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    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

    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.


    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).

    The Politics of Fiction

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    One comment we heard a lot following Writer's Weekend 2013, held this past February, was people wanted to hear a whole lot more from Sandra McIntyre, who took a barrage of questions during our 'Ask the Editor' session. We now have that chance with the launch of Everything Is So Political. Released in May, consisting of twenty short stories written by Canadian authors, this literary anthology explores "the intersection between politics and the contemporary short story".

    "...This is one of the few Canadian anthologies that focuses on political fiction, and it does so in a very powerful and artful way, flying in the face of readers, writers and critics alike who claim that writing with a political agenda occurs at the expense of literary quality." - from Fernwood Press

    The Calgary launch of Everything Is So Political will take place at Pages bookstore on Thursday, May 30, starting 7:30pm. Pages is located at 1135 Kensington Road NW.

    To find out more about Sandra McIntyre's amazing work visit

    To place a hold on your library copy click the book cover to connect with our catalogue.


    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Our newest addition to the E-Library boasts a "wide range" of instructor-led courses. After a closer look at the courses ed2go offers on the topic of 'Creative Writing' I'm thinking they should change the description to "full range". If you're looking for ways to improve your writing, no matter what form at what level, ed2go is a jackpot bonanza of opportunity. From ESL learners to advanced fiction, from beginners' workshops to E-Book marketing, it's all here. The courses run for six weeks, new sessions start up every month, and enrollment is easy.

    Click here to get started.

    Among so many courses here are a few at the top of my list, all of which cover topics we get asked about at library information desks on a daily basis...

    Beginner's Guide to Getting Published

    Published writer shows you how to give yourself the credibility you need to get your books and articles published. Learn more.
    A Writer's Guide to Descriptive Settings Develop your eye for detail and improve your writing with vivid descriptions, memorable settings, and believable characters. Learn more.
    Grammar Refresher Gain confidence in your ability to produce clean, grammatically correct documents and speeches. Learn more.
    Creating Wordpress Websites Learn how to use WordPress, a free and popular Web design tool, to quickly and easily create attractive blogs and interactive websites. Learn more.
    Writerrific: Creativity Training for Writers Banish writer's block forever with these tricks from the published writer's toolbox. Learn more.

    ... and these are only the beginning. Follow the links to make sure you don't miss out. The next session's start date is May 15. If that's too soon don't worry - another session will start up in June and every month thereafter, giving students opportunity to try different courses and learn at a comfortable, customized pace. I'm gonna go enroll for the Wordpress course now. I'll let you know how it goes. If anybody out there wants to share their picks and how they liked the course, let us know. We'd love to hear.

    Writers Wanted

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)


    "In an odd way I envy all future people who have this opportunity."

    - Fred Stenson, CPL's first Writer in Residence, 1987

    A pretty sweet place to come to work, no?

    And that opportunity is upon us future people once again, 26 years later, as our search for the 2014 Writer in Residence is now underway. This program is run out of the beautiful Memorial Park library and I can assure the 1987 version of Mr. Fred Stenson — the envy is all ours.

    Click here for full application details.

    The deadline to apply is June 30, 2013.

    Some of our past Writers in Residence, the envy of Fred Stenson, include Betty Jane Hegerat, William Pasnak, Cora Taylor, Yvonne Trainer, Joan Crate, Ken Rivard, Shirlee Smith Matheson, Faye Reineberg Holt, Rona Altrows, Naomi K. Lewis, George Melnyk, Darlene Quaife, Martine Bates Leavitt, Brian Brennan, and Gail Bowen. Bowen, award-winning author of the Joanne Kilbourne series, blogged some of her experience. You can read Part One and Part Two of her impressions from Gail's Blog. To find the work of some our past writers-in-residence on library shelves, click the book covers below. And stay tuned for the announcement of our 2013 Writer in Residence, coming this July.

    Joan Crate Gail Bowen Rona Altrows Naomi K. Lewis Ken Rivard Brian Brennan Betty Jane Hegerat

    Live @ Central: Guy Gavriel Kay

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The Calgary Public Library is so so excited to host one of the world's finest fantasy authors and one of Canada's most beloved and widely-read novelists in any genre — Guy Gavriel Kay. In the critically acclaimed “Under Heaven” Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later in ”River Of Stars”. The praise pours in...

    “From whatever angle you approach it, River of Stars is a major accomplishment, the work of a master novelist in full command of his subject. It deserves the largest possible audience.”

    -The Washington Post

    “Here you’ll find all the scheming and skulduggery that give “Game of Thrones” its zest, refined to the subtlest of arts. Kay invokes a world of stylized manners and deadly gambits, infused with an aesthetic founded on the most exquisite appreciation of the beauty and melancholy of the natural world.”

    River of Stars is the sort of novel one disappears into, emerging shaken, if not outright changed. A novel of destiny, and the role of individuals within the march of history, it is touched with magic and graced with a keen humanity.”

    -The Globe and Mail

    Don't miss an opportunity on Tuesday, May 14, to spend an evening with Guy Gavriel Kay. The event starts at 7 PM in the John Dutton Theatre (2nd floor, Central library). Registration has just begun and is sure to fill up quick. You can REGISTER ONLINE or by calling 403-260-2620.

    Under Heaven. 2010. Ysabel. 2007. World Fantasy Novel of the Year. River of Stars. 2013.
    The Summer Tree. 1984. First book of The Fionavar Tapestry. Tigana. 1990. Winner of the 1991 Prix Aurora Award. Beyond this Dark House. 2003. Poems!

    Click book covers to place a hold on your library copy today.

    New in the 'Nook: Poets' Edition

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Winding down our month dedicated to the inexhaustible, indispensable art of poetry, we bring you five exciting new and upcoming releases already here or on their way to library shelves. This small sample is 100% Canadian, proving not only that the future of poetry in our country is in strong, capable hands, but also that Canada produces some of the most energetic, profound, and brilliant poets you'll find anywhere in the world.

    Unknown Actor, by Jason Christie

    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.

    - excerpt from Insomniac Press

    (Unknown Actor is On Order. Not yet available.)

    The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, by Elizabeth Bachinsky

    With her signature eye for irony and sensuality, Elizabeth Bachinsky's latest book of poetry, The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, balances a youthful playfulness with observational maturity. Bachinsky strings together seemingly non-sequitur images, capturing in these poems the commonality of raw intimacy, dark humour and a sense of immediacy. Her vision is unapologetically bold, finding the erotic in everyday moments and keenly capturing the complicated truths of life in a powerfully candid style.

    - excerpt from Nightwood Edtions

    Whirr & Click, by Micheline Maylor

    "Micheline Maylor's many-textured poems explore the liminal space where finite life and infinite time expand and contract into one another. In a duet of contrasts, memory, coming of age, danger, the erotic, and love twine into elegy and wonder. Time plays a featuring role and acts to freeze moments exactly as they arrive and simultaneously stretches experience into ungraspable infinity. Whether fierce or tender, direct or oblique, the poems in Whirr and Click are bold in their exposures and generous in their doorways. The final long poem, "Starfish," is one of the most moving and memorable elegies I have read. One finishes the poem, and the book, feeling one has come to know many people, including oneself." - Stephanie Bolster

    -Frontenac House

    Whirr & Click is On Order. Not yet available.

    The Politics of Knives, by Jonathan Ball

    ('Nook Note: Okay. So this one is not exactly hot off the press, released in September 2012, but it recently enjoyed its Calgary launch at filling Station's 20th Anniversary Collective Retrospective on April 25th, so let's call it new!...)

    If David Lynch crashed into Franz Kafka in a dark alley, the result might look like The Politics of Knives. Moving from shattered surrealism to disembowelled films, these poems land us in a limbo between the intellectual and the visceral, between speaking and screaming. Finding the language of violence and the violence in language, Jonathan Ball becomes the Stephen King of verse.

    - excerpt from Coach House Books

    Under the Keel, by Michael Crummey

    Michael Crummey’s first collection in a decade has something for everyone: Love and marriage and airport grief; how not to get laid in a Newfoundland mining town; total immersion baptism; the grand machinery of decay; migrant music and invisible crowns and mortifying engagements with babysitters; the transcendent properties of home brew. Whether charting the merciless complications of childhood, or the unpredictable consolations of middle age, these are poems of magic and ruin. Under the Keel affirms Crummey's place as one of our necessary writers.

    -excerpt from House of Anansi

    Click here to read the Quill & Quire book review.

    The Poems We Turn To

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Like a good song, poetry sticks with us. Whether for nostalgic comfort, inspirational drive, sheer marvel at a poet's ability, or an intangible emotional response that only a certain combination of words can evoke, we need poetry the same way we need food - for fuel, for growth, for indulgence.

    In the light of National Poetry Month I've been hassling friends at the library to find out which poems they turn to first. So here's the 2013 Staff Picks for Poetry!

    Yasna's Pick - Jacques Prevert

    from "Blood & Feathers"


    Lark of memory

    dead bird of mist

    you should not have come

    to eat from my hand

    the grains of oblivion.

    Christine's Pick - e.e. cummings

    from "somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond"


    (i do not know what it is about you that closes

    and opens; only something in me understands

    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

    nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

    Sarah's Pick - Rosemary Griebel

    from "Silence Broken"


    I believe a poem is the only way

    to save life's silence

    from being all it leaves behind.

    Accompany me, and when I open

    my mouth may the sloshing ocean,

    deaf Beethoven, and the gods in their balloons

    overhead, lean forward and inhale.

    Julia's Pick - Emily Dickinson


    "Hope" is the thing with feathers -

    That perches in the soul -

    And sings the tune without the words -

    And never stops - at all -


    Get your hands on any of these poets' work by clicking the book covers above. Happy Poetry Month!

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