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    The Literary Secrets of Superheroes

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    There are still a few spots left to come and listen to a presentation from one of Calgary's finest poets. Richard Harrison will be at the Central library this Wednesday, February 27, at 6:30pm, to illuminate the hidden connections between the superheroes you thought you knew.

    Without much of a background in the world of comics I have no idea what kind of bridges Mr. Harrison has built, or where his lines are drawn, but I know for sure it will be an interesting hour of literary investigation from a very accomplished poet and experienced university professor. For a sneak peek into "The Dark Knight Origin of the Man of Steel", check out the book that contains the essay of the same title:

    Secret Identity Reader: Essays on Sex, Death, and the Superhero

    ...Comic-book superheroes have risen from their newsprint beginnings to dominate films, infiltrate the literary establishment, and become an integral part of popular culture. Secret Identity Reader: Essays on Sex, Death, and the Superhero is a collaboration between two authors who investigate, and often disagree on, key facets of the superhero character and storyline. Masculinity, origin stories and the problem of the side kick are all fair game in this wide-ranging discussion, which also considers the superhero's place in a post 9/11 world and considers why these characters keep dying and coming back to life.

    For more on Richard Harrison, click here to read his Mount Royal University profile. And if you're more interested in the poetic side of things make sure to pick up a copy of the Governor-General nominated book of poems: 'Big Breath of a Wish' and his most recent release 'Worthy of his Fall'.


    New in the 'Nook

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    A roundup of the most useful and inspirational titles landing in the 'Nook... it's been tough keeping up with the newest of the new, so please excuse the twenty-twelvishness of the bottom two. I just had to include them in the list because 'Architectures of Possibility' is a totally unique approach to the concept of a writer's manual/handbook, and Don Fry's 'Writing Your Way' has a cute illustration of an assembly line on the cover (and it doesn't shy away from the fact that it's up to you to figure out how you write best).

    The Canadian Writer's Market (19th edition)

    The essential guide for freelance writers, now completely updated and revised. The Canadian Writer's Market is the authority on who publishes what and how best to bring your work to their attention. It offers practical advice on everything from manuscript preparation to copyright law, from information on pay rates to writers' workshops.

    This useful guide also includes comprehensive and up-to-date listings for: consumer magazines; literary and scholarly journals; trade, business, and professional publications; daily newspapers; book publishers; literary agents; awards, competitions, and grants; writers' organizations and support agencies; writers' workshops, courses, and retreats.

    Good Prose, by Tracy Kidder & Richard Todd

    Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experience--their mistakes as well as accomplishments--to demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about practical aspects of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing.

    Architectures of Possibility: after innovative writing, by Lance Olsen

    ...theorizes and questions the often unconscious assumptions behind such traditional writing gestures as temporality, scene, and characterization; offers various suggestions for generating writing that resists, rethinks, and/or expands the very notion of narrativity; visits a number of important concerns/trends/obsessions in current writing (both on the page and off); discusses marketplace (ir)realities; hones critical reading and manuscript editing capabilities; and strengthens problem-solving muscles from brainstorming to literary activism. Exercises and supplemental reading lists challenge authors to push their work into self-aware and surprising territory.

    Writing your way: creating a writing process that works for you, by Don Fry

    Writers write the way they were taught, which may not suit them at all, making their writing slow, painful, and not what they want to say. Writing Your Way shows you how to create your own unique writing process that magnifies your strengths and avoids your weaknesses. It shows you a multitude of ways to do the five key stages: Idea, Gather, Organize, Draft, and Revise. You can then design your own collection of techniques that work for you. You'll write clearer, faster, and more powerfully, with less effort and suffering. The second half of this book shows you how to create and modify your own voice, one that sounds like the real you, that sounds the way you want agents and publishers and readers to experience you.


    What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    Other than breathing, every single living person has at least one thing in common - FOOD. We all eat. Heck! Even those language-impaired animals eat. And what we eat says a heck of a lot about who we are. The person who eats a bag of chips for lunch is quite a bit different from the person chowing down on a fifty dollar steak or an organic beet green salad. That's why food is an essential tool for fiction writers. When a reader sees what a character eats it not only reveals unique personality traits, it also establishes a visceral connection with the reader through taste. This is no problem for writers working with modern-day settings, but what did food taste like a millenium ago? What will food taste like in the future?

    On February 20, a Wednesday, fantasy author Krista D. Ball will be at the Fish Creek library to share her discoveries on the eating habits of epic fantasy characters. Whether you are a lover of fantasy novels, a writer looking to strengthen the taste of your work, or a food lover interested in a voyage to the past, join us at 7 pm on the main floor of the Fish Creek library.

    Click here to register, or call 403-260-2620.

    To learn more about Krista D. Ball, visit her website at

    Library copies of Tranquility's Blaze are on the way. Click here to place a hold.

    Thank You!

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    Just wanted to put out a great big huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out last Saturday for Writers’ Weekend 2013.

    We truly hope you enjoyed the marathon presentation ride as much as we did, had a chance to solve any mysteries cropping up in your writing life, and met some new friends.

    We are already hard at work crafting a fresh, exciting lineup for 2014 and would love to hear if there’s anything you’d like to see more, or less of. Leave a comment below or go to our fancy electronic suggestion box. And remember there’s a lot more to the library’s writerly support than just one day out of one weekend. Whether it's in-depth research, formatting specifics, where to submit, block break-throughs, or inspiration from the masters, we've got all the resources you need, year round, seven days a week. And don't miss any of these upcoming visits from local authors:

    What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank – A Fantasy Lover’s Food Guide by Krista D. Ball

    Wednesday, Feb 20
    7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
    FISH CREEK - Main floor - Open Area

    Join fantasy author Krista D. Ball as she takes you on a voyage of discovery about cooking and preserving food and feeding the armies of epic fantasy, while giving food history lovers a taste of the past.

    The Dark Knight Origin of the Man of Steel

    Wednesday, Feb 27
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
    CENTRAL - Main floor South

    Join Richard Harrison, poet and literary detective as he unravels the hidden connections between the superheroes you thought you knew.

    Writing in the Works

    Thursday, Apr 11
    7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
    MEMORIAL PARK - Basement

    Readings from new works by Ken Cameron, Lori Hahnel, Steve Passey, Inge Trueman and Roberta Rees, emceed by Susan Calder.

    Telling Stories – A Poetry Workshop - CANCELLED!

    Saturday, Apr 13
    2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
    CENTRAL - Lower level - Meeting Room 2

    Join Wendy Morton for a dynamic workshop! Learn to turn the stories of others into poetry. Co-presented with Calgary Spoken Word Festival.

    Writers' Weekend 2013 - TODAY!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's not too late to come on down to the John Dutton Theatre at the Central library to experience our full day of expert presentations geared toward informing and inspiring writers. I've been trying my best to highlight each presenter over the past month, focusing on credentials and all the ways in which they'll be able to shed light on some of the mysteries and roadblocks writers face, but as anyone who's been to our 'Weekend' before knows - it isn't just about what's happening on the stage that matters.

    This is also a chance to get to know some of Calgary's most supportive players in the writing community. If you're familiar with the 'Nook you've probably heard of some of these groups, and today many of them will set up tables outside the theatre to show off the opportunities they have to offer. Make sure to stop and chat!











    And, of course, the CALGARY PUBLIC LIBRARY!

    Make sure to stop at our table to see all the resources we've put together. And let us know what you thought about the presentations and what kind of speakers you'd like us to try to bring in for next year.


    Your Story

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Only 3 sleeps 'til Writers' Weekend 2013 kicks off. By now everyone’s calendars surely have February 2 circled many times over, but with the plethora of presentations we have lined up for Saturday we are still working hard to make sure nobody misses anything. And if there’s one thing this little Nook blog sometimes misses, IF, it might be the art of the biographical writer. I’m admittedly not the most well-balanced person. The walls of my tunnel bubble are covered in fiction with scraps of poetry lurking beneath, but without much expertise in the arts of non-fiction writing I usually keep a fair distance. Brian Brennan

    Considering how many people out there are quite likely very interested in writing memoirs and biographies, I feel kind a bad about my lack of focus on the wide world of the more personal, inward writer. Good news for me and for everybody out there interested in memoir and biography - our very first presentation of the day will come from an acclaimed historian, bestselling author, and award-winning journalist. You may also recognize Brian Brennan from his recent stint as the library's 2012 Writer-in-Residence. From September to December Mr. Brennan devoted his time to help many of us figure out the next steps to take in our writing lives, and this Saturday he is kicking off Writers' Weekend with "MY STORY" - a discussion of the art, craft, and fundamentals of memoir and biography writing.

    This presentation will run from 10 am to 11 am.


    To learn more about Brian Brennan visit his website at

    And here is a small sample of his work available on the shelves at your local library:

    The Good Steward: the Ernest C. Manning story The Calgary Public Library: inspiring life stories since 1912 Leaving Dublin: writing my way from Ireland to Canada

    Prairie Gothic

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    I haven't yet had a chance to immerse myself in George Webber's new collection of photography, Prairie Gothic, so I've been scouring the library's digital photograph collection to see what we have to contribute to a sense of local 'gothicness'. Below are my two favourites. Both are from the Alison Jackson Collection.


    My sense of gothic and your sense of gothic, like everybody's, probably differs. Especially since the only criteria for me seems to be a rolling sky over whatever object is pictured beneath it. Add an abandoned barn or creaky octopus ride and it's at the top of the list, automatic.

    I clearly need some authority on the subject.

    Luckily, two artists with a very strong sense for the meaning and pull of their prairie habitat have come together to produce the recently released PRAIRIE GOTHIC - a collection of photography by George Webber accompanied by the writing of Aritha Van Herk.

    I'm kind of hoping it's full of the slow, beautiful wreckage of abandoned barns, but it's likely much more than that.

    The photographer/author team will appear together this Sunday at Shelf Life Books for a photo presentation and reading. What better way to get to know this special collection than through the lens of the man who took the pictures and a writer who's been bringing our landscape to life for decades. The presentation starts at two pm. For complete details go the Shelf Life Books' event listings.

    Click here to place a hold on your library copy of Prairie Gothic.

    "George Webber’s poignant black-and-white photographs transport us into the forgotten, unknowable communities of the Canadian prairies. Throughout the journey, we’re confronted by the mysterious particulars of life, death, landscape and faith. Intimate portraits and the hard facts of the place are woven together to create a body of work that is by turns inspiring, consoling and sometimes achingly sad."

    Ask the Writer

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    WRITERS' WEEKEND 2013. Saturday February 2. 1 to 2 p.m.

    A pioneer of Calgary's punk music scene.

    The 2012 Colophon Prize winner.

    A GG-nominated short story master.

    Any questions?

    Lori Hahnel Deborah Willis Naomi K. Lewis

    We are thrilled and quite lucky to have these three experienced and masterful writers joining us for Writers' Weekend 2013. Don't miss the 1 - 2 p.m. presentation from Lori Hahnel, Naomi K. Lewis, and Deborah Willis as they take the stage for a dynamic question and answer session on the diverse elements of the writing process in the current publishing environment.


    Deborah Willis was born and raised in Calgary, AB. Her fiction has appeared in Grain, Event, Prism International, and The Walrus. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was named one of the the Globe and Mail's Best Books of 2009, and was nominated for the BC Book Prize and the Governor General's Award. She has worked as a horseback riding instructor, a reporter, and a bookseller. She was a writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, BC, and is currently the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program writer-in-residence at the U of C.

    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 2012 short story collection, I Know Who You Remind Me Of, won Enfield & Wizenty's 2012 Colophon Prize for Fiction.

    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. Her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead and Prairie Fire. She is marketing a second novel and working on more stories.

    Getting Your Book 'Covered'

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    When it comes to people we all know not to judge a book by its cover. It’s a simple matter of respect we all owe to one another. When it comes to actual books, and the actual time we have to choose, read, and enjoy them, we necessarily judge the living fudge out of their covers. It’s always, obviously, a matter of preference.

    Derek Mah, photo courtesy attoboy.comIn the perfect fantasy world of an aspiring writer (or the real world of self-publishing) we would all have full creative control over the cover of our award-winning books, but in reality the process required to achieve the perfect first impression, like most of the publishing process, is collaborative and mysterious.

    On Saturday, February 2 the final presentation of Writers’ Weekend 2013 will come from Calgary-based illustrator and book cover designer Derek Mah. He will take the stage at 3pm to enlighten us on the process of getting a book 'Covered'.

    Click here to register.

    You can find out all about Derek Mah's impressive body of work and technical genius at his website:

    Here is a small sample of his work on the shelves of your local library...

    Monsterology: fabulous lives of the creepy, the revolting, and the undead Mathemagick & Mystiphysics

    Villainology: fabulous lives of the big, the bad, and the wicked

    And while we're on the subject, here are my picks for the most enticing and beautiful book covers of 2012:

    When Captain Flint was Still A Good Man, by Nick Dybek A Million Heavens, by John Brandon

    Single Onion #101

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Gotta take a little break this week from the onslaught of preparations for Writers' Weekend 2013 to highlight Single Onion's first installment in a new season of their incredibly impressive lecture series.

    The first event in the series is happening this Thursday, January 17. It is being curated by Calgary's Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor and he is bringing in the songwriting genius of Geoff Berner to tackle the topic of "Poet as Songwriter".

    Where else could you possibly hear Sylvia Plath compared and contrasted to Jon Bon Jovi?

    For complete details go the Single Onion website.

    For Geoff Berner's music available at the library click the album cover below...

    567891011121314Showing 91 - 100 of 211 Record(s)