Wellington County Writers' Festival

Wellington County Library and Wellington County Museum and Archives want to celebrate writers from our community!

Wellington county museum building with trees changing colour

Join us for the second annual Wellington County Writers’ Festival this summer for a day filled with writers' talks, creative workshops, live entertainment, and a book fair!

Applications to participate as a writer at the festival are now open. Preference this year will be given to local writers and writers of books relevant to Wellington County, but submissions are encouraged from the counties of Dufferin, Grey, Huron, Perth, the City of Guelph and the Region of Waterloo.

One festival event will be held on Saturday June 10, 2023 from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. 

Upcoming Important Dates:

Submissions are now closed.

Thank you to everyone who applied to participate in the Wellington County Writers' Festival! Submissions are now closed. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by Friday March 17th.  

Submissions Open from 1 February 2023 -24 February 2023.

Call for submissions!

Eligibility for inclusion in the WCWF:

  • An application form must be completed by each writer / vendor. Submissions will be accepted online or in person (Wellington County Museum and Archives or any Wellington County Library Branch)
  • Vendors with related items are welcome to apply (ie. greeting cards, stationary etc.)
  • If selected as a writer / vendor a $10 Registration fee will apply. Successful applicants will be notified.

Apply to the Wellington County Writers' Festival

If you need help completing this form or 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


FAQs for Festival Applicants

Do I have to be a resident of Wellington County to apply?

Preference this year will be given to local writers and writers of books relevant to Wellington County, but submissions are encouraged from the counties of Dufferin, Grey, Huron, Perth, the City of Guelph and the Region of Waterloo. 
What is the eligibility criteria to participate as a writer in the Writer’s Festival?

All writers must reside in the counties of Wellington, Dufferin, Grey, Huron, Perth, the City of Guelph, or the Region of Waterloo.


A submission form must be completed by each writer ahead of the February 24th, 2023 deadline.


Writers must be able to commit to taking part in the June 10, 2023 event at the Wellington County Museum and Archives.

What does it mean to have work relevant to Wellington County?
The work should include local content of a significant nature relating to Wellington County people, places, or organizations. Alternatively, the work should be written by a Wellington County resident.
What should I include in my bio?
Some examples may include a brief summary of your publications, a brief description of your writing journey, future projects, and information about yourself.
Do festival applicants need to pay a fee?
There is no fee to apply to the Writers' Festival. There is a $10 fee to participate in the Wellington County Writers’ Festival if selected. 
Can festival applicants sell books at the Writers' Festival?
Yes. If you are approved for a vendor table, you are welcome to sell books or related items at the Writer’s Festival. You will be responsible for handling your own sales. Wi-Fi is available on-site at both the Museum and Archives and all Library branches.
As an applicant, am I required to do a public reading of my work?
Participants may be asked to do a public reading of their work, but it is not required. Please be sure to indicate your interest in doing a public reading on your application form.

 Past Events:

Festival Closing and Summer Reading Club Launch

Saturday, June 25 at the Hillsburgh Branch

Event Schedule:

10:30 - 11:00 Olive and Fred Robins Junior Short Story Contest Winners
11:00 - 11:45 Eric Walters
12:00 - 12:30 Brad Woods
12:40 - 12:50 James Nowak
12:50 - 1:00 Marilyn Helmer
1:00 - 1:10 Sue Williams
1:10 - 1:20 Samantha Blair White
1:20 - 1:30 Jeremy Luke Hill
1:30 - 2:15 Maureen Jennings
2:30 - 2:40 Karen Smythe
2:40 - 2:50 Barbara Kyle
2:50 - 3:00 Jean Mills
3:00 - 4:00 Grand River Band


Join us to celebrate the closing of the Wellington County Writers' Festival and the launch of the annual TD Summer Reading Club! From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm enjoy a range of speakers and activities for the whole family.

Featured Speakers:

Eric Walters

eric walters and a mooseEric Walters began writing in 1993 as a way to entice his grade 5 students into becoming more interested in reading and writing.  At the end of the year – and the end of the novel - one of the students suggested that he try to have this story published.  This book, Stand Your Ground, became Eric’s first published novel. 

Eric has now published 115 novels and picture books.  His novels have all become best-sellers, have won over a hundred awards, including 8 Forest of Reading awards and the 2021 Governor General’s Award.  His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to over 100,000 students per years in schools across North America.


Maureen Jennings

Maureen Jennings with a notepad

Maureen Jennings, now a Canadian citizen, was born in the UK and emigrated to Canada as a teenager. After a long career as a psychotherapist, she is now writing full time and has published one novella, thirteen novels of crime fiction and one book of non-fiction relating to creativity, as well as four professionally produced plays.

Her first series was set in Victorian Toronto and has been adapted for television first as three movies of the week, and now The Murdoch Mysteries TV series which is shown in over 120 territories world wide, and is now in production for its 16th season for CBC television. Since 2011, she has written, and co-written, 11 scripts for the series including the adaption of “Shipwreck”, the novella which deals with the origins of Murdoch’s interest in detection.


Event Highlights:

  • The Grand River Band, a classic rock cover band performing at 3:00 pm
  • A featured lineup of local writers:
    • Brad Woods
    • James Nowak
    • Marilyn Helmer
    • Sue Williams
    • Samantha Blair White
    • Jeremy Luke Hill
    • Karen Smythe
    • Barbara Kyle
    • Jean Mills
  • Delicious food available for purchase from Fraberts Fresh Food
  • Summer Reading Club registration
  • Hillsburgh Library 100th Anniversary Display
  • Kidzone activity space with lawn games for the whole family
  • Craft tables for kids and adults, featuring a special edition Gnome of the Day
  • Marketplace for local vendors and authors
  • Glitter tattoo artists, magician, story walks, and more!

We can't wait to see you in Hillsburgh!


Festival Opening on April 23 at the Wellington County Museum and Archives:

The Writers’ Festival begins Saturday, April 23, 2022 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Wellington County Museum and Archives with our Opening Address and Keynote Speaker featured at 10:45 am in the Archives Reading Room. Author readings and conversations will follow from 11:30 am – 4:00 pm with a noon time intermission.

Festival Programming Schedule pdf

Throughout the day you can also expect to enjoy the following:

Book Market Vendors
  • Glynis Belec
  • Samantha Blair
  • Autumn Bluestone
  • Faye and George Chamberlain
  • Shayne Coffin
  • Cordial Clove Books
  • Eden Mills Writers’ Festival
  • Marilyn Elphick
  • Nikki Everts
  • Lex Forbes
  • Jean Gibbens
  • Gordon Hill Press
  • James S. Gordon
  • Eric Goudie
  • Bob Grant
  • Marilyn Helmer 
  • J.E. Hewitt
  • Alexis Kuper
  • James Lafferty
  • Jenny Lichty
  • Mary Lloyd
  • Jeremy Luke Hill
  • Barb Lustgarten-Evoy
  • Magic Pebble Books
  • Donna Mann
  • Keriann McGoogan
  • Peter McIntyre
  • Pat Mestern
  • Milk Thistle Paper Co.
  • Porcupine’s Quill, Tim Inkster
  • James Nowak
  • Marion Reidel
  • Lesley Rowe
  • Sharon Sasaki
  • Caroline Sealey
  • Vocamus Writers Community
  • Wellington County Branch of Ontario Ancestors
  • Wellington County Historical Society
  • Wellington County Library
  • West Meadow Press, Wesley Bates
  • Sue Williams 
  • Janet Wilson
  • Rio Youers 
 Author Readings and Conversations

Author Readings and Conversations will take place in either the Archives Reading Room (AR) or the Exhibit Hall (EH).

  • Glynis Belec, 2:00 – 2:30 pm  AR
  • Aaron Blair, 12:30 – 1 pm  AR
  • Melinda Burns, 2:30 – 3:00 pm  AR
  • Shayne Coffin,  3:30 – 4:00 pm   AR
  • Laura Cok,  1:00 – 1:30 pm  AR
  • Marilyn Elphick, 2:00 – 2:30 pm   AR
  • Lex Forbes,  12:30 - 1 PM   EH
  • Eric Goudie, 1:30 – 2 PM   AR
  • Heather Gregory,  11:30 am – 12 noon  EH
  • Marilyn Helmer,  3:00 – 3:30 pm  AR
  • John Hirdes,  2:00 – 2:30 pm EH
  • James Lafferty,  11:30 am – 12 noon   AR
  • Barb Lustgarten-Evoy, 1:00 – 1:30 PM EH
  • Donna Mann, 12:30 – 1 PM AR
  • Donna McCaw, 3:00 – 3:30 pm AR
  • Keriann McGoogan,  11:30 am – 12 noon  AR
  • Peter McIntyre, 2:30 – 1 PM  AR
  • Pat Mestern, 2:30 – 3:00 PM
  • Caroline Sealey,  2:00 – 2:30 pm   AR
  • Sharon Sasaki,   1:30 – 2 PM   AR
  • Janet Wilson,  1:30 – 2 PM  EH
  • Rio Youers,   11:00 - 11:30 am  AR
 Family Activities

Children's Authors

Calling all kids and kids at heart! Join us for readings from local children's authors:

  • Lex Forbes
  • Heather Gregory
  • John Hirdes
  • Barb Lustgarten-Evoy
  • Janet Wilson

Children's Programming 

Dabble in creative writing with our programming team during our drop-in style Make Your Own Book programme and self-guided site-wide scavenger hunt!


Children's Story Hour

Join us in the Heritage Barn for storytelling sessions at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Puppets Elora 

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.

A puppet preparing a carrot on a cutting board.

  • Join Puppets Elora for two fantastic performances on Saturday, April 23 in the Heritage Barn:
  • 11:30 am - 12 noon
  • 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
 Food and Drink

Schmuck Truck Gourmet Food Truck



A man and woman stand smiling in front of their food truck.We are thrilled to welcome Schmuck Truck Gourmet Food Truck owners Brad Schmuck and Christine Mackay will be on site to provide freshly made, locally soured dishes that encompass comfort food flavours with a street food twist from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Join us for lunch outdoors across from the Heritage Barn!

 Schmuck Truck Balls sprinkled with parmesan and served in a takeout container.A burger with lettuce, red onion, tomato, and melted cheddar cheese on a bun being held up to the Schmuck Truck.Schmuck Truck chicken wrap with lettuce and tomato.



Fergies Fine Foods

We are also very much looking forward to welcoming Fergies Fine Foods, who will be serving up cozy drinks such as coffee and tea, as well as delightful dessert treats at the Bookworm's Cafe. The cafe is located indoors between the Archives Reading Room and the Aboyne Hall throughout the day. Picnic tables will also be set-up throughout the grounds for picnicking in the sunshine!

 Fergies Fine Foods logo font is written in black, capital letters on a white circular background with a green, blue, gold, and black tartan border.A plate of several brownies on a white background.Lemon squares and lemons on a white countertop with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.Three butter tarts on a wooden board and a white background.


 Musical Entertainment
Side profile of a man performing with an acoustic guitar.

We are delighted to welcome acoustic folksinger, guitarist, and songwriter, Bob Maclean, who will be providing instrumental accompaniment throughout the event.


(right): Bob Maclean performing.


Front profile, man in suit jacket wearing glasses and smiling.

As well, we are excited to welcome pianist Brad Halls to our event to entertain our bookworms with his musical keyboard accompaniment! 


(left): Brad Halls.






Opening Event FAQ:

Will there be an entry fee or admission fee for this event?

 No, there is no fee to attend the Writers’ Festival. Admission is by donation.

Where is the Wellington County Museum and Archives?

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

What are the hours of the event?

 The Writers’ Festival kicks off at 10:00 am and wraps up at 4:00 pm on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Where do 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 this event family friendly?
Absolutely! Families may enjoy engaging reading sessions from local children’s authors, acoustic musical performances, a delicious bite to eat from our café or food truck, Puppets Elora, and bookworm related children’s programming led by our awesome WCMA programming team.
Will there be food options available for purchase at this event?
We are so glad you asked! Join us in the courtyard for lunch options from our local Schmuck Truck. After lunch be sure to check out the dessert options available at the Writers’ Festival Café.

Is the site accessible?

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

Where are the washroom facilities located at the Wellington County Museum and Archives?

Washrooms are located on every floor of the WCMA. Accessible washrooms are located on the ground floor of the Museum and near the entrance to the back parking lot.
If I wish to purchase a book or other item what type of payment methods will be available to me?
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.

Where do I find out more about event programming?

Please consult our website in April for more details about our programming schedule and visit our Facebook event page for exciting announcements.

Where will opening remarks take place and at what time?

The opening remarks will take place in the Archives Reading Room at 10:45 am.

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