Time is ticking down ahead of the annual Muskoka Novel Marathon and in a last minute turn of events, there are two empty seats for the event that is usually filled within 24 hours.
The Muskoka Novel Marathon raises funds and awareness for adult literacy in Huntsville and the surrounding areas. Writers spend the weekend crafting a manuscript while raising money through pledges from friends, families and co-workers. Writers also get the chance to submit their work to a panel of judges at the end with each winner receiving a prize and the opportunity to have their manuscript reviewed by a publisher or agent. The upcoming marathon is scheduled to start on July 12 at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville. The event draws in forty authors every year. Organizers said the two empty seats are no small thing, adding that it could be an incredible opportunity for anyone with the urge to write that has a free weekend in July.
Convenor Karen Wehrstein has been writing in the marathon since 2006 and took on the role of convenor alongside Paula Boon in 2009. Wehrstein has been a volunteer since 2010, serving as co-convenor, convenor, registrar, writer liaison and t-shirt coordinator along with other positions.
“I love contributing to literacy training—a gentleman I met at my first marathon who learned to read at the age of 96 was a big inspiration—and I also love giving writers the opportunity for a communal retreat like this, which generates so much good work—a lot of marathon projects have gone on to be published, most famously Amy Stuart’s first novel, that became a bestseller,” Wehrstein said. “The big fundraising successes have been a huge charge. We change lives, both for literacy students and for writers. It doesn’t get better than that!”
Another participant turned volunteer Jennifer Turney said she keeps coming back for the people and the “incredible energy” at the novel marathon.
“You’re challenged and inspired to do your best, but not necessarily in a competitive way,” Turney said. “You’re surrounded by people who share the same passion you do, the environment is almost electric with creativity. I joined the committee because this event not only means a lot to myself, but the people in our town. The literacy programs we’re helping to sustain with our fundraising have helped so many.”
For more information or to donate, visit the Muskoka Novel Marathon website.