Muskoka Novel Marathon – Writers Helping Readers

It is almost that time of the year again! Every year around this time, since 2007 (with the exception of 2009 because I was too busy preparing for Kenya), I start to think about the Muskoka Novel Marathon. This year is no exception! The 2013 marathon is going to be amazing…I can feel it in my bones. Though I still have no idea what I’m going to write. With a little over a month to go, there’s lots of time to put together a kernel of an idea. My only goal for this year’s marathon is to write 55,000 words in 72 hours. That’s not a lot to ask for, is it?

With last year’s marathon raising $15,000 for literacy, it’s hard to imagine topping that total. I would love to, though. Every one of the 30 writers who participate in the marathon try their very best to raise enough funds to outdo the previous year’s total. We know that every single dollar raised goes towards helping those who cannot read and write—that means we are, together, enriching lives beyond comprehension. Just think…all those years we sat like a bunch of monkeys pounding away on keys, we weren’t only helping ourselves…we were also helping to open doors for those who would otherwise go through this life with anger, confusion, frustration, sadness and humiliation. Look around you. How many words do you see in your immediate universe? 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000? Depending on where you’re sitting, it could be even more than 10,000 words surrounding you at this very moment. Now…imagine not being able to read those words. Imagine how you would feel.


Even as I key these words onto the screen, I can’t even attempt to put myself into the mindset of a person incapable of reading them.

Because I KNOW HOW TO READ AND WRITE. I am one of the fortunate ones.

Did you know that 42% of Canadian adults between the ages of 16 and 65 have low literacy skills? That is absolutely and irrefutably disheartening.

In Muskoka, there are writers who are trying to do something about this. And YOU can help us!

I’ve explained the Muskoka Novel Marathon various times here on my blog, so today…I’ll just post a link to a youtube video you NEED to watch. I want to introduce you to NORA. She came to the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka for help. NORA is one of those who benefited from the YMCA’s literacy program. But that is not the most magical part of NORA’s story. Her story takes a wild swing that leaves all of us Muskoka Novel Marathon participants gasping for air in our excitement. You see, this year—MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON 2013—NORA will be joining us as one of the 30 writers participating in the marathon. Isn’t that incredible!? She is an inspiration to us all!

So take a look at Nora’s story:

Now, here’s a little movie about the marathon. This was filmed several years ago and it’s made up of thousands and thousands of stills. A fascinating look at the weekend itself. Pay attention. There’s a gentleman in this video who will tug at your heartstrings. (-:


NOW…you knew it was going to happen. This is the part where I ask you for your generosity. Let’s help make people like Nora thrive. Let’s give people the gift of reading and writing. We can do this TOGETHER! Every little bit helps. I am going to link to my Canada Helps Giving Page. Please consider donating to this extremely worthy cause!


You can also donate DIRECTLY TO THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON or to any of the other marathon writers. Our goal this year is to raise at least as much as we raised last year. We’ve given ourselves a very high bar this time. (-:

Swing on over to the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WEBSITE and you can see a picture of the gang from last year. This year…some of the faces will be the same and some of the faces will be new…but we will all be there for 72 hours, pounding away at our keyboards. We’ll be writing novels, but we’ll be thinking about others…those who will benefit from our words, maybe even with a few words of their own one day. (-:

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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