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    Quadruple Block-Busting Author Reading

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)


    NOON - 1pm



    Kevin J. Anderson

    Kelley Armstrong

    Anthony Bidulka

    Rebecca Moesta


    WHEN WORDS COLLIDE is a 3-day festival (Aug. 8 - 10) for readers and writers that unites lovers of many genres for one glorious summer weekend in the city of Calgary. If you can't make it to the Best Western Village Park Inn for the slew of events, including: speaker panels, Kaffe klatches (meet a Guest of Honour or other author in a small group setting), Pitch sessions, Blue-pencil cafe, Parties, Merchant's Corner - don't worry, the festival's guests of honour are making an appearance at the Central Library on Friday, August 10. No registration is required.

    A small sample of the authors' amazing work:

    Slam Summer Edition

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)


    Thursday July 26

    8:00pm - 11:00pm

    Auburn Saloon (115 9 Ave SE)


    If your brain is starting to melt down through the lull of summer Calgary's Ink Spot Collective may have the solution you need to snap from those dog day syndromes: poetic visitors from the southern hemisphere, Ink Spot Collective(where it's winter!). The Soles of Australia Tour features two Melbourne-based poets, Joel McKerrow and Michelle Dabrowski, who are hitting the road to show the world the powerful force of their spoken word scene.

    Victoria BC's award-winning spoken word performer Missie Peters will also grace the Auburn stage this Thursday. She is a two-time Victoria Slam Champion, the former slam master, one half of the improvised spoken word duo SpeakEasy and the director of Not Your Grandma's Poetry.

    Also on stage - YOU. It's a slam. Show up at 7:30 to sign up.

    Need to brush up on your slam skills? - Place a hold on Sheri-D WIlson's 'Spoken Word Workbook'...

    Writer in the Headlights

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It’s dark.

    There’s a long way to go.

    Full tank of gas? Check. Snacks, music, and coffee to keep my eyes from dropping? Check, but not too much coffee - I don’t want to stop The wheel.for anything.

    I’ve got a map, but I drew it myself and it's full of gaps. Part of me hopes to get lost. I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before and I don’t really care if I end up somewhere else. As long I end up somewhere, as long my head-lights shine, illuminating the road ahead, my grip on the wheel will be white-knuckled.

    I will push forward to morning if I have to.

    The road.

    As a metaphor for the writing process, this bland boring image may not seem so appealing. And it also runs the risk of shamefully treading on the toes of Canadian songwriter Tom Cochrane ("Life is a highway. I want to ride it.")("All night long").... but if you are "goin' my way" and taking this put-your-head-down stop-for-nothing approach to pumping out your words, there are many advantages.

    Compared to other "Metaphors of Process" (introduced last week as the "Gardener" and the "Fishermen"), this one is useful for the writer who needs rumble strips to keep from slipping into the ditches of distraction. This type of writer also requires that its operator have strong faith in its abilities and in its vehicle. The vehicle in this case is the narrative or poetic structure and the writer will want to make sure the machinery is running smooth before a long overnight haul. Fill the tires with air. Don't ignore unfamiliar noises your vehicle makes, but don't let them bother you either. Use different gears to pace yourself.

    Disadvantages of the "Tommy Cochrane" process are numerous: 1) it's not all that scenic, 2) it's exhausting, and 3) you may have missed some very interesting turn-offs by speeding right past them in the night. That's okay though. When the sun comes out and we're able to see the mess we've made while we were focused on forward progress, we can put on our garden gloves and hipwaiters and get to work in a different frame of mind. As fishermen, we'll be able to throw a line towards any and every possible digression. As gardeners, we can identify which seeds are worth nurturing.

    And if you went down the wrong highway and ended up stuck at a dead-end, at least you'll know not to take it again next time...

    Looking for more guidance and inspiration for your writing process? These two titles just landed on library shelves:

    (Click to place hold)


    When Words Collide

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Last year's inaugural When Words Collide festival must have done something right. Not only is the festival back for another year, it is roaring back with an amazing lineup of writers, artists, performers, and publishers who all want to help bring us together, in Calgary and beyond, for a sharing of information, for learning, and to build a sense of community.

    Perhaps its strength is appeal to readers and writers of many genres : Mystery, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, Literary, Historical, Western, Film scripts, Poetry...

    Here are 2012's Guests of Honour:

    Anthony Bidulka (Mystery)

    Kelley Armstrong (Romance)

    Kevin J. Anderson (Science Fiction)

    Rebecca Moesta (YA) well as publisher guest Adrienne Kerr - the Commissioning Editor of Commercial Fiction at Penguin Group (Canada) and poet/songwriter Vanessa Cardui.

    Four concurrent streams of programming, including panels of speakers debating topics on: Writing, Literature, Publishing, Art (cover / interior), Kaffe klatches (meet a Guest of Honour or other author in a small group setting), Pitch sessions, Blue-pencil cafe, Parties, Merchant's Corner.

    For complete information on the 2012 When Words Collide festival, go to


    Metaphors of Process

    by Phil - 2 Comment(s)

    The hardest part about writing a blog for writers is that there are so many different types of writing, all of which require their own exclusive set of skills and are built atop their own separate foundations. Even inside the mind of a single writer the poet, novelist, and journalist may push each other around for territory. And even once we’ve decided on our form of expression, or once a form has a chosen us, there is an endless number of forks in the road (and short cuts and scenic routes and flowers to smell) until we’ve eventually, hopefully, carved out a unique perch, or hole, where we can get to work.

    All writers do share one common thread, though. Under any form, at any stage, for any purpose, we are all obviously engaging in a writing process. How we get from one word to the next, from one sentence to a paragraph, piling lines on to the page, hammering and ironing the text until it at least resembles an original vision, is always and necessarily a mysterious and personal process.

    The more we understand our own processes, regardless of form, the better chance we have of unleashing the full power of language. Here at the Nook we have been analyzing different approaches to the act of writing and assembling them into convenient metaphorical categories.

    So far, we’ve got 3:

    1. The Gardener

    Plants a seed, nurtures the soil.

    Requires great patience.

    Must tolerate dry season.

    2. The Over-Night Truck Driver

    At night, headlights on to illuminate the road, grips the wheel and drives forward.

    No stopping until the next town, or morning.

    3. The Fisherman

    The important thing is to keep the line in the stream, always.

    Always prepared for a bite and willing to throw a few back.


    Each metaphor requires and will receive its own clarification in a separate blog post. Hopefully we’ll get there before winter. Until then, does your process resemble one of these?

    If your process isn’t on our list, leave a comment and tell us how you write.

    And we can't leave here without mentioning some of the best inspirational books for writers. Click the covers to find one at your local branch.


    The Secret Miracle

    How to Write


    People Park is here!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Since the 2008 award-winning short story collection The Withdrawal Method many fans of Pasha Malla have spent the last four years eagerly anticipating his first novel length work.

    The wait is over.

    Click here to place a hold on People Park.

    The official release date is July 1, Canada Day, and it sounds really good...

    It's the Silver Jubilee of People Park, an urban experiment conceived by a radical mayor and zealously policed by the testosterone-powered New Fraternal League of Men. To celebrate, the insular island city has engaged the illustrationist Raven, who promises to deliver the most astonishing spectacle its residents have ever seen. As the entire island comes together for the event, we meet an unforgettable cross-section of its inhabitants, from activists to nihilists, art stars to athletes, families to inveterate loners. Soon, however, what has promised to be a triumph of civic harmony begins to reveal its shadow side. And when Raven's illustration exceeds even the most extreme of expectations, the island is plunged into a series of unnatural disasters that force people to confront what they are really made of.

    People Park is a tour de force of eerily prescient, grotesque, and hilarious observation and a narrative of gripping, unrelenting suspense. Malla writes as if the twin demons of Stephen King and Flannery O'Connor were resting on his shoulders. You've never read anything quite like People Park.




    A Wild West Wordfest

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It’s kind of scary to think that a month and a half has passed since we first posted about Wordfest’s exciting postcard story contest, TumbleWord. Is June really half over? Is summer slipping away from us before it even officially starts?


    But that's ok. Before solstice sweeps us into a painfully short season of hailstorms, during which the Calgary Stampede will enjoy its 100th year, Wordfest is helping the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth celebrate with a "mini-festival" that launches this Monday, June 18, and runs through to June 20. It's Wild West Wordfest. For 3 days the festival known for bringing readers and writers together is gonna bring readers and riders together, and the lineup looks great...

    (...all Wild West WordFest events are FREE.)

    Wild West WordFest Launch

    Monday, June 18

    5:30pm, Motion Art Gallery, Eau Claire Market

    Festival kicks-off with the winners of the TumbleWord writing contest and a reception. Hosted by Kris Demeanor.

    Anita Crowshoe

    Stories of the West - Tuesday, June 19

    Noon, Community Room, Eau Claire Market

    Spend your lunch hour with storyteller Anita Crowshoe and her amazing stories of our unforgettable heritage. Hosted by Dr. Yvonne Trainer.

    Cowboy Wild - Tuesday, June 19

    7pm, Art Gallery of Calgary

    David Campion and Sandra Shields present from Cowboy Wild, a photography book that reflects on the myths of the Stampede and the meaning of the West. Introduction by Brian Rusted.

    Nook Note* A book this beautiful might belong in your personal library, but just so you know, Cowboy Wild is available at the library... Click book cover to place your hold!

    ...and the grande finale, taking place right here at the Central library...

    Cowboy Cabaret

    Wednesday, June 20

    7pm, John Dutton Theatre, Calgary Public Library

    Doris Daley, Bob Dyck, Bruce Innes, Hannah Stilwell, Yvonne Trainer, Sheri-D Wilson and other special guests close out Wild West WordFest with a cowboy cabaret, featuring spoken word and song! Hosted by Donna Livingstone.

    Please RSVP to

    See y'all there!

    The Practice of Poetry

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Poetry is a mysterious beast that does something different for every person that discovers its magic. Whatever you want poetry to be, there it is, already waiting for you to make it your own. Also waiting for you, next Thursday at Fish Creek, is an award-winning writer who currently teaches at the University of Victoria – Madeline Sonik, for a fun exercise-based workshop. Whether you're already a poet or aspire to be one, this workshop will show you the fundamental tricks of the writer's trade…

    Thursday, June 21

    6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

    Third floor - Meeting room


    Madeline Sonik is an eclectic, award-winning writer and anthologist whose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction have appeared in literary journals internationally. Her published book-length works include a novel, Arms, a collection of short fiction, Drying the Bones, a children’s novel, Belinda and the Dustbunnys, a poetry collection, Stone Sightings, and a book of personal essays, Afflictions & Departures, which was recently nominated for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction and was a finalist for The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. Her new poetry collection, The Book of Changes, has just been released. She holds an MA in Journalism, an MFA in Creative Writing, and a PhD in Education and currently teaches at The University of Victoria in British Columbia.

    Click on book covers to find Madeline Sonik's work at the library...

    Young Alberta Writers at Camp Kiwanis

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you are a young writer intent on getting a real solid head-start on mastering the craft of writing, or perhaps you know a talented young writer in the family who could use some extra stimulus over the melting drag of summer, look no further...

    There isn’t much else I can say here that isn’t laid out at the Young Alberta Writers website (, which is where you will find Registration Forms, a very impressive list of instructors, and much more, but here is a heads-up on the dates:

    Week 1 (for ages 12-14): July 8-13, 2012

    Week 2 (for ages 15-19): July 15-21, 2012

    Another thing I wish I’d done as a kid (other than go to a camp like this) is read the books of my writing instructors. It's the best way to know where they are coming from and to get the most out of their expertise. So if you are lucky enough to get out to Camp Kiwanis this summer for WordsWorth, check out some of the instructors’ books, available at the library...

    derek beaulieu

    Marcello Di Cintio

    Sandy Pool

    Brendan Mcleod

    Cathy Ostlere

    Emergent Writer's Salon

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Not sure how we missed the first two meetings of Shelf Life's 'Emergent Writer's Salon', but better late than not at all. This Saturday is the third installment of a 'series of afternoon events to introduce up and coming local writers' and it will feature Samantha Warwick and the library's former Writer-in-Residence Naomi K. Lewis.

    from the Shelf Life website:


    The (Second) Novel with Naomi K. Lewis and Samantha Warwick


    The Calgary Association for Lifelong Learning & Shelf Life Books Present Emergent Writer’s Salon #3 with local authors, Naomi K. Lewis and Samantha Warwick.

    Second novels have been known (and joked about) throughout history as being the most difficult book a writer will negotiate. Is this true? If so—why? In this interview-style presentation, Naomi and Samantha will discuss the process, challenges, highs and lows of writing their first novels as compared to their second. They will give short readings from their first and second books and answer audience questions about the writing process.



    2 – 4 p.m.

    Naomi K. Lewis is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer. She was writer in residence at the Calgary Public Library throughout the fall of 2011, and her short story collection, I Know Who You Remind Me Of, will be published by Enfield & Wizenty in fall, 2012. For more info on Naomi, please visit

    Click here to find her work in the library catalogue.


    Samantha Warwick's work has been broadcast on CBC Radio and has appeared in various literary and commercial magazines including Geist, Event, Room and FASHION. Her first novel, Sage Island, follows nineteen-year-old Savanna “Savi” Mason, who—after a string of bad luck in New York—finds herself competing in the real-life Wrigley Ocean Marathon of 1927, a 22-mile swim race from Catalina Island to Los Angeles. Samantha is also the Southern Alberta Program Coordinator for the Writers Guild of Alberta.

    Click here to find her work in the library catalogue.


    Shelf Life Books in on the corner of 4th Street & 13th Avenue SW, in Calgary.

    Click here for full information on the library's wonderful Writer-in-Residence services!

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