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    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 sandralit.com.

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


    Hot Mixed with Sizzle

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    With more than 40 events throughout April it can be a bit daunting trying to choose which Calgary Spoken Word Festival events to go to, but the lineup for Thursday, April 18th's 'Hot Mix of Sizzling Poetry' is pretty much irresistable.

    BOB HOLMAN

    ALI RILEY

    TOM WAYMAN

    SANDY POOL

    SARAH MURPHY

    PAUL FINKLEMAN

    As well as a performer who somehow managed to win the title of Nerd Slam Champion AND Erotic Slam Champion in the same year!... Chris Gilpin. And rounding out the lineup is captain of the 2011 Edmonton Slam Team, Mary Pinkoski. It's hard to imagine a more diverse lineup of performers sharing the same stage for a single event, ever.

    Almost all CSWF events are taking place in the intimate performace space of Festival Hall in Inglewood, located at 1215 10th Ave SE.

    Writing in the Works, Spring 2013

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Next Thursday don't miss an opportunity to get up close and personal with a full handful of Calgary authors. It's Writing in the Works Spring 2013, where some of our city's finest wordsmiths will gather to share their work, whether from books-in-progress, books about to be published, and books looking for publishers.

    Started in 2008 by Rona Altrows and Lori Hahnel, this event showcases Calgary writers at various stages in their process, presenting a wide assortment of literary flavours, providing several angles of inspiration and an all-round good time.

    As you can probably gather from the bright, nearby poster, the Spring 2013 edition of 'In the Works will feature readings from Ken Cameron, Lori Hahnel, Steve Passey, Inge Trueman and Roberta Rees. Emceed by Susan Calder.


    Thursday, Apr 11

    7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

    Memorial Park Library

    1221 2nd Street SW

    Zombies Hungry for Poetry, Not Brains

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Get your zombie on this weekend in Inglewood!

    It's a masquerade ball with Calgary Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor and the RE:act Collective. Other than promising a supremely great time at Inglewood's THE AREA, featuring FIRE PITS! BEER! WOOD OVEN PIZZA! LIVE ART! And prizes for best mask. And Best Mardi Gras themed zombie-esque costume...

    Money raised will go towards RE:act's Calgary Anthology Project and youth literacy initiatives.

    Click here for ticket information.

    Speaking of the Calgary Anthology Project, RE:act is working with Frontenac House and House of Blue Skies to publish "a gorgeous coffee table anthology of poetry and visual art about the City of Calgary, created by Calgarian writers and artists". If you are a Calgary writer or artist, click here for the CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. Here's what they're looking for:

    We are looking for works about, or inspired by, the City of Calgary. We hope to articulate the experience of the city through creative language and art. What stories is our city ready to tell us through our poets and artists? What sings in our green spaces? What thrives in the fast lane? What struggles in the margins? What chatters in the Plus 15s? What two-steps in the alleys? What surprises us, wounds us, heals us, makes us run, or woos us to stay?

    The print anthology will be launched in April 2014.

    House of Blue Skies is responsible these two beautiful anthologies, available at your local library:

    Writing the Land: Alberta through its poets Home and Away: Alberta's finest poets muse on the meaning of home

     

    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.

    aj_35-05aj_1196

    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."

    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...

    Want A Hot Date this Saturday?

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    There’s a lot to love about filling Station.

    They publish innovative work of emerging artists. They give local writers a stage, voice, and audience every month through the Flywheel reading series. They’re a volunteer-run non-profit that only seems to care about building and energizing Calgary’s literary community. And filling Station is a great, refreshing read.

    That’s why I got giddy excited when I found out the collective was bringing their new event – Hot Dates with Blank Pages – right here to the Central library. The idea of ‘Hot Dates’ is to get writers out of their dusty, dim-lit, cramped, coffee-stained, solitary workspaces and into some of Calgary’s most stimulating, inspiring spaces in the company of like-minded friends you didn’t know you already had. In the words of the fS website:

    Hot Dates with Blank Pages is a new literary event hosted by filling Station that will be held on the first Saturday of every month in different locales around Calgary, locales meant to get the creative juices flowing again.”

    The January installment of “Hot Dates with Blank Pages” is taking place this Saturday, January 5, at the Central library.

    For complete details, go the filling Station website. Issue 54

    A Writer's Resolutions

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The ultimate resolution that writers gravitate towards at the end of every year seems to be: 'Make More Time to Write'. Sounds like a great idea, but if I’m looking for a resolution I’m actually going to keep I’m going to stay way far away from the impossible task of fabricating time. Days may be getting longer as we roll into the new year, but only in terms of light. We’re not gonna see any 25-hour days or 8-day weeks in 2013, so I’m gonna fall back on the two promises I can never seem to keep:

    - READ MORE -

    - GET OUT TO MORE LOCAL LITERARY EVENTS -

    Catching up on the long list of books I must read should be an easy one to follow through on, but this promise is not to be taken lightly. Anyone who has ever sought advice on writing has surely heard in the darkest bold letters – READ. Whether it’s the type of work you strive to create or the complete opposite, there’s nothing more important to a writer’s development than devouring as much literature as possible. Makes sense. Want to be a chef? Taste a lot of food, understand what makes it delicious. Want to be an athlete? Play a lot of sports to develop the right muscles and figure out the game’s structure.

    Easy.

    Unless you aren't sure what to read next. But the library has the answer for that - NEXTREADS - a booklist newsletter service that sends customized reading suggestions directly to your inbox. Stay on top of all the latest greatest releases in your selected field and discover exciting new authors.

    Getting out to more local literary events is a sweet, easy resolution too. For the most part we engage in a necessarily solitary process but somewhere along the way the support of community, however you define community, is essential. Every week in Calgary there is at least one author reading, one group meeting, one book launch, or one opportunity to meet like-minded individuals in a stimulating environment, often a pub. I just found out today that filling Station magazine is bringing their next installment of "Hot Dates with Blank Pages" right here to the Central library on Saturday, January 5.

    Here in the Writer's Nook we are always looking out for next week's best-looking events so if your resolutions look anything like mine, I will hopefully see you out there. And please leave a comment if I'm missing any of the shows and events you're excited about. And happy new year!

    filling Station's Flywheel

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Tomorrow night, the first night after no living person will see three identical numbers marking the date, is also the second Thursday of December. And the second Thursday of every month is the day when filling Station magazine takes over the upstairs of Pages bookstore for the Flywheel reading series.

    If you aren't familiar with filling Station, this homegrown, 100% volunteer-run magazine focuses on the support of local emerging writers and the publication of innovative poetry, fiction, and non-fiction (creative non-fiction, reviews, articles, interviews...).

    The best way to learn more about this wonderful situation would be to either go check it out in person tomorrow night for the...

    DECEMBER FLYWHEEL

    "...the last flywheel of the year with readings from Alberta writers:

    Judith Pond, Jani Krulc, Jason Lee Norman, and Patrick Horner!"

    Thursday, December 13th
    7:30 PM
    Pages on Kensington
    (1135 Kensington Drive NW)

    ...or come down to the Central library where you'll find issues of filling Station new and old, as well as a full selection of all the amazing literary magazines coming out from all over Canada.

    Food for the Gods—our interview with Karen Dudley

    by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

    Calgary-born and raised Karen Dudley is coming to our fair city to read from her fifth novel, Food for the Gods. Karen graciously took some time out of her busy schedule (and from recovering from the flu) to answer a few questions for the Nook.


    WRITER’S NOOK: Karen, you are an established mystery writer with four titles in the Robyn Devara series. Why the departure from the mystery genre with Food for the Gods? (and what genre is that one anyhow? historical fantasy mystery?)

    Karen: I've always loved the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but as a writer, I was a bit intimidated by it at first—all that world-building seemed so daunting and I didn't think I couldn't do justice to the genre.

    Fast forward four mystery novels and I was feeling a lot more confident about myself as a writer. Then one day, my husband and I were reorganizing our books. When I finished doing mine, I stood back and looked at them all. I had three full ceiling-to-floor bookcases of sci-fi/fantasy and a half a shelf of mystery. My husband came up behind me and stood there for a minute, then asked, "So...why are you writing mystery exactly?"

    In actual fact, when I started writing Food for the Gods, I thought I was writing a mystery. I had about 50 pages written when a friend of mine read it and told me, "Karen, you're writing a fantasy." I was shocked. I was a mystery writer! How could I be writing fantasy? But once I defined it as such, it was absolutely liberating and all kinds of weird and wonderful things began to happen. Food for the Gods is technically an historical fantasy, though it's also very humorous which is uncommon for the genre.

    NOOK: How was your writing (or researching) process different with Food for the Gods than with the Robyn Devara books?

    Karen: I've always loved the research end of writing, so I have always chosen projects that required a lot of research. I think the obvious difference in the research I've done for Food for the Gods versus the Robyn Devara novels is in the scope of it. When you're writing historical fantasy, there is a certain onus to get the historical details right. For me, this meant researching the entire culture of Classical Athens: the society, the politics, the fashions, the lifestyles. What was popular back then? What was considered rude or ominous or funny? What foods were available and/or popular? What cooking techniques were used? How did people behave at dinner parties? How did they behave in public places? What did Athens look like? I had to research all this as well as the mythological elements. It was a lot of fun!

    NOOK: Your online bio refers to your background in archaeology and Classical Studies, which obviously helped inform this new book. How much did this help with writing Food for the Gods?

    Karen: I minored in Classical Studies at university, and obviously that stood me in good stead for this project. In fact, the spirit of Food for the Gods was heavily influenced by my Greek history professor, Dr. Buck.

    The man really brought the Classical period to life for me. Whenever he talked about the reasons behind a war, he always started off by saying something like, "Well, when someone steals your women and cattle, you're liable to get a little cross about the whole thing." He wouldn't just give us dates and places for these armed conflicts, he'd act them out, marching up and down the classroom like a hoplite, talking the whole time about how 'cross' they all were with each other. He did tell us things like who won the Battle of Salamis and why, but he also told us about stuff like Alcibiades and the incident of the Theban dancing girls. He made it real. And when I decided to write Food for the Gods, I knew I wanted to make it real in the same way that he had.

    NOOK: How did you accomplish this?

    Karen: I didn't want my readers to feel the distance of history. I wanted them to feel like they were in the story, in that world. Like the characters really aren't that different from themselves. One of my favourite movies is A Knight's Tale, and so I decided to use anachronisms much in the same way that A Knight's Tale did. My characters speak with modern accents and use modern idioms. They have contemporary sensibilities. You can slide right into their lives and it doesn't require a shift in thinking.

    Another challenge for me was how to get across certain information about the society and culture without slowing down the narrative. My solution was to incorporate a series of interstitial chapters throughout the book. There are recipes, advertisements for products, even excerpts from self-help scrolls. They're very humorous, but they also impart some rather crucial information about life in Classical Athens.

    NOOK: Speaking of recipes: you've included some in this in book...do you have a favourite?

    Karen: Ah yes, the recipes! There a couple of recipes in the book. My main character, Pelops, is troubled by a rival chef named Mithaecus (The Sicilian), and I've included one of Mithaecus' recipes in the book. It's not a very good recipe (of course—he IS the rival chef, after all!), but what's interesting about it is that it is one of the earliest surviving published recipes. Mithaecus of Sicily was a real person—and a famous chef of his time.

    My favourite recipe in the book, however, has to be Pelops' Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizers. Mmmm...fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and mint, wrapped in prosciutto and grilled ‘til the prosciutto is crispy. Then you drizzle 'em with honey. Oh man, my mouth is watering; I have to go and cook now...

    NOOK: What's next for you?

    Karen: I'm currently working on the sequel to Food for the Gods. It's even more fun that the first book and I'm finding myself laughing out loud (which rarely happens when you write!). I love the book, I love the premise and I love the title: Kraken Bake. It's due to for release in early spring 2014.


    A huge thanks to Karen for answering our questions. Be sure to go to one (or both!) of her two upcoming Calgary readings along with author Chadwick Ginther (reading from Thunder Road):

    November 19th at the Sentry Box at 7 pm

    November 20th at 7 pm, Louise Riley Library



    Interested in Karen Dudley's Robyn Devara mystery series? Check them out below:

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