FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Muskoka Novel Marathon winners and ongoing fundraising total announced
In a year where most other events were forced to cancel, the Muskoka Novel Marathon forged ahead, pivoting from an in-person experience to an online weekend of fundraising, networking, fun and of course…writing. This past weekend saw the writers come together on Zoom again to celebrate their accomplishments, reveal the award winners and to discover the result of their fundraising efforts to date.
Krystyne Taylor-Smith (St. Catharines, Ontario), the committee member responsible for leading the event towards it’s new platform, was appropriately chosen as the recipient of the ‘Techie Award’ by her peers. “It was definitely a challenge to take the whole marathon online and stay true to what the writers were expecting,” says Taylor-Smith. “Ultimately, with a lot of ideas and feedback along the way, I was able to figure it out. We actually experienced very few hiccups during the event.”
The award winners for Best Novel were announced: Roy Sarkar (Ottawa, Ontario) won Best Adult Manuscript for his story One Night and the Station . Sharon Frayne (Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario) won Best YA/Juvenile Manuscript for the second year in a row with her story The Sound of a Rainbow. Both Best Novel winners will have their manuscripts submitted to a Canadian agent or editor for consideration and feedback.
Frayne was also the winner of the Most Prolific Award, writing more than 40,000 words/207 pages over the course of the weekend event, and shared the infamous B.I.C. (Bum In Chair) Award with MNM alum Kate Arms (Ajax, Ont.)
Colum McKnight (Toronto, Ont.) and Jacqui DeBique (Ajax, Ont.) scored an equal number of votes from their peers and shared the Spirit Award; a coveted award given to the writer who best embodies the spirit of the event. The Rookie Award, another peer-voted trophy, was virtually presented to Adrian Lowell (joining us all the way from Chapel Hill, NC, USA)
KM Wehrstein (Huntsville, Ont.), current co-convenor and MNM alum of over a decade, noted the change in program as a positive experience, “Normally our event is like going away from your regular life into a different world. You’re in a different building with different people. We tried to replicate that by doing as much as we could (ie social/meal times, the beloved midnight reading) by the same schedule through the weekend; recreating MNMland as a whole other world. Based on the feedback, it was a success.” Wehrstein added, “Of course the other other world that writers go into – their imagination and the world of their stories – was the same as always.”
When asked about the future delivery of the marathon, Taylor-Smith offered: “Now that the infrastructure is in place for online events, writers can look forward to new additions to our event calendar throughout the year. Things like writing sprints, panels with Q&A, writing workshops and a short-story marathon are all ideas we have in the works. We will also be able to continue to fundraise for adult literacy year-round.”
The current total funds raised for adult literacy by the 2020 Muskoka Novel Marathon is $5,055. Funds raised by the Marathon go to YMCA Literacy and Employment Services in Huntsville specifically for literacy and literacy-related programming.
The 2021 Muskoka Novel Marathon marks the 20th Anniversary of the event. It is scheduled to take place at the Active Living Centre on July 16-19, 2021.
Karen Wehrstein, co-convenor: 705-789-7497
For more info: www.muskokanovelmarathon.com
Sharon Frayne says
Kudos to the organizing committee and all the participants in the 2020 Covid edition of the Muskoka Novel Marathon! Many hours of planning and hard work enabled a smooth and fun event.
I’m thankful to the judges who saw the potential in my rough, unedited YA novel, The Sound of a Rainbow. Can’t wait for next year! Hope to see everyone back again in 2021.
Krystyne Taylor-Smith says
On behalf of the Committee: Thank you for your kind words Sharon. The fact that the event was so well received makes us all very happy. And CONGRATULATIONS on the win!
On behalf of me: I cannot wait to read a snippet (if you wish to submit one for the website).
Wendie Donabie says
Congratulations to all of the 2020 winners and to the organizing committee. You all did a banner job and made the event fun and fabulous even though couldn’t be physically together.. Thanks one and all!
Krystyne Taylor-Smith says
On behalf of the Committee: Thanks Wendie. We are so glad you (and others) had fun – despite the situation that made this all necessary.