Celebration of the Written Word

Celebration of the Written Word
Culture Days

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rosebush Debutes at Fireweed

Rosebush, a beautiful children's book, is launching at Fireweed 182 Algoma St. S on Saturday October 1, 1-4 pm. The author, Susan Grinstead will be there to sign books but unfortunately the illustrator, Joan Thomas. did not live to see the book in print.

Rosebush is a short but sweet tale of the flower people (and a fairy butterfly) which would make the perfect bedtime story for a little child. Thomas' illustrations, originally done in pencil crayon, bring a pastel magic to a well told story. Only 13 beautiful pages long, Rosebush's simple tale and beautiful pictures will win tiny hearts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Humourist Charlie Mountford Launches Edna Loves Stumpy

Launch at Con College Library, September 22, 7 pm. refreshments. (This sounds interesting).

Two Canadians on Man Booker Prize Short List

Madeleine Thein for her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing and David Szalay for his book All that Man Is are listed for the 2016 Man Booker Prize which will be announced October 25.

Thein's book centres on a mother and daughter invite a young woman who has fled the Tiananmen Square protests into their home. Szalay's novel deals with nine men away from home.

The Short List

Paul Beatty (US) The Sellout (Oneworld)
Deborah Levy (UK) Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)
Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) His Bloody Project (Contraband)
Ottessa Moshfegh (US) Eileen (Jonathan Cape)
David Szalay (Canada-UK) All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)
Madeleine Thien (Canada) Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Interview with Amy Jones author of We're All in This Together

Amy Jones (photo Joan M. Baril)
Amy Jones won the 2006 CBC Literary Prize for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2005 Bronwen Wallace Award.  She is a graduate of the Optional Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, and her fiction has appeared in Best Canadian Storiesand The Journey Prize Stories.  Her debut collection of stories, What Boys Like, won the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award and was a finalist for the 2010 ReLit Award.  Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay, where she is associate editor of The Walleye.  Follow her on Twitter @AmyLauraJones.
Her debut novel, We’re All In This Together, has been chosen as the Thunder Bay Public Library’s first One Book: One Community title.  Be sure to check out tbpl.ca/onebook for more information,  and for details about our upcoming events and reading challenges!
Shauna Kosoris: What inspired you to write We’re All In This Together?
Amy Jones: I always knew I wanted to write a novel set in Thunder Bay, ever since I moved here. I had been working on a few ideas, but nothing really stuck. We had visited Kakabeka Falls quite a few times, and every time I was there I would always wonder if anyone had ever gone over, either on purpose or accidentally. We would come up with scenarios, like, if you fell in here, would you be able to swim to shore? Do you think anyone could survive this? And one day it all just came together and I was like, this is it, this is what I need to write about. It just made sense, that this place that inspired me so much in life would provide me with the inspiration for my first novel.
You always knew you wanted to write a novel set in Thunder Bay - why is that?
For a couple of reasons. One, I really believe in the importance of representation, and I feel like the more books and movies and art that are set in Thunder Bay, or recreate the artist’s experience of Thunder Bay, the better understood Thunder Bay will be. It’s also important for people to see their own experience reflected back to them in art, and the number of people who have come up to me since the book has been published, so excited to read about a place they know, just proves that to me even further. Two, one of the themes I really wanted to explore in the novel is the idea of “home,” and that whole push-pull it exerts on all of us. One thing about Thunder Bay that stands out to me is how rooted people are here, how strongly they are connected to their families, and yet how many people have to leave in order to find work, or for school, or whatever. People want to go out and make their own way, but also the north always seems to draw people back. So it was the perfect place to explore those themes.
That’s very true! When reading We’re All In This Together, one of my colleagues noticed that you name some Thunder Bay restaurants (like Norma Jean’s and Nippers) but not others. Was there a reason for that?  Did you have to get permission to use the real names?
I use real names for places that don’t figure as prominently in the story, but I make up names for places that I don’t want to be beholden to reality when describing. For instance, Barkley’s is based on a specific bar but it’s not exactly that bar, and by naming it something else I can make it fictional, and therefore do what I want with it (no one can argue, for instance, about how “at the real bar, the bathrooms are on the OTHER side of the room!”)
I sure hope I didn’t have to get permission! I think my publisher would have told me.
I’m sure they would have! How many of the houses in your book are based on reality?
Most are based in some reality. I set the Parker’s house quite near my own for the same reason I made Finn and Nicki close to my age: laziness (it’s much easier to figure out years or distances that way!) But their house is not a specific house on Victor Street, it is more an amalgam of a few houses. Same with the house Katriina buys. I take elements I like from each house and put them together.
Remaining true to the way Thunder Bay people speak, your characters say things like “camp” instead of “cottage.”  Why did you decide to use this distinction, especially since your book is being read by people who may not be familiar with Thunder Bay colloquialisms?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wild on the Superior Frontier by James Stevens

I enjoyed this book. History at its best. Lots of maps and old photos along with strange stories.  Available at the Thunder Bay Museum. I got my copy at the airport gift shop. Below is James Steven's preface.

“Wild on the Superior Frontier: A Romance of Settlers’ Lives”
Lake Superior 1845-1900
Winner of the Gertrude H Dyke Award 2019

Five pioneer families on Lake Superior have many tales to tell us. Of a gauntlet of setbacks, amazing triumphs, boozing citizens, political intrigue, fraud, of the sex trade on the Superior frontier and many deaths out on the immense fresh water lake. Populating the harbours and shorelines of a cold lake over thirty-one thousand square miles in area did not come without human cost. An amazing journey follows in these rich pages from the ports of Prince Arthurs Landing to Duluth/Superior, Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. We travel through rough voyages and the very personal footsteps of pioneer folk who lived during wild frontier days in Lake Superior country.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

At last! Launch of Dave Belrose's Memoir. Answering a Different Call. My (Queer) Thunder Bay Life

Launch: September 14. Waverley Library. 7 pm.

I heard about this book last winter and at last, here it is. Dave writes:The development of gay and HIV/AIDS community work in Thunder Bay is part of a social history that needs to be remembered. Having been part of the process, my hope is that this autobiographical memoir will be a contribution to that history.”  Introduction

 “With a life that has explored the integration of sexuality and spirituality, David Belrose shares his experience as a seeker and activist in his home community of Thunder Bay. This book offers a personal look at aspects of social history of the city, with a particular focus on the evolution of the LGBT community and the impact of AIDS. Military experience, travel, gay organizing, HIV/AIDS advocacy, theatre, Buddhist meditation, and Unitarian Universalist community combine in a unique look at a personal journey through life.” From the cover.

Come out to hear excerpts from the book, buy (cash or cheque only) and/or get books signed, enjoy refreshments, and talk with the author. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Below, Jim Stevens describes his novel based on the life of Mad Donald MacKay.. He will be giving a presentation of this book and another of his bools, Wild on the Superior Frontier, A Romance of Settlers' Lives. Lake Superior, 1845 - 1900  at the Thunder Bay Museum, on Sunday, October 2, 2-4 pm.

On any fine day you can see the old brown tombstone on the graveyard knoll at the Kenzieville Cemetery in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

Here,  lie the long forgotten remains of ‘Mad’ Donald MacKay the notorious  18thcentury fur trader. His one hundred and eighty year old grave  marker of faded  sandstone so coated with tenacious lichen and years of winter weathering that his name is only partly legible. On the bottom of the quarried stone, barely readable, is an inscription, “Behold all ye that do pass by, remember that you all must die.”

With the MacKay’s of Barneys River attending he was set there in an eternity box on a brilliant sunny June day in 1833. Some of his present ancestors say Donald was an angry man all his life.
‘Mad’ Donald, the fur trader and explorer lived eighty summers. Many would say that a man who had crossed the North Atlantic Ocean on sailing schooners nine times between 1773 and 1820 was just plain lucky. The number of times Donald MacKay faced death in the fur trade country in disputes with Indians and competing traders from the North West Company was allayed only by the ferocity of his passionate Highland temper.

 He would face every challenge, once threatening to fire his pistol into barrels of gunpowder to hold threatening Native trappers at bay. Starting his fur trade career with Gregory McLeod and Company in 1780, he would later become an independent trader then, labour for the North West Company before joining the Honourable Hudson Bay Company.

 ‘Mad’ Donald would spend 18 years exploring and trading in the American and British northwest. His travels with his country wife, the young Metis woman, Hannah Sutherland saw Donald range from the Mandan Country on the Missouri, west to Pine Island on the Saskatchewan River and north to the HBC coastal ports on Hudson Bay.

Dòmhnall MacAoidh, as known to his Gaelic tongued peers, was a rugged tough man. He was a sturdy  Gael . He once walked in the freeze of a snow-bound winter from Halifax to Montreal in 1788-89. It took 69 exhausting days on snowshoes to accomplish the task. In the annals’ of Hudson Bay Company fur traders, Highlander ‘Mad’ Mackay was aggressive, feared and despised by many in his own Honourable Company as well as voyageurs from Quebec. Mackay , a former soldier was ever ready with his sword and pistols to challenge danger or any affront to his Scottish sensibilities.

            In 1830, an elderly Donald MacKay calls his family and relatives together. He will tell his life story. His grandson Seumas Mackay is at this cèilidh. A heavy question rests on his mind. What happened to his half breed grandmother, Hannah MacKay?

Available at the Lake Superior Art Gallery in Victoriaville. Mad Donald MacKay is a handsome illustrated hardcover limited to 250 copies, a collector's book.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Library Book Bag - New Titles for your Book Club

Hello Joan, 
Please find below a list of new Book Club in a Bag titles that your club may be interested in reading:

The Nest by Cythia D'Aprix Sweeney
A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

The Widow by Fiona Barton donated by Text in the City Book Club
For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.

The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka donated by Text in the City Book ClubThe suspenseful, emotionally resonant, and utterly compelling story of what brings an enigmatic French woman to a small Canadian town in the 1930s, a woman who has found depths of strength in dark times and comes to discover sanctuary at last.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman donated by the Revolving Door Book ClubLocked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

If you are interested in reserving any of these great new titles for your club, please call or email me. Also, watch for more new titles coming this fall!

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Makenzi Fisk Writes About her Book Signing

Chapter's Bookstore. Saturday, August 27th. 12-3pm

Hi Joan, I'll be promoting my mystery/thrillers, titled The Intuition Series: Just Intuition, Burning Intuition, and Fatal Intuition. 

Just Intuition - A small town cop and her city-raised girlfriend use police skills and a bit of intuition to unmask the culprit behind an escalating series of crimes.

Burning Intuition - A Minnesota police officer and her intuitive girlfriend pursue a killer north across the Canadian border. Together, they must combine their skills and risk all to bring the killer to justice.

Fatal Intuition - An FBI Trainee joins the task force to track a killer she knows all too well. A killer that leads a bloody trail right back to her home town, and to those she loves. To protect them, she'll need the help of her intuitive girlfriend, her friends and her family.

Author Bio:Makenzi Fisk's Intuition Series take readers to crime's gritty underbelly, northern-style, where few can tell the bad guys from the good ones, and a little bit of intuition always helps. 

Her first novel, Just Intuition, earned her the distinction of Golden Crown Literary Society Debut Author and all three books in the Intuition series have been named Mystery Thriller Finalists. Retired from urban policing, Makenzi currently lives in Calgary. She looks forward to her summers in the ruggedly beautiful Canadian Shield, the inspiration for her backwoods thrillers. 

Connect with Makenzi at www.facebook.com/makenzi.fisk