amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ottawa's Shiny New Fall Literary Season

here are just a few events i'm looking forward to in the next month or so. details at

Plan 99 - September 10 Joe Denham and David Hickey
Denham's "the Year of Broken Glass" (Nightwood Editions, Harbour Publishing) sounds like a captivating tale about a man who has to deliver a glass boat to a collector across the Pacific.

I am excited about this because I love captivating novels with the sea as setting. I have never heard or met Joe Denham before, so for me, he is a fresh, new voice. I love the Manx and the Plan 99 Series. David O'Meara is one of Ottawa's most competent and engaging hosts. He doesn't ramble on; his introductions are informative but not fawning and he ensures that pub clientele is quiet during the reading. He makes readers feel comfortable and the beer at the Manx is excellent. My pick is Prince Edward County's Wapoos Cider (i know this isn't strictly a beer) served in a green bottle.

Joe will also be reading the next day at the Sasquatch Writers Performance Series if you aren't sated yet from Saturday.

On October 8, Carleton Wilson will be launching his poetry collection "The Material Sublime" (Nightwood Editions). I have been a fan of Carleton's for his wonderful book cover designs but haven't read any of his work, so am very much looking forward to the reading.the book design is mighty fine too, take a peak

Ottawa International Writers Festival Kick Off with Michael Ondaatje
September 13
The Cat's Table sounds interesting. Ondaatje is a CanLit legend (i apologize if by some weird chance the writer is reading these words, but i doubt it, so onward...) and Joseph Boyden, an excellent writer in his own right/rite/write? will be the host. I like this conversation format that the fest is renowned for.

The Tree Reading Series workshop with Phil Hall and the featured reading by Margaret Christakos
I can't be in two places at once, dag nabit but I recommend this event too. A free workshop by Phil Hall would be fabulous to attend. I suspect it will be crowded. The man is a skilled writer and a humble and approachable soul, someone i would imagine one could feel comfortable sharing one's work with.

I last heard Margaret Christakos read at the A B Series in October, 2009 from her book "Welling" (Your Scrivener Press) and enjoyed the reading tremendously. It's not easy to read long poems to an audience but she did a fine job with her pacing and the work was compelling; the audience was rapt. Christakos is an accomplished writer with numerous poetry collections published and also the driving force behind the course and site that highlights contemporary writing and responses InfluencySalon.

September 17
Celebration of Words and Music: Remembering John Lavery
the highly anticipated launch of John's CD "Dignity" alas without the composer, who his friends still miss dearly. John is a dear friend and brilliant writer whose novel "Sandra Beck" (House of Anansi Press) should be read by anyone who loves a good story, eccentric characters, wordplay and imaginative plots. his music is just as brilliant and it's heart-rending. this is an event not to be missed by his fans, friends and anyone who has yet to discover his work. there will be copies of his fiction available.

the A B Series begins

October 1 Peter Norman and Stuart Ross
i don't know whether Peter will be reading once again from his poetry collection "At the Gates of the Theme Park" (Mansfield Press) and Stuart from "Snowball, Dragon Fly, Jew" (ECW Press), but i'm hoping, given the series' thrust: experimental and performance, that we'll be hearing at least a wee bit of new work by the two of them. if not, i'm happy to hear more of each of the aforementioned books and have a few drinks with these fine good folk who don't come to Ottawa as often as i'd like.

October 15 (my birthday) Zorras and Camille Martin

Zorras is a multi-media troupe based in Scotland. one of its members is the fine and versatile poet Sandra Alland. i have heard and enjoyed Sandra's reading with bill bissett at the writers festival and am looking forward to hearing her again and her group.

Every since I heard and met Camille Martin at the Tree Reading Series a number of years ago, when it was still held in the drippy basement of the Oyal Roak (Royal Oak II on Laurier E.), i have loved her work. At that time she read from "Codes of Public Sleep" (Book Thug), a work i still return to for its memorable and unique lines, particularly those poems having to do with New Orleans. she's had at least one poetry collection since, a collection of sonnets, and I'm looking forward to hearing her read once more.

Of course there are oodles of events taking place for your literary tastes: storytelling, crime novel signings, spoken word showcases and slams, workshops and book sales. For more info, please visit the calendar of literary events. See you at a reading. Let's clink glasses!

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