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    New in the Nook

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    As we approach year end it's a good time to look back at some of the most useful, inspirational titles to land on library shelves in 2014.

    Beyond the First Draft: the art of fiction, by John Casey

    National Book Award winner John Casey is a masterful novelist who is also an inspiring and beloved teacher. In Beyond the First Draft he offers essential and original insights into the art of writing--and rewriting--fiction. Through anecdotes about other writers' methods and habits (as well as his own) and close readings of literature from Aristotle to Zola, the essays in this collection offer "suggestions about things to do, things to think about when your writing has got you lost in the woods." In "Dogma and Anti-dogma" Casey sets out the tried-and-true advice and then comments on when to apply it and when to ignore it. In "What's Funny" he considers the range of comedy from pratfalls to elegant wit. In "In Other Words" he discusses translations and the surprising effects that translating can have on one's native language. In "Mentors" he pays tribute to those who have guided him and other writers. Throughout the fourteen essays there are notes on voice, point of view, structure, and other crucial elements. This book is an invaluable resource for aspiring writers and a revitalizing companion for seasoned ones.

    Producing Canadian Literature: authors speak on the literary marketplace, by Kit Dobson

    Through a series of conversations with both established and younger writers from across the country, Kit Dobson and Smaro Kamboureli investigate how writers perceive their relationship to the cultural economy--and what that economy means for their creative processes. The interviews focus, in particular, on how writers interact with the cultural institutions and bodies that surround them. Conversations pursue the impacts of arts funding on writers; show how agents, editors, and publishers affect writers' works; examine the process of actually selling a book, both in Canada and abroad; and contemplate what literary awards mean to writers. Dialogues with Christian Bök, George Elliott Clarke, Daniel Heath Justice, Larissa Lai, Stephen Henighan, Roy Miki, Erín Moure, Ashok Mathur, Lee Maracle, Jane Urquhart, and Aritha van Herk testify to the broad range of experience that writers in Canada have when it comes to the conditions in which their work is produced. Original in its desire to directly explore the specific circumstances in which writers work--and how those conditions affect their writing itself-- Producing Canadian Literature will be of interest to scholars, students, aspiring writers, and readers who have followed these authors and want to know more about how their books come into being.

    Also available as OverDrive eBook

    The First 50 Pages: engage agents, editors and readers, and set up your novel for success, by Jeff Gerke

    Seeking writing success? Start at the beginning... Whether you're looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor's attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged. As a writer, what you do in your opening pages, and how you do it, is a matter that cannot be left to chance. The First 50 Pages is here to help you craft a strong beginning right from the start. You'll learn how to: introduce your main character, establish your story world, set up the plot's conflict, begin your hero's inner journey, write an amazing opening line and terrific first page and more. This helpful guide walks you through the tasks your first 50 pages must accomplish in order to avoid leaving readers disoriented, frustrated, or bored. Don't let your reader put your book down before ever seeing its beauty. Let The First 50 Pages show you how to begin your novel with the skill and intentionality that will land you a book deal, and keep readers' eyes glued to the page.

    Writer's Market, 2015

    The most trusted guide to getting published! Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let the 2015 Writer's Market guide you through the process with thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. These listings include contact and submission information to help writers get their work published. Beyond the listings, you'll find all-new editorial material devoted to the business and promotion of writing, including advice on pitching to agents and editors, managing your freelance business, and building a readership. This edition also includes the ever popular--and updated--pay-rate chart, plus dozens of articles and essays.

    see also: Children's Writer's and Illustrators' Market, 2015

    also see: list of all 'Market' titles available in eBook format

    **Book summaries lifted from library catalogue.


    Distinguished Visitor

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    " terms of being a writer, my creativity comes not from 'Sri Lankan' or 'Canadian' but precisely from the space between, that marvelous open space represented by the hyphen, in which the two parts of my identity jostle and rub up against each other like tectonic plates, pushing upwards the eruption that is my work."

    - from Introducing Myself in the Diaspora, Story-Wallah

    For more than 20 years the University of Calgary's Distinguished Writers Program has been bringing incredible artists to our city "to advance the careers of Canadian writers [and] invigorate the Calgary writing community". Past distinguished visitors include Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Art Spiegelman, Oliver Sacks, Timothy Findley, and Michael Ondaatje. CDWP offers two annual residencies, one of which features emerging Canadian authors and another from the international stage. This Saturday the Calgary Public Library is thrilled to be hosting an event featuring CDWP's current distinguished writer. Here's the details:

    Writing from the Hyphen with Shyam Selvadurai

    Saturday, November 29
    7 p.m.
    John Dutton Theatre, Central Library


    Sri Lankan-Canadian author and 2014-15 Distinguished Visiting Writer Shyam Selvadurai reads from his new novel The Hungry Ghosts and speaks about diasporic writing and the advantages of writing from the hyphen between Sri Lankan and Canadian. Shyam's CDWP residency runs November 24-December 1, 2014, and includes a number of public events.

    Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Funny Boy, his first novel, won the W.H. Smith / Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award in the US. He is the author of Cinnamon Gardens and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, and the editor of an anthology, Story-wallah! A Celebration of South Asian Fiction. His books have been published in the US, the UK, India, Canada, and Sri Lanka, and published in translation in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Turkey, and Israel. His latest novel is The Hungry Ghosts.

    For complete details please visit the Calgary Distinguished Writers page. Among other events Selvadurai will appear alongside Aritha van Herk, Ian Williams, and Larissa Lai for WAY BACK WHEN - a showcase of "embarrassing writing penned in their teens" in support of Calgary's filling Station magazine. Way Back When will take place Thursday, November 27, 7:00pm, at Loft 112 (112-535 8 Ave SE).

    You can find all of Shyam Selvadurai's work on the shelves of your local library:

    Funny Boy Cinnamon Gardens Swimming in the Monsoon Sea The Hungry Ghosts
    eBook eBook eBook


    Writing Rogues & Rascals

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    As the end of November draws near so too does the end of the Calgary Public Library's Writer-in-Residence season for 2014. Hopefully you've all had a chance to take advantage of Rosemary Nixon's wonderful public programs and one-on-one manuscript consultations this Fall and if not, well, there is still one more chance. This Saturday Rosemary Nixon will visit the Central Library for "Writing Rogues and Rascals" - an energetic talk on her creation of fictional rascals and how to make them rise up off the page.

    This final, free public program of Rosemary Nixon's Memorial Park residency will run from 1 pm to 2:30 pm on Saturday, November 22, in the lower level meeting room at the Central Library. At the last count we somehow have 5 spots remaining. Register now to save yourself a seat. And if you've already registered, please note a slight typo on the time originally listed in our Winter Program Guide... the program ends at 2:30 pm, not 4 pm.

    Rosemary Nixon is a prize-winning writer of fiction. Her stories have appeared in literary magazines across the country as well as in numerous anthologies. Released in September 2013, her fourth book-length work of fiction Are You Ready To Be Lucky? is being praised as “positively kinetic, hilarious, charging, filled with gorgeous language and a fierceness of description. Nixon devastates the reader through the loveliest of prose”. Also well-known as a dynamic teacher of creative writing, Rosemary has taught classes for years at the University of Calgary, Chinook College, as well as three summers at Sage Hill Writing Experience in Saskatchewan. She is an outstanding highly-valued freelance editor, and has edited the stories, poetry, non-fiction, and novels of many Canadian writers, working closely with writers on style, language, and form. Far too many credentials, accomplishments, and awards to include in this little blog, so please continue to her complete bio and visit her website:

    Kalila Are You Ready to be Lucky?

    Come Write In

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Math has never been a strength, but after hours of calculation I think I've figured it out — 5 days into National Novel Writing Month. 30 days to write 50,000 words. Moustaches and precipitation falling as snow also accumulating, Wrimos should now be rounding a word-count corner of 8000 on the glorious ride that is NaNoWriMo. The math could very easily be wrong, but whether those novels are stuck on the first page or cruising along past 10,000 words, NaNoWriMo is really all about having fun, finding your own way, and meeting fellow supportive writers.

    This Saturday, the Central Library is hosting two 'Write-In Workshops' designed to get Calgary NaNoWriMo participants together for a day of marathon writing. Your intrepid regional MLs will be here with their "word wars, box of awesome, and buckets of doom" to keep your novels rolling along.

    There will be two separate sessions. Choose one or reserve a spot for both!

    11 AM - 1 PM 2 PM - 4 PM

    New to NaNo? Just because we're five days into November doesn't mean it's too late to sign up and get started. It's a great chance to connect with other writers, get lots of work done in a fun, supportive environment, and come discover the world of resources the Library has available to support the endeavours of Calgary's many creative writing communities.

    One Book

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    This Saturday the launch of One Book One Calgary opens a month full of opportunity to be inspired by Walls. Designed to ignite community dialogue and enrich community connections through a shared reading experience, One Book One Calgary also enables Calgarians a view through the lens of its chosen author. An open window into the process of creating a unique, award-winning book and also an inside perspective on the life a book takes on after it hits the shelves, finds an audience, gets translated into multiple languages, and reprinted all over the world.

    The first can't-miss OBOC launch event takes place tomorrow night at Central - 'An Evening with Marcello Di Cintio' - and there's still a bit of room left for registration. Marcello will introduce Walls with a multimedia presentation and special guest readings from poet Bertrand Bickersteth and Calgary Poet Laureate derek beaulieu. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

    Walls Book Cover

    Walls eBook Cover


    Launched, One Book One Calgary will proceed to offer inspiring, illuminating, amazing events throughout November. If you're in the 'Nook, you're going to want to register for this one:


    Join One Book One Calgary author Marcello Di Cintio and 2014 Writer in Residence, Rosemary Nixon, as they discuss the similarities and differences of writing fiction and non-fiction and how they capture the attention of readers of both genres. Light refreshments will be served.

    Memorial Park Library

    Saturday, November 15

    2 - 3:30 pm



    Pre-NaNo Planning

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's NaNoWriMo time again, folks. AKA November. The month to join a local group of writers - the Calgary Wrimotaurs - and strap in for a ride on the draft of your 50,000 word novel. If you value enthusiasm, determination, deadlines, and your own brilliance, sign up to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. Even if your aspirations to write that novel are only fleeting, this is your chance to access a worldwide network of novelists striving for the same goal.

    NaNoWriMo is a fun, pressure-free approach to creative writing, but planning ahead is always a good idea. In preparation the Calgary Public Library is offering back-to-back writing workshops on Saturday, October 25, led by your fearless 'Municipal Liaisons' from the Calgary Wrimotaurs. MLs will also host a half-hour Q & A session following the workshops.

    Dynamic Dialogue Workshop

    12 - 1 p.m.

    Learn how to make your characters sound less like robots and more like real people and write conversations that you'd actually want to listen to.


    Striking Settings Workshop

    2 - 3 p.m.

    Feel like your story takes place in front of a blank wall? Learn how to bring background details alive and make your setting sparkle.


    Q and A with Calgary NaNoWriMo

    3 - 3:30 p.m.

    No clue how you'll manage 50,000 words in one month?

    Bring all your questions and come find out what you are capable of.


    For more about the Wrimotaurs, NaNoWriMo worldwide, and what makes the library the perfect place to get some writing done, check out the 'Nook's 2012 interview with NaNoWriMo's Calgary ML Xanateria, who continues to nourish Calgary's growing community of wrimos.

    Reporting from Wordfest: You

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    October 14 - 19Calgary's festival for readers and writers is now only a few sleeps away and while the wonderful people at Wordfest make the final arrangements to deliver more than 60 events from more 70 world-class writers there may still be opportunities to volunteer your own storytelling powers as a Wordfest 'Digital Reporter'. According to the original call for volunteers on the Wordfest website the deadline for applications was September 19, but naturally with such a massive palette of programming on the menu for next week there may still be room for more bloggers and social media contributors to help cover all the action. A bit of volunteer journalism experience never hurt a writer trying to a build a resume, not to mention the inspiring environment of literary ensorcellation.

    For complete details and application form go directly to the Call for Digital Reporters at Wordfest 2014.

    And speaking of social media contributions, follow Wordfest on Twitter (@WORDFESTTWEETS) and Facebook.

    And if you really want to make an impression as the eyes, ears, and voice on the festival ground (or in your own personal virtual space), strengthen your blogging voice with these helpful resources available at your local library:

    Problogger, by Darren Rowse Brief: make a bigger impact by saying less, by Joseph McCormack No One Cares What You Had for Lunch, by Margaret Mason

    October Launch Dates

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    On top of being the headquarters for our current Writer In Residence service with Rosemary Nixon, the Memorial Park Library is also a hot spot for book launches this October. On THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, local master of short fiction Ken Rivard will be launching his 10th book, Motherwild - a novel that is "honest, refreshing, startling, imaginative, and gets the reader emotionally involved".

    The following week Lori Hahnel launches After You've Gone - the story of a Regina jazz guitarist and her Seattle record producer granddaughter. This brand new novel is released tomorrow, October 1, and you can catch the Calgary launch at Memorial Park library on THURSDAY OCTOBER 9. Keep up on all the exciting news from this local author on her blog.

    No registration is required for these author readings and both start at 7 p.m. Library copies are on order now.

    Ken Rivard was born and raised in Montreal. He is the author of ten published books of poetry, fiction, and children’s literature. His writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, in many regional and national publications, and on the CBC. His books have been finalists for the Writers Guild of Alberta Book Awards and the City Of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. He has worked as a juror for both the Alberta and Saskatchewan book awards and has been the Writer-in-Residence for the Calgary Public Library and the Writers Guild of Alberta. In 2005, Ken was nominated for the inaugural Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards. He lives in Calgary.

    (author bio lifted off

    Lori Hahnel is the author of a novel, Love Minus Zero (Oberon, 2008) and a story collection, Nothing Sacred, (Thistledown, 2009), which shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award. A new novel, After You’ve Gone, is forthcoming from Thistledown in Fall 2014. Her work has been nominated for the Journey Prize three times and has appeared in over thirty publications across North America and in the U.K. Her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire and Joyland. Lori teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University and the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society.

    (author bio lifted off

    The Laureate is coming!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The 7th annual Alberta Culture Days if fast approaching and the Library is thrilled to be hosting several events to help Albertans get wildly creative for three days. On Friday, September 26, Calgary Poet Laureate derek beaulieu will take over the Main Floor of the Central library to share his experiences combining poetry and art. "An Evening with derek beaulieu" will start at 7 p.m. and if you're familiar with beaulieu's work you know that visual art plays an integral role in his poetry and this is certain to be a stimulating, inspirational event. To register, please head over to our Programs page.

    For more information on all the wonderful work of our Poet Laureate, including links to some of his recent projects and lots of insider news on local events, follow this link to derek beaulieu's blog. On top of his role as laureate derek has also been named Artist in Residence at the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts from August 20 - October 24. The walls of the newly created 'Lightbox Studio' are draped with his text art, he's got manual typewriters set up, and welcomes passing conversation about his experiments with the structure of language. Read an article about the residency from The Calgary Herald.

    For all the Alberta Culture Days events taking place at the library, check out this listing, which includes an all day 'Arts Explosion Fair', a visit from the Alberta Reader's Choice Award winner Tyler Trafford (author of Almost a Great Escape), and Signal Hill Library's Annual Community Art Showcase.

    For a list of events taking place all over the province, year round, check out Alberta's Culture Calendar.

    And don't forget to check out your Poet Laureate's books available at the library...

    Fractal Economies seen of the crime How to Write Please, No More Poetry

    Wordfest Workshops

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's another amazing lineup coming to Calgary this October for Wordfest. With more than 80 writers slated to deliver more than 65 events, many of which the Central Library has the honour of hosting in the John Dutton Theatre, readers and writers have a full week of opportunity to connect with some of the world's most exciting storytellers.

    This year's highlights for the 'Nook are Andrew Kaufman (The Tiny Wife), Sjon (From the Mouth of the Whale), and Sheila Heti (How Should A Person Be?), but like every year when the Wordfest program guide appears I turn straight to the 'Workshop' page to see which artists will be offering "inspiration, instruction, and an in-depth look at the craft of storytelling." This year there are seven event listings under WORKSHOP (one every day!) which cover a huge range of interesting topics and they all take place in the beautiful new East Village art space Loft 112...


    Ted Bishop delivers an accessible workshop geared for fans of non-fiction who are curious about the genre from a writers perspective.


    This workshop demystifies the publishing process for creators at all levels. If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a published author, this event is for you!


    With today’s technology, the ability to move a story from print to the big or small screen is now within the reach of more creators. Open to all levels, this workshop analyzes the anatomy of storytelling through film, compares narrative strategies across media and genres, and discusses some common pitfalls to avoid.


    Kathleen Winter guides a small group discussion focusing on the challenges and rewards of working with an editor over several drafts. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and bring questions or thoughts of their own to the discussion.


    Learn more about the art of building tension and suspense in mystery writing through fun, interactive exercises and engaging discussions.


    This intensive workshop for the literary and visually inclined includes hands on sketching exercises, discussion and tips from illustrator and cartoonist Michael Cho, followed by a guided Alley Walk with Rollin Stanley in Inglewood.


    “Cartoonists are writers who ‘write’ with pictures,” says Scott Chantler. Bring your favourite writing and drawing instruments to this workshop, and learn more about the theory behind visual storytelling.

    Hopefully these haven't all sold out already! Follow the links to to reserve your spot. And if you're looking for some non-instructional events, here's the Nook's top 3 picks for Wordfest 2014:

    Wordfest and Writers’ Guild of Alberta Present Rudy Wiebe

    Tuesday, October 14. Details at

    Writers and Mixtapes: Pechakucha Style

    Featuring Jonathan Auxier, Andrew Kaufman, Mark Lavorato, Sean Michaels, and Samantha Warwick. Details.


    Saturday, October 18. Details.

    **event descriptions lifted off

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