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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

2004 Quebec Writers' Federation (QWF) Awards Shortlist

A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry ($2000)
Sponsored in memory of Sydney Weisbord
Robyn Sarah
A Day’s Grace: Poems 1997-2002
The Porcupine’s Quill

David Solway
Franklin’s Passage
McGill-Queen’s University Press

Carmine Starnino
With English Subtitles
Gaspereau Press

Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction ($2000)
Sponsored by Molivos Restaurant
Jeffrey Moore
The Memory Artists
Penguin Group (Canada)

Edeet Ravel
Look for Me
Random House Canada

Gordon Sheppard
Ha! A Self-Murder Mystery
McGill-Queen’s University Press

Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction ($2000)
Sponsored by Champlain, Dawson, Heritage, John Abbott, and Vanier Colleges

LGen. Roméo Dallaire
Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Random House Canada

Julian Sher and William Marsden
The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada
Knopf Canada

Joel Yanofsky
Mordecai and Me: An Appreciation of a Kind
Red Deer Press

McAuslan First Book Prize ($2,000)
Sponsored by McAuslan Brewing Inc.

Clayton Bailey
The Expedition
Great Plains Publications

LGen. Roméo Dallaire
Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Random House Canada

Jaspreet Singh
Seventeen Tomatoes: Tales from Kashmir
Véhicule Press

Translation Prize ($2000)
Nicole and Émile Martel
L’histoire de Pi
XYZ éditeur
Yann Martel
Life of Pi
Knopf Canada
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné
Leméac Éditeur
David Homel
The Speaking Cure
Douglas & McIntyre
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné
Un baume pour le coeur
Éditions du Boréal
Neil Bissoondath
Doing the Heart Good
Simon & Schuster

Winners will be announced at this year’s Awards Gala, Wednesday, November 24th at 7:00 p.m.
at the Lion d’Or (1676 Ontario East, Montreal). Call the QWF office for tickets: (514) 933-0878.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

And the Man Booker Prize winner for 2004 is...

Alan Hollinghurst The Line of Beauty Picador

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Jasper Fforde reads from Something Rotten

Saturday, October 23
Author Jasper Fforde reads from Something Rotten at The Table Vegetarian Restaurant - 7:30 p.m.
Thursday Next, Head of JurisFiction and ex-SpecOps agent, returns to her native Swindon accompanied by a child of two, a pair of dodos and Hamlet, who is on a fact-finding mission in the real world. Thursday has been despatched to capture escaped Fictioneer Yorrick Kaine but even so, now seems as good a time as any to retrieve her husband Landen from his state of eradication at the hands of the Chronoguard. 100,000 words, 6 illustrations, adverts and web-based special features section.
Jasper Fforde is the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling Tuesday Next novels: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, and The Well of Lost Plots. After giving up a varied career in the film industry, he now lives and writes in Wales, and has a passion for aviation.
The Table vegetarian restaurant is located at 1230 Wellington St. (at Holland) and will be open for dinner as usual before the reading.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Emma Richler's new book

Richler, Emma, 1961-Feed my dear dogs / Emma Richler. -- Toronto : A. A. Knopf Canada, 2005.ISBN 0-676-97671-9 : $34.95I. Title.PS8585 I3673 F44 2005 C813'.6 circa May 2005.

Info taken from New Books Service September 2004 C810 CANADIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH

Thursday, October 07, 2004



Canada's Premier Literary Prize for Fiction Names Its Finalists

Toronto, ON - Today, in a morning press conference that drew over 100 media and members of the publishing industry, The Giller Prize announced its 2004 shortlist. Selected by an esteemed jury panel, comprised of authors Charlotte Gray, Alistair MacLeod and M.G. Vassanji, the six finalists were chosen from 94 books submitted for consideration. Those books were submitted by 35 publishers from every region of the country.

The jury named the finalists. They are:

Shauna Singh Baldwin for her novel The Tiger Claw, published by Knopf Canada
Wayson Choy for his novel All That Matters, published by Doubleday Canada
Pauline Holdstock for her novel Beyond Measure, published by Cormorant Books
Alice Munro for her short story collection Runaway, published by McClelland & Stewart/Douglas Gibson Books
Paul Quarrington for his novel Galveston, published by Random House Canada
Miriam Toews for her novel A Complicated Kindness, published by Knopf Canada
Jack Rabinovitch, who founded the Prize in 1994 in memory of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, also spoke at the press conference. He announced that the awards ceremony will be broadcast live across Canada on CBC Television from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 11th. The finalists will be honoured and a winner announced at a gala black tie dinner and awards ceremony to be held at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

OIWF Day 8

It was S.E. Hinton night at the festival. Though she didn't pack in the crowds compared to Ian Rankin, the auditorium was full. Damon Galgut dropped in for one last night as an attendee. Previously he was in Toronto for a reading. Murray Wilson gave an eclectic reading as the final event for the festival. He read some of Ralph Gustaphson's poetry, illustrated some Chinese characters and read from Sam's Bike (I think?), a story of the repair of a bicycle in China. Oddly charming. That is it at least for the major Fall writers festival. Starting October 7th is the Inaugural Canadian Spoken Wordlympics Festival at the National Archives, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, October 7-10, 2004.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

OIWF Day 7

Now I know why Ian Rankin's event was sold out. You would too if you showed up. Funny, affable, and a tad devious. I admit, not being a crime fiction reader as my mother is, I have not read one of his books. But you can't miss anyone reading one of his novels riding on public transportation, in libraries, or on lunch-hours. Something akin to rice: 1 billion Chinamen can't be wrong. Rankin's a major player in crime fiction and from seeing him on stage explaining his craft I understand people's admiration of his work.

The last event of the evening was also a treat. I could go on gushing...but won't. I just had to at least say something of Richard B. Wright's writing. This man is talent personified. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph and page are essential and so well articulated and formed. You cannot get lost even if you tried. His latest novel, Adultery, a vastly different story to that of his award winning Clara Callan, is a simple story with real characters of a private affair gone awry. The economy of the act central to the story is done matter of fact and the story moves on. I want to read more.

Monday, October 04, 2004

OIWF Day 6

Billed as an evening you won't soon forget, it was a special night at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Exceding the organizers expectations the audience grew so fast that the venue had to be changed at the last minute to the larger auditorium down the hall. It amazes me that the troupe of Kira, Sean, Neil and Thea work so hard to put on a great show for the Ottawa people. They go the extra distance to ensure the best show possible. Their volunteers are a great help.

What a super line-up consisting of Paul Quarrington, Cordilia Strube and Alistair MacLeod. Deftly introduced and interviewed by Ottawa's Lucy van Oldenbarneveld of CBC Radio One, the event was everything one could expect in a reading: witty, touching, and entertaining. It didn't surprise me that immediately after the event a throng of people amassed at the book table to pick up, among other books, MacLeod's newest publication, To Every Thing There is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story.

Instead of queuing in line, I decided to get a seat (read beer) in the other venue anticipating the last poetry cabaret of the festival. Hearing these authors was a first for me. Hosted by Stephen Brockwell, the evening's first poet was Eriling Friss-Baastad. He spoke passionately with an environmental bent of the Yukon; Shane Rhodes' poetry was lyrical and educational at the same time. Very good stuff. No wonder he is an Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry winner (2003). Formerly from Calgary, Rhodes calls Ottawa his home for the past two years. We are lucky to have him here. Finally, Steven Heighton read well from his four sections of his book of poetry The Address Book. I picked up all the books from these authors including Patrick Lane's memoir.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

OIWF Day 5

If one is going to survive a writers festival one must be selective. I admit the festival marathon is just starting to wear me down. It's Sunday night and I just have to go home. There was one more event scheduled tonight but two readings in a row did it for me. There is not much to complain about as an attendee--I just sit and listen. The authors, or at least some of them, are being worked like sherpas. Take Elyse Friedman for example. She was at Saturday night's poetry reading which only started at 9:00pm; then she appeared the following day in a screen writing event; and again the same day, tonight, for a 7:00pm reading from her new novel. A triple threat in Canadian literature...and she is currently working on a book of short stories to boot. No wonder when she responded to a question by CBC Radio's Alan Neal, "I'm just so tired." Me too, Elyse. By the way, I never heard of you before. But I assume your good enough to be in three different events at the same festival. I admit that I do like the premise of her book when the girl goes to bed ugly then wakes up transformed into a beatiful woman. Not that I have ever had that fantasy myself. The opposite usually occurs when I would take a beautiful woman home after a night of drinking and the next morn...okay I better shut up now.

The assembling of writers for one event must be difficult. Again, tonight's 5:30pm event was no different. David "Pass-the-peanutbutter" McGimpsey was paired with Donna "I'm-originally-from-Newfoundland-so-don't-hold-it-against-me" Morrissey, and Beth "How-did-I-get-stuck-reading-with-McGimpsey?" Powning. A stand-up comedian meets, a dramatist and a writer who remembers her grandmother. Interesting combo.

The final event and reason for attending tonight was to see Gordon Sheppard, read from HA!. Bill "my-name-is-not-Peter" Gaston and Elyse Friedman read very well and kept my attention for the whole 2 hours. I could write more here but I am also tired and have to get some sleep for the work week ahead and the other upcoming events: Alistair MacLeod, Ian Rankin and S.E. Hinton to name a few.

Some events I passed on:
Dialogue of the Americas: Itentidad Cultural de América Latina
Why? I don't speak Spanish.

Literature of South Africa
Why? I am not that engaged with South African children's literature.

D-Day: Stories of Juno Beach
Why? I saw Ted Barris in April and was completely blown away at his moving and passionate reading. I bought two of his books as a result. One for me, one for my dad. Sorry I missed this event today, however.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

OIWF Day 4

Even though it is pretty early on in the going at the OWIF, I think Patrick Lane's reading was the most poignant thus far. I hesitate to add that this was probably one of the most important events at the festival. There Is a Season: A Memoir in a Garden is his latest and first work of prose in this extended form. He did a masterful job in reading from chapter 6 of his book. He defines poetry as 'words hidden under rocks'--a line which he captures so well in this very personal memoir. What else can a memoir be but personal. I even heard shades of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It as he read. Very touching. I was glad I attended.

Following this event, was Mel Hurtig's reading, ahem, announcement of his intentions to run for office against Canada's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, now Minister of National Defence, Bill Graham in the next Canadian election. Rushing to Armageddon: the Shocking Truth About Canada, Missile Defence, and Star Wars is Hurtig's "most important book published to date". From his reading it is more of a collection of evidence and quotes, Hurtig compels us to rise against the "madmen currently in office" who support a costly and ridiculous missle defence scheme as a means to protect North American-read US- soveriegnty. Should a missle be shot down early, for example, it may not reach its intended target, but land precipitously in another country...perish the thought. This book, though not my cup of tea as a mainly fiction reader, made me think about the larger picture. The reading was interesting nontheless.

I mentioned in my previous entry that the Write Accross Canada book would make a good bookmark. True. But I do read my bookmarks. I picked up a copy today and love it thoroughly. I did not buy Anderson's book by the way...

Friday, October 01, 2004

OIWF Day 3

Luckily the Pablo Neruda Tribute was cancelled... The Friday traffic at 5:30pm would have been a bitch to navigate downtown. The first event of the evening kicked off at 7:00pm leaving a nice ride down town listening to Johnny Cash sing with his wife:

We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout, We've been talkin'
'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out. I'm goin' to Jackson, I'm gonna mess
around,Yeah, I'm goin' to Jackson, Look out Jackson town.

Well, go on down to Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health. Go play your hand you big-talkin' man, make a big fool of yourself,Yeah, go to Jackson; go comb your hair!

Honey, I'm gonna snowball Jackson. See if I care. When I breeze into that city, people gonna
stoop and bow. (Hah!) All them women gonna make me, teach 'em what they don't
know how,I'm goin' to Jackson, you turn-a loose-a my coat. 'Cos I'm goin' to

"Goodbye," that's all she wrote.

Ahhh, Johnny Cash...he put me in a good mood to start the weekend. The first evening's event was Melanie Little's debut as a host for an event at the OWIF and she more than adeptly handled her three guests. You could not get any three more different writers on stage at once.

The only connection is that they are all Canadian citizens...I think. One's a maritimer so he don't count (wink) lives half the year down-under and the other...well, Mexico's close enough. Speaking of Mexico, well not really...jeeezus...this Paul Anderson guy put on this Zamphir--I am master of the pan flute-haunting-musically-bedazzled-image-filled computer presentation coinciding with his selected readings. This lasted over half an hour, and I am being conservative with my time estimate. I still do not know what the 1300 page book is about. What's up with his sadistic editor after seeing the original manuscript, "She wanted more." What the?! 'Different strokes for different folks' as Mr. Furey said. (I think I might have a stroke if I read the book.)

Leo Furey, well, he was already in Ottawa earlier this year reading from his book which was held at a local Irish Pub in the Market. He does nice voices when he reads. He had to follow Anderson's act. A tough one to follow at best--for anyone. Then to lighten the mood we were entertained by a bold young writer, Colin McAdam. At least the crowd was able to laugh and be more at ease. I felt this way in any case.

After a quick break the next event launched the OWIF inspired book, Write Across Canada. The slim paperback is a series of 19 chapters from the East Coast to the West of Canada written by all different writers from each region. Michael Winter started the story off in Newfoundland, and then handed his story off to Donna Morrissey in Nova Scotia, and so on till it reached the West Coast where it ended up with Steven Galloway and Bill Gaston in BC had the last chapter to finish. Not exactly a finely crafted piece of literature but perhaps perfectly Canadian way to publish a book. Or maybe not. The constraints involved were each author was given only 600 words and 48 hours to complete a chapter. Helen Humphreys took about 2-3 hours with her piece apparently. It was then read on CBC Radio in installments by the authors themselves this past April. The discussion about the book with five of the authors proved very entertaining in that collaboration of plot and voice was nigh impossible to carry off seriously, thus its odd twists and turns of characters and storyline. I might consider picking it up for a chuckle if nothing else than using it as a bookmark for Anderson's Hunger's Brides.