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Books, conversations and connections

A day at Word on the Hill

Word on the Hill, self-described as a “book block party,” took place on Sept. 23, 2023. The family-friendly literary event showcased Atlantic books and authors, bringing book lovers of all types together.

Connecting through literature

In a world where the art of storytelling can seem overshadowed by screens, connecting with fellow book enthusiasts feels refreshing. Gatherings of authors, readers and booksellers remind us that passion for books and literature remains.

The event was held in front of Open Book Coffee, a Halifax café, and Nimbus Publishing. Imagine a sunny day with tents and rows of tables, all decked with piles of books. Authors, publishers and sellers sat ready to chat, answer questions and scribble personalized messages in their books. 

There was even a place for little ones to have fun, with storytelling sessions and a tent full of toys. 

What made this event shine was the sense of togetherness and community engagement. Terrilee Bulger, co-owner of Nimbus Publishing, eloquently captured the essence of the gathering, saying, “We are telling our stories. It is important for us to share them with others and cherish them.” 

The stars of Word on the Hill

Bulger and her team were some of the organizers of the event. After similar book festivals like Word on the Street got cancelled due to the pandemic, she made it her mission to rekindle the sense of belonging among book lovers, and Word on the Hill was established.

One of the luminaries of the event was Nicola Davidson, the author of Decoding Dot Grey. The young adult coming-of-age novel is set in an animal shelter, a setting she drew from her own experiences.

Davidson underlined the significance of Word on the Hill, likening it to an informal networking session. Nicola recounted delightful encounters with fellow authors and avid readers alike who liked her novel, saying, “It’s a space where connections flourish.”

Another writer in attendance was Jane Doucet, who recently published her book Lost & Found in Lunenburg. This novel follows a character who stumbles upon a midlife romance. The book explores new beginnings, grief and healing. 

Like Davidson, she emphasized the importance of events like Word on the Hill as valuable platforms for networking and meeting kindred spirits. 

Doucet shared some advice for aspiring writers, saying, “Join the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, or seek out writing groups if you aspire to become a writer.”

In the midst of the literary gathering stood Anne Louise O’Connell, an author, editor and publisher at OC Publishing. O’Connell shared her perspective on how the event seamlessly bridged the gap between creators and their audiences. The steady flow of visitors mingling with both publishers and writers was, she believed, a testament to the event’s success. 

Reflecting on this literary gathering, it’s clear that Word on the Hill is more than just a book event; it’s a celebration of stories and community.

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