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    The 'Nook Program Picks

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you've been anywhere near a library in the last week you've no doubt encountered the new, thicker than usual Program Guides outlining all of the wonderful ways to connect with us this Fall. For writers, no matter what stage you're at, no matter what genre you find yourself drawn to, the Library has the inspiration, guidance, and expertise to help keep your projects moving forward.

    September will feature a visit from Calgary's Poet Laureate, the kick-off of our Writer In Residence service, and a team of U of C researchers coming to crack codes of science fiction. In October two fantastic Calgary authors launch new books at Memorial Park. In November it's all about Walls, as local author Marcello Di Cintio's 'Travels Along the Barricades' has been chosen for One Book One Calgary.

    Here are the Nook's top programming picks for Fall 2014:

    An Evening with Poet Laureate derek beaulieu

    (see page 8)

    An evening of poetry, art, and the unexpected. Poet Laureate derek beaulieu shares his experiences combining poetry and art.

    Friday, September 26

    REGISTER

    Creative Writing Club

    (see page 50)

    A monthly meeting of aspiring writers.

    Engage in fun exercises and share your writing.

    Starts September 8

    REGISTER

    NaNoWriMo Workshops: Dynamic Dialogue & Striking Settings

    (see page 48)

    Learn how to make your characters sound less like robots and more like real people and write conversations that you'd actually want to listen to.

    Learn how to bring background details alive and make your settings sparkle.

    Saturday, October 25

    REGISTER

    Inside A Good Sentence

    (see page 49)

    One good sentence after another. Like rogue waves, rogue sentences roil with energy, their whole greater than the sum of their parts.

    Saturday, October 25

    REGISTER

    From the Authors: Marcello Di Cintio and Rosemary Nixon

    (see page 28)

    One Book One Calgary author Marcello Di Cintio and 2014 Writer In Residence, Rosemary Nixon, as they discuss the similarities and differences of writing fiction and non-fiction and how they capture the attention of readers of both genres.

    Saturday, November 15

    REGISTER

    After You've Gone

    (see page 50)

    Lori Hahnel launches her new novel, After You've Gone. The story of a Regina jazz guitarist and her Seattle record producer granddaughter.

    Thursday, October 9

    Motherwild

    (see page 50)

    Ken Rivard launches his tenth book, Motherwild, a work of beauty, a coming-of-age story and the eventual healing of a mother-son relationship.

    Thursday, October 2

    Download the full Program Guide PDF.

    You can also register over the phone. Call 403-260-2620.

    Rosemary Nixon

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    September through the end of November is a special time at Memorial Park Library. For three glorious months Calgary Public Library cardholders have access to the guidance and expertise of their very own Writer in Residence. If you haven't taken advantage of this wonderful service in the past, go directly to our 2014 Writer-in-Residence page to meet this year's resident - Rosemary Nixon.

    Not only does this program offer Calgary's aspiring writers free manuscript consultation, but also ninety days of public programs designed to inspire, teach, and connect. Registration for Rosemary's workshops, presentations, and readings will begin next Monday, August 18, and are likely going to fill up quick.

    For individual manuscript consultation, we can begin submitting work at Memorial Park Library after September 1, according to the submission guidelines. Two weeks later, on Thursday, September 18, join us for the 2014 Writer in Residence "Welcome & Program Launch" as we kick things off at historic Memorial Park Library. Starting at 7 p.m. Rosemary will read from a selection of her works and outline plans for her residency. A reception will follow.

    As always with the delicate act of absorbing writing wisdom from a professional, knowing a teacher's work will multiply a student's grasp by inordinate amounts. To get the most out of this year's Writer in Residence, here's your homework:

    Are You Ready to be Lucky?

    Are You Ready to Be Lucky? If so, meet Roslyn, a spirited divorcée eager for new beginnings.

    Meet Duncan, a British conman with a penchant for collecting ex-wives. Meet Floyd, a hard-living contractor who can fix anyone’s house but his own. Irritating, vulnerable, hopeful, they ricochet off one another, trailing a mess of family and friends, all of them trying to beat the odds and find happiness. With razor-sharp wit, Rosemary Nixon takes on the chaos and absurdity of friendship, marriage, divorce, and betrayal—and the heart-pounding, breathtaking, always astonishing complexities of luck and love.

    Kalila

    Kalila chronicles the lives of Maggie and Brodie, whose joy collides with devastation when their daughter’s birth also heralds the news of her congenital heart condition.

    In this startlingly inventive novel, Rosemary Nixon braids light and darkness into a narrative chain pulled exquisitely taut. Through Maggie and Brodie’s shifting viewpoints; the isolating impenetrability of hospital life; and the mediation of physics, music, and family, Nixon propels the reader into unmapped emotional terrain where a shell-shocked family grapples with the horror, joy, and mystery of impermanence. The result is a spellbinding tale, provocative for the emotions and the intellect.

    The Cock's Egg

    Magic and witchcraft are as much a part of the African landscape as are ghostly white egrets fluttering into blue jungle clearings, or copper-coloured frangipani blossoms growing against white-washed mud walls. Dislocation, isolation, and desire are hauntingly encompassed in these wonderful stories of Canadians living in a foreign landscape. And always the witchcraft of the cock’s egg shapes myths, permeates lives, and maps a country whose changing face finds its inhabitants stealing power through the transformation of the body.

    *Available only in Central Library's CHFH Local History room.

    Mostly Country

    With this first collection of short stories, Rosemary Nixon’s Wadden joins Manawaka and Agassiz on the landscape of Canadian fiction. Wadden, where farm and town, church and post office draw the limits of experience and escape. In prose of unnerving clarity, the individual lives of interwoven families unfold and overlap. There are: Fay Leichty, who lives at the very centre of the community in shamed silence; Kevin McClancy, unable to cross the boundaries of the Mennonite church and family; Rita Steckley, who during an encounter with a boy and the town tough, discovers the cruelties of desire. And many more. Through memory, through fantasy, through differing versions of events and places as far away as Zaire, Mostly Country creates the people of Wadden. A reading experience to be enjoyed.

    *Available only in Central Library's CHFH Local History room.

    *book summaries lifted off rosemarynixon.com

    The 'P' Word

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Tell someone you're a "writer" and there's a 99% chance you will encounter the same exact series of questions from whoever you're talking to.

    "What do you write?"

    "Uhh... fiction?"

    "Oh. Have you p******** anything?"

    For most unpublished writers the answer to this comes out as a sigh, followed by some mumbled list of unquantifiable chapbooks or blog work or estimate on the number of rejection letters piling up in the bottom drawer. Whether or not the validation of that 'P' word is important is entirely subjective but like any other career path becoming a writer is subject to the tired catch-22 of experience. I can't get p******** because I have no CV. My CV is empty because I haven't been p********.

    Breaking this cycle usually requires a lot of patience, hard work, and study. And after all that mastering of craft and process is established there remains that mysterious obstacle of HOW to approach submitting work, and to WHOM? The answers are different for every writer but are all out there for the taking. The Canadian Writer's Market is one really good resource to start with (it's also available to borrow from the library as an OverDrive eBook). On top of providing tips on the nuts and bolts of submitting work for publication, the 'Market is mainly a directory listing the diverse places willing to accept unsolicited submissions. One listing you will find right here in Calgary is for filling Station magazine, "a literary and arts magazine publishing innovative poetry, fiction, [and] non-fiction". I point out fS not only because the quarterly is always a great read, not only because they will be launching issue 59 at Shelf Life books on August 7, but because on Friday, August 8, the magazine's current fiction editor Emily Ursuliak is offering a workshop titled How to Submit to Literary Journals. The workshop aims to help you find destinations that suit your work, make the best first impression, avoid mistakes, write cover letters, get organized, and deal with rejection.

    For complete details on the "How to Submit to Literary Magazines" workshop check out the listing on the AMPA website.

    And when unique, specialized workshops like this aren't running, the library opens everyday with tons of helpful resources like these:

    Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript

    Producing Canadian Literature: authors speak on the literary marketplace

    eBook too!

    Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave

    eBook too!

    The Canadian Writer's Market: the Essential Guide for Freelance Writers

    eBook too!

    Tender Buttons, 100 Years

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)
    Every Way Oakly: homolinguistic translations of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons, by STEVE MCCAFFERY

    Pick up a copy of Tender Buttons, any edition of the countless reissues published since 1912, turn to any page, and you are bound to encounter some of the most strange, beautiful, and wise combinations of the English language you will ever read. It doesn't seem possible for a century old book of poetry to come off the page as fresh and vibrant as the most innovative work being produced today, but Stein's welcoming and accessible approach only seems to brighten as the 20th century grows distant in the rear view.

    When it comes to classic literature the notion of timelessness (seems like this could've been written yesterday!) is automatic, a given necessity of its survival, but out of all the world's most bonafide 'classic' authors very few have had the same sort of magical ability "to capture 'moments of consciousness' independent of time and memory". The act of reading Gertrude Stein doesn't feel the same as what we normally refer to as 'reading'. It starts with the word on the page but somewhere along the way Stein gives readers complete freedom to fly off in their own direction.

    100 years later poets from all over the world continue to respond to Gertrude Stein's resounding, foundational masterpiece. This Sunday, on the 68th anniversary of Stein's death, July 27, Calgary's Poet Laureate derek beaulieu hosts an evening dedicated to poetic responses to Stein's work.

    100 TENDER BUTTONS: CELEBRATING GERTRUDE STEIN

    The event takes place at Loft 112 - 535 8 Avenue SE. Starts at 7 p.m.

    The lineup of poets will include readings by Christian Bök, Natalie Simpson, Nikki Sheppy, Rachel Shabalin, Anj Fermor and Helen Hajnoczky.

    You can read the full text of Tender Buttons at Project Gutenberg.

    For a list of upcoming events at Loft 112, check out the full schedule, which includes dates and times the Loft is open for 'drop-in' - a place to get out and write and meet other writers and share ideas.

    When Words Collide

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The second weekend of August might be a good one to stick around town, as the 4th annual WHEN WORDS COLLIDE festival descends upon Calgary to bring together a huge range of readers and writers from all over the world. Regardless of the genre you're trying to master or love to read, When Words Collide has more than 60 expert panelists/presenters lined up to share tips and information on everything from science fiction to historical fiction to nonfiction, from inspiration to editing.

    It appears as though this year's program of workshops, pitch sessions, panels, social events, blue pencil cafes, and merchants has caught on and filled up quick, but they are now taking names for a waiting list, the 'Merchants' Corner' is open to the unregistered public, and on the Thursday leading into the big weekend you can catch 5 featured WWC guests live at the Fish Creek Library.

    Thursday, August 7

    7 - 8:30 p.m.

    Second Floor Open Area - Fish Creek Library

    REGISTER HERE

    Join us for readings by international bestselling authors: Jack Whyte, Jacqueline Guest, Brandon Sanderson, D.J. McIntosh and Mark Leslie.

    The authors will follow up the readings with a question and answer and autograph session.

    MARK

    LESLIE

    D.J.

    MCINTOSH

    BRANDON

    SANDERSON

    JACQUELINE

    GUEST

    JACK

    WHYTE

    Stampede of Poets

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's pretty convenient to throw a party this week and call it a 'Stampede' party. Or throw a poetry reading and call it a Stampede reading. It's even easier if you've actually "wrangled some of the best darn poets in Cowtown" for a lineup of powerhouse performers that couldn't be described as anything but a stampede, regardless of our being in Calgary during the second week of July. This is exactly what the wonderful folk at Shelf Life Books have done for their 'Stampede of Poets', which'll git goin' tomorrow night - Wednesday July 9 - at 7 p.m.

    Here are the poets prepared to get on their saddle and run you over:

    Christian Bök

    Sheri-D Wilson

    Weyman Chan

    Kirk Miles

    Erin Dingle

    David Eso

    Juleta Severson-Baker

    Richard Harrison

    You may have also seen Stampede of Poets described in this week's FFWD, which offers the insight of Wordfest executive director Jo Steffens on Calgary's literary nightlife, as well as a roundup of Cowtown's hardest working literary organizations. And if you haven't come across the Calgary Herald article on Sheri-D Wilson's powerful new book 'Open Letter', read it here. Happy Stampede week y'all.

    Sizzling Summer Writing

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    As the summer heats up it's only natural for a cool off on some of our creative endeavours. We've got music festivals to go to. Road trips to drive. Friends we don't normally get to see. Gardens to tend to... but Calgary's community of writers that work to inspire, guide, and befriend you never let up!

    Over the summer here at the 'Nook we'll focus on ways to keep your focus over the summer and quite likely come out of August feeling sharper than ever before.


    "SIZZLING SUMMER WRITING" (at the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society)

    Just Write July 9, 23 & August 13, 27 | 6-9pm

    Get out of the heat of summer and into the coolness of AWCS for 3 hours of straight writing time. Work on anything you want. Enjoy uninterrupted writing time with other writers.

    Finding Your Muse July 12-August 23 | 9:30-12pm

    Is there a book hidden somewhere inside you? Do stories dance in your head? Does your personal writing say what you want it to? Are you a poet at heart? Through friendly discussion, in-class writing exercises and sharing your writing, we will address the basics and specific interests of the participants involved. For writers of all levels.

    It's A Wrap! Tuesday, July 15 | 6-9pm

    Why is finding the perfect story ending so elusive? What makes a great story ending? We’ll explore these questions and more in this three hour session. Come prepared to learn, experiment and have fun.

    Settings From Your Past Monday, July 21, 2014 | 6-9pm

    Come and enjoy 3 hours of instruction, discussion and exercises to help you uncover the unique details and potential story hidden within your memory of place.

    Say What? Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | 6-9pm

    Having trouble with dialogue? Come out to this three hour session full of instruction, discussion and exercises to help your characters say exactly what it is they want to say in a way that is authentic.

    Summer Shorts (Short stories, that is.) Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | 6-9pm

    Flash fiction is becoming an increasingly popular short story form. Come out for an evening of learning how to write great flash fiction pieces. There will be writing, instruction and discussion.

    For complete details and course registration visit www.alexandrawriters.org.

    Stay tuned for more cool, fresh ideas to keep your writing sharp over the summer, including WHEN WORDS COLLIDE, a festival for readers and writers from August 8 - 10. And don't forget that any of Calgary Public Library's 18 locations are the perfect place to cool off and get some writing done on a hot summer afternoon.

    Predigital Typographic Wonders

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The Honey Pot, by Alan Riddell, 1969Since the grand opening of Loft 112 it seems that the center for writers and artists has something great going on every night. Whether it's musical performance, comedy show, literary reading, or just hanging out in a place with good vibes, the Loft certainly seems to be the creative hive it was opened to become. This Friday, June 27, Loft 112 is hosting what looks to be an extra special event:

    MICHAEL MORRIS: ARE WORDS THINGS?

    "The Vancouver-based painter, photographer, performance artist and curator Michael Morris will speak about concrete poetry and the creation of the mail art archive Image Bank and other networks. This event is free and open to all, starts at 5:30 p.m., and will be followed by a reception."


    Before going any further I should mention that the beautiful piece of typewriter art to the right (The Honey Pot, 1969) is not the work of Michael Morris, but Alan Riddell. For a look at Morris' beautiful work, go here. I've thrown The Honey Pot in here to show my all-time favorite piece of concrete poetry and to celebrate the 2014 publication of 'Typewriter Art: a modern anthology'. The library copy of this long-awaited collection of poetry and art created entirely using typewriters will be here soon and I wanted to make sure all concrete poetry/typewriter art lovers out there had a heads-up...

    In this book readers will find not only Alan Riddell's beautiful Honey Pot, but also more than a century's worth of the most innovative, interesting, and beautiful pieces of typewriter art from all over the world. From the butterfly of Flora F.F. Stacey (1898) all the way up to the impossibly fluid work of Stephanie Strange.

    Also included is the work of Calgary Poet Laureate derek beaulieu, who, as this blog comes full circle, is a volunteer on the team that turns the wheel of Loft 112 and likely had something to do with the visit of Michael Morris. According to the anthology, beaulieu is "currently archiving a great many examples of typewriter/visual poetry" in order to salvage so much of the work that only appeared in obscure journals in the 1960s and 70s.

    Typewriter Art: a modern anthology



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    Back from New York

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    What do two shy editors, one 800-kilometre Camino de Santiago explorer and a 240-pound tattooed motorcyclist have in common? These Calgary authors – Naomi K. Lewis, Rona Altrows, Patricia Klinck and Robert Chomany – have just won awards for their books in New York City from two of the biggest book award programs in the world. Come see the books and hear the authors on Tuesday, June 24, 7pm at Shelf Life Books (4th Street and 13th Avenue SW).

    Calgary publisher and writer Tag Goulet will emcee the evening, presenting the three award-winning authors who will talk about their books. Bob Chomany will talk about BawB’s Raven Feathers. Patricia Klinck will read from Each Step is the Journey: The Call of the Camino. Editors Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows and will present Shy: An Anthology.

    Shy: An Anthology, edited by Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows

    The pages of this anthology are filled with personal essays and poems of thoughtful musings, raw memories, and humorous self-examinations by authors and poets who have been labelled by the world—teachers, parents, and peers—as shy. Here, they proudly own up to their shyness, and their message is clear: they don’t need to be “cured”! Why should they, when nearly half of North Americans consider themselves shy? Editors Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows have enlisted writers from across the continent and have created a moving anthology that will appeal to all, either because we are shy or because we know someone who is.

    Tied for silver in the Anthology section of the Independent Publisher Book Awards

    Each Step is the Journey: The Call of the Camino, by Patricia Klinck

    The origins of the Camino de Santiago cannot be found in books. Its story is woven from legends and myths told by the ancients over the centuries and retold by pilgrims. Those who answer its call are often in search of a greater good, a more powerful truth, a fuller understanding. But what is its true meaning? What can this age-old pilgrimage—declared the first European Cultural Route and a UNESCO World Heritage Site—offer us in the twenty-first century?

    Winner of Best Cover Design, Non-Fiction at the Next Generation Indies Awards

    Also available from the library as an OverDrive eBook

    Bawb’s Raven Feathers, by Bob Chomany

    In 2008, a 6’4”, 240-pound tattoo-covered bike enthusiast (whose hobby is “wrenching on motorcycles”) signed up for Facebook. Like many of us, Robert Chomany was disappointed by the daily drab of “what I had for breakfast” and complaints about the weather. Unlike most of us, he was determined to make his page a better place. He decided he would try to put smiles on his readers’ faces each day with his pure and simple inspirational poetic musings. As the days, months and years passed, his audience began asking when the book would be coming out, and soon after that, Bawb’s Raven Feathers was born. In fact, three volumes have been quietly published and a fourth is due out soon.

    Finalist in Best Cover Design, Non-Fiction at the Next Generation Indies Awards


    For a complete list of all the great literary action hosted by Shelf Life check out their current list of upcoming events.

    Alberta's Best

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    Winners of the of the Alberta Literary Awards and the Alberta Book Publishing Awards were announced at the Alberta Book Awards Gala here in Calgary on Friday, June 6 at The Fairmont Palliser Hotel. The gala also featured the presentation of the Alberta Reader's Choice Award. After all the votes were tallied Alberta readers chose Calgary author Tyler Trafford's Almost A Great Escape, which also took home the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction. The Calgary Herald offers a complete roundup of all last week's winners.

    R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature


    Karen Bass - Graffiti Knight

    Hazel Hutchins - The Great Bike Rescue

    Gail Sidonie Sobat - Not With A Bang

    Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

    Ali Bryan - Roost

    Lynn Coady - Hellgoing

    Theresa Shea - The Unfinished Child

    Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

    Jessica Kluthe - Rosina, The Midwife

    Tyler Trafford - Almost A Great Escape

    Chris Turner - The War on Science

    Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

    Tim Bowling - Selected Poems

    David Dowker & Christine Stewart - Virtualis: Topologies of the Unreal

    Paul Zits - Massacre Street

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