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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Writers Fest Wrap

Another fest comes to an end. Sorry for the big block of text in this post. Here are some some notes that I wanted to jot down. I left early on Saturday evening. I just could not make the last of the readings which featured Wayne Johnston and the chit chat about his latest novel. But I did stay a little longer after the Ottawa Magazine's Fiction issue event to chat with the charming Clare Latremouille, who will be launching her debut novel, The Desmond Road Book of the Dead, at the end of October with the new Ottawa publisher, Chaudiere Books. Did you know that she knows her Ottawa Public Library card number by heart? Also expect to see Monty Reid's Disappointment Island and Meghan Jackson's movement in jars at this launch. It was nice to see so many authors in one place where a 'fan' can have one-on-one chats. I am exited to hear about Jen Whiteford's new novel in progress. Nice to see Paul Glennon and wife, Tracy, after meeting them earlier this year at his book launch. In contrast, I was disappointed to hear that Marnie Woodrow's writing workshops didn't draw that many people to attend. Bumped into Nairne Holtz at the transgendered reading event and said hello; she was in Ottawa earlier this spring with a trio of Montreal writers. It was great to see Stuart Ross whom I found equally enjoys the music of Andrea Simms-Karp as much as I do. I was one of the lucky people to snap up a copy of her promotional music CD, Gallery Sessions, at the fest. I also took home Ross' little surrealist poem A Thrush which he published this week. A few minutes chatting with Mark Frutkin, John Lavery, and Pearl Pirie is always treat for me. John Metcalf came up to ask me about my new son when he was in attendance to see Danielle Schaub present her book of author photos. rob mclennan circulated a card for tons of people to sign to give to Kira Wilson who could not make it to the festival because she was babysitting the little one. This was a kind-hearted gesture. All alone, Carmel Purkis worked incredibly hard at the booksellers table, as usual. I finally met Barry's son, Michael Callaghan. However, I forgot to tell them that I especially loved that they reprinted Lynd Ward's Vertigo: a novel in woodcuts (1937) You have to see this. Awesome work. The first part of Ward's novel came out in their Exile: The Literary Quarterly Volume 30 Number 1 (Spring 2006) if you're interested. Incidentally, Kenneth J. Harvey has an excerpted appearance in this issue with his novel, Inside. Inside was one of only three books I picked up at the fest - the other two being Sean Virgo's collection of stories, and Melissa Upfold's brilliantly written chapbook. My book buying was very conservative this season. Amanda Earl wrote about the poetry events over on ottawapoetry.blogspot.com. Check out her insightful comments. Also, Charles Earl took some fabulous headshots of many of the authors on his website, charlesearl.com. More photos to come this week I presume. I was disappointed to miss Betty Warrington-Kearsley's reading. I was actually there that evening but had the baby with me and did not want to have a crying infant disturb her reading. Amanda writes, "My main reason for attending last night was to hear fellow Bywordian, Betty Warrington-Kearsley read from her first poetry collection, Red Lacquered Chopsticks (Tsar, 2006). Betty's poems were spell binding and exotic. She has a magical way with words." Incidentally, the cover for Betty's book features a beautiful photograph by Ottawa's premier political photog, Jean-Marc Carisse (whose photos are also included in Eddie Goldenberg's latest book, The Way it Works. And that's about it. Now's time to take some more regularly-scheduled baby photos.

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