Novel Marathon celebrates 20 years with virtual event

The Muskoka Novel Marathon is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a virtual event taking place from July 16 through July 19.

This is the second year in a row the creative writing event has been virtual due to the pandemic. However, as Jennifer Turney noted when she visited the Muskoka Unlimited Podcast, it was very well received and included people who would not have been able to be there in person. You can listen to Jennifer discuss the novel marathon HERE.

The Muskoka Novel Marathon: Quarantine Edition is set to be another amazing literary even with avid amateur and professional writers indulging in 72 hours of wordsmithing and fundraising for literacy programs provided by the YMCA offices throughout Muskoka.

Convener KM Wehrstein is thrilled to see the Muskoka Novel Marathon reaching an impressive milestone.

“Who’d have thought we’d be around 20 years later? There is such an incredible energy about this event – it draws out the best of writers, donors, sponsors, staff – everybody! Inspiration and love are its fuel,” says Wehrstein.

The online delivery creates an opportunity for writers to come together to celebrate literacy while breaking the challenges of location and travel, enabling them to participate from – quite literally – anywhere in the world.

Writer Liaison, Shellie Westlake is always happy to answer the question why should I sign up?

“Even online you’re getting to experience our event– the magic of the marathon is found in the creative energy, the support and comradery of our writers,” explains Westlake. “Amazing things happen when you connect with people who share our passion.”

New this year is the addition of lectures and panels from several MNM alumna on topics such as How to Win a Muskoka Novel Marathon, Write What You Know and How to Do Professional Quality World-Building, among many others.

Events will be delivered weekly and go live starting Thursday, May 20. Anyone registered for the 2021 marathon will get free access, while non-registered guests will have a small fee to attend.

Krystyne Taylor-Smith is the driving force behind-the-scenes, ensuring all the moving parts of the online delivery behave themselves.

Building on the infrastructure developed last year, she has enabled the Muskoka Novel Marathon to branch out with extra events in the calendar with the help of the volunteer staff and writers. She was overwhelmed at the support.

“Last year was a challenge to take the marathon online but the results were amazing,” says Taylor-Smith. “We’ve drawn on a lot of seasoned MNMers to share their expertise and they were all too willing to give back to the event.”

During the marathon, each registered writer will be attempting to complete a manuscript – a novel, screenplay, collection of short stories or poetry – whatever they’re inspired to write for a chance to have it reviewed by a publisher or an agent.

There will also be social programming, meal-time gatherings and fun activities so the writers can engage with one another and share the experience, must like they would at an in-person event.

Since starting its fundraising efforts years ago, the Muskoka Novel Marathon has raised more than $225,000 to help fund classes for reading, writing, numeracy, computer literacy and English as a Second Language, ensuring they can be offered to people in the community free of charge.

The Muskoka Novel Marathon: Quarantine Edition registration is open. Visit to register and to check out our new programming!

Visit our Read, Listen, Enjoy section Sponsor! 

One thought on “Novel Marathon celebrates 20 years with virtual event

Add yours

  1. This will be my seventh MNM, and has become a staple of my writing life. The camaraderie, the friends I’ve made made, and the sheer amount of creative energy floating around – even when we’re virtual – is amazing. And to be able to raise money for such a great cause as adult literacy services is the icing on an already yummy cake.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: