Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thank you...

Erin Bow reading from her latest work, Plain Kate
at the Elora Writers' Festival, May 27, 2012

"The 19th Elora Writers' Festival was held in Aboyne on May 27th. It was, in all ways, a success. The diverse line-up featuring young adult novelist and poet Erin Bow, crime novelist Howard Shrier, historical novelist Keith Ross Leckie, poet Carolyn Smart, How the Scots Invented Canada author Ken McGoogan and novelist Robert Hough (pronounced Huff) entertained a crowded room of avid readers. All authors were happy to sign copies of their books during the intermission and following the event.
     Those guests who stayed for dinner were treated to an excellent meal catered by Frabert's. In this intimate setting patrons were afforded an opportunity to break bread with the various authors and the meal was followed by a unique question and answer period.
     The Elora Writers' Festival Committee would like to thank all of the volunteers, the writing competition judges, the authors, sponsors and the patrons who made this event such a memorable success. Next year will be the 20th Elora Writers' Festival and the 10th Elora Writers' Festival Writing Competition. Expect some big announcements leading up to next year's event. Winners of the 9th Elora Writers' Festival Writing Competition were announced on this site (here...) on Saturday May 26th with winners from as close as Elora to as far away as Mumbai, India.
     Congratulations to all our winners and everyone who took the opportunity to put pen to paper and send in their story."
— David Beynon, (Elora Writers' Festival Committee)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Winners of the 2012 EWF Writing Competition

Finally! Here they are: the winners of the 2012 Elora Writers’ Festival Writing Competition.

Prizes are awarded only for first, second and third place in each category.  Although the judges have also acknowledged other works that stood out from the crowd, there is no prize associated with these Honourable Mentions.  Thanks again to our sponsors: the Elora Arts Council, the Community Resource Centre of North and Centre Wellington, and Writer’s Life blog.

Any winners who are at the Festival on Sunday, May 27 (1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Wellington County Museum and Archives, 0536 Country Road 18, Centre Wellington) will receive their prize at the intermission. Young writers are welcome to drop in during the intermission (approximately 2:00pm-2:30pm) to attend the prize presentation.  But don’t worry: if you can’t attend, your prize will be mailed to you.

Again, congratulations to all writers for putting your creativity on display – and for making the effort to support our Festival and writing competition. Stay tuned to this site for information about next year’s competition – our tenth!

Jean Mills, Contest Chair

Category 1 (Age 20+)

Story (Judge: Sharon Blomfield)

1. Michael Joll                        Brampton                   With Regret
2. Chuck Lovatt                      Carroll, MB                 A
3. Namrata Tilokani              Brampton                   The Sun-Kissed Roads
HM Donna Gamache             MacGregor, MB          Return to the River
HM Vania Selvaggi                Toronto                      The Cockleshells of Marilyn

Poetry (Judge: Adrian Hoad-Reddick)

1. Mary Ellen Sullivan           Halifax NS                  From This Place
2. Anna Bowen                      Guelph                        Falkland
3. Laurel Armstrong              Goderich                     Map by Sun and Moon
HM Tracie Klaehn                 Kitchener                   Abigail
HM Erik Mortenson              Guelph                        We Are Canadian?               

Category 2 (Age 15-19)

Story (Judge: Heather Debling)

1. Isobel McHattie                 Puslinch                     Rabid
2. Yunshu Luo                       Chesterfield MO        Taped
3. Madelle Krucker               Guelph                        Underground           
HM Ioana Grosu                    Troy MI                      Passing Trains
HM Yunshu Luo                    Chesterfield MO        Schumann Recordings Don’t
                                                                                    Always Have to be Heard

Poetry (Judge: Keri-Lyn Durant)

1. Rich Larson                        Edmonton AB             I Am Orpheus
2. Kyla Craig                          Guelph                        An Evolution
3. Anisha Datta                      Hollsboro OR              Phoenix
HM Jessica Davies                 Guelph                        The Years are Greedy
HM Ioanna Malton                Waterloo                    Insane Immortals

Category 3 (Age 12-14)

Story (Judge: Heather Wright)

1. Luke M. Stacey                   Cathlamet, WA           To the Top
2. Max Horne                         Burlington ON           Journey to Nowhere
3. Madeline Cuillerier              Ottawa                        A Puddle of Laughter
HM Raven Griffin                  Maryhill                      My Journey
HM Hadley Cornelious          Camlachie                  Coming Home

Poetry (Judge: Kira Vermond)

1. Luke Stacey                     Cathlamet WA           Impact
2. Lara Kahn                        Guelph                        To the Boy
3. Marc-Andre Blanchard     La Prairie, PQ              Journey of Hope       
HM Emily Oakes                  Guelph                        Journey Through the Pony
HM Lara Kahn                     Guelph                        I Wish I Could Tell You

Category 4 (age 11 and under)

Story (Judge: Lisa MacColl)

1. Finnegan Hunter-O’Connor     Kitchener               The Hydra Chronicles:
Mystery of The Titanic
2. Alice Kennedy                         Elora                      Gore   
3. Elana Oakes                             Elora                      Orphans Preferred
HM Ted A. Stacey                      Cathlamet WA       Journey to the Dragon’s Lair
HM Isaac Bergstrom                    Eora PS                 The Adventure of a Peanut
HM Symon Elkas                        Elora PS                 The Sneaky Kangaroo

Poetry (Judge: Carey Gallagher)

1. Isabella Taylor              Austin TX                   Antigone
2. Venika Vachani            Andheri, Mumbai      A Journey
3. Joshua Doupe               Belwood                     Sea Journey
HM Jonah Doupe             Belwood               Up, Up and Away                             

Friday, May 25, 2012

Come and be read to... Carolyn Smart

"Carolyn Smart’s first four collections of poetry and her prizewinning memoir, At the End of the Day, all drew on her own life for inspiration. In her most recent collection, Hooked, she turned instead to the lives of others, brilliantly recreating the voices of seven famous or infamous women, each born between the First and Second World Wars, each beset by obsession and addiction. According to poet Anne Michaels, Carolyn acts as 'a deeply feeling and deeply attentive witness,' for these seven women. [...]
     Carolyn’s first collection of poetry appeared in 1981. Since then, she’s published five books, including Stoning the Moon and The Way to Come Home. Her poems have appeared in over 150 magazines and anthologies, she’s been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award, and in 1993 she won the personal essay category of the CBC Literary Contest."
Kingston Writers Fest

From: Canadian Poetry Online

For more about Carolyn Smart and all the other fine Canadian writers who will be joining us on Sunday, May 27 go here...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Come and be read to... Howard Shrier

Photo: Harriet Wichin, Random House

"Great detective novels operate on the assumption that any average citizen may have calamity waiting around the next corner. And when calamity strikes, that citizen will need to find a champion with the savvy, skill and strength to set the world right again. Howard Shrier, a mystery writer who was born and raised in Montreal and currently lives in Toronto, knows plenty about surprises. 'I started out as a crime reporter at the Montreal Star in 1979,' he says. 'Every day is a complete mystery. You never know what will happen, good or bad, at any given time.'
     It is this sense of mystery and fascination with the unexpected that inspired Shrier to leave a lucrative job in corporate communications to complete his first mystery novel, Buffalo Jump, published in 2008.    The novel features the Jewish detective Jonah Geller, a martial arts expert hyper aware that his mother would have preferred him to have taken on a more traditional profession – like medicine or law.
     Though Geller is an atheist, he names his business World Repairs Detective Agency, a play on the Hebrew phrase tikkun olam, the moral imperative to heal the world."
The Gazette

"PDD: You were a police reporter. I think most of us have the old movie image of some guy in a battered hat and trench coat who is either not going to make waves in the police department or is a young, hot blood out to expose police corruption. What does a police reporter really do?
Howard Shrier: I joined the Montreal Star (sadly, now defunct) in 1979, just before I graduated journalism school. And the place they would stick green rookies like me was the police desk. It was a fascinating job in many ways. [...]"
— Howard Shrier in conversation with mystery blog, Poe's Deadly Daughters

For more about Howard Shrier and all the other fine Canadian writers who will be joining us on Sunday, May 27 go here...

It's not too late for dinner...

Menu blank from: Candlelight Caterers

If you act now, there's still a chance to turn an afternoon of sitting back and being read to by some of Canada's finest writers into a truly landmark experience—a stroll in the Victorian Garden of the Wellington County Museum & Archives with a glass of wine; a opportunity to get to know the authors, really get to know them; fine hors d’oeurves; gentle jazz to complement the mood... all topped off with in a tranquil yet stimulating few hours of fine dining and rollicking conversation.
     Get your dinner tickets here... There's still time: $70.00 per person. The Readings are included in the ticket price, so you're saving $17.50 right off the bat.
     And that $70.00 price per person also includes tax, gratuity and wine.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Source image: lost.net

Master storyteller Alfred Hitchock knows that books, like movies, must draw the viewer/reader into the fictive dream with deft pacing, flawless characterization and an engaging story.
     But a plot can twist and happy endings can turn on a heel into tragedy and disappontment.
     As far as the Elora Writers' Festival is concerned, Mr. Hitchock has left nothing to chance. His dinner tickets are already reserved—in fact, he booked them weeks ago—and as Sunday, May 27 draws nearer (only five days to go) dinner tickets are becoming as scarce as bird's teeth.
     To guarantee a place at the table, call now: 519-843-4391

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Come and be read to... Ken McGoogan

"Ken McGoogan is the author of four Canadian bestsellers about the search for the Northwest Passage, all of which have been published internationally: Fatal Passage, Ancient Mariner, Lady Franklin’s Revenge, and Race to the Polar Sea.
     His awards include the Pierre Berton Award for History, the Writers’ Trust of Canada Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award, the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography, and an American Christopher Award for a work of artistic excellence that 'affirms the highest values of the human spirit.' Ken made a cameo appearance in the BBC docudrama based on his book Fatal Passage.
     He serves as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and sails in the Northwest Passage as a resource historian with Adventure Canada. Ken reviews books for The Globe and Mail, writes a column for Canada's History magazine [...]"
from his blog

About his latest book:
"How the Scots Invented Canada provides a pleasurable way to get to know many of the most colourful men and women in our history. [...] and your name doesn’t have to begin with Mc or Mac to savour this book."
The Globe and Mail

"My favourite Scottish holiday tradition has long been The Ba. That’s the lunatic game the Orcadian Scots play at Christmas and New Year’s. A couple of hundred players, mostly young men, take over the streets of Kirkwall and participate in this rugby-like game that involves carrying a cork-filled leather ball, 'the ba,' either up the main street or down it. Each team has dozens of players, no limit, and some of them harbour grudges. But the main difference from rugby is that there are no rules – none.
     Anything goes. So maybe I should clarify. I love the idea of someone else participating in The Ba, whose disputed origins are lost in the mists of time. But no, I cannot recommend that tradition to Canadians who wish to embrace the Scottish dimension of the holiday season that is almost upon us. I am thinking mainly of my one-year-old grandson, James Jerzy McGoogan (pictured below), to whom I dedicated my book How the Scots Invented Canada. Do I want him ever to play in The Ba? No, I do not."
— Ken McGoogan, The Savvy Reader

Listen to Ken McGoogan here in conversation about How the Scots Invented Canada with Shelagh Rogers on her CBC radio programme The Next Chapter.

For more about Ken McGoogan and all the other fine Canadian writers who will be joining us on Sunday, May 27 go here...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Setting, Setting, Setting

From: netgiant

"The Kings Point estate said to have been the inspiration for the West Egg mansion in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has sold, according to a press release by the real estate firm that listed the property.
     The price has not yet been made public. Neither has the name of the buyer.
     John Handler last owned the home, known as the Brickman estate. Handler was found dead there in 2008; he was 57. His wife, Jennifer Eley-Handler, who was principal pianist for the Long Island Philharmonic, died two years earlier in an accident.
     On the market since September 2010, the 20-acre property was most recently listed for $39.5 million."
— Lisa Doll Bruno, The Miami Herald

For more details about the property, go here...

From: Sherlockipedia

"221B Baker Street is the London address of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the United Kingdom, postal addresses with a number followed by a letter may indicate a separate address within a larger, often residential building. Baker Street in Holmes' time was a high-class residential district, and Holmes' apartment was probably part of a Georgian terrace.
     At the time the Holmes stories were published, addresses in Baker Street did not go as high as 221. Baker Street was later extended, and in 1932 the Abbey National Building Society moved into premises at 219–229 Baker Street. For many years, Abbey National employed a full-time secretary to answer mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes. In 1990, a blue plaque signifying 221B Baker Street was installed at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, situated elsewhere on the same block, and there followed a 15-year dispute between Abbey National and the Holmes Museum for the right to receive mail addressed to 221B Baker Street. Since the closure of Abbey House in 2005, ownership of the address by the Holmes Museum has not been challenged, despite its location between 237 and 241 Baker Street."

Maurice Sendak: June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012

"DANBURY, Conn. — Maurice Sendak, the children's book author and illustrator who saw the sometimes-dark side of childhood in books like Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, died early Tuesday. He was 83. Longtime friend and caretaker Lynn Caponera said she was with him when Sendak died at a hospital in Danbury, Conn. She said he had a stroke on Friday. Where the Wild Things Are earned Sendak a prestigious Caldecott Medal for the best children's book of 1964 and became a hit movie in 2009. President Bill Clinton awarded Sendak a National Medal of the Arts in 1996 for his vast portfolio of work."
— AP (via Huffington Post)

Se a related post (Paper Rocks) about Maurice Sendak here...

And buy all of his books here...

Getting the Girl

"Many people, generally those who have never read the book, consider Wuthering Heights to be a straightforward, if intense, love story — Romeo and Juliet on the Yorkshire Moors. But this is a mistake. Really the story is one of revenge. It follows the life of Heathcliff, a mysterious gypsy-like person, from childhood (about seven years old) to his death in his late thirties. Heathcliff rises in his adopted family and then is reduced to the status of a servant, running away when the young woman he loves decides to marry another. He returns later, rich and educated and sets about gaining his revenge on the two families that he believed ruined his life."
The Reader's Guide to Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”

"[...] Well, you have to keep in mind that what we [men] learn as kids is really hard to deprogram as an adult. And what we learned as kids is that we males are each owed, and will eventually be awarded, a beautiful woman.
     We were told this by every movie, TV show, novel, comic book, video game and song we encountered. When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl, John McClane gets his ex-wife back, Keanu "Speed" Reeves gets Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, the hero in Avatar gets the hottest Na'vi, Shrek gets Fiona, Bill Murray gets Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, Frodo gets Sam, WALL-E gets EVE ... and so on. Hell, at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, Richard Gere walks into the lady's workplace and just carries her out like he's picking up a suit at the dry cleaner. [...]
     With Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling played with the convention by having the beautiful girl get awarded to the sidekick character Ron, but she made it a central conflict in the story that Ron is constantly worried that, since Harry is the main character, Hermione will be awarded to him instead. In each case, the woman has no say in this — compatibility doesn't matter, prior relationships don't matter, nothing else factors in. If the hero accomplishes his goals, he is awarded his favorite female. Yes, there will be dialogue that maybe makes it sound like the woman is having doubts, and she will make noises like she is making the decision on her own. But we, as the audience, know that in the end the hero will 'get the girl,' just as we know that at the end of the month we're going to 'get our paycheck.' Failure to award either is breaking a societal contract. The girl can say what she wants, but we all know that at the end, she will wind up with the hero, whether she knows it or not."
— David Wong, Cracked.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Use short sentences."

"This month, The Toronto Star released The Hemingway Papers consisting of more than seventy original Hemingway articles presented in news-print form exactly as they appeared in the newspaper over ninety years ago. Complete with vintage adverts and comics, I dare any man or woman to unearth a relic of journalism so fine as this.
     It was not until prying open the over-sized daily (adorned with a blow up of Hemingway’s 1923 passport photo) that I came to discover a certain pattern, a cipher if you will, in the technical arch of the man’s Pulitzer Prize winning writing style.
     Ernest Hemingway was a negative guy. He was a fine writer, sure, but not exactly the portrait of a buoyant disposition. He entered the feral arena of news writing by way of The Kansas City Star during his late teens. The daily had a specific ‘style guide’ to which their writers must adhere: 'Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative.'"
— Jeff Campagna, Sabotage Times

You can buy this collection here...

Success decoded

Plot lines
by Johanna Kamradt

 For a closer look at how to untangle the predilections of the Booker Prize jury, go here...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Come and be read to... Keith Ross Leckie

Go here for more about Keith Ross Leckie and all the other fine Canadian writers who will be joining us on Sunday, May 27 for a stimulating afternoon of readings, fine wine, delectable victuals and all-round good fun.

Reserve you dinner tickets here...

A Classic Adaptation Honoured

Gregory Peck and Harper Lee (from: ZAP2it)

"US President Barack Obama hosted a screening of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' a classic tale of racial injustice, at the White House on Thursday [April 5], ahead of a 50th anniversary television screening. [...]
     Guests included Veronique Peck, widow of the late Gregory Peck — who starred as lawyer Atticus Finch and would have been 96 years old Thursday — and Mary Badham Wilt, the actress who played Scout in the film. [...]
     'I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I’m proud to know that Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on in a world that needs him now more than ever,' Lee said."
The Nation

Saturday, May 5, 2012

After the Fact

'Kate Summerscale was working on the obituaries desk at the Daily Telegraph when she came across the life of Marion Barbara Carstairs. Joe Carstairs, as she was known, was an eccentric heiress who earned the sobriquet 'the fastest woman on water' for motorboat racing, before withdrawing from public life to become ruler of the Bahamian island of Whale Cay. She had more than 100 girlfriends, but was to remain devoted until her death to an outsized doll, whom she christened Lord Tod Wadley. So unusual and intriguing was this story, Summerscale found that she 'wanted to fill in the delicate gaps that characterise obituaries, name the oddities suggested but left respectfully – or wryly – untouched.' The result was her first book The Queen of Whale Cay (pronounced 'key'), published in 1997, when she was in her early 30s. [...]

    Summerscale describes herself as 'a journalist playing historian, and then trying to convert what I've found into something that approximates a novel'. As a child – her father was a diplomat and her childhood was spent abroad, in Japan and then Chile – she thought 'writing novels would be the best thing ever to do.' After attending Bedales boarding school, she studied English at Oxford, and became 'more realistic about writing,' going to Stanford in California to study a communications MA. Back in London, she began work as a subeditor on the Independent in its early glory days, when colleagues included Sebastian Faulks, literary editor at the time, and Allison Pearson.

     But it was the obits job on the Telegraph that really shaped her as a writer: 'It was a bit like being a biographer in brief – every day you'd write somebody's biography, writing in this very assured and often cheeky way about a completely different generation. The anonymity of the form gave you real freedom.' It also gave her an appetite for foraging in the newspaper archives: 'I loved getting the files down, forgotten fragments of people's lives – and they are fragments, because it is just the moments that they emerged into public view. It was fantastic fun to piece it all together and make stories out of it.'"
—Lisa Allardice, The Guardian

"Gustave Flaubert’s great novel Madame Bovary was published in France in 1857, after a notorious obscenity trial, but for almost 30 years no English publisher dared touch the book. An anonymous reviewer in a London paper described its principal character – an unhappy provincial wife who betrays her husband and then kills herself – as 'one of the most essentially disgusting' characters in literature. Women such as Emma Bovary, he wrote, threatened to destroy society from within. He reassured his readers that there was no danger that ; 'our novelists' would outrage public decency as Flaubert had done.
     My new book, Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace, tells the story of an English Madame Bovary, a dissatisfied, well-to-do wife called Isabella Robinson who became infatuated with a series of young men. Like Emma Bovary, Isabella was tormented by her desires – sexual, intellectual, romantic – and longed to escape her arid, loveless marriage. In the years that Flaubert was composing his novel, from 1851 to 1856, Isabella was writing a private diary detailing the miseries of her domestic life and the bliss of her erotic encounters. Her personal narrative came to an end in 1856, the year Flaubert finished Madame Bovary, when her husband read and confiscated the diary."
— Kate Summerscale, Financial Times

Get these books here...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Parisian Surrealists Tristan Tzara, Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, Hans Arp, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Rene Crevel, and Man Ray, (Paris, 1933)... our poster distribution network transcends both time and space.
Source image from: Library of Congress

Bob Hope wishes he hadn't confirmed that gig for Sunday, May 27 ("Live on NBC, from the ballroom of the River Styx Supper Club, it's... Bob Hope!").
     According to Walter Winchell (dee deet.. da.. deet deet...) he would love to just sneak back over the border (the one with the Pearly Gates) and hang out at the Elora Writers' Festival this year.
     Get your tickets here before Bob extends an ectoplasmic hand from the Great Beyond and scarfs them all.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing's on the Wall

"This is a story about the end of the gatekeeper. About the movement spreading throughout media, from which book publishing is hardly exempt, as readers of Harry Potter, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have made all too clear.
     It’s about the reading public – the great unwashed, the hoi polloi – no longer letting tastemakers decide what’s worth reading. It’s about the masses seizing the means of publication.
     Publishing is an injured beast, but it was mortally wounded before Amazon attacked. And the injuries themselves are partly self-inflicted.
     The proof? The vast majority of top-heavy legacy publishers’ books – agented, edited, sales-managed, otherwise massaged, and only then published – tank, sinking with nary a trace. Conversely, some books, refused by dozens of publishers, go on to achieve rock stardom when some kindly soul finally deigns to bring them to market.
     Which means only one thing: Despite their vast education, experience and good taste, publishers have only about a quarter of a clue what the public really wants. For publishers, it’s 'the end of the world as they know it.'"
— Beverly Akerman, The Globe and Mail