We asked Jennifer Kerr, Assistant Manager of the Midland Cultural Centre, to reflect on IFOA Ontario programming and its benefit to the Midland community! Here is what she had to say:
What is your favourite aspect of the Lit On Tour programming?
When you live in a relatively small town, it can sometimes feel like you’re missing out on those cultural activities that seem so commonplace in larger cities. The great thing about Lit On Tour programming is that it helps close this gap by bringing a piece of the city and the International Festival of Authors to us.
How did the community enjoy the reading?
Most often, the participating authors are not those who would usually pass through Midland on a book tour; having these authors read here introduces our local audience to literature and narratives they may not have otherwise been exposed to.
We’ve been fortunate to host IFOA Midland for a couple years. After each event the audience is always buzzing. There is no clearer indication of a well-executed event than hearing the audience discuss the authors and the readings as they’re leaving the venue; everyone excited to add this latest work to their TBR pile.
Why do you think cultural programming, like IFOA Ontario, is so important to our communities?
Cultural programming is important to promoting a well-informed and vibrant community. IFOA Ontario and the Lit On Tour programs inspire those who attend. Perhaps they are moved to defend freedom of expression by signing a petition presented by PEN Canada, maybe they will pick up a book outside of their usual genre, or perhaps they’ll just be inspired to attend similar events within their home communities and perpetuate cultural development by being an active participant in cultural pursuits. The world needs cultural programming to encourage interaction with each other, to learn from one another and to experience all the world has to offer.