Saturday, October 3, 2015

Launch of Swedes In Canada

Elinor Barr launches Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants at the Scandinavian Home Cafe on Saturday, October 10 and 2 pm.  Enter main door and meeting room is on the right. See you there!

They're back.... Random Acts of Poetry

DefSup presents 25 of Thunder Bay's finest spoken word artists and singer songwriters, performing for the public in a week-long series of 30 acts throughout the City of Thunder Bay (120 individual performances). 

Random Acts of Poetry, now in its 11th year, is an initiative to promote literacy, art and poetry in places where people live their everyday lives. 

See and hear the Definitely Superior Poetry Construction Crew as they randomly bring urban interventions to our public venues, schools and institutions. 

Warning!'s Poetry Construction Season! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Giller Long List

Andre Alexis
André Alexis, for his novel Fifteen Dogs, published by Coach House Books. 
Samuel Archibald for his story collection Arvida, published by Biblioasis, translated from the French by Donald Winkler.
Michael Christiefor his novel If I Fall, If I Die, published by McClelland & Stewart.
Rachel Cusk for her novel Outline, published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Patrick DeWitt for his novel Undermajordomo Minor, published by House of Anansi Press. 
Marina Endicott for her novel Close to Hugh, published by Doubleday Canada.
Connie Gault for her novel A Beauty, published by McClelland & Stewart.
Alix Hawley for her novel All True Not A Lie In It, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada.
Clifford Jackman for his novel The Winter Family, published by Random House Canada.
Heather O’Neill for her story collection Daydreams of Angels, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. (Click here to read one of the stories, “Heaven.”)
Anakana Schofield for her novel Martin John, published by A John Metcalf Book, an imprint of Biblioasis.
Russell Smith for his story collection Confidence, published by A John Metcalf Book, an imprint of Biblioasis

The 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize, hosted by Rick Mercer, will air on CBC Television on Tuesday, November 10 at 9 p.m. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane --- But first a stop at the Flybrary.

Thunder Bay airport, library, team up to create a Flybrary 
(Chief librarian John Pateman says the Flybrary concept has its roots in the United States, but Thunder Bay's location is the first chapter of its kind in Canada. (Gord Ellis)

Travellers in Thunder Bay who like to read have a new resource at their fingertips.
The Thunder Bay International Airport has a unique book exchange it's calling a Flybrary.
It's a partnership between the airport and the Thunder Bay Public Library that allows travellers to take a book, with no strings attached.
Airport Authority president and CEO, Ed Schmidtke, said the books are another way to interest travellers as they wait for flights.
"The book is still a fabulous communications tool," he said.
"So if you have some dwell time, maybe a little longer than you wanted, and you don't have a book with you, now we have another opportunity to entertain you."
The Flybrary is located on the main floor of the airport, and includes a seating area and a variety of books free for the taking.  
It also helps the airport to promote both Thunder Bay's public library system, and a local furniture vendor, Schmidtke added.
Nathan Kushner supplied the handmade seating for travellers who may want to curl up with a book in the mini-library.
The Flybrary concept is the first chapter of its kind in Canada, according to the city's chief librarian. The concept began in the United States.  
"The beauty of it is, it's very simple," John Pateman said.
"There are no rules or regulations. You just take a book, and put it back, or not, as the case may be. The beauty of the scheme is its simplicity." Toronto Star, Sept. 19, 2015. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Launch at Waverley

A great book about a great lake, unknown to so many and yet with a history of its own. Launch of Nancy Scott's book at Waverley Library Auditorium  Monday, October 5 at 7 pm.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Check it out, the new County Park Public Library

children's area

County Park branch of the Thunder Bay public library is still located in County Park Mall but closer to the front door of the shopping centre and closer to the front parking lot. The entrance is beside No Frills.

Saturday, September 12, the official opening saw hundreds of patrons enjoying music, crafts and books, books, books in the large new bright facility. I thought the children's area (seen above) was superb, large, brightly lit and full of fun stuff.  I wished I were a kid again.

Easy to get to, free computers, free parking, quick check out. Congrats to the Thunder Bay Public Library.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fabulous opportunity for writers!! A Writers' Retreat at Sleeping Giant Park

Join us Oct 16 - 18, 2015 for the very first annual Laughing Fox Writers' Retreat this year at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

With keynote speaker, Jean E. Pendziwol, this year's theme is 'Inspiring Inspiration'. With such a great keynote speaker and such an amazing venue, I think Inspiration will be a natural!

Tentative Schedule

Friday Oct 16

·       5:00 pm and on – Check in/Registration
·       7:00 pm – Meet and Greet (appetizers and wine)

Saturday Oct 17

·       6:00 am – 8:00 am Breakfast
·       8:30 am 
 Inspiration Workshop: The Robert Louis Stevenson Effect
·       10:30 – Coffee Break
·       11:00 – Inspiration Workshop: It's a Big World to Build
·       12:30 – Lunch
·       Afternoon – Writing Time
·       6:00 pm – dinner
·       7:00 pm – Keynote Speaker/Panel Session
: The Wide, Wild World of Writing
·       8:30 pm – Networking or Writing Time

Sunday Oct 18

·       6:00 am – 8:00 am Breakfast
·       8:00 – 9:00 am – Creative Interlude: Guided Inspiration
·       9:00 am – Panel Session: From Writer to Author (options and opportunities)
·       10:30 am coffee break
·       10:30 am Resource Sharing
·       12:30 pm – Lunch
·       1:30 pm – Creativity Inspiration + Nature Walk
·       2:30 pm – Writing interlude
4:00 – 5:00 pm check out

Keynote Speaker: Jean E. Pendziwol
Jean E. Pendziwol is the award-winning author of eight published books for children with the ninth scheduled for release by Groundwood Books (House of Anansi Press) in spring of 2017. Her most recent title, Once Upon a Northern Night (Illus. Isabelle Arsenault) was shortlisted for a 2013 Governor General’s Award (Children’s Literature, text) and was a finalist for the 2014 TD Children’s Book of the year and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.  The book received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus and Quill & Quire, as well as a glowing review in the New York Times. Already in its fourth printing, it will be re-released with a new cover in fall of 2015. Jean E’s other titles include the award winning No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons), which is an all-time bestseller for publisher Kids Can Press.  Her books have been picked up by publishers around the world and can be found in countries including Great Britain, Turkey, China and Japan.  Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jean E finds inspiration in the rich culture, history and geography of northwestern Ontario.



Jean E. Pendziwol, Bonnie Scheidel, H. Leighton Dickson, Donna White and more TBA!


Chapters/Indigo, The UPS Store, Safeway (All three locations), and more TBA

Giller Long List 2015

The 12 longlisted titles are:

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Why Read? The Best Answer Ever

Read what syndicated advice columnist Ellie Tesher, whose columns can be found on or, says to this father about the importance of reading.

Ellie Tesher 

Dear Ellie, I am from India My daughter, an intelligent student in the 10th Grade, prefers watching TV during her leisure, rather than reading books.  I always advise her against this by saying that a reading habit will help her stay victorious in life.
Can you advise her on the importance of reading?

Ellie's reply:

This is addressed to that teenage daughter and all the other youth whose well-intentioned parents urge them towards what they believe will improve their futures:

This father is right, though not entirely. Television, film, and other media also have a place in your lives, as part of your generation’s culture and socialization.

But reading opens doors in your own mind for your own personal growth, and that’s at least as important as becoming victorious.

Reading gives you deeper insights to what you see on TV, where it’s sometimes hyped or glamourized.

It greatly expands your imagination about what you read, not relying on others’ images to show you.

It brings understanding that makes you informed and self-confident in dealings with others.

It brings knowledge that makes you better able to grasp new ideas, and become more creative at your own interests.

Whatever your hopes and dreams are for the future, reading can improve your chances of attaining them.

That’s partly what this father meant when he used the word “victorious,” but it applies to your own goals for you, not just his.

Reading can take you to as-yet unexplored worlds — travel, music, art, literature, poetry, science, and technology — helping you to decide what’s ahead for you.

And reading novels about history and romance brings awareness of a world of different peoples, and of human emotions that affect you and all your relationships.

There should be time for television, radio, film, etc., for entertainment, and also for advancing knowledge and understanding.

But reading’s a habit you can turn to for refuge or inspiration throughout your life.

It’s the foundation from which you’ll better choose what you watch on TV, what movies you see, even whom you connect with on social media.

So read for yourself, not just for your parents. They have the same hopes you have — that you attain a fulfilled life.

Ellie's column about the importance of reading is here reprinted with her permission.  She anwered my request to her as follows: Dear Joan,I'd be honoured. Thank you. Many thanks. Ellie)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Reading at Brodie

A letter from Meagan Botterill, Administrator of NOWW Opens the Reading Season!

Meagan Botterill, administrator of NOWW 

Good evening, Joan,

Welcome to fall! Every September I am reminded of the line from the film "You've Got Mail:"

"If I knew your name and where you lived I'd send you a bouquet of sharpened pencils"

It perfectly sums up this wonderful month that is trapped perfectly between summer and fall with so many new beginnings.

This month starts a new year of NOWW events, readings and workshops. Please join us on Tuesday, September 29th for our Annual General Meeting and First Fall Reading at Mary J. Black Library.

AGM 6:30pm and the Readings begin at 7:00pm
Theme: Begin Again
Joan Baril, Edgar Lavoie & Kathryn Ferrazzo
There will also be Open Mic Poetry

I have also attached a copy of the Fall Workshop schedule with details on the presenters and topics.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the AGM and Readings.

Have a lovely long weekend and as always, be in touch with any questions!


Edgar Lavoie 

A Letter from Helen Cimone, the book bag lady

Hello Joan, 
I have two new book bag titles to share with you. There will be more coming in Sept-Oct.
The Martian by Andy WeirSix days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.
Let me know if you wish to reserve either of these great new books for your group.

Helen Cimone
Public Services Assistant

Mary J.L. Black Library
901 Edward Street South, Thunder Bay, On P7E 6R2
TEL: (807)-345-8275
FAX: (807)-475-7855

Friday, August 28, 2015

Can you make a children’s book about a treaty signed 250 years ago? Well, yes indeed. Author Janet McNaughton and illustrator Cindy Colosimo created Caubvik’s Summer.

The treaty between the British and the Labrador Inuit provides the background, but the summer events of a little girl called Caubvik tell the story.

“I started looking at the historical records,” McNaughton told CBC. “ It was well documented so it would be possible to tell the story from the perspective of a small Inuit girl.”

Illustrator Colosimo, a native of Thunder Bay, said that children seem to be responding well to the book. “It was no easy task making sure the drawings captured the look and feel of Inuit culture of more than two centuries ago.

“Drawing the faces, they are actually portraits of southern Labrador Inuit people who went to England and had their portrait done.

“I had to be meticulous. These are my neighbours."

Cindy Colosimo has illustrated several delightful books based on the history and legends of Labrador including Anguti’s Amulet, The Polar Bear in the Rock and The Man who Married a Beaver.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Coming Home by Siobhan Farrell

Coming Home

The lilacs were almost spent,
but their fragrance caught sharply in my throat
as I drove home along June manicured streets after flying
the last leg of my journey high over the cold Arctic Ocean,
down into Hudson's Bay, finally diving into
the jumbled forest-hewn city perched on the edge
of the boreal forest, far from Asiatic bird-laden winds,
melting heat, feverish monsoon rain and
the lemony scent of frangipani.

I had just left my daughters, girl/women on a small island,
light years across the world  where we had explored countless geographies,
our own reflections, and the enduring yet fragile bond
 that exists between daughters and mothers.
In the hourglass foray from our base camp in Bangkok,
we charged onto planes and boats, then moved to exploring on foot
vast hills cloaked in light and shadowed bamboo.
We had sipped thirstily on sweet fruity concoctions in beach cafes,
wandered dreamily through bustling markets with too many cats,
getting lost on untidy streets touched by ancient magic.
We had rode three to a scooter in the pouring monsoon rain
with the wind whipping through our hair, tasted the salt
of the translucent blue waves as lightning lit the beach,
listening to beats of distant drums.
I became drunk on a brew of their star-filled stories
and brightly-jewelled memories collected from their meandering
journey through India, their harmonious love still intact.

And in that space of timelessness and chaos,
I had reawakened to an earlier incarnation which felt at home in
this spontaneous and spiritual landscape.
Until the inevitable rude slap of departure shocked me with a fear that my hungry,
brave and  foolish heart might remain locked in time on a star-dazzled beach
where drums and fireflies and lightning fill the sky.

So I wonder where my spirit resides, for once on familiar soil,
all was green in a coolness that was welcoming and peaceful
on my first run in the forest under a blue sky which surprised with its beauty.
But this splendour makes me ache to inhale so deeply that I can no longer breathe.
I want to keep holding my breath knowing the rush of bliss as I walk
out into the shallow water to embrace the sky as it scoops me up
until the earth  disappears below my feet,
feeling the power and force of the universe in every cell of my body.
I become the cloud-filled sky, cradling the fish and the birds
and everything else is unimportant.