Our Story

The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival has been holding a literary picnic on the idyllic banks of the Eramosa River since 1989. The Festival was founded by former Eden Mills resident and Governor General Award winning author, Leon Rooke.  At the time, Leon and his wife Connie lived in the former stagecoach hotel across the street from the then Eden Mills General Store. The store owners, Don and Mark Holman, suggested that Leon launch his new novel, A Good Baby, from the front steps of their store. Leon invited other writers, including Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart, and Linda Spalding to join him, and the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival was born.

Over the years, the festival has hosted a veritable who’s who of established and emerging Canadian writers, attracting the winners of Canada’s major literary prizes, along with rising literary stars and well-established favourites such as Margaret Atwood, Alistair MacLeod, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Lawrence Hill.

The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is a community-driven event. On Festival Sunday, the village is closed to traffic. Residents make their properties available as reading sites, their lovely gardens providing a perfect story-book setting for the Festival. Other volunteers generously donate their time to set up and oversee reading sites, and to staff the gates. Their welcoming spirit makes the Festival a uniquely warm and friendly experience for patrons and authors alike.

Eden Mills Territorial Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the Attawandaron people and the Mississaugas of the New Credit on whose traditional territory the village of Eden Mills resides.

We offer our respect to our Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Métis neighbours, as we work to strengthen our relationships with them.

We recognize the significance of the Dish with One Spoon Covenant to this land. The Dish with One Spoon Covenant is a peace agreement made between Indigenous nations before the Europeans arrived. It characterizes our collective responsibility to each other and Mother Earth:
We should take only what we need.
Leave enough for others, and
Keep the dish clean.

Today, this area is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our important connection to this land where we live, and its’ waters.

May we who dwell on, or visit this land and these waters, be good stewards and honour those who came before us.