the WCMA for books, merchandise, book signings, and more! This year we have over 60 incredible vendors to visit on site. 

Vendor Listing

Ariss, Nancy

Bates, Wesley

Bean, Phil

Bouteiller, Robert

Burns, Melinda

Cerson, Don

Chamberlain, Faye

Cordial Clove Books

Davidson, Lauren Dawn

Day, Anne

Devine, Carol

Dineen, Tristan

Dunsmore, Neil

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Elphick, Marilyn

Everts, Nikki

Feduck, Jan

Ferris, Gloria

Gibbens, J.A.

Gordon, James

Gordon Hill Press

Goudie, Eric

Grant, Robert

Helmer, Marilyn

Hill, Jeremy Luke

Hoy, Alexis

Inkster, Robin

Ireson, Vanessa

Lafferty, James

Lefler, Robin

Lichty, Jenny

Magic Pebbles Books

Mann, Donna

Mapleton’s Organic Dairy

Marr, Ellen

McCaw, Donna

McIntyre, Peter

Mestern, Pat

Mills, Carolyn

Newall, Carol Marie

Nowack, James

Pell, Howard

Penner, Edward

Porcupine’s Quill

Richardson, Brenda

Roes, Marion

Rossier, Justin

Schmecken Barbeque

Stephens, Richard

Swanell, Jody

Teal, Tom

Thorpe, Marian

Tibbott, J.M.

Tindall, Brenda and Ashley

Tremaine, Jamie

Volumes Publishing

Warner, Donna

Wild Writers’ Festival & The New Quarterly

Wellington County Historical Society

Wellington County Library

Wellington County OGS

White, Samantha Blair

Willowcreek Typewriters


Willowcreek Typewriters

 Typists rejoice! This year the Festival is happy to host Willowcreek Writers. Visit the sunroom to explore a variety of typewriters from different time periods and try your hand at typing. Pre-register for the workshop or drop-in for a typewriting experience.

Willowcreek Typewriters


Live Music

The Festival is happy to welcome back pianist Brad Halls and acoustic folksinger, guitarist, and songwriter, Bob Maclean, who will be providing instrumental accompaniment throughout the event. 

Elora Puppets

Art depiction of a fish with Puppets Elora in text

Elora Puppets will be presenting the show Wish Fish in the Heritage Barn at 11:00AM this year. 

 The Wish Fish (The Fisherman and his Wife adapted by Puppets Elora)

Ages K-Grade 6

Life is already pretty good for Henk and Lisa down by the water, but will they resist the temptation of a Wish Fish?

Puppets Elora has made two life-sized puppets, a magic fish, a fantasy fabric waterfront, house back drops and cool vehicles to entertain families with our Canadian adaptation of a coastal story from Germany. 

Since 1995, Puppets Elora has used traditional puppetry to bring affordable live theatre to children in Guelph, Waterloo, Orangeville, Wellington County, and beyond. They base dynamic and humorous plays on folk and fairytales from around the world. Members designs and build their own beautifully sculpted hand puppets, props, and scenery. The skilled volunteers have backgrounds in education, community theatre, and the arts.


Food Vendors

Fergie's Fine Foods  

Enjoy delicious gourmet pastries, sweets, coffee, and tea from Fergie's. The Cafe will be operating out of the Aboyne kitchen.

Mapleton's Organic Dairy

What's better than fresh, local, organic ice cream in the summer? We are delighted to announce festival goers can enjoy a delicious scoop from Mapleton's Organic Dairy this year. 

Schmecken BBQ

Hungry for a nice lunch? Try delicious BBQ offerings from the Schmecken BBQ.

Children's Entertainment

Join the Wellington County Library staff for a day filled with fun! Stop by for Storytime with Ms. Sharyn at 10:30AM for stories, songs, and rhymes to kick off the day. Check out other fun offerings:

- Straw Weaving – Weave your own unique bookmark with a few simple materials.

- Find Bookworm – Search through the library and find Bookworm’s hiding spot.

- Post Office – Bookworm needs a name. Write us a note with your suggestion and mail it at our Post Office.

- Bookmaking – Try your hand at making a variety of simple books.

- Visit Cleo the Clown for face painting and glitter tattoos from noon to 3pm.

- Scavenger Hunt – Explore Writers’ Fest, collect all the clues and win a prize.


Book Exchange

 Take a book, leave a book! Find your next great read at the Book Exchange. 


If you have any questions, please contact the Wellington County Museum and Archives by email or phone at 519.846.0916 ext. 5225.

Email the Writers' Festival



Where is the Wellington County Museum and Archives?

The WCMA is located at 536 Wellington County Rd 18, Fergus, Ontario.

Where can I park?

Parking at the WCMA is behind the main building in the back parking lot, adjacent to Aboyne Library. Parking is also available in the west parking lot by the Heritage Barn. Overflow parking is also available at the Children’s Early Year’s Centre parking lot and the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Parking Lot.

Is the site accessible?

Yes. An elevator provides an alternative to the stairs once inside the main entrance of the Museum.

Can I expect food at the event?
This year's food vendors are the Schmecken Barbeque Truck, Fergie's Fine Foods, and Mapleton's Organic Dairy. 
Is there an entrance fee to attend the festival?
There is no entrance fee to attend the festival, but donations to the Wellington County Museum and Archives can be accepted on site.
Is this a family-friendly event?
The Writers' Festival offers entertainment for all ages of writers and readers. We have a variety of activities available for all ages, including a children's craft area. Puppets Elora will be performing at the Heritage Barn.
What payment methods are available?
Payment preferences vary by authors and vendors. We encourage bringing both cash and card to avoid disappointment. Please note that there is no ATM on site. There are ATMs available in Elora and Fergus, about a 2-minute drive in either direction.



© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909