Monday, August 6, 2012


One of Canada’s Five Most Intriguing Literary Festivals

So says Quill and Quire. They’re talking about Scene of the Crime Mystery Lovers Festival held every August on Wolfe Island, Ontario.

Eleven years ago, when writers Violette Malan and Therese Greenwood began talking about putting on a festival, they had no trouble deciding the venue: Wolfe Island, childhood home of Canada’s first crime writer, Grant Allen. What better place to celebrate the depth and complexity of Canadian crime writing.

And that is what the Festival is all about: Canadian crime writing.

Each year, the board selects one author to receive the prestigious Grant Allen award for Contributions to Canadian Crime Writing. Past recipients have included Peter Robinson, Gail Bowen, William Deverell, Joy Fielding, Maureen Jennings, among others. In addition to the GA honouree, four writers are invited as author guests. The board attempts to choose a combination of sub-genres and both authors with an established body of work and those just starting out who we think show potential for a promising career. The selection committee does not accept suggestions for guests from authors, agents, or publishers. We choose based on books we’ve read; authors we’ve met; authors we’ve heard good things about.

However, the Festival is much more than books and authors. It is also about place. Wolfe Island is the perfect venue for a small intimate festival. There is a free ferry from Kingston, Ontario and from Cape St. Vincent, N.Y. All events are held in
easy walking distance of the Kingston ferry dock. The numbers are kept small by necessity as everything is held in Church halls or sanctuaries, thus there is a feel of intimacy that you don’t get at big conventions in hotels. Have a question for your favourite mystery author? Go ahead, come up and say “hi”. If you want, sit with them at lunch or supper or have a chat under the big trees on the church lawn or by the historic cemetery.

Did I mention the food? We kick the day off at ten with a meet and greet coffee and muffin breakfast, then the United Church puts on a delicious cold meat and salads lunch – and real Church Lady pie! Our famous traditional Church supper wraps up things at the Anglican Church in time for everyone to get the 6:30 ferry back to Kingston, or maybe linger a bit longer over a glass of wine at the Island Grill.

If you’re an aspiring writer, come out earlier for the optional workshop that begins at 9 o’clock. You’ll miss the meet and greet, but still have coffee and muffins at the workshop and all the rest of the day to enjoy the events and meet the authors.

This year’s celebration is on August 11th. We have not one, but six, Grant Allen Award Winners, the much-loved Ladies Killing Circle, and the guest authors are young adult author Y.S. Lee, thriller writer D.J. McIntosh, historical author Thomas Rendell Curran, and mystery writer John Moss. The optional workshop (for which an extra charge applies) is titled: Chapter One, Page One: How to get your crime novel off to a great start.

It’s the best deal in town: Free transportation (via Ferry), three meals, and a full day of author panels, readings, presentations and just plain fun.

There are still tickets available at We accept PayPal.

See you on the island!

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Her popular Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press have been optioned for TV by Brightlight Pictures. She writes a light-hearted historical series set in the raucous heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush, published by Dundurn. She is also the author of a novel for reluctant readers, titled A Winter Kill, part of the Rapid Reads series. As well, she writes standalone novels of modern gothic suspense. Her latest, More than Sorrow, will be released in September, 2012.
Visit Vicki at ,, and twitter: @vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave (

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