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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Robert Fontaine

Robert Fontaine, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

You've heard him on CBC Radio One. You've read his book, "Movies Ate My Brain". You've had the chance to meet him in public...he's *the* Robert Fontaine, of course.

Fantastic film reviews are what you've come to know and love on the radio. He has collected 50 of the best in his 2006 book published by Penumbra Press. He appeared live and in the flesh to an appreciative crowd at the Dusty Owl Reading series 28 October 2007. He was about to sing some Neil Diamond karaoke at the old school microphone but we drew the line there...

Recent Photo Sales

I have to admit it's neat being a small part of the Ottawa literary crowd. At least I like to think I am part of it. The cool part is seeing my photographs on several books in one place at the recently held Ottawa International Writers Festival. My photos were on rob mclennan's Aubade (Broken Jaw Press), Oni The Haitian Sensation's Ghettostocracy (a Globe & Mail Book of the Year) published by McGilligan Books, Monty Reid's Disappointment Island (2007 Ottawa Book Award winner) published by Chaudiere Books, and on Stephen Brockwell's recently published book the real made up, by ECW Press.

Additionally, I have pitched a photo to accompany an upcoming article in The New Yorker Magazine. As far as I know, the article has not been written yet but they do pay a research fee for the photo contact sheet that I sent to them (that's so professional of them, isn't it?). Even more recently, I have made some photo sales since the fall edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival:

a Thomas Homer-Dixon promo photo; a Jacob Berkowitz promo photo; a Derek Olive promo photo from his Musicycle Tour this past September; Quill & Quire magazine will be re-running one of my Liz Hay photos in their 2007 round-up issue this December; Monty Reid, again, for an author photo for his upcoming book published by Brick Books; and rob mclennan's upcoming book will feature some of my photos in Ottawa: The Unknown City by Arsenal Pulp Press.

If anyone else out there needs some photos do not hesitate to contact me. I am up for some more creative work and hope I can help out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Isabel Allende & José Ruano

In the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, where Allende was the guest of the Chilean Embassy in Canada, the writer read from her latest book “Ines of My Soul.” This story is inspired by a sixteenth century Spanish woman, Ines de Suarez, who flees her homeland for the New World where she begins a fiery love affair with Pedro de Valdivia, a Spanish conqueror.

Audience members had a chance to meet Isabel Allende, who now resides in the United States, in the National Gallery of Canada. She was introduced by Professor José Ruano of the University of Ottawa this evening, 23 October 2007.

more photos available here:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stack 'em Up Max

Stack 'em Up Max, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

And now for something completely different. The lovely (and evil) author Clare Latremouille taught us a little game where the gist of it is to stack as many things on a cat until the point is reached when the cat is pissed off and scratches someone. I think she named the game, "Stack 'em up cats" or something like this.

In this case, in the hospitality suite of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, rob and Clare had no cat...there was, however, the poet Max Middle at their disposal.

(We would never ever actually do this to a cat, of course.)

The game "Stack 'em up Max" was born. An empty pack of cigarette rolling paper started off the game, then came some vegetable dip, a napkin, some Steamwhistle beer bottle caps, a couple of slices of crusty herbed baguette, a hotel breakfast menu, all topped off by a few slices of brocolli stems (cut by Max Middle himself earlier that evening). rob mclennan, fresh in from Edmonton, forced me to take a photo. I happily obliged. Max was very docile (probably more than a cat) and did not end up scratching anyone I am happy to report.

Ottawa Writers Festival Fall 2007

I have been posting some Ottawa International Writers Festival photos on the past few days. There will be more to come in the next day or two.

See other reports by Marcus McCann (here), Amanda Earl (here), Charles Earl (here, here, here, here), Pearl Pirie (here, here)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Step Into Stories

Yesterday and today, as part of the Step Into Stories, Ottawa's Festival for Young Readers, I had the pleasure to introduce three awesome children's authors: JC Sulzenko (Boot Crazy), Kenneth Oppel (Dark Wing), and Jacob Berkowitz (Jurassic Poop). Having brought my own son to the Ottawa launch for Boot Crazy I knew the older kids attending her reading were in for a treat. They were not disappointed! JC has a special rapport with the children that takes a special talent I wish I could tap into. It was great to see her in action in front of an audience.

After JC's reading I was off to Hopewell School to host the afternoon event for Keneth Oppel. 'Rock star' was a phrase that was often bandied about in discussion afterwards. He wowed the over 400 screaming kids in their school's huge gymnasium. This was a very large and exciting event for all. The teachers ensured everything ran rather smoothly and big thanks go to them. Nice to see him answer so many questions from a very inquisitive young crowd.

And as of this morning, I have just returned from Jacob Berkowitz's fantastic and informative poop presentation. His delightful reading garnered the participation of all the students as they all became honorary poop detectives. They were taught to use clues to discover the mystery of 'who dung it'. Berkowitz gave a lively performance as he played the role of "Chief Bottom, Dung Detective" in the 5th Ave. Court of Kaleidoscope Kids' Books. (Fantastic bookstore by the way, run by three very enthusiastic and charming ladies Karin, Kim and Kelly.) Berkowitz's study of fossil feces completely enthralled a class of gifted students from Mutchmore Public School, and I would highly suggest to any teacher that they book him for your very own class or school event.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Constable Christopher Worden

Fallen Hero

Fallen Hero, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

RCMP Funeral for Constable Christopher Worden 1977-2007, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa.

RCMP Funeral of Constable Christopher Worden

The ceremony took place 15 October 2007, Ottawa, Ontario at the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

George Johnston

George Johnston, Endeared By Dark: The Collected Poems

Saturday, October 13, 2007

2007 Ottawa Book Awards

Monty Reid, who won the year's Lampman Scott Award for 2007 (and finalist for the English Fiction category) chats it up before the ceremony with his fellow writers Colin Morton (a jury member for the English Fiction category), and Mark Frutkin (recent winner of the Trillium Book Award for his novel Fabrizio’s Return.)

Charlotte Gray in conversation during the VIP meet and greet. Charlotte snapped up the award for the 2007 Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction for her book Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell. Graham Fraser (center) was a finalist for his book, Sorry, I Don't Speak French.

In the fiction category, author Janet Lunn won for her book A Rebel's Daughter. In the French fiction category Daniel Poliquin picked up the win for his book La Kermesse. There was no award given this year for a non-fiction French book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Little Brown Reader

FYI, I just completed a deal which will have my photo of author Anar Ali on the cover of The Little, Brown Reader, 11th edition. This literary anthology, primarily used as a college text in the US, is edited by Marcia Stubbs, Sylvan Barnet, William E. Cain. New York : Pearson/Longman Publishers, 2009. The projected publication date, according to the Library of Congress citation, is January 2008. [ISBN: 0205589669]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

H.R.H. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Ottawa's National Capital Commission (NCC) welcomed His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex to the Captial of Canada 11 October 2007 during a special public event which celebrated Queen Victoria's decision to nominate Ottawa as the Capital of Canada 150 years ago.

Purchase this print!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

me again

John W. MacDonald, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Sisters Karin and Kathy Kettler of the Inuit musical duo Nukariik put the final touches on their forthcoming CD. They recorded their music in Ottawa's prestigious Raven Street Studios. I had the absolute pleasure of spending a couple of hours with them last weekend at this recording. Check out their website for some fantastic demos of their music.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rest In (Peace Tower)

A view from the Parliament Hill Peace Tower. Couldn't really blame them. It was a warm October afternoon today.

Covering Conflict

Here is a powerful photographic slide show essay produced by the Magnum Group well worth watching. It's narrated by Robin Lustig of BBC World Service. The chosen photographic images tell the stories of pain, grief, fear and death. But Lustig believes that images of conflict can also be about 'hope and strength and courage'.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Elizabeth Hay

Elizabeth Hay, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

One of my favourite photos from this summer's photo-shoot with Liz Hay. She launched her most recent novel "Late Nights on Air" at the Library and Archives of Canada, 2 October 2007. She is also a recent nominee for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Reevely, A Fan

For a second time in as many months the Ottawa Citizen's David Reevely profiled my photo of "John Metcalf, C.M." in his 'Greater Ottawa blog'.

Reevely states that "John W. MacDonald, who thus far is contributing the best photos of people to the Greater Ottawa photopool. Somebody kindly give him a run for his money. "Author John Metcalf launched his latest memoir 'Shut Up He Explained' at the Manx Pub in Ottawa, Saturday 29 September 2007," John captions."

Again, thanks for the nice words, David. Now, about the money...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Anna Porter, O.C.

Anna Porter, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

an evening with Anna Porter, 1 October 2007.

From OIWF blurb:
"The true, heart-wrenching tale of Hungary's own Oskar Schindler, a lawyer and journalist named Rezsö Kasztner who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during the last chaotic days of World War II—and the ultimate price he paid."

Vera Kovesi (in focus) spoke with emotion from the audience during the Q&A portion of the Anna Porter Reading. She thanked Anna Porter for her book which answered some important questions she had for over 63 years since she was a 12-year-old girl on one of Kasztner's trains in 1944.

2007 Sunburst Award

The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of its 2007 award is Fabrizio's Return by Mark Frutkin. Congratulations, Mark.

Eleanor Wachtel, C.M.

Eleanor Wachtel, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Eleanor Wachtel appeared at a pre-writers festival event to launch her book, "RANDOM ILLUMINATIONS: ELEANOR WACHTEL ON CAROL SHIELDS ". The event on 30 September 2007 was hosted by CPAC'S Ken Rockburn.