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If any situation can make you want to become a writer, it’s listening to author Don Hayward. On July 14, Hayward gave a talk at the Espanola Public Library. He read excerpts from some of his books that led the audience to imagine themselves sitting on the bank of the Spanish River and meeting unique characters. Hayward’s evocative descriptions of places and people bring words to life.
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Hayward has written 12 books and has plans for more. The storytelling seems to live in its soul. When he speaks, you see how the twists and turns of his conversation with the audience and his fluidity and humor weave a living story. From his shoes to the top of his unruly snowy hair, Hayward portrays a writer brimming with stories to share that makes you want to sit down and talk and learn from him. When describing his writing, he said, “I write episodically through a series of interwoven stories.” By reading some of his poetry and the chapters, you got an idea of the connections he made in the stories.
Don grew up in High Falls on the Spanish River. The town no longer exists as is the story of many small towns owned by different companies. Some of the houses were moved to other locations which he shared a story or two of. The Spanish River, Espanola, and High Falls locations are the settings for some of his books. The trilogy beginning with the book “Collapse”, followed by “Under Shadows” and ending with “End of Shadows” takes place in this area, as does “The Seventh Path”. Hayward doesn’t just write under one genre. Some of his plays are science fiction, others are mysteries and, like the trilogy, stories of a global economic collapse.
After leaving High Falls, he eventually made his way to Dufferin County where he operated a small farm and worked in the electrical industry. He retired in 2008 and began writing, beginning with rewriting a chapter he started in 2007. His first book was published in 2014. Hayward now lives in Goderich, Ontario. Reading her stories will convey her deep respect for the Indigenous way of life and an appreciation for the land around us. The books are available on Amazon and directly from Don Hayward. The Espanola Public Library has its collection available for borrowing.