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    Calgary Stories

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Aerial view of Calgary looking north across downtown and Victoria Park. 1924.There's a natural hunger growing in this city for stories to help us understand and celebrate our past, and this weekend the library is shovelling up loaded spoonfuls. Heritage Weekend 2013 runs from October 25 - 27 and all of the events are potential gateways for any aspiring Calgary writer to discover characters, stories, and hidden corners of history capable of breathing real life into your work.

    The one event I've got circles around for us writers is taking place at the Central library on Saturday, October 26, at 2pm. Historian Laureate Harry Sanders will host a crew of distinguished historians and storytellers for "Calgary Stories" as they serve up some of their favorite tales from the past. Harry's guests will be John Gilpin, Lorna Crowshoe, and David Finch.

    They've already done the research!

    All we have to do is sit back and let the inspiration soak in.

    And if you really do want to see the past come to life, stick around for "Calgary: An Improv History", starting at 3:30pm.

    While it's convenient to have all this spoon-fed heritage on one weekend, remember that the library is your go-to spot for local history research, year round. The local history room on the 4th floor of the Central Library is filled with treasures, and when you can't come downtown but need a history fix in the middle of the night, there's the Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library, where you will find postcards like the 1924 beauty included above, as well as digitized historic maps, Century Homes, the Judith Umbauch photograph collection, and more. Do beware though, Calgary's history can be addictive, habit forming.

    Come Write In

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's time to put on those bull horn helmets, stock the cupboards, and pound out 50,000 words. November is National Novel Writing Month, more conveniently known as NaNoWriMo, and we want the library to be your personal headquarters for preparation, research, production, and anything else involved in your process that's allowed in public. 'NaNo' is meant to be a fun, "seat of your pants" approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working toward the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel before the final minute of November 30.

    As we see it, the beauty in NaNoWriMo is threefold:

    1. Creating a regular writing practice
      So many of us struggle to write every day. During NaNoWriMo you write—a lot—every day, helping to create the habit of making the time to write and then actually writing.
    2. Completing a major length writing project
      Will it be your best work? No. Will it get published? Not likely. Will you realize that you can write a novel to completion and learn a whole lot (about yourself and you as a writer) from the process? Yes.
    3. Community Support
      What most consider the most important aspect of NaNoWriMo is the community support. There are websites, international and local online and in-person meet-up groups, support from others who see the fun and folly of writing 50,000 words in thirty days.

    To get ready, the Central library is hosting two pre-NaNo workshops on Saturday, October 26:


    PHENOMENAL PLOTS - 12 NOON

    Discover how to analyze popular stories in order to understand how to get your readers’ hearts pounding and keep them turning pages long past bedtime. Register here.


    CAPTIVATING CHARACTERS - 2 PM

    Learn and share tips with your fellow writers. We’ve all read characters we couldn’t stand, or loved a character so much we cried when they died. Join a lively discussion on what makes us root for the underdog or love to hate the villain. Register here.


    **Please note that both workshops will take place on the 5th floor of the Central library.

    *Our program guide lists the location as Lower Level Meeting Room, but this area is closed due to ongoing flood recovery efforts.

    Heck, even if you don't plan on participating in NaNoWriMo these workshops are a great chance to sharpen up some skills and meet like-minded neighbours to bounce ideas off of. And because libraries are the ultimate place to write - the domestic distractions of home are eliminated, the calm-yet-lively atmosphere nurtures focus, and you surround yourself with all the glorious material you could ask for in terms of research and inspiration - we are hoping that any and all Calgary WRIMOTAURS come and plug in at any of our 18 branches across the city. Our doors will open 29 out of 30 days in November (closed for Remembrance Day) and on November 9th the Memorial Park Library is hosting two Write-In sessions.

    Register for 11AM - 1PM SESSION

    or

    Register for 2 - 4PM SESSION

    To learn more about Calgary's regional NaNoWriMo group, the Wrimotaurs, take a look at our 'Interview With A Wrimotaur' to hear it straight from our fearless leaders. Happy NaNo everybody!

    Industry Insiders at Wordfest

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    With headliners like Palahniuk, Atwood, and Boyden at this year's Wordfest it's easy to get excited for the festival's kick-off on October 14. At my house the date with the most circles around it is October 16, otherwise known as "Barbara Reid Day", when Calgary audiences have two opportunities to see the author of Subway Mouse, Perfect Snow, Two by Two, and dozens more.

    Barbara Reid's first Wordfest appearance will take place right here in the Central library's John Dutton Theatre at 10am as she presents her new book The Night Before Christmas. This first one's for the kids (K - Grade 2) and you can find tickets here.

    Later the same day, across the street at the Epcor Centre, Barbara Reid will join Eric Walters and Anthony De Sa on a panel of 'Industry Insiders' to discuss Books in the Classroom. Hot topics for educators, librarians, and of course, the writers who write the books, will be discussed by these experienced, award-winning authors. Find tickets for 'Industry Insiders'.

    BARBARA REID is the critically acclaimed Canadian author and illustrator of over twenty books, including Picture a Tree, The Subway Mouse and Welcome, Baby. Her timeless storytelling paired with her vibrant Plasticine illustrations result in utterly original picture books that are loved by children and parents alike. Reid has received major Canadian children’s book awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Illustration for The Party, and the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award for Perfect Snow. In 2012, she received the Order of Ontario. This fall, readers will be dazzled by her stunning version of The Night Before Christmas. Reid lives in Toronto, Ontario.

    ERIC WALTERS began writing in 1993 as a way to entice his grade five students into becoming more interested in reading and writing. At the end of the year, one student suggested that he try to have his story published. Since that first creation, Walters has published several novels which have all become bestsellers and have won over eighty awards. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to over 70,000 students per year in schools across the country. Eric is a father of three and lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

    ANTHONY DE SA is a teacher-librarian and author who grew up in Toronto’s Portuguese community. De Sa’s critically acclaimed book, Barnacle Love, became a finalist for the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2009 Toronto Book Award. At WordFest, De Sa will present his new novel Kicking the Sky.

    Wordfest

    by Phil

    It's almost here. The week when many of the world's best writers gather in Calgary to share their stories. With more than 65 events to choose from in the span of 7 days, covering a truly vast array of literary angles, it can be a bit daunting figuring out which writers not to miss.

    When the 2013 lineup was revealed in August names like Margaret Atwood, Michael Crummey, Joseph Boyden, and Lisa Moore had us all nodding along "Yes, yes... this is good" and now with the 64 page Wordfest guide (completely redesigned for 2013) in hand we can really dig into the essence of this year's festival des mots.

    One event I didn't notice until seeing the guide, which is kind of shameful considering the nature of this blog, was WRITERS BOOK CLUB, featuring Jowitka Bydlowska, Douglas Glover, Sue Goyette, and Elizabeth Ruth discussing how they approach the books they read. We all know the best advice for writing is READ READ READ, but are we getting the most out of our reading? Are we reading like writers?

    Another event I missed on my first scan, which I don't want to miss on October 18, is SCREECH: A DELICATE EVENING OF LITERARY THUNDER FROM BELOVED NEWFOUNDLAND WRITERS. This event will bring together Michael Crummey, Wayne Johnston, David Macfarlane, Lisa Moore, and Michael Winter for "a literary spin on a traditional 'screech-in' ". Hard to resist because of the potential chemistry of mixing this many artists from the friendliest place in the world. Hard to resist just to say I've been to a 'screech-in'. You can find the work of all these authors at your local library:

    Which Wordfest events are you going to this year? Let everyone know in the comment box so no one misses out. Happy Wordfest to all!