Caubvik's Summer

Caubvik's Summer
Illustrated by Thunder Bay native Cindy Colosimo who now lives in Labrador

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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More reading readers' recommendations

David Belrose says: Check out Wake the Stone Man by Carol McDougall. Carol used to live in Thunder Bay and the novel has its roots in Northwestern Ontario. A powerful story that explores the impact of residential schools and racism, the novel brings back many memories of Kaministiquia in the "70's. Carol now lives in Nova Scotia where the novel won a Beacon Award for Social Justice in Literature.

Norma McCracken says: Yes. Finally found a great book. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

Marion Agnew: I know I am late to the party(and this is a UK writer) but I recommend Clay and At Hawthorn Time, both by Melissa Harrison. (I bought them from the big online giant store too. Sigh.) I wrote more about them here.

Yvonne Rezek: And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier. I think it was on Canada Reads. Set in the bush of North Western Ontario. Loving it.

Kerrie Atkinson The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. Only half way through.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome Meagan

A note from NOWW. Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW) is please to announce Meagan Botterill as the new Administrator. Meagan is a graduate from Lakehead University with her Master’s Degree in English Literature and joins us with a variety of experience in non-profit organizations including communications, volunteer and event management. As community coordinator with Frontier College, Meagan managed a team of volunteers and ran various literacy programs across Thunder Bay as well as First Nation communities. Meagan looks forward to continuing her career and gaining experience with NOWW.
Meagan is looking forward revitalizing NOWW’s online presence and growing our membership under the direction of the new Executive Board.
Please join us in welcoming Meagan to NOWW.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Beat Goes On. More Summer Reading. Readers Write.

      Hanali Atkinson: The Orenda should be required reading. She also liked De Niro's Game, The Sentimentalists, and Alligator.

Sandra McIntryre: Just read Joan Thomas' Curiosity. Amazing.

Susan Heald: H is for Hawk. Not a fast read, but beautifully written. A fascinating memoir about grief, the history of social thought and the relationship between humans and other critters.

Peggy Lauzon: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, which I loved for the first 450 pages and now I am to sure I can finish it. (But I have loved everything else he has written).

Gabriel Wendt: The Mechanical Train by Ian Tregellis. It starts strong but then it starts to get a bit clunky.

William Kinsella: Somehow I missed The Secret Life of Bees until now. It immediately jumped onto my top 25 fiction list.

Susan Rogers:Here are some recent reads from the summer I recommend:The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot; The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert; The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Maggie Chicoine: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows. A surprisingly great read structured as letter to and fro.

Laurie Elmquist: The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys. Love it!

Michael Sobota: I finished "Best Canadian Essays 2014" last week - a stellar collection of 16 Canadian authors (including Marion Agnew). Reviewed in Chronicle Journal. Highly recommended. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Popular Mystery Writer Coming to Grand Marais

Conversation With Author William Kent Krueger
 Presented By Birchbark Books and Gifts and Cook County Higher Education
Date: Saturday, August 29th
Time: 3pm Presentation
 Seating is limited; call 218-387-3411 or register online for tickets. $15 tickets with registration by 8/21 (A donation to help support Cook County Higher Education's Mission)
 William Kent Krueger Bio:             
Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for over 40 years to a marvelous woman who is a retired attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.
 Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota and Canada. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage—part Irish and part Ojibwe.
His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last five novels were all New York Times bestsellers.
 His Books: Iron Lake, Boundary Waters, Purgatory Ridge, Blood Hollow, Mercy Falls, Copper River, Thunder Bay, Red Knife, Heaven's Keep, Vermilion Drift, Northwest Angle, Trickster's Point, Tamarack County, Windigo Island, The Devil's Bed, and Ordinary Grace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What is everyone reading this summer? Add to the list.

Jim Foulds: I highly recommend a book entitled The Guernsey Literary and Baked Potato Peel Society. A deceptively "quirky" book that takes place on the English Channel Island of Guersey that was occupied by the Germans during WWII.(It's closer to France than England.)  Gutsy, funny, profound and both heartwrenching and heartwarming, but never sentimental-- with good advice for writers all thown in at the same time. 

Joan Baril - The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King.  This is one funny, clever, perky book that is a great summer read. Only the inimitable Thomas King, a national treasure, writes like this. Gabriel Quinn, sell-out scientist, has created GreenSweep, a chemical that destroyed the environment around a small town. Distraught over his role in the community's destruction, he plans to commit suicide by drowning himself in the Pacific Ocean, but is drawn into a journey of spiritual redemption. Meanwhile, the head of the company that manufactured Green Sweep is fending off more environmental disasters and attempting to fend off depression by buying more stuff. Back in the small town, the locals, all matchless King characters,both aboriginal and white, are trying to cope.

Hang on to your hats. A great list follows sent in by Susan Rogers, avid reader. The Great Gatsby by F, Scott Fitzgerald, Room by Emma Donoghue, Possession by A.S. Byatt, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Atonement by Ian McEwan, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon,  The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King.  Love this list. Tess of the D'Ubervilles was the book that got me reading the classics and I started with everything by Thomas Hardy. I wondered why I had turned up my nose at the classics before. Perhaps it was because I read such dreary stuff in high school i.e. Sir Walter Scott who could put a stone to sleep.  A further note. This week the state of Florida banned The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time claiming it does not reflect Christian values. Note to USA book banners - grow up!