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  • Aug 1 - The 'P' Word - Unravelling the mysteries of submitting your work
  • Jul 23 - Tender Buttons, 100 Years - Paying tribute to Gertrude Stein's everlasting masterpiece
  • Jul 16 - When Words Collide - Calgary's 4th annual festival for readers and writers goes August 8 - 10
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    Want A Hot Date this Saturday?

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    There’s a lot to love about filling Station.

    They publish innovative work of emerging artists. They give local writers a stage, voice, and audience every month through the Flywheel reading series. They’re a volunteer-run non-profit that only seems to care about building and energizing Calgary’s literary community. And filling Station is a great, refreshing read.

    That’s why I got giddy excited when I found out the collective was bringing their new event – Hot Dates with Blank Pages – right here to the Central library. The idea of ‘Hot Dates’ is to get writers out of their dusty, dim-lit, cramped, coffee-stained, solitary workspaces and into some of Calgary’s most stimulating, inspiring spaces in the company of like-minded friends you didn’t know you already had. In the words of the fS website:

    Hot Dates with Blank Pages is a new literary event hosted by filling Station that will be held on the first Saturday of every month in different locales around Calgary, locales meant to get the creative juices flowing again.”

    The January installment of “Hot Dates with Blank Pages” is taking place this Saturday, January 5, at the Central library.

    For complete details, go the filling Station website. Issue 54

    A Writer's Resolutions

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The ultimate resolution that writers gravitate towards at the end of every year seems to be: 'Make More Time to Write'. Sounds like a great idea, but if I’m looking for a resolution I’m actually going to keep I’m going to stay way far away from the impossible task of fabricating time. Days may be getting longer as we roll into the new year, but only in terms of light. We’re not gonna see any 25-hour days or 8-day weeks in 2013, so I’m gonna fall back on the two promises I can never seem to keep:

    - READ MORE -

    - GET OUT TO MORE LOCAL LITERARY EVENTS -

    Catching up on the long list of books I must read should be an easy one to follow through on, but this promise is not to be taken lightly. Anyone who has ever sought advice on writing has surely heard in the darkest bold letters – READ. Whether it’s the type of work you strive to create or the complete opposite, there’s nothing more important to a writer’s development than devouring as much literature as possible. Makes sense. Want to be a chef? Taste a lot of food, understand what makes it delicious. Want to be an athlete? Play a lot of sports to develop the right muscles and figure out the game’s structure.

    Easy.

    Unless you aren't sure what to read next. But the library has the answer for that - NEXTREADS - a booklist newsletter service that sends customized reading suggestions directly to your inbox. Stay on top of all the latest greatest releases in your selected field and discover exciting new authors.

    Getting out to more local literary events is a sweet, easy resolution too. For the most part we engage in a necessarily solitary process but somewhere along the way the support of community, however you define community, is essential. Every week in Calgary there is at least one author reading, one group meeting, one book launch, or one opportunity to meet like-minded individuals in a stimulating environment, often a pub. I just found out today that filling Station magazine is bringing their next installment of "Hot Dates with Blank Pages" right here to the Central library on Saturday, January 5.

    Here in the Writer's Nook we are always looking out for next week's best-looking events so if your resolutions look anything like mine, I will hopefully see you out there. And please leave a comment if I'm missing any of the shows and events you're excited about. And happy new year!

    filling Station's Flywheel

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Tomorrow night, the first night after no living person will see three identical numbers marking the date, is also the second Thursday of December. And the second Thursday of every month is the day when filling Station magazine takes over the upstairs of Pages bookstore for the Flywheel reading series.

    If you aren't familiar with filling Station, this homegrown, 100% volunteer-run magazine focuses on the support of local emerging writers and the publication of innovative poetry, fiction, and non-fiction (creative non-fiction, reviews, articles, interviews...).

    The best way to learn more about this wonderful situation would be to either go check it out in person tomorrow night for the...

    DECEMBER FLYWHEEL

    "...the last flywheel of the year with readings from Alberta writers:

    Judith Pond, Jani Krulc, Jason Lee Norman, and Patrick Horner!"

    Thursday, December 13th
    7:30 PM
    Pages on Kensington
    (1135 Kensington Drive NW)

    ...or come down to the Central library where you'll find issues of filling Station new and old, as well as a full selection of all the amazing literary magazines coming out from all over Canada.

    Food for the Gods—our interview with Karen Dudley

    by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

    Calgary-born and raised Karen Dudley is coming to our fair city to read from her fifth novel, Food for the Gods. Karen graciously took some time out of her busy schedule (and from recovering from the flu) to answer a few questions for the Nook.


    WRITER’S NOOK: Karen, you are an established mystery writer with four titles in the Robyn Devara series. Why the departure from the mystery genre with Food for the Gods? (and what genre is that one anyhow? historical fantasy mystery?)

    Karen: I've always loved the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but as a writer, I was a bit intimidated by it at first—all that world-building seemed so daunting and I didn't think I couldn't do justice to the genre.

    Fast forward four mystery novels and I was feeling a lot more confident about myself as a writer. Then one day, my husband and I were reorganizing our books. When I finished doing mine, I stood back and looked at them all. I had three full ceiling-to-floor bookcases of sci-fi/fantasy and a half a shelf of mystery. My husband came up behind me and stood there for a minute, then asked, "So...why are you writing mystery exactly?"

    In actual fact, when I started writing Food for the Gods, I thought I was writing a mystery. I had about 50 pages written when a friend of mine read it and told me, "Karen, you're writing a fantasy." I was shocked. I was a mystery writer! How could I be writing fantasy? But once I defined it as such, it was absolutely liberating and all kinds of weird and wonderful things began to happen. Food for the Gods is technically an historical fantasy, though it's also very humorous which is uncommon for the genre.

    NOOK: How was your writing (or researching) process different with Food for the Gods than with the Robyn Devara books?

    Karen: I've always loved the research end of writing, so I have always chosen projects that required a lot of research. I think the obvious difference in the research I've done for Food for the Gods versus the Robyn Devara novels is in the scope of it. When you're writing historical fantasy, there is a certain onus to get the historical details right. For me, this meant researching the entire culture of Classical Athens: the society, the politics, the fashions, the lifestyles. What was popular back then? What was considered rude or ominous or funny? What foods were available and/or popular? What cooking techniques were used? How did people behave at dinner parties? How did they behave in public places? What did Athens look like? I had to research all this as well as the mythological elements. It was a lot of fun!

    NOOK: Your online bio refers to your background in archaeology and Classical Studies, which obviously helped inform this new book. How much did this help with writing Food for the Gods?

    Karen: I minored in Classical Studies at university, and obviously that stood me in good stead for this project. In fact, the spirit of Food for the Gods was heavily influenced by my Greek history professor, Dr. Buck.

    The man really brought the Classical period to life for me. Whenever he talked about the reasons behind a war, he always started off by saying something like, "Well, when someone steals your women and cattle, you're liable to get a little cross about the whole thing." He wouldn't just give us dates and places for these armed conflicts, he'd act them out, marching up and down the classroom like a hoplite, talking the whole time about how 'cross' they all were with each other. He did tell us things like who won the Battle of Salamis and why, but he also told us about stuff like Alcibiades and the incident of the Theban dancing girls. He made it real. And when I decided to write Food for the Gods, I knew I wanted to make it real in the same way that he had.

    NOOK: How did you accomplish this?

    Karen: I didn't want my readers to feel the distance of history. I wanted them to feel like they were in the story, in that world. Like the characters really aren't that different from themselves. One of my favourite movies is A Knight's Tale, and so I decided to use anachronisms much in the same way that A Knight's Tale did. My characters speak with modern accents and use modern idioms. They have contemporary sensibilities. You can slide right into their lives and it doesn't require a shift in thinking.

    Another challenge for me was how to get across certain information about the society and culture without slowing down the narrative. My solution was to incorporate a series of interstitial chapters throughout the book. There are recipes, advertisements for products, even excerpts from self-help scrolls. They're very humorous, but they also impart some rather crucial information about life in Classical Athens.

    NOOK: Speaking of recipes: you've included some in this in book...do you have a favourite?

    Karen: Ah yes, the recipes! There a couple of recipes in the book. My main character, Pelops, is troubled by a rival chef named Mithaecus (The Sicilian), and I've included one of Mithaecus' recipes in the book. It's not a very good recipe (of course—he IS the rival chef, after all!), but what's interesting about it is that it is one of the earliest surviving published recipes. Mithaecus of Sicily was a real person—and a famous chef of his time.

    My favourite recipe in the book, however, has to be Pelops' Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizers. Mmmm...fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and mint, wrapped in prosciutto and grilled ‘til the prosciutto is crispy. Then you drizzle 'em with honey. Oh man, my mouth is watering; I have to go and cook now...

    NOOK: What's next for you?

    Karen: I'm currently working on the sequel to Food for the Gods. It's even more fun that the first book and I'm finding myself laughing out loud (which rarely happens when you write!). I love the book, I love the premise and I love the title: Kraken Bake. It's due to for release in early spring 2014.


    A huge thanks to Karen for answering our questions. Be sure to go to one (or both!) of her two upcoming Calgary readings along with author Chadwick Ginther (reading from Thunder Road):

    November 19th at the Sentry Box at 7 pm

    November 20th at 7 pm, Louise Riley Library



    Interested in Karen Dudley's Robyn Devara mystery series? Check them out below:

    A Single Onion, A Hundred Nights

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Single Onion #100:

    WHEN:

    Saturday, November 17. 7.00 PM

    WHERE:

    Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre

    (1320-5th Ave NW)

    _____________________________

    Remember that poetry contest we told you about over the summer, the one where the finalists would have a chance to share the stage in celebration of Single Onion’s 100th event and battle over $1,450 in prize money?

    Well, we are now only a week away from Single Onion #100 so I have another chance to post this beautiful "inside-a-tree" picture. And while the celebration of Calgary's longest-running spoken word reading series' 100th event is enough to get any of us out to the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre next Saturday, let me also assure you that the quality of performers coming out includes some of the cream of Calgary's crop...

    WEYMAN CHAN JASON CHRISTIE KIRK RAMDATH

    For complete details please visit the Single Onion website.

    And don't miss the warm-up, Single Onion #99, two nights prior, at UBU Bistro!

    Walls

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    In 2002 he brought us to Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania with Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa. In 2006 Poets & Pahlevans took us on ‘a journey into the heart of Iran' in an exploration of the relationship between heroic poetry and the various styles of traditional Persian wrestling. This year Marcello Di Cintio is taking his audience into Walls. Many walls. From India to Montreal, Morocco to Arizona, Cyprus to Belfast. I have no idea how he managed to fit this much travel, tension, and experience into 288 pages, but this week we get to find out...

    OFFICIAL WALLS BOOK LAUNCH

    THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20

    CROWN SURPLUS (INGLEWOOD)

    1005 - 11th Street SE

    7pm - 8pm

    According to the event's Facebook page, this is outdoor, so do bring a jacket.

    To place your hold on Walls, click here.

    _____________________________________

    More on the book...

    In this ambitious blend of travel and reportage, Marcello Di Cintio travels to the world’s most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire and answer the question: What does it mean to live against the walls?

    Di Cintio shares tea with Saharan refugees on the wrong side of Morocco’s desert wall. He meets with illegal Punjabi migrants who have circumvented the fencing around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona’s migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel’s security barrier.

    From Native American reservations on the US-Mexico border and the “Great Wall of Montreal” to Cyprus’s divided capital and the Peace Lines of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these structures say about those who build them and how they influence the cultures that they surround. Some walls define “us” from “them” with medieval clarity. Some walls encourage fear or feed hate. Others kill. And every wall inspires its own subversion, whether by the infiltrators who dare to go over, under or around them, or by the artists who transform them.

    ___________________________________

    Why is this event outdoor in Calgary in September?

    According to Marcello's blog, "Elsewhere":

    "I decided to hold the event in the back lot of Calgary’s Crown Surplus. Considering the topic of the book, I figured I’d surround my audience with fences, barbed wire, army tents and other shards of military urbanism."

    Makes sense.

    Nuit Blanche

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you are interested in having your mind blown, consider any of the following projects being constructed for Calgary's first year taking part in Nuit Blanche - an international, multi-city, late night arts festival...

    ___________________________________________

    An audience-activated handcrafted rideable carousel.

    A living cloud created from 5,000 light bulbs.

    Live, interdisciplinary performance.

    A rowdy, portable Belfast pub.

    Text message town criers.


    Maybe wear a helmet?

    Saturday, September 15.

    Olympic Plaza Park.

    7pm - 3am.

    ___________

    For all the amazing pictures and details go to NUIT BLANCHE.

    SINGLE ONION is looking to create a response poem consisting of one-line reactions to the event, which sounds like a really good idea. The incredibly simple instructions on how to contribute your reaction are at Single Onion's blogspot.

    Read recent articles on this event from FFWD magazine, or the HERALD.

    Naomi K. Lewis, Book Launch DATE CHANGED!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    You may have met Naomi K. Lewis last fall through the library’s Writer-in-Residence service as she gracefully critiqued our manuscripts, imparted her experienced wisdom, and shared her work. Good things seemed to have happened for Naomi since the end of her residency, as she was awarded the Colophon Prize for Fiction in January and now, eight months later, I Know Who You Remind Me Of is ready to be launched:

    SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 15

    SHELF LIFE BOOKS

    (Corner of 4th Street & 13th Avenue SW)
    2:00pm - 4:00pm

    Original and effortlessly clever, the stories in I Know Who You Remind Me Of capture the sensibility of a generation with no cultural inhibitions to overcome. Naomi K. Lewis’s characters bear the battlescars of adolescence and early adulthood ­– scars left when one classmate impersonates another in Internet pornography; a lover donates his eyeball in the heat of passion; sibling rivalry escalates into a low orbit. For these characters, everything is straight-on, never coy, and often deliciously funny. Stories from this collection have appeared in the Journey Prize anthology, the Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, and other journals.

    Library copies of I Know Who You Remind Me Of are on the way. Until they come, click here to place a hold on Naomi K. Lewis' debut novel - Cricket in a Fist.


    Read the Nook's interview with Naomi from November 2011.

    Single Onion Poetry Contest

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Way back in April we alerted you to a local poetry contest worth getting excited about – the “Single Onion 100 Calgary Poetry Contest”. Single Onion is Calgary's longest-running spoken word series. In their twelfth year of lining Calgary up with a variety of renowned Canadian poets, as well as up-and-coming local artists, SO will celebrate their 100th event and for the occasion they want to know how local poets see Calgary.

    The deadline for submissions was August 15, 2012, but IT GOT EXTENDED!

    The new deadline is September 15th, 2012.

    Ten finalists will be chosen to perform at the SO100 Celebration Event on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

    Prize money remains the same:

    3rd place – $150, 2nd place – $300, 1st place - $1000

    For full contest details visit the Single Onion blog. This is also the place where you can find the reading series' upcoming schedule of events, which usually take place the third Thursday of every month.

    The Literary Event of the Summer

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    SATURDAY AUGUST 26

    1.00pm - 2.30pm

    OLYMPIC PLAZA

    __________________

    Kris Demeanor

    Shannon Lee Bennett

    Marcello Di Cintio

    Jon R. Flieger

    Barb Howard

    Naomi K. Lewis

    Fred Stenson

    ________________________

    The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association has rounded up 7 of Calgary's most exciting writers for an unmissable afternoon of literary performance action under a prairie sky.

    Get full details at the AMPA website.

    Get the authors' work at your local library. Click book covers to place your hold.

    Kris Demeanor Marcello Di Cintio Barb Howard

    Naomi K. Lewis Fred Stenson

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