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    Local Lookout

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you couldn't get your hands on a ticket to see Neil Gaiman's sold-out appearance on February 24 as the U of C's Distinguished Visiting Writer, don't worry, the second half of February is chock-full of some seriously interesting literary events to stimulate our oh so ready-to-thaw brains. Both events listed below will take place at Shelf Life Books (100, 1302-4th Street SW).

    Thursday, February 20, at 7:30pm

    2014 SINGLE ONION LECTURE SERIES (Part 2)

    "The Thinkership of Conceptual Literature"

    The Single Onion offers part two of the 2014 Lecture Series, with an event featuring a lecture by Christian Bök and readings by derek beaulieu, Gregory Betts, and Ken Hunt.

    Click here for complete details.

    Friday, February 28, 2014, 7pm

    GUILTY (READING) PLEASURES

    Join the Writers Guild of Alberta, Wordfest and Shelf Life Books for an interactive evening of laughter, wine and storytelling in celebration of Freedom to Read Week. Local artists Jeff de Boer, Christian Bök and Rosemary Griebel will discuss what they read purely for pleasure and the topics that obsess them the most.

    The recipient of the 2014 Freedom to Read Award, presented by The Writers’ Union of Canada, will be announced and honoured at the event. Hosted by Shelley Youngblut


    Find all the poets' work on the shelves of your local library...

    Farewell, Sweet Study Guides

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    To make room on 4th floor for more study space and for indispensable genealogical records on microfilm, we are soon saying farewell to study guides in print form. While the information within literature study guides is indispensable, getting us through some of those dense texts required for high school and college English courses, the physical presence of the guides have been gradually replaced with online resources. So if you're struggling to get through an essay, cannot understand why Jay Gatsby keeps noticing that green light across the water, trying to wrap your head around Shakespeare, or just need to cheat a little bit, here's where to turn...

    The Calgary Public Library's E-Library offers Literature Resource Centre with full-text journal articles, critical essays, author biographies, author portraits, work overviews, contextual essays and explications. Also includes the Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature which provides 10,000 definitions of literary terms.

    Also in the E-Library we have the 'Shakespeare Collection' which "includes the Arden full-text, annotated scholarly editions of the complete works of Shakespeare, with introduction and appendices. The database contains primary source material, criticism from the 17th century to the present and general reference data." For those translations into modern-day english, search the library catalogue with the terms "Shakespeare Made Easy" and/or "Shakespeare On the Double".

    For the study of poetry and short stories, go directly to our write-up on the new Poetry & Short Story Reference Centre.

    All E-Library databases are free to access with your library card.

    Fare thee well, study guide. Your coffee stains, dog-eared pages, and pencil marks will be missed. Now here are some quick links to the best online resources for study guides:

    SparkNotes

    Our guides contain thorough summaries and insightful critical analyses. We offer more than 500 guides forEnglish literatureandShakespeare, and a vast number of guides forhistory,math,biology, and other subjects

    BookRags

    resources including encyclopedia articles, critical essays, student essays, biographies, primary sources, interviews, and study guides.

    Cliffs Notes

    CliffsNotes is the original (and most widely imitated) study guide. CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you're studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams.

    Pink Monkey

    A "G" rated study resource for junior high, high school, college students, teachers and home schoolers. The world's 'largest' library of free online literature Summaries, with over 460 Study Guides, Book Notes, and Chapter Summaries.

    The 'Weekend Wrap-Up

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    First off, a big THANK YOU to everyone who spent last Saturday hanging out with us at Writers' Weekend 2014. It's the passion and dedication of Calgary's writing communities that keep us working hard to bring you the best presentations every year and we sincerely hope everyone went home with sacks full of wisdom-nuggets.

    If there was anything missing, or anything you'd like to see in the program for next time, please leave a comment below so we can get to work on the arrangements. Outside the theatre at the library's Resource Fair table we were under a bombardment of interest in the free online writing courses available in our E-Library. It's called Learn4Life and with your library card you have access to a wide range of highly interactive courses that you can take entirely online. Courses run for six weeks and new sessions begin every month. From L4L's main page if you click the 'Writing & Publishing' category, then choose 'Creative Writing' (we also offer Business Writing, Grant Writing, and Publishing) you will find a list of 26 courses. Enrolling is easy, but we have a step-by-step guide to get you started.Calgarys first Poet Laureate... Whos Next?!

    One thing that was missing from this year's Writers' Weekend was poetry. With just one day to dive into the always-growing world of writing resources, we cannot possibly cover everything every year, but it didn't leave a lot of room to discuss the upcoming deadline for nominations for Calgary's next Poet Laureate. The bad news is we won't have Kris Demeanor providing his bang-on reflections of our city in his work (it's a two-year term). The good news is another two-year term will begin and you can HAVE A SAY in the selection process for Calgary's next Poet Laureate. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, February 14, at 4:30pm. Go to the Calgary Arts Development website for complete details.

    The 'Nook blog would also like to send out a big congrats to all the winners of the 'Just Write' contest. Looks like the future is in some highly capable, super creative hands. You can read the winning entries posted in our Teen Zone blog.

    And don't forget to let us know what you thought of the 'Weekend so we can go even bigger (or perhaps smaller) next year!

    Writing & Publishing Fantasy

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    We are now oh so very close to Writers' Weekend 2014, our day-long celebration of all the local writer resources that can possibly be stacked into six hours. At this point of final preparation there isn't much else we can say about how wonderful and inspiring our expert presentations + Resource Fair will be, except that we can't wait to get started. And speaking of getting started, we do want to remind everyone coming out for the first presentation, Writing & Publishing Fantasy, at 10am, that the Central library's front doors do not open until 10am. With the Weather Network forecasting a high of -9, please don't wait outside for the library to open to access the John Dutton Theatre. Our theatre entrance on Macleod Trail, just a few steps down the block, will be open early so please come upstairs and settle in.

    And if you aren't registered for Writing & Publishing Fantasy, our opening presentation from bestselling author Jodi McIsaac, you'll be missing out on tremendous insight into the craft of urban fantasy, as well as perspectives on new dynamics of publishing it.

    And one more heads-up:

    If you're like me and coffee is required prior to and during Jodi McIsaac's presentation, the coffee shop inside the Central library does not open until 10am either... so... yes, coffee en route. See you all Saturday!

    Screenwriting 101

    by Phil

    We are now 7 sleeps away from Writers' Weekend 2014 so I thought we ought to take a look at one of the more specialized, unique presentations this year has to offer. Screenwriting 101 will take the stage from 2 - 3pm, promising an inspirational introduction to the form. Our presenter is Geo Takach, an award winning filmmaker, author, script consultant, and instructor that we are thrilled to be hosting.

    Unlike many forms of writing that require nothing more than a blank sheet and a pen to get started, the art of screenwriting requires a certain knowledge and framework to have a chance at success. Other than a brief attempt to make sense of Final Draft software I have no idea what tricks and rules and format a screenwriter must know to produce their work. Which is exactly what Writers' Weekend is all about - inspirational guidance from someone who does know.

    Whether you are an experienced writer, perhaps looking to polish up a submission for the WGA's Alberta Screenwriters Initiative, or a beginner full of ideas without the proper container to work them out, come to Writers' Weekend 2014 and connect with the information you need to keep moving forward. One hour with Mr. Takach, of course, cannot possibly cover all the ground aspiring screenwriters might need flattened out. In between the presentations on February 1st visit the Writers' Weekend Resource Fair - a gauntlet of local literary groups in the theatre lobby - and we'll work together to get the answers you need. In the meantime, here are some of the library's newest titles under the heading of "Motion Picture Authorship". Homework!

    The 21st Century Screenplay, by Linda Aronson

    The 21st-Century Screenplay is a comprehensive and highly practical screen-writing manual. It covers classic to avant-garde scripts, from The African Queen and Tootsie to 21 Grams, Pulp Fiction, Memento, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Whether you want to write features, shorts, adaptations, genre films, ensemble films, blockbusters, or art house movies, this book is your road map, it takes you all the way from choosing a brilliant idea to plotting, writing, and rewriting a successful script. Featuring a range of insider survival tips on creativity under pressure, time-effective writing, and rising to the challenge of international competitions, The 21st-Century Screenplay is essential reading for newcomers and veterans alike.

    Essentials of Screenwriting, by Richard Walter

    Hollywood's premier teacher of screenwriting shares the secrets of writing and selling successful screenplays. His students have written more than ten projects for Steven Spielberg alone, plus hundreds of other Hollywood blockbusters and prestigious indie productions, including two recent Oscar winners for best original screenplay. In this updated edition, Walter integrates his highly coveted lessons and principles with material from his companion text, The Whole Picture, and includes new advice on how to turn a raw idea into a great movie or TV script - and sell it. There is never a shortage of aspiring screenwriters, and this book is their bible.

    Story, by Robert McKee

    Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Writers, producers, development executives and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience. In Story, McKee expands on the concepts he teaches in his $450 seminars (considered a must by industry insiders), providing readers with the most comprehensive, integrated explanation of the craft of writing for the screen. No one better understands how all the elements of a screenplay fit together, and no one is better qualified to explain the "magic" of story construction and the relationship between structure and character than Robert McKee.

    **book descriptions lifted from the library catalogue

    Teen Writing Contest

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Are you a young writer (13 - 17) looking for an opportunity to take your creativity to the next level?

    Is there a young writer budding in the family? Someone who can transform this creepy photograph into 500 words and earn a batch of very sweet prizes?

    Complete contest details can be found in the Teen Zone blog, which also has a bunch great posts related to developing your creativity and connecting with Calgary's writing community.

    The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 1, in the middle of the library's upcoming Writers' Weekend. If you haven't already registered for this inspiration-packed day, check out the full listing of presenters here.

    And good luck to everyone who enters the contest!

    How iRan

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    This winter the library, High Performance Rodeo, and Productive Obsession are offering Calgarians the experience of story like we've never seen, heard, or read before. Created by Ken Cameron, HOW iRAN is "an interactive, site-responsive, nonlinear installation-story" delivered through iPods.

    How this will work I have no idea but I imagine some combination of Choose Your Own Adventure books (except with much heavier, more interesting content), one of those guided audio tours through Alcatraz (except it's the Central Library), and a travel narrative with real political relevance. At High Performance Rodeo's website we are introduced with teasers to three main characters:

    "Meet Emily the librarian, an American Quaker who protested the Vietnam War. Get inside the head of Ramin, the Persian security guard with an engineering degree. Follow the fate of Hossein, who used internet journalism to challenge authority in a brutal regime."

    No registration is required. Just come to 4th floor Information desk at any of the showtimes listed here. There will be 24 opportunities on eight different days from January 23 - February 1.

    You may also reserve a listening/viewing time through High Performance Rodeo.

    Questions? Please call 403-260-2742.

    Developed with funding from Calgary 2012 and the Canada Council for the Arts; written and produced by Ken Cameron.

    Also from Ken Cameron...

    Harvest, and other plays

    The Art of True Crime

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    On the morning of June 30, 2009, police in a small eastern Ontario city made a ghastly discovery: four females dead in a car submerged in a shallow canal. Sisters Zainab Shafia, 19, Sahar Shafia, 17, Geeti Shafia, 13, and Rona Mohammad Amir, 50, floated serenely inside the car, seemingly the victims of a terrible accident. That morning, Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba and their son, Hamed, arrived at the Kingston police station to report the four missing. In a sweeping covert investigation that spanned three continents, police uncovered layers of lies in the Shafias' story and they developed a horrifying theory: Zainab, Sahar, Geeti and Rona had been the victims of a meticulously plotted family murder -- Canada's first mass honour killing...

    On Saturday, February 1, don't miss the opportunity to hear award-winning journalist Rob Tripp present a behind-the-scenes look at the world of true crime writing. "Breaking Into True Crime" is the fourth presentation making up this year's Writers' Weekend and we are thrilled to be able to offer this unique window into a naturally mysterious process.

    What kind of background is required to become a crime journalist?

    How does a reporter gain access to such sensitive information?

    How can a writer organize all their facts and research to produce a gripping read?

    Come get some answers at Writers' Weekend 2014.

    Follow Rob Tripp on Twitter.


    ... In Without Honour, award-winning journalist Rob Tripp draws on three years of exhaustive research and exclusive interviews to make sense of a senseless crime in a way no other writer could. His unprecedented access tells a story beyond anything the jury heard: a story about a patriarch who fled war and strife in Afghanistan but who did not leave behind his devotion to repressive tradition. Tripp was the first journalist on the scene as the news broke and the only reporter to attend every day of court sessions, through to the convictions of Shafia, Tooba and Hamed on four counts each of first-degree murder, fuelled by what Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger called a twisted notion of honour. In this gripping and compassionate account, Tripp reveals the heartbreaking and stunning truth about the desperate lives of four women who died in the pursuit of freedom.

    **book description lifted from library catalogue

    Resource Fair, Part 2

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Here is part two of two of our Writers' Weekend Resource Fair participants for 2014. There will be so much going on outside the theatre make sure you don't miss any of the 6 expert presentations. These local writing groups will be set up all day on Saturday, February 1, to take your questions, explain what they do, and guide you forward.


    Magpie Haiku and Tanka Poets

    Seven magpie ladies from Alberta... their haiku and tanka are humorous and powerful. They fly high with black shiny wings.

    Authors of the anthologies "Weathered Wings" and "A Piece of Eggshell".

    National Novel Writing Month

    NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

    People’s Poetry Festival

    Launched in 2011, The People’s Poetry Festival is a celebration of poetry in Calgary. Showcasing local poets and poetry organizations, as well as amateur and aspiring poets and spoken word artists, The PPF seeks to tear apart the notion that poetry is reserved for academic elites and enlightened beatniks.

    Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

    SCBWI is a non-profit organization which is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.

    The Canada West chapter includes members in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

    When Words Collide Festival

    When Words Collide is a festival for readers, writers, artists and publishers of commercial and literary fiction, including genre, YA, Childrens books, and Poetry. Its purpose is to bring together the literary community, both readers and writers, in Calgary and beyond, for a sharing of information, for learning, and to build a sense of community.

    Writers' Guild of Alberta

    The Writers' Guild of Alberta is a provincial arts service organization that represents both professional and emerging writers in Alberta. Its mission is to inspire, connect, support, encourage and promote writers and writing, to safeguard the freedom to write and to read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers.

    Writers' Weekend Resource Fair

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    On top of the 6 presentations from local writing experts, Writers' Weekend 2014 will also offer the opportunity to meet many of Calgary's most helpful, friendly, and supportive writing organizations. From 10am to 4pm on Saturday, February 1, our Resource Fair will feature at least 13 representatives from a diverse range of Calgary's literary community. Here's who's coming this year (part 1)...

    Alberta Playwrights Network

    APN exists to nurture Alberta playwrights and provide support for the development of their plays.

    Alexandra Writers Centre Society

    "A place for all writers", AWCS has been serving the Calgary literary community for over thirty years, helping aspiring writers learn the skills they need to grow and evolve.

    Calgary Association of Freelance Editors

    CAFE is a professional association dedicated to the promotion and development of freelance editors in the Calgary area.

    Calgary Association of Romance Writers of America

    The purpose of CaRWA is to help members become published and establish and build careers in romantic fiction. We provide continuing support for members both individually and in the romance publishing industry. We also promote excellence in romantic fiction.

    Calgary Crime Writers (find us on Facebook)

    "Crime and mystery writing mostly, but post your news about any writing classes, launches, author appearances, blog posts, and other news of interest to Calgary and area writers."

    Crime Writers of Canada

    Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) is a national non-profit organization for Canadian mystery and crime writers, associated professionals, and others with a serious interest in Canadian crime writing. Our mission is to promote Canadian crime writing and to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers with readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and media.

    Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Association

    “IFWA” was founded in 1988 to help imaginative fiction writers hone their skills and expand their knowledge base. To this end, IFWA engages in many activities including critiquing written work, providing marketing advice, suggesting writing games and exercises, and notifying members about interesting events, contests and writing opportunities, amongst other things.

    **All group descriptions lifted from their websites

    Stay tuned for more!

    And register for Writers' Weekend here.

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