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'It's almost like asking why I breathe': Authors at Wordstock Sudbury explain why they write

Freelancer Ella Myers spoke to fellow wordsmiths last weekend at local literary festival

From screenwriters to songwriters to self-published novelists, Wordstock Sudbury attracted a huge variety of writers this past weekend.

The local literary festival, now in its fifth year, featured more than two dozen guest authors, each with their own unique style, and drew enthusiastic literary fans, some of them readers, others writers in their own right.

As it turns out, the reasons why many of these writers write are just as varied as what they write.

For some, writing is akin to a physical necessity. 

“It's almost like asking why I breathe," said M.D. Dunn, a Sault Ste. Marie poet. "As soon as I could write, I started writing poetry, and I never really stopped."

For others, the call to writing comes as sort of moral and social imperative. 

“I find the stories of real people, blue collar people, incredibly fascinating and heroic, and I find that there's an incredible wealth of stories that we tend to overlook because they don't fit the Hollywood image of what makes a good story," said Charlie Angus, writer, musician, and NDP MP for Timmins—James Bay. "But these incredible stories are all around us, and if I don't tell them, who will?"

Celina Mantler, volunteer co-ordinator for the festival, said she writes with the goal of educating others.

“The reason I started to right my book is I wanted to tell the story of someone who suffers from mental illness in a way that is relatable for people who don't live with mental illness," said Mantler.

Another writer had a similar goal, but hopes her work helps those living with mental illness: Denise Chaumont said she writes memoirs "to instill hope and inspiration."

Of course, many writers do make a living off their work, but it isn’t always easy. When Dave Bidini quipped that he writes "for the money” during one session, the room broke out into laughter.

Another attendee spoke specifically about her writing career, which has spanned journalism and marketing.

“I was told by my Grade 11 history teacher that I had a knack for (writing), and eventually I went into journalism,” said Angie Gallop. “Ever since, I've been engaged in the struggle of making a living by writing.”

No two writers had the same answer, and some had several reasons for writing.

"I think it gives me an infinite library," said Natalie Morrill. The award-winning author said it means she can write whatever book she wants to read.

"I write for a lot of different reasons: for fun, to figure things out, and to make people laugh," said Scott Florence.

For more reasons why writers write, be sure to check out the slideshow above for a sampling of the festival’s authors and attendees.

For news about the sixth annual Wordstock Sudbury, stayed tuned to their website at, and keep an eye on Latitude 46 for book launches and literary events all year long.