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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bee & Daffodil

It's spring and you know what that, specifically photos of flowers. I had a cold most of the week and finally got out this morning doing spring cleaning around the yard. I finished the evening with a photo or two.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Andy Brown

Andy Brown, founder of Montreal's publishing house Conundrum Press, holds aloft Catherine Kidd's novel, Missing the Ark. He introduced Catherine to the audience at Ottawa's International Writers Festival 20 April, 2007.
(See also Charles Earl's photo of Andy Brown here.)

Irving Layton Ave.

Martin C. Barry of the Chronicle, Montreal sent along a nifty press release:

Côte Saint-Luc to honour the poet Irving Layton at street naming ceremony

Côte Saint-Luc, April 26, 2007 – Mayor Anthony Housefather and the Côte Saint-Luc City Council will officially dedicate a new street in honour of the poet Irving Layton on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 11am on Irving Layton Ave.

The event is chaired by Councillor Mike Cohen, who is responsible for toponymy in the city, and Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, who represents the district where the street is located. Other participants include École Maimonide, Max Layton—son of Irving Layton—other members of the Layton family, Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler, and D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman.

All residents are invited to attend the street naming ceremony.

Ottawa National Poetry Month Reading

This line up of poets stood out on events calendar:
Michelle Desbarats, Michael Dennis, Laura Farina, Colin Morton and David O'Meara
Tonight: April 26 at 7:30 pm. Cube Gallery, 7 Hamilton North
As I am feeling under the weather since the last couple of days I can't make it. Otherwise, I would be front and center.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dennis Lee

Dennis Lee appeared at the Ottawa International Writers Festival 20-21 April 2007. He is best known as the author of the classic children’s book Alligator Pie.

B.W. Powe

B.W. Powe makes a point about the use of symbols in everyday life. Here he holds up a Do Not Disturb sign from the hotel where the festival guests stayed. Powe is a professor in the English Department at York University. He is the author of a number of influential books including The Solitary Outlaw and A Climate Charged, as well as the novel Outage and a book of poetry, The Unsaid Passing. He appeared at the Ottawa International Writers Festival 17-18 April 2007.

Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill appeared at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on 16-17 April 2007. He recently published two books, a novel The Book of Negroes and a memoir co-authored with Joshua Key, The Deserter’s Tale.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Erin Knight

Poet Erin Knight appeared at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on 21 April 2007.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Erin Mouré

Thanks to Erin Mouré I learnt that Galicia is not a planetoid similar in size to Pluto...

"Galicia is a region in Spain that became a Spanish autonomous community in 1978. It is located in the northwest of Iberian Peninsula. It shares borders with Portugal to the South and the communities of Castile and León and Asturias to the East." (Thanks wiki)

Erin is fluent in English, French and Galician. She is also fluent in poetry in general. No wonder she's so well respected in the poetry community. She brought a font of information to the post-reading discussion with her peers.

Earth Day with David Suzuki

The message is clear: "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity"

Is anyone listening?
David Suzuki Packed the auditorium at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa Sunday, 22 April 2007 on one of the most beautiful of Earth Day's I've witnessed in a long time - ironically, in all probability caused by global warming...

Heather Mallick

Heather Mallick found enough time to put down her hash pipe and show up to address an appreciative Ottawa crowd to discuss her latest book Cake or Death: The Excruciating Choices of Everyday Life. Funny lady.

Simon Armitage

The only thing rarer than a photo of a smiling Simon Armitage is a bad poem by Simon Armitage. (Thirty-three frames shot, one decent smile.)
Yes, he told some of the same stories of the poems the last time he was here two years ago, but who could resist hearing his silky Yorkshire accent in person again. Another highlight of the Ottawa International Writers Festival to be sure.

Nicholas Lea

Nicholas Lea launched his popular debut collection of poetry Everything is Movies at the OIWF 18 April 2007.

Q: Who Failed the Devil's Checklist?

A: Daniel Allen Cox did.

Montreal author Daniel Allen Cox of the independent novel Tattoo This Madness In, published by Dusty Owl Press. He appeared in Ottawa 18 April 2007 and handed out a sheet of 20 "have you ever" type questions to the audience. For example: Have you ever owned a Smurf? Joined the YMCA? Donated blood? and other naughtier questions. The eventual audience winner (or sinner) allegedly answered 19 of 20 questions with a 'yes'. (Good grief.) He got a book as his prize for admitting to a number of 'crimes' against Jehovah's Witness belief which could eventually lead to a possible disfellowshiping from the community.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Heard of Poets


A free event. Donations welcome. Filmed by Josh Massey and Ben Walker. If you've been going out to poetry readings in the last year or two in Ottawa you may have seen Massey and Walker in action capturing some of the readings on video. Today's your chance to finally see the film presented at the OIWF.

Catherine Kidd

Catherine Kidd read an intense excerpt from her book Missing the Ark, an Ottawa exclusive. She was nominated for the prestigious Journey Prize and sections of her novel were adapted into the award-winning stage show Sea Peach. She's going places and her performance is definitely a sight to behold. Another highlight of the spring edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Poetry Cabaret

David O'Meara (host), Simon Armitage, Barbara Nickel, Dennis Lee read at the Ottawa International Writers Festival 20 April 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Writers Fest We'd All Like to See

Samuel Beckett Meets Avril Lavigne

Remember the weblog post from last year's fest? You know the one: New Tradition...poets do their best Axl Rose dance during post-reading conversation.

Well, it's not quite Axl this year, but tie-wearing poet Sandra Alland has an old school Avril Lavigne moment on stage at the OIWF before the group conversation starts with CBC Radio host Alan Neal (left). Who will be next year's spring writers fest rock idol? Stay tuned here.

bill bissett

bill bissett can still make the ladies laugh.
I wonder what his secret is?
I like bill.

Sandra Alland

Writer, multimedia artist and activist Sandra Alland appeared at the OIWF on Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Joshua Key

Joshua Key on stage in Ottawa talking about his memoir The Deserter's Tale. He was in conversation with co-author Lawrence Hill. I found the conversation somewhat like that of a lawyer with his witness. The questions posed during the conversation seemed a bit too rehearsed, like Hill was leading and prompting Key to flesh out his story. It may have been that Mr. Key is still (rightly) reserved about the level of disturbing detail of his tour in Iraq which he could discuss in front of an audience.

In any event, their talk was really intense and compelling. Like Mr. Hill, I also first came upon Joshua's story on CBC radio last year and was absolutely riveted (and revolted) by what I had heard. It's doubtful that I'll pick up many books at the fest this year, but I rushed out to the book table and immediately bought a copy. If the conversation I originally heard on the radio and the feeling from last night's event was any indication, the book should prove equally enthralling a read. It's only Monday (second day of the fest) and this was certainly a highlight reading for me.

More information on Key and other asylum seekers

When Private First Class Joshua Key was shipped to Iraq, the US army combat engineer believed he was doing the right thing. "I left for Iraq with a purpose, thinking this was another Hitler deal," he said in a recent interview. "But there were no weapons of mass destruction. They had no military whatsoever. And I started to wonder." He served eight months in Iraq before going AWOL. Key arrived in Toronto in March of 2005, with his wife Brandi and their four young children. Asked what led him to desert, he says: "The atrocities that were happening to the innocent people of Iraq. I didn't want to be part of it no more. I came home and I deserted."

Benoît Duteurtre

Benoît Duteurtre on stage with Artistic Director of the OIWF, Sean Wilson.

From the French Embassy website:

"An anarchic and controversial figure in France, Benoit Duteurtre became a writer after Samuel Beckett praised his early work. Duteurtre went on to write 10 novels and win the coveted Prix Médicis, and has been acclaimed by Milan Kundera and media philosopher Guy Dubord alike. The great-grandson of French President René Coty, Duteurtre is also the host of his own radio talk show, “Astonish Me, Benoit.”

A successful novel in France, The little girl and the cigarette has been translated into 13 languages. The novel has been released in Finland, and in the United States in March 2007 (Melville House), and will be soon published in Italy, the United Kingdom, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Taiwan and Korea."

Monday, April 16, 2007

I Shook Barbara Gowdy's Hand

Author Barbara Gowdy raises a hand while making comments about her most recent novel, Helpless, on the second evening of the Ottawa International Writers Festival on 16 April 2007.

(Ed. note: This is the best cutline I could come up with at 11:45pm; sorry.) I debated whether or not to post her hand along with the headshot crop. I feel it's probably not the most flattering photo but it's one of the most interesting of the lot I took, thus I thought you might enjoy my take. So there you are, Barbara's hand...

Barbara Gowdy

Jeez! Enough of GWB photos, eh? [Oh, yes. GWB = Guys With Beards] With that in mind, I hope to post a very nice photo of one of my favourite authors Barbara Gowdy up on the ol' blog tonight.

George Murray

Bookninja literary blog co-founder, George Murray appeared in Ottawa Sunday April 15th, 2007. Mr. Murray, who still owes me a prize from my comic caption-winning entry from waaay back in June 2004, is a surprisingly witty fellow. The Bookninja dude is a natural on stage. Congrats to Amanda Earl of who hosted this event at the OIWF.

Poet Hijinks

**NEW **

L to R: George Murray of, rob 'bunny' mclennan of Ottawa, George 'bunny-maker' Bowering, and host Stephen Brockwell.

Friday, April 13, 2007


My brother, Ross, came down for an Easter visit last week.

My wee son, Matthew, happily sits with his Uncle Ross.

Kurt Vonnegut in Photos

Ottawa Writers Festival Spring 2007

Time to break some spines. Book bindings that is. The Ottawa Writers Festival starts this weekend. So, get your page-turning-thumbs down to the Library and Archives building to meet and listen to some of Canada's and the world's best literary figures. More info at the newly launched and rebranded webpage of the organizers:

I've got my camera batteries charged and four gigs of memory cards ready for action. Hope to get some photos for all of my blog reading fans who want to see the faces of their favourite authors in the flesh.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Man Booker International Prize 2

15 authors have made it on to the Judges’ List of Contenders for the second Man Booker International Prize. The writers come from 10 countries and four are writers in translation.

The Judges’ List was announced by the chair of judges, Professor Elaine Showalter, at a press conference held at Massey College, Toronto today (Thursday 12 April).

The 15 authors on the list are:
Chinua Achebe
Margaret Atwood
John Banville
Peter Carey
Don DeLillo
Carlos Fuentes
Doris Lessing
Ian McEwan
Harry Mulisch
Alice Munro
Michael Ondaatje
Amos Oz
Philip Roth
Salman Rushdie
Michel Tournier

The judging panel for the 2007 Man Booker International Prize is: Professor Elaine Showalter, academic and author; Nadine Gordimer, writer and novelist; and writer and academic, Colm Tóibin.

In announcing their list, the judges commented:
"With this list, we offer a gift to readers all over the world, an opportunity to join a conversation on 15 writers, diverse in nationality, language, themes and techniques, but united in their dedication to the power of the word."

101 Years of Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett would have turned 101 this Friday the 13th of April 2007.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Vimy Ridge Anniversary

Ottawa's National War Memorial just after midnight 9 April 2007 captured with a 30 second exposure.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Tim Flannery - Australian of the Year

Environmentalist and scientist, Tim Flannery has been recently named Australian of the Year for 2007. Flannery was in Ottawa last year at the invitation of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. You may read more about the award and view a video of the recipient online here.

The upcoming writers festival will have a spotlight on the environment again this year by presenting such authors as David Suzuki, William H. Kemp, Thomas F. Pawlick, and Bridget Stutchbury.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton's appearance in Ottawa April 4, 2007 marked a limited number of Canadian cities he visited since he covered the Juno Awards on his gossip blog this past week in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The fabulous and infamous celebrity-gossip-blogger Perez Hilton (aka Mario Lavandeira) entertained a throng of mostly young ladies tonight at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

Perez Hilton's f-bomb filled talk was not for the faint of heart as he 'dissed' all the Hollywood celebs as expected but announced that he loves Canada's Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette. "Hollywood's Most-Hated Web Site" "Celebrity Juice, Not from Concentrate"

Please do not steal these photos for your publication online or in print -- you will be invoiced for their use.