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    WWC in YYC

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Karma is biting this blogger big time. Last week I dissed the month of August whole-heartedly and now August is taking every chance it gets to tell me I was so wrong. This weekend is the third When Words Collide festival, known for bringing a wide variety of guest authors, publishers, and passionate fans together for "a sharing of information, for learning, and to build a sense of community."

    The festival runs from August 9 – 11.

    Get full details from the When Words Collide website, including the complete list of presenters & panelists. This list includes local author Axel Howerton, who will appear on the panels "Pushing the Limits of Traditional Mystery" and "Violence in Literature". This week's FFWD features an interview with Howerton. Read it.

    You can find the books of this year's guest authors at your local library. Click the book covers to place a hold.

    SHIRLEE SMITH MATHESON

    PATRICIA BRIGGS

    BARBARA FRADKIN

    DAVID B. COE / D.B. JACKSON

     

     

     

     

     

     

    JAMIS PAULSON

    MICHAEL CASSUTT

    Alphabet Soup

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    A mild layer of confused distress sometimes settles over the days of August. It's the month when kids can't even enjoy summer knowing it's quickly coming to an end. Record companies and book publishers and movie producers save all their good stuff for later. August is summer's December - better when it's over. August is a vague, lazy, sloth waiting for the forward drive of September. If this sounds too cynical, take a look at Slate Magazine's article titled: "August: Let's get rid of it", by David Plotz, and you'll see it's all very real. I strongly support Plotz's idea to extend both July and September by ten days, reducing August to a ten-day breeze. The modification would leave enough time for the month's #1 attraction: the three-day People's Poetry Festival, which will leave its bright, inviting mark on Calgary from August 16 - 18.

    The Calgary Public Library is a proud supporter of The People's Poetry Festival and its valiant mission "to tear apart the notion that poetry is reserved for academic elites and enlightened beatniks". On August 17th our Louise Riley branch will host "Alphabet Soup" - a poetry workshop to help you craft your own abecedarian, or alphabetical poem (for example, look below!). The workshop runs from 11am to 12:30 and we still have a few spots left. Register here.

    Here, now, is my first rushed attempt at an abecedarian poem...

    August

    Behind the

    Curtain of July

    Delaying our

    Eager push to

    Fall and

    Gasp for

    Home

    Instead of

    Jostling for

    Kinetically

    Liberated

    Moments in

    Non-jacketed late night

    Options

    Perhaps

    Questioning

    Rest

    Sometimes even

    Turning

    Under the

    Very

    Wheel with

    Xenolithic

    Youth and

    Zero meaning.

    Tags:

    An Author's Authority

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It can be a real sludgefest when it comes to finding the right book to help writers with their writing. Over the summer I've been picking away at updates to our 'Writer' book lists and the publishing niche is just so convoluted that it's nearly impossible to keep up with. There's a lot of people out there trying to get the most out of their literary ambitions and a ton of writers willing to write books to tell them how.

    It's pretty easy, right off the bat, to avoid any books with the words 'SELL', 'BESTSELLER', or 'MONEY' in the title, but that still leaves me with hundreds of books with space in my list for about twenty. After sampling dozens of titles I got a lucky break during a camping trip when I had a chance to finally start reading Tom Bissell's 2012 book of essays, Magic Hours.

    Four essays in I encountered an authoritative voice on the subject of how-to-write manuals. The essay is titled"Writing about Writing about Writing" and anyone considering consultation in the how-to section might want to get their hands on Magic Hours first. In his own insecure search for authoritative guidance Bissell seems to have familiarized himself with many of the classic staple how-to-write books and his perspective on the subject is blunt, honest, and valuable.

    After a discussion of whether writing is teachable, whether how-tos are useless, and declaring John Gardner's On Becoming A Novelist as the book that literally taught him how to write, Bissell usefully separates the different types of manuals into four categories: 1) "The User's Manual", 2) "Golden Parachute", 3) "Nuts, Bolts, Tea & Angels", and 4) "Olympus".

    I'll be going into detail for each of Bissell's categories as I compare his recommendations with our collection, hoping to create the ultimate writer's booklist, but in the meantime here are the most prominent titles from each category...

     

     

    "User's Manual" "Golden Parachute" "Nuts, Bolts, Tea & Angels" "Olympus"
    For a firm, confident grasp on the English language.

    For those focused mostly on success and popularity.

    For a peek behind the curtain of a writer's literary secrets. For opinions, philosophy, and advice from highly-esteemed writers.

    Stay tuned for the final, updated 'Nook booklists. And please leave a comment below to tell us about the books you've encountered that must make the list.

    Tags:

    Barb Howard

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The months of September through November are always a glorious time to work at the information desk on the 4th floor of Central library. This is where the literature collection lives, as well as all of our how-to guidebooks for aspiring writers. While our bottomless pool of resources is available year-round to writers looking to hurdle over obstacles, it is only during September, October, and November that we can say: go to Memorial Park.

    At Memorial Park, with financial assistance from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the library has offered Writer in Residence services for over 25 years. Here you will find a professional, critical eye for your work that isn't softened by your friend or family's regard for your feelings. Here you will find consultation and advice on the writing and publishing process from someone at the top of their game. Here you will find a diverse community 'recklessly' honing their craft under the guidance of award-winning author Barb Howard.

    Barb Howard's most recent book, Western Taxidermy, won the 2012 CAA 'Exporting Alberta Award' and is up for the 2013 High Plains Award for short story collection. She also boasts extensive experience as a writing instructor. Read more by visiting Barb's website.

    Here's how to submit your work and book your individual consultation.

    Here's the list of readings, workshops, and events. All free.

    Here's the library's full catalogue of titles by Barb Howard:

    Whipstock Notes for Monday The Dewpoint Show Embedded on the Home Front Western Taxidermy

    Calgary's Book of the Year

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Calgary"s Book of the YearIt's been a rewarding spring for the author of Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. After receiving the 'Shaugnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing' in March, Marcello Di Cintio double-dipped into the Alberta Literary Awards, winning both the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction and the James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction. And then on June 12, as if there was any room left on the mantle, Walls was awarded The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize.

    Established in 1996 in honour of renowned Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell to recognize literary achievement by Calgary authors, Di Cintio is the 17th writer to take home the prize. The two authors up against Walls were Theanna Bischoff, for her second novel, Swallow, and 2001 W.O. Mitchell Book prize winner Andrew Nikiforuk, for The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Solitude.

    Click here for a complete list of all winners and nominees since 1996.

    As for Walls, there's a UK edition set for release next month and a US edition coming out in the Fall, so it's really just beginning. You can keep up with all of Marcello's work, including some summer workshop opportunities, at his website Elsewhere.

    Wordfest Presents Jeannette Walls

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    READ AN EXCERPT“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”

    —from The Glass Castle

    And another benefit of summer, this summer, is that Wordfest is bringing the author of Half Broke Horses, The Glass Castle, and Dish right here to the Central library. One of the bestselling memoirists of all time, Jeannette Walls will present her latest stunning and heartbreaking novel, The Silver Star, a story about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustices of the adult world.

    Tuesday, June 25

    7pm, John Dutton Theatre

    TICKET INFO

    The event will feature a live interview with host Shelley Youngblut. Walls will read from The Silver Star, and her books will be available for purchase along with an opportunity to have her work signed after the event.

    WordFest is a not-for-profit organization that brings readers and writers together through the power of story. The 2013 main event festival will run from October 14 - 20.

    Other titles from Jeannette Walls available at your local library...

    Dish Half Broke Horses The Glass Castle

    The Double Launch

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Anyone looking for some fresh local talent to go crazy for must see these two new releases from Insomniac Press. Jani Krulc and Jason Christie have already taken The Jesus Year and Unknown Actor to the other side of Canada and now it is finally our turn to get in on the double launch fun. Pages Bookstore (1135 Kensington Rd NW) will host the event this Friday, June 7, at 7:30 pm. And tune in to Writer's Block on CJSW radio (90.9 FM) tonight at 8 pm for an interview with the 'launchers'.

    Click to Place Hold
    Click to Place Hold

    When poetry meets theatre in the mind of Jason Christie, a smashing performance results! Then as the curtains close, Christie sneaks off the stage, through the scenery, and out into the wilds of the Internet — and straight into the footlights and teleprompters of human experience.

    Like a method actor in character long after the credits have rolled, off-set, off his rocker, Christie runs wild from Goethe's Faust to Burton's, through 1984 and B-movies from the 80s and back again. Beneath his offerings to the actor — questionable acting lessons, dubious plot treatments — lurks a deep unease at our accepted practices of looking at each other, kid.

    Get out the popcorn and turn on your mobile device. This is going to get dramatic.

    The Jesus Year explores the space between joy and tragedy, happiness and despair, sincerity and absurdity.

    A husband won't throw his wife a party for her thirty-third birthday; a woman becomes obsessed with re-decorating her familial cabin; a couple's west coast elopement turns dangerous; a father must talk his daughter out of cancelling her wedding; a mother meets her thirty-year-old daughter for the first time; three friends' lives collide at an annual Christmas party; and a downtown couple drive to a prairie church to plan the perfect wedding.

    In these stories, the banal details of life crash against momentous occasions, revealing what is hidden, and re-casting what is already in plain sight.

    book descriptions lifted off insomniacpress.com


    Jason Christie grew up in Milton, Ontario. He studied at York University and the University of Calgary. In 2007, he joined the Kootenay School of Writing. His poetry has appeared in many journals and magazines, including filling Station, dANDelion, Poetry Is Dead, Action, YES!, The Capilano Review, West Coast Line, and Interim. He edited, alongside a.rawlings and derek beaulieu, the anthology Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (Mercury 2005). His two previous collections of poetry are Canada Post (Snare 2006) and i-ROBOT (EDGE 2006).

    Jani Krulc is a writer and editor; her fiction has appeared in filling Station and nOd. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from Concordia University and a BA (Hons) in English from the University of Calgary. The Jesus Year is her first book.

    Alberta Book & Literary Awards

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The Writers Guild of Alberta handed out some hardware in Edmonton last weekend at the annual Alberta Book & Literary Awards gala. Nothing inspires more than some homegrown literary excellence. Listed below are winners for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Click the book covers to place a hold on your copy. For a complete wrap-up of the event and all its winners and nominees, read The Edmonton Journal.

    Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction


    Will Ferguson - 419

    Naomi K. Lewis - I Know Who You Remind Me Of

    Richard Van Camp - Godless But Loyal to Heaven

    Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry


     

    Jenna Butler - Wells

    Nora Gould - I See My Love More Clearly From A Distance

    Sandy Pool - Undark: An Oratorio

    Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction


     

    Marcello Di Cintio - Walls: Travels Along the Barricades

    Brian L. Evans - Pursuing China: Memoir of a Beaver Liaison Officer

    Andrew Nikiforuk - The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude

    Another award handed out was the Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story. Okotoks writer Lee Kvern outran Kathleen Brown and Lynn Coady for her story "In Search of Lucinda". You can catch Lee Kvern live at the Memorial Park library TONIGHT! on a panel discussing the influence of Alice Munro. Click here for more details. Congratulations to all ABLA winners and nominees and thank you for all the inspiring work you've done.

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    An Evening With GGK, Revisited

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

     

    Did you miss Guy Gavriel Kay's author reading on May 14?

    Or perhaps you made it out but want to remember everything he said and watch it again and again?

    Here's the link to our YouTube channel where you can do exactly that.

    > PLAY >


    We also loved reading Victoria Paterson's blog write-up on the event, In which I get several books signed by my favourite author. Very refreshing and energizing to hear an interpretation of GGK's words through the eyes of a true fan.


     

    The Influence of Alice

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    "I want the reader to feel something is astonishing. Not the 'what happens,' but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me."

    -Alice Munro

    Having astonished readers for more than four decades, a discussion of the Canadian 'short' story master's influence can go just about anywhere. The dedication to complicated simplicity. The sincerity of her make-it-look-so-easy prose. The holographic realness of character. Alice Munro's influence on contemporary writers, whether we are fans or haven't even read her work, trickles over us all.

    On Thursday, May 30, the Memorial Park library will host "What Alice Munro Means to Me as a Writer" - a panel discussion on the influence "of one of our greatest contemporary writers of fiction". The panel will feature some great fiction writers in their own right: Lori Hahnel, Lee Kvern, and Barb Howard (who has graciously stepped in for Deborah Willis). Things get started at 7pm. No registration is required. And even if Munro doesn't make your personal list of influential writers, the question of influence is always an interesting topic.

    A sampling of the panel's work...

    Lori Hahnel is the author of a novel, Love Minus Zero and a story collection, Nothing Sacred, which shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award. A new novel, After You’ve Gone, is forthcoming from Thistledown in Spring 2014. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University and the Alexandra Writers Centre Society. She is serving as writer-in-residence for AWCS through the end of June of this year

    Lee Kvern is the award-winning author of short stories and novels. Afterall was selected for 2013 Canada Reads. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for the Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. She is the current writer-in-residence for the Canadian Authors Association from September 2012 - May 2013.

    Barb Howard has been shortlisted 4 times for Alberta literary awards and won the 2009 Writers' Guild of Alberta Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story. Her work has been published in anthologies and periodicals across Canada. Besides the 2012 release of her short story collection Western Taxidermy, her book-length works include Notes for Monday (a novella), Whipstock (a novel), and The Dewpoint Show (a novel for young adults).
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