amongst books

amongst books

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Ottawa International Writers Festival Oct 13 – 21

I’m excited about the upcoming festival. For me and many others, the festival is the highlight of an exciting literary season in Ottawa. I come out of the festival, having been introduced to a pile of new writers’ works and often the writers themselves. These writers and thinkers come from all over Canada and the world; sometimes it is a rare opportunity to see and hear them. Ottawa’s own literary community is well represented at the festival each year with events from local reading series, including Bywords and Tree in the fall and the Dusty Owl in the spring. Chaudiere Books is also at the festival in the fall and spring.

I will be blogging some of the poetry events over at the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter. Actually Pearl Pirie and I will be doing some kind of Batman and Robin, dynamic duo thing with the posting of poetry events. Charles will be posting photos and so will John MacDonald, I hope! Maybe you will be blogging about the festival too. Let me know.

We’re lucky in Ottawa to have the force, energy, creativity and drive of the Wilsons and Writers Festival staff and volunteers, who put together not just an amazing writers festival twice a year, but also now yearly events in the realm of literature and ideas.

For a complete list of all events from the literary stuff to big ideas to the kids story telling festival, go to the festival site. Here’s a list of what I’m most looking forward to for the upcoming festival:

October 13 – 8pm
The Lampman-Scott Award for Poetry and the Ottawa City Book Awards
This event kicks off the festival with the first of several awards being hosted at the festival. I can’t tell you who I’m rooting for for both awards (sssshhhh).

Oct 14 – 4pm
The Big Idea: The End Of Ignorance: A New Understanding Of How We Learn
John Mighton in conversation with Shelley Page
I heard this guy read on the CBC and he’s really interesting, specifically his ideas on how to teach math better. As someone who struggled with math throughout school, I am fascinated by this guy’s approach.

Oct 14 – 8pm
The Second Annual Metcalf-Rooke Award
Readings by John Metcalf, Leon Rooke and Kathleen Winter
With music by Glenn Nuotio
It’s not that I’m not looking forward to the readings, but what I am especially looking forward to is hearing Glenn Nuotio perform live. I have missed every single opportunity for various lame reasons until now. Also I am in very interested in Kathleen Winter’s book of stories boYs (Biblioasis).

Oct 15-6pm
George Elliott Clarke reads from his new long poem "Trudeau: Long March, Shining Path"(Gaspereau Press). His readings are the most invigorating and provocative of all the readers I’ve heard at the festival. He has a grace and mischievousness that makes him a crowd pleaser.

Oct 15-8:30 pm
the Bywords John Newlove Poetry Award Reading
I’m hosting and promise to be distractingly attractive...(blush, blush), but more importantly we get to hear Roland Prevost launch his chapbook MetaFizz, which the Bywords team has been working on with him for the nine months. And of course, you will find out who George Elliott Clarke, our judge this year, selected as winner and honourable mentions.

Oct 16-8:30 pm
The Tree Reading Series Presents: Madness, Identity And Repression
Readings by Marilyn Bowering, Mary Borsky and Nadine McInnis
On-stage conversation with Rhonda Douglas
I have Mary Borsky’s short story collection, “Cobalt Blue” (Thomas Allen) and I have yet to crack open the spine. I’m interested to hear Rhonda’s questions.

Oct 17-1pm
Secrets Of The Writing Life With Michael Winter and David Gilmour
A rare weekday event...yay! I’ve read bits and pieces of Michael Winter’s “The Big Why” (House of Anansi Press, 2004 and have kind of been following his newest book, “The Architects Are Here” (Penguin Books Canada) on Facebook. David Gilmour is a witty and provocative interviewer, as well as being a first-rate novelist; and no he didn’t play guitar for Pink Floyd. His book the Film Club (Thomas Allen) sounds fascinating (he’ll read from it at 7pm)

Oct 18-6pm
Sitcom With David McGimpsey
Every time I hear this man read his poetry I collapse into paroxysms of laughter; he’s also reading as part of Plan 99 on October 27 (after the small press fair!) with fellow Coach House authors Jessica Westhead, Cara Hedley and Sarah Lang, so if you can’t see him here, go there. Go to both.

Oct 18-8:30pm
Poetry Cabaret
Readings by Stephen Brockwell, Rob Winger and John Pass
On-stage conversation with David O’Meara
I am particularly excited to hear Stephen read from his new book: The Real Made Up (ECW Press) and having devoured and enjoyed Rob Winger’s poetry collection, Muybridge’s Horse (Nightwood Editions), I am looking forward to seeing how he reads it and which parts he chooses to read. David always asks great questions also.

Oct 19-8:30pm
Capital Xtra's Transgress
Featuring Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco, Joey Comeau and Ivan E. Coyote
Hosted by Mikiki and Ivan E. Coyote
I love Ivan E. Coyote. I’ve read all her books and have her audio CD "You're A Nation" also. She's one of the best story tellers I've ever heard and I like her tell it like it is style. It's cool that she's writer in residence at Carleton this year. I enjoyed Joey Comeau’s Lock Pick Pornography (Loose Teeth Press, 2005) and am looking forward to hearing him read from his new book: It’s "Too Late To Say I’m Sorry" (Loose Teeth Press). Marcus tells me I will love Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco, whose first book, “Flesh Wounds and Purple Flowers: the cha cha years” (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2001” was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. I have to say his book of stories “Killing Me Softly: Morir Amando” (Suspect Thoughts Press, 2005) sounds like it’s right up my alley...something about genre blending, rough trade and mixing prim with grim. Yay! He’s exactly my age too :) The last author I meant born in the same year as me was Simon Armitage. This is a wonderful event. Now if only they had Patrick Califia come read, my world would be complete.

Oct 20-8pm
The Writing Life #3
Reading by Helen Oyeyemi, Gil Adamson and Frances Itani
On-stage conversation with Sarah Dearing
I am excited about hearing Gil Adamson read from her novel “The Outlander” (Anansi); I loved her poetry book “Ashland” (ECW Press, 2006) and thought that when she came to read (Poetry 101/Factory Reading Series, Gallery 101...not sure when that was) that she would do well with fiction. She has an amazing imagination.

Oct 21-2pm
The Life And Poetry Of John Newlove
Documentary Film and Book Launch with Robert McTavish
Hosted by rob mclennan
I am very excited to finally be seeing this documentary, which was already shown last year on some tv network called Bravo, which I think means, not basic cable. Also wonderful is that Chaudiere Books has published a new selected of Newlove’s poetry: “A Long Continual Argument: The Selected Poems of John Newlove.” I will be interested to see which poems were chosen and I will be comparing it with “Apologies for Absence” (Porcupine’s Quill, 1993) for fun. Yes, I am a nerd.

Oct 21: 6pm
Real Fiction:
Where Characters Live When You're Not Reading
Jasper Fforde in conversation with Sean Wilson
I haven’t read Fforde’s books, but Kate, festival staffer and Dusty Owler, says he’s amazing....I want to see for myself. I know his website is really cool.

2007 Relit Awards: Ideas Not Money
Readings by Bill Gaston, Daniel Scott Tysdal and Ivan E. Coyote
Hosted by Kenneth J. Harvey
Apparently this awards ceremony is usually held on the shore in Newfoundland amidst bonfires and no doubt a fair amount of Screech. Maybe the scene will be recreated...or at least the Screech part. The festival begins with and ends with awards.

It’s too bad we don’t have an award to give to the Ottawa International Writers Festival; it truly deserves one plus millions of dollars and rose petals thrown at the feet of the organizers.

The festival awaits! Buy your tickets, get your passes, hussle your buns and get thee to the festival.

Disclaimer: the writer of this blog makes no claim of accuracy, intelligence or thoroughness and is probably missing a whack of good stuff that she will discover in the course of the festival or you will tell her about over drinks, which you will buy.


Pearl said...

The Adam West and Burt Ward one or the George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell one?

Kate S. said...

It all sounds fabulous. I look forward to experiencing some of it vicariously through your reports!