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    Distinguished Visitor

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    " terms of being a writer, my creativity comes not from 'Sri Lankan' or 'Canadian' but precisely from the space between, that marvelous open space represented by the hyphen, in which the two parts of my identity jostle and rub up against each other like tectonic plates, pushing upwards the eruption that is my work."

    - from Introducing Myself in the Diaspora, Story-Wallah

    For more than 20 years the University of Calgary's Distinguished Writers Program has been bringing incredible artists to our city "to advance the careers of Canadian writers [and] invigorate the Calgary writing community". Past distinguished visitors include Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Art Spiegelman, Oliver Sacks, Timothy Findley, and Michael Ondaatje. CDWP offers two annual residencies, one of which features emerging Canadian authors and another from the international stage. This Saturday the Calgary Public Library is thrilled to be hosting an event featuring CDWP's current distinguished writer. Here's the details:

    Writing from the Hyphen with Shyam Selvadurai

    Saturday, November 29
    7 p.m.
    John Dutton Theatre, Central Library


    Sri Lankan-Canadian author and 2014-15 Distinguished Visiting Writer Shyam Selvadurai reads from his new novel The Hungry Ghosts and speaks about diasporic writing and the advantages of writing from the hyphen between Sri Lankan and Canadian. Shyam's CDWP residency runs November 24-December 1, 2014, and includes a number of public events.

    Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Funny Boy, his first novel, won the W.H. Smith / Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award in the US. He is the author of Cinnamon Gardens and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, and the editor of an anthology, Story-wallah! A Celebration of South Asian Fiction. His books have been published in the US, the UK, India, Canada, and Sri Lanka, and published in translation in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Turkey, and Israel. His latest novel is The Hungry Ghosts.

    For complete details please visit the Calgary Distinguished Writers page. Among other events Selvadurai will appear alongside Aritha van Herk, Ian Williams, and Larissa Lai for WAY BACK WHEN - a showcase of "embarrassing writing penned in their teens" in support of Calgary's filling Station magazine. Way Back When will take place Thursday, November 27, 7:00pm, at Loft 112 (112-535 8 Ave SE).

    You can find all of Shyam Selvadurai's work on the shelves of your local library:

    Funny Boy Cinnamon Gardens Swimming in the Monsoon Sea The Hungry Ghosts
    eBook eBook eBook


    The Laureate is coming!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The 7th annual Alberta Culture Days if fast approaching and the Library is thrilled to be hosting several events to help Albertans get wildly creative for three days. On Friday, September 26, Calgary Poet Laureate derek beaulieu will take over the Main Floor of the Central library to share his experiences combining poetry and art. "An Evening with derek beaulieu" will start at 7 p.m. and if you're familiar with beaulieu's work you know that visual art plays an integral role in his poetry and this is certain to be a stimulating, inspirational event. To register, please head over to our Programs page.

    For more information on all the wonderful work of our Poet Laureate, including links to some of his recent projects and lots of insider news on local events, follow this link to derek beaulieu's blog. On top of his role as laureate derek has also been named Artist in Residence at the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts from August 20 - October 24. The walls of the newly created 'Lightbox Studio' are draped with his text art, he's got manual typewriters set up, and welcomes passing conversation about his experiments with the structure of language. Read an article about the residency from The Calgary Herald.

    For all the Alberta Culture Days events taking place at the library, check out this listing, which includes an all day 'Arts Explosion Fair', a visit from the Alberta Reader's Choice Award winner Tyler Trafford (author of Almost a Great Escape), and Signal Hill Library's Annual Community Art Showcase.

    For a list of events taking place all over the province, year round, check out Alberta's Culture Calendar.

    And don't forget to check out your Poet Laureate's books available at the library...

    Fractal Economies seen of the crime How to Write Please, No More Poetry

    When Words Collide

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The second weekend of August might be a good one to stick around town, as the 4th annual WHEN WORDS COLLIDE festival descends upon Calgary to bring together a huge range of readers and writers from all over the world. Regardless of the genre you're trying to master or love to read, When Words Collide has more than 60 expert panelists/presenters lined up to share tips and information on everything from science fiction to historical fiction to nonfiction, from inspiration to editing.

    It appears as though this year's program of workshops, pitch sessions, panels, social events, blue pencil cafes, and merchants has caught on and filled up quick, but they are now taking names for a waiting list, the 'Merchants' Corner' is open to the unregistered public, and on the Thursday leading into the big weekend you can catch 5 featured WWC guests live at the Fish Creek Library.

    Thursday, August 7

    7 - 8:30 p.m.

    Second Floor Open Area - Fish Creek Library


    Join us for readings by international bestselling authors: Jack Whyte, Jacqueline Guest, Brandon Sanderson, D.J. McIntosh and Mark Leslie.

    The authors will follow up the readings with a question and answer and autograph session.











    The Confabulist, Live

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    From the beloved, award-winning, bestselling author of The Cellist of Sarajevo, The Confabulist is a beautiful, suspense-filled novel that uses the life and sudden death of Harry Houdini to weave a magical tale of intrigue, love and illusion. The Confabulist weaves together the life, loves and murder of the world's greatest magician, Harry Houdini, with the story of the man who killed him (twice): Martin Strauss, an everyday man whose fate was tied to the magician's in unforeseen ways.

    A cast of memorable characters spins around Houdini's celebrity-driven life, as they did in his time: from the Romanov family soon to be assassinated, to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the powerful heads of Scotland Yard, and the Spiritualists who would use whoever they could to establish their religion. A brilliant novel about fame and ambition, reality and illusion, and the ways that love, grief and imagination can alter what we perceive and believe.*

    On Thursday, June 5 the Calgary Public Library is thrilled to be hosting along with Pages bookstore "An Evening with Steven Galloway" from 7 – 9 p.m. in the John Dutton Theatre (2nd floor, Central Library). Register here or call 403-260-2620.

    Available as OverDrive eBook Available as OverDrive eBook Available as OverDrive eBook Available as OverDrive AudioBook

    For a taste of the thoughtful, engaging eloquence Steven Galloway puts into the presentation of his work, watch the video of our 2011 One Book One Calgary launch, in which the entire city shared the power of Galloway's 2008 novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo.

    *The Confabulist book summary lifted off the library catalogue




    New Program Guides

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Spring-Summer Guides are now out and that means a brand new season of opportunity to take advantage of our free, super wide-ranging programs. Registration starts Monday, April 21.

    A highlight for writers comes up very quick with 'Self-Editing 101' - a workshop on revision and editing techniques - on Saturday May 10. Susan Forest from the Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE) will be at the Central Library from 1:30 - 3 p.m. to help give your writing shape and professional polish.

    Two days later put your self-editing lessons to the test by joining the library's Creative Writing Club. The club will meet monthly on Monday nights starting May 12. Meet aspiring writers, engage in exercises, and share your writing.

    In June take a visual trip to Oxford University's Christ Church College with Carole Marion as she explores the world of Jane Austen's heroines. The Oxford Experience: In Search of Jane Austen's World is offered at Louise Riley on June 12, at Shawnessy on June 13.

    In August the Fish Creek library will host bestselling authors Diana Gabaldon, Jacqueline Guest, Brandon Sanderson, and D.J. McIntosh for readings, Q & A, and an autograph session. It's all part of WHEN WORDS COLLIDE and this year WWC is offering pre-festival workshops for the first time. A ways away but the opportunity for intimate, hands-on workshop experience will surely fill up quick.

    Oh, yes, and superfoods, The Power of Superfoods. Not necessarily tailored for writers, but what writer wouldn't benefit from a little boost to their brain function? The new Program Guides are already all over the city but if you haven't got your hands on one you can always download the PDF version and read it right now.

    The Calgary Project Book Launch

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    THE CALGARY PROJECT: A City Map In Verse & Visual is a beautiful coffee table anthology presenting a vibrant and diverse snapshot of Calgary’s visual and literary arts, and the book launch is going to take place right here at Central Library on Sunday, March 30, from 2 - 4 p.m in the John Dutton Theatre.

    Published by Frontenac House in collaboration with the RE:act Collective and House of Blue Skies, the collection celebrates the 2-year term of our inaugural Poet Laureate, Kris Demeanor, who co-edited the book with Dymphny Dronyk - founding member of the RE:act collective and author of Contrary Infatuations.

    So what does a city map written in verse look like?

    Dronyk describes it best on the book's front flap:

    "How do you get to know a city? What can you learn from a map?

    The Calgary Project reflects this moment of time: being the Culture Capital, having our very own Poet Laureate, surviving the Flood that redrew the City. It offers a glimpse into the artists' and poets' perception of Calgary right now. The voices of our city include poets and songwriters, rappers and sculptors, painters and fibre artists, photographers and children. The artists featured here are not just the best in our city - they are indeed some of the finest in the world."

    The selections include work by nationally (and internationally) prominent poets such as Sheri-D Wilson, Christian Bök, Micheline Maylor, Fred Wah, Anne Burke, and Tom Wayman, and artists such as Jeff de Boer, George Webber, Mandi Stobo and Tina Martel, as well as pieces by newer and younger writers and artists. And even an impressive piece from Mayor-poet Nenshi!

    For more information on all the upcoming launch celebrations for this beautiful book, go to the Blue Skies Poetry website.

    And if you can't wait for Sunday to get your hands on a copy, The Calgary Project is available at your local library. The waiting list continues to grow, but we always have a copy on the shelf in our Community Heritage & Family History Room (4th Floor, Central Library). Or find a copy from your independent bookseller: Owl’s Nest Books, Pages on Kengsington, and Shelf Life Books.

    The Dark Side

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    A thrilling and mysterious tour of writers is coming to town and the library is thrilled to be hosting. On Tuesday, March 18, come down to the Central library's John Dutton Theatre for The Dark Side, featuring authors Deryn Collier, Craig Davidson, and Andrew Pyper. After Calgary the tour heads off to Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, and Waterloo. Register for this unique triple-bill here. The show starts at 7pm.

    ANDREW PYPER was born in Stratford, Ontario, in 1968. He received a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a law degree from the University of Toronto, although he has never practiced. Kiss Me, his first book of short stories, was published to in 1996. His first novel, Lost Girls, was a national bestseller in Canada and a Globe and Mail Notable Book selection in 1999 as well as a Notable Book selection in the New York Times Book Review and the London Evening Standard in 2000. Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Pyper's second novel, The Trade Mission, was published in 2002, and was selected by The Toronto Star as one of the Best Books of the Year.

    CRAIG DAVIDSON was born and grew up in the bordertown of St. Catharines, Ontario, near to Niagara Falls. He has published two previous books of literary fiction, Rust and Bone (Penguin Canada), which has been made into a major feature film of the same name, and The Fighter (Penguin Canada). He is a graduate of the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his journalism and articles have been published in The Globe and Mail, Esquire, GQ and the Washington Post, among other venues. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and child. Craig also writes under the pseudonym Nick Cutter.

    photo by Laura Wilby

    DERYN COLLIER is the author of Confined Space, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel. Originally form Montreal, she is a graduate of McGill University. After a short career as a federal bureaucrat she ran away to the mountains of British Columbia where she has been ever since. She has worked in a log yard, a brewery, as a doctor recruiter and a communications consultant.

    Deryn lives in Nelson, BC with her family and welcomes visitors to her website at

    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 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).