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    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

    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.


     

    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.”

    -Salon.com

    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.

    Live at Central... Alice Sebold

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Annie DavidsonThe year is 1906.

    A 68-year old widow with a passion for books invites a small group of women to gather in the parlour of her Calgary home to start a women's reading club. She has lost 6 children, a bankrupt husband, and the solace she finds in books can only go so far as Calgary's extremely limited public reading resources.

    At a time when women do not have the right to vote, members of the Women's Literary Club go door-to-door in the community gathering signatures for a petition supporting a public library. She and the Club succeed in establishing the first Library Board that, through an endowment from Andrew Carnegie, build Alberta's first public library in Calgary in 1912.

    Fast forward a hundred years, a million people.

    As a centennial legacy, the Calgary Public Library creates the Annie Davidson Lecture to acknowledge the work of change agents like her. It's been a century in the making and we are now only ten days away from a very special evening with Alice Sebold, bestselling author of The Lovely Bones, Lucky, and The Almost Moon, who will grace the stage in the John Dutton theatre for a celebration of the ways in which reading, writing and libraries act as agents of change in our society.

    This event is generously funded by the Province of Alberta’s Community Spirit Grant. Admission is FREE.

    Tuesday, March 26, Central Library.

    Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Event starts at 7:00 p.m.

    Public reception and book signing to follow.

    Register here.

    Lucky The Almost Moon The Lovely Bones

     

     

    Writing in Public

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    At our annual Writers' Weekend hosted in early February there was a very interesting discussion raised during an Ask the Writer panel session. Lori Hahnel, Naomi K. Lewis, and Deborah Willis all agreed that success did not automatically translate to a stream of easy, confident production. If anything, all three agreed that after publishing their first books they experienced strong feelings of self doubt and inadequacy. All three also agreed on carrying the same misconception that most, or at least many (and perhaps every) aspiring writer has - that publishing our first books will magically wipe away all our problems, including any difficulty we have with writing.

    Raised expectations, both external and self-imposed, are not the only new challenges an acclaimed artist must face.

    When nobody's watching, well, nobody's watching.

    So how does it feel when everybody's watching?

    WRITING IN PUBLIC: A READING AND TALK WITH MARINA ENDICOTT

    Tuesday, March 12

    7:30pm - Free Public Reading and Talk in the Taylor Family Digital Library's Gallery Hall.

    Marina Endicott, 2012-13 Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, comes to Calgary courtesy of the exchange program between the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the Department of English at the U of A. Each year, these institutions host the other school’s writer-in-residence for free public events.

    While walking through the University of Alberta’s Humanities Centre, you may come across Marina Endicott’s office. Unlike other writers-in-residence, Marina doesn’t mind the fishbowl effect of the huge window, and writing on display. On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, Marina will switch campuses to read from her novel-in-progress Hughtopia and speak on how public writing – book club visitations, writers’ festivals, and even being a writer-in-residence – feeds into or disrupts the writing process. The 7:30 p.m. reading and talk in the Taylor Family Digital Library’s Gallery Hall will be free and open to the general public. A book signing and reception will follow.

    _____________________________________________

    For complete event details, click here.

    For Marina Endicott's website, click here.

    Not familiar with Marina Endicott's work? Check out these titles on the shelves of your local library:

    Open Arms Good to a Fault The Little Shadows

    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 kristadball.com.

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

    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:

    Quadruple Block-Busting Author Reading

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 10

    NOON - 1pm

    CENTRAL LIBRARY, MAIN FLOOR

    ____________________________

    Kevin J. Anderson

    Kelley Armstrong

    Anthony Bidulka

    Rebecca Moesta

    __________________

    WHEN WORDS COLLIDE is a 3-day festival (Aug. 8 - 10) for readers and writers that unites lovers of many genres for one glorious summer weekend in the city of Calgary. If you can't make it to the Best Western Village Park Inn for the slew of events, including: speaker panels, Kaffe klatches (meet a Guest of Honour or other author in a small group setting), Pitch sessions, Blue-pencil cafe, Parties, Merchant's Corner - don't worry, the festival's guests of honour are making an appearance at the Central Library on Friday, August 10. No registration is required.

    A small sample of the authors' amazing work:

    Man & Other Natural Disasters

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Man & Other Natural Disasters, Nerys Parry reading at Central, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., March 16

    Simon Peters, a recluse full of half-cocked theories on every subject from heart-broken shrimp to the Jungian consciousness of DNA, spends his days hiding from his horrific past in the basement of the Calgary City Library. Enter Minerva, a twenty-two year-old business major whose ghostly resemblance to Simon’s dead sister compels him to reveal his shocking past: a sister who died of spontaneous human combustion, a father crushed in a rock blast, a mother who disappeared in a tornado—all during one hot prairie summer.

    But parts of Simon’s story do not add up. When he finds Minerva passed out and bleeding on his bathroom floor, he must conquer the tyranny of his own memory and confront what really happened that summer of 1962. But the truth, when uncovered, proves no less astonishing than the original tale.

    Based on real events recounted during the Sons of Freedom movement of the 60s, Man & Other Natural Disasters is a testament to the power of story in a world too often shaken by forces outside our control: nature, terrorism, death—even love. Of all the planet has yet to throw at us, the question remains: can we recover from the worst natural disaster yet—ourselves?

    Synopsis lifted from author website—nerysparry.com.

    Man & Other Natural Disasters

    Place a hold on Man & Other Natural Disasters.


    At noon, Friday March 16, join us at the Central Library as author Nerys Parry returns to the setting of her novel to talk about the 11 year journey to get her remarkable debut novel into print. Learn what it takes to get published in today's market from a "powerful and emerging talent" in Canadian literature.

    After the presentation, you are invited for a "behind the scenes" tour of the library's basement. See for yourself the location that inspired the novel's protagonist, Simon Peters.

    This event takes place Friday, March 16 on the Main Floor from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Register here.

    The Trouble with Poetry—Billy Collins in Calgary

    by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

    the trouble with poetry is
    that it encourages the writing of more poetry

    ~from "The Trouble With Poetry" by Billy Collins

    ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

    An Evening with Billy Collins

    Whether you're a fan of poetry or not, you're sure to enjoy listening to former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins at the University of Calgary. Collins has been praised (and sometimes derided) for his "accessible" poetry—that is, poetry that the average Joe or Jane can read and enjoy whether or not they have a graduate degree in literature.

    Collins' poems frequently examine everyday life, often with sly humour and astute insights into human nature. During his tenure as Poet Laureate, Collins created Poetry 180, a program designed to bring poetry into the lives of high school students.

    The Calgary Distinguished Writers Program is bringing poet Billy Collins to Calgary as the 2012 Calgary Distinguished Visiting Writer. Collins will give a free public reading and lecture on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at in the Ballroom on the 3rd Floor of MacEwan Hall, MacEwan Student Centre, University of Calgary. Click here for more information.


    If you're not familiar with the work of Billy Collins, we have several collections of his poetry (click on the book covers to see a few) and many of his poems are online in both text and audio format:


    Billy Collins biography and poems on the Poetry Foundation site.

    Two audio recordings of Billy Collins:

    Best Cigarette website

    Billy Collins on The Trouble with Poetry
    All Things Considered, NPR, November 6, 2005

    Collins Values Approachable Poetry, Not Pretension
    Talk of the Nation
    , NPR, April 6, 2011

    Best Cigarette is a audio collection of Billy Collins poems read by the poet and available for free download.


    The Library of Congress Poetry 180 site and two books include poems chosen by Billy Collins and designed to be read by high school students (or, anyone):

    “Poetry can and should be an important part of our daily lives. Poems can inspire and make us think about what it means to be a member of the human race.”
    From Poetry 180.


    Since my life has been recently touched by issues of memory and forgetting, I'll post a Billy Collins poem that has particularly resonated with me:

    Forgetfulness

    The name of the author is the first to go
    followed obediently by the title, the plot,
    the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
    which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
    never even heard of,

    as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
    decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
    to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

    Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
    and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
    and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

    something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
    the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

    Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
    it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
    not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

    It has floated away down a dark mythological river
    whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
    well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
    who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

    No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
    to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
    No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
    out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

    ("Forgetfulness" from Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes.)


    The following video includes Billy reading three of his poems including, with much audience laughter, "Forgetfulness":

    Billy Collins Reading in the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival

    And for something completely different (but still laughter)—here's Billy's pal Bill Murray doing a reading of the above poem:

    Bill Murray reads "Forgetfulness."

    Say what? A poet with a sense of humour? Go figure.


    "If you find yourself as a writer thinking about posterity you should probably go out for a brisk walk or something."

    ~Billy Collins interview in Guernica Magazine.


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