COLUMN: A lasting legacy of literature

The Ryga Festival is designed to celebrate the contribution to the literary arts George Ryga made

What goes through an author’s mind when the writing process begins?

Do they start with an idea for a story beforehand or does it shape itself along the way?

I imagine some authors feel the need to release their thoughts to the rest of the world, but maybe some never think it will go further than their hometown.

It makes me wonder if someone like Summerland author George Ryga ever contemplated the longevity of his books.

After he died in 1987, his poems, novels and plays were his literary legacy. The works he typed on his manual typewriter are still being read and discussed today, some 30 years later.

What an impressive and lasting mark he left behind.

The Ryga Festival is designed to celebrate the tremendous contribution to the literary arts that George made. On the Ryga Festival Society website, it states that their purpose is to “advance the public’s appreciation of the arts by organizing and staging an annual arts and cultural festival in Summerland, BC, that honours George Ryga”.

The Summerland Library is one of the venues for Ryga Festival events.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, poet and novelist Harold Rhenisch will delight us with a reading starting at 1 p.m.

He regards poetry as “a dance between body and intellect” and is the recipient of the 2007 George Ryga award for Social Responsibilty in B.C Literature.

Check out his book of poems The Spoken World or browse through his picturesque online blog “”.

Next up is author Bev Sellars, a retired chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nations.

She will be visiting the library to read from her latest book Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival.

Bev Sellars won the 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for her first book. She will be at the library Friday, Aug. 31 at 1 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to join us for these free events.

The authors of the cookbook Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip, Lindsay Anderson and Dana Van Veller, will be holding a workshop at the library on Saturday, Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Register at the Ryga office, as space is limited.

On Saturday, Sept.1st, get your tickets to partake in the Theatre Trail. Five live performances to enjoy as your tour guide leads you to various locations downtown Summerland.

Don’t forget the Summerland Reads debate on Saturday, Aug. 25 beginning at 10:30 a.m. It is bound to be an exciting morning, with coffee, treats and draw prizes held after we announce the winner. A fabulous way to kick off the Ryga Festival.

Phone the library for more information at 250-494-5591 or visit us at 9533 Main Street to check out the wall plaque dedicated to Summerland’s very own author, George Ryga.

Caroline McKay is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

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