Donna Morrissey knows all about that sense of loneliness authors feel during the writing process. Attending events like Writers at Woody Point help ease the solitary feeling, she said, and connect with those who put themselves through exactly the same process on a daily basis.
Currently living in Halifax, White Bay native is finishing up her latest novel, “The Deception of Livvy Haigs.” She said she’s looking forward to being around people that understand what it really means to do what she does for a living.
“People can’t relate to what we do, four years in a room,” she said. “But suddenly (at the festival) you’re in a place where everyone knows and you don’t have to explain yourself, people understand that sense of coming out of the room for the first time in two weeks.”
This year Writers at Woody Point takes place Aug. 21-26. By her own admission, Morrissey doesn’t really associate with other writers regularly so the invitation to the festival, her fourth in her career, was a blessing for her.
“Writers are pretty elusive, we’re like rare birds,” Morrissey joked. “I seldom go out, and it’s the same for other writers, so I really value these events.”
Morrissey left The Beaches when she was 16. Her new novel will be her fifth, others including “Kit’s Law,” “Downhill Chance,” “Sylvanus Now” and “What They Wanted.” She has also written a screenplay called Clothesline Patch and has won several awards including the Thomas Head Raddall Award, and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Clothesline Patch won best production at the 2002 Gemini Awards.
Publishing has changed over the years, she said. Newspapers used to devote several pages in an arts section to book reviews, which doesn’t seem to be happening as much. Morrissey has seen that cut back dramatically in the 13 years she’s been writing professionally and, she said, the arts seem to be taking a back seat to other issues today.
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“Even in the Globe and Mail we’re cut down to two pages, maybe, we’ve lost support on the national scale,” she said. “But one of the things I have going for me now is that I have a following, for me I’ve just narrowly avoided that.”
But for those getting started, she said, it’s a problem in the digital age. She hopes writers don’t go the way of musicians, with free downloading cutting into profits for more than a decade.
“How do you promote us on digital? How do you get your name out there? It’s a whole different game now,” she said. She said writers starting out do face challenges she didn’t but they need to concentrate at their job at hand.
“You have to have a passion for the work and not care what goes on out there,” she said.
Morrissey said her next novel is already in her head, even as she finishes this one, proving that thinking ahead is everything.
Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea celebrating his first solo album, Boy on Bridge and Andrew James O’Brien, a three-time Music Newfoundland and Labrador award winner.
Unveiling of plaque commemorating Al Pittman, then a celebration of the life and work of Al Pittman in words and music.
Source: Writers at Woody Point