Prince Edward County Authors Festival

Thanks to the organizers and audience of the Prince Edward County Authors Festival, where I read on May 23rd in the distinguished company of Elizabeth Abbot (Sugar: A Bittersweet History) and Eric Siblin (The Cello Suites).

Sugar

Sugar

A snippet from Elizabeth’s book: “…in the eighteenth century, an Englishwoman did something that transformed the world. I’ll call her Gladys Brown. She was a farm labourer’s wife with a hacking cough, three rheumy children and a daily ritual. When she could snatch a few minutes from the grinding round of her daily chores, Gladys would slouch onto the bench beside her cook-fire and imbibe a soothing cup of tea. That heady brew had already addicted aristocratic Europe. But when Gladys, a woman of modest means like millions of other Europeans, popped a chunk of sugar into her cuppa, she redrew the demographic, economic, environmental, political, cultural and moral map of the world.”

The Cello Suites

The Cello Suites

And from Eric’s: “Watching Laurence Lesser expertly play the suites, I was struck by the bulkiness of his instrument – in former times called the violoncello, of ‘cello for short – bringing to mind some lumbering peasant from a medieval string kingdom, rough-hewn and primitive, nowhere near sophisticated enough for the refined music it was playing. But on closer examination I could see the intricately carved wooden scroll and the curvacious sound holes, shaped like some exquisite baroque time signature. And what was coming out of those sound holes was music more earthy and ecstatic than anything I’d ever heard. I let my mind wander. What would the music have sounded like in 1720? It was easy to imagine the violoncello proving itself in aristocratic company and seducing the powdered wigs.”

Thanks to David Sweet and Marnie Woodrow and other organizers of the Festival, as well as to the engaged and enthusiastic audience.

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