The authors who will be appearing this year include:
Andrew Binks: Don’t miss Andrew Binks’s presentation at this year’s Prince Edward County Authors Festival: “Let’s Get This Project Started” tells you what you need to know to get your project — whether novel, short story, poem, screenplay, stage play or memoir — out into the world. (Thursday April 10, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. $10 in advance or at the door.) Binks is the ideal presenter for the topic. He is widely published in multiple literary forms — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays for both stage and screen — and his work has won or been nominated for many literary awards. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Galleon, Fugue, Bent Magazine, the Globe and Mail and many other print and online publications. He published his second novel, Strip, last year. His poetry has been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, and has been anthologised. Two of Binks’s plays received public workshops in Vancouver and Toronto, and he worked as a ghostwriter on the film Air Buddies. He is experienced in the other side of publishing, too, having been a submissions reader for various literary magazines. Binks, who lives in the County, is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.
David James Brock: an accomplished playwright, librettist, teacher and poet whose plays and operas have been produced around the world. His writing has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including The Hart House Review, The Malahat Review, and The Puritan. This year, Brock is bringing out his first collection of poetry, Everyone is CO2. It offers poems for the contemporary pop culturist – whether scholar or fanboy – with subject matter, lyrically expressed in compact narratives, that ranges from television to space travel, from heavy metal music to the epic of Gilgamesh. His background as a dramatist, a lyricist and a committed fanboy is reflected strongly in these intriguing poems. Brock, winner of the 2011 Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award, teaches writing – playwriting, technical writing, workplace writing, academic writing, creative writing – while continuing to write himself. He lives in Toronto.
Carol Devine: a small press publisher (Vauve Press), a writer, a social innovator, an advocate, an educator, a networker, a humanitarian and more. As she says on her website, “I make it happen,” and one of the projects she has created was a 1996 polar expedition, a joint Russian-Canadian undertaking that was Antarctica’s first civilian ecological clean-up operation. The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning, which Devine co-wrote with Wendy Trusler, chronicles the expedition’s work at a Russian scientific station on an island off the Antarctic coast where fifty-four people from five countries paid to pick up almost three decades’ worth of garbage. It’s a beautifully-produced work that pays homage to Antarctic expeditions of the past, details the challenges of cooking delicious meals in a makeshift kitchen at the bottom of the world, and offers the recipes that kept the expedition’s volunteers happy. It’s an ode to a fragile continent and, at the same time, a lament for a wild place in jeopardy.
Jane Fairburn: There is something special about water, and about the relationship between a waterfront city and the shore it nudges. In Along the Shore: Rediscovering Toronto’s Waterfront Heritage, published in 2013, author Jane Fairburn focusses on four places where Toronto meets Lake Ontario: Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto Island, the Beach, and the string of communities between the Humber River and Etobicoke Creek she calls the Lakeshore. For each of these special areas, Fairburn offers a delightful, impressively illustrated narrative of its history, landscape, geography and people. She drew on published and archival sources for this work and, even more importantly, captured invaluable first-hand accounts through interviews with more than a hundred individuals. Toronto born and bred, Fairburn is a lawyer whose Lake Ontario roots go back generations. She currently lives in the Scarborough Bluffs. Ten years in the making, Along the Shore reflects her deep affection for Toronto’s lakefront communities. It has been shortlisted for the Speaker’s Book Award of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Catherine Graham: has published five books of poetry, her most recent being Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects (2013). Her work has also appeared in literary journals worldwide and in several anthologies. This latest book is a tribute to Graham’s two spirit mentors, poets P.K. Page and Dorothy Molloy. Most of the poems in it began as glosas, a poetic form Page had excelled at, in which Graham took lines from Molloy’s work as “scaffolding” for a new poem. These lines “worked as catalysts. They took me to new places … where I discovered a voice that was more of me.” Publisher Wolsak and Wynn describes the new territory Graham has reached: “Long recognized for the easy grace and strange beauty of her poems about grief and remembrance, in Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, she turns her thoughts toward poems of tribute and exaltation.” After spending many poetry-rich years in Northern Ireland, Graham now lives, writes and teaches in Toronto.
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer: All the Broken Things, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s recently-published third novel, is the touching tale of a Vietnamese teenager whose family, damaged by Agent Orange, has found refuge in Toronto, and – unexpectedly – of the boy’s relationship with a carnival bear. Does it fall into the immigrant fiction category? Is it the story of the bond between human and animal? It does and it is, but this strangely enchanting novel is much more. Perhaps the Globe and Mail put it best: “… the novel as a whole feels tinged with magic, despite being resolutely – and frequently heartbreakingly – rooted in the “real.” All the Broken Things defies the purely rational and finds something much deeper, something out of time.” Kuitenbrouwer, who also teaches creative writing, has published two other novels and a collection of short stories, and her short fiction has appeared in Granta Magazine, The Walrus, Numéro Cinq and other magazines. Her writing has won or been shortlisted for several awards.
JonArno Lawson: the author of many award-winning books of poetry for children and adults. His most recent book, one for adults, is Enjoy It While It Hurts (2013). Lawson illustrated it himself. “I kept picturing something with an Art Deco look,” he says. The book’s publisher, Wolsak & Wynn, describes Enjoy It While It Hurts as “an edifying miscellany of quarrelsome quips, holiday oddities, benevolent advice, curious thoughts and comically apocalyptic melancholia … erudite, witty and wholly original.” A poet from the age of twelve, Lawson’s varied early influences included Stephen Sondheim, the Beatles, Gilda Radner, bpNichol and a host of other wordsmiths. One of the messages of his latest work is to remember to play: “Words and ideas are fun to play with – and the fun is open to everyone.” Lawson, who also writes nonfiction, says he often works when he’s walking about, scribbling things down in the notebook he always keeps with him.
Shani Mootoo: accomplished author, artist and experimental filmmaker, was born in Ireland, grew up in Trinidad, and moved to Canada in her late teens. She has a fine arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, and served as writer in residence at the universities of Alberta, Guelph and the West Indies. Her multimedia artworks and video creations are one aspect of her artistic expression; on the literary side, she has published several novels, short fiction and poetry, all to great acclaim. Her work, which explores ethnicity, class, culture, gender and sexual identity, has been nominated for numerous literary awards including the Giller Prize, the Man Booker and Dublin IMPAC Literary Award. Her most recent novel, six years in the making, is Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, the poignant story of a woman who becomes a man and the effect of this change on the child she abandoned. It will be launched at this year’s Authors Festival. .
Christian McPherson: How can working in a federal government cubicle seem so funny? Christian McPherson knows how to pull it off: he did it in his 2010 novel, The Cube People, and in Cube Squared, the much-anticipated sequel that appeared last fall, he does it again. Here’s how: to the vagaries of a cubicle career he added a vampire-zombie novel in the making, three cute kids, a teddy bear abduction, a lustful infatuation with a Jennifer Beals look-alike … and just kept going. McPherson, who is also a poet, lives in Ottawa. (Is that why he knows so much about cubicle culture?) He has published six books, and his work has also appeared in Kiss Machine, Queen’s Quarterly, The New Quarterly and dANDdelion. His stories and poems have won several awards and award nominations, and two of his books, The Cube People and Six Ways to Sunday, were shortlisted for the ReLit Awards.
Peter Norman: If you love books and language, humour and horror, satire and mystery, you will love Emberton by Peter Norman. It’s a literary gothic romp: “Think Jasper Fforde meets Eats, Shoots & Leaves meets Frankenstein meets Douglas Adams,” says the publisher, Douglas & McIntyre. Emberton is Norman’s first novel, but not his first book. He is author of the chapbookAfter Stillness and co-author, with Stephen Brockwell, of Wild Clover Honey and the Beehive: 28 Sonnets on the Sonnet. The 2008 and 2009 editions of Best Canadian Poetry in English included his work, and his poetry, short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The Walrus, Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, Canadian Geographic and other publications. Norman’s At the Gates of the Theme Park, a poetry collection, won the IFOA Poetry NOW competition and was a finalist for the 2011 Trillium Poetry Prize. Born and raised in Vancouver, Norman completed a Creative Writing BFA at the University of British Columbia. He currently lives in Toronto.
Jennifer Robson: Her riveting World War I novel, Somewhere in France, topped the Globe and Mail Canadian Fiction Bestsellers list just weeks after it came out. When war erupts, the rigid social structures of early 1900s England begin to break down. The book’s protagonist, Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford, leaves her sheltered life and becomes an ambulance driver in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps – dangerous war work that propels her towards the Western Front and the man she loves. This novel, Robson’s first, deftly treats the tension between love and duty, the restraints of gender and social class, and the bitter sacrifices of “the war to end all wars.” Asked about her book’s message, Robson responded, “I don’t think I’m offering a message so much as posing a question: in the midst of total war, how would you behave?” Robson, who has a doctorate in British economic and social history, lives in Toronto. A former editor, she now writes full time.
Richard Scrimger: Here’s Richard Scrimger’s nutshell description of himself: “I write and teach and talk about writing and other things,” and he added, “I decided to be a writer in my mid-twenties. It was a decision that I took haphazardly, and ten years later I was an overnight success.” His first novel appeared in 1996, and he has since published books for adults, young adults and children, as well as dozens of articles for magazines and newspapers. His latest works are Zomboy, a funny, creepy, moving story about friendship and fitting in, Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book, co-written with Marthe Jocelyn and illustrated by Claudia Davilla, and The Wolf And Me, a very Canadian story, Scrimger says, involving kidnap, family and skating. His work has won several awards and been shortlisted for many more, and has been translated into at least a dozen languages. County students will be treated to presentations by Richard Scrimger and Ted Staunton as part of this year’s Authors Festival.
Ted Staunton: trained as a teacher, is also a speaker, performer and workshop leader who appears on television, on radio and in schools, libraries and other venues all across Canada. Over the last three decades, he has published more than thirty books, many of them award-winning or shortlisted for literary prizes – funny and perceptive stories of childhood and family life. His latest, the tale of a teen con artist, is a mystery/thriller/black comedy entitled Who I’m Not. Staunton is also a musician who plays with the Maple Leaf Champions jug band. As a volunteer with CODE Canada, he has visited Ethiopia several times in recent years to work there with English language writers and editors for young people. County students will be treated to presentations by Ted Staunton and Richard Scrimger as part of this year’s Authors Festival. (Staunton plans to bring along his guitar and banjo.)
Trevor Strong: “If you’ve always wanted to read a book about bass players, bumblebees, attempted murder, and children’s music, then this book is for you.” So says Trevor Strong of his new novel, Edgar Gets Going. Edgar Martin, bass player for the 1980s one-hit wonder, Rock Viper, is dismayed to discover the hot new band he has just joined is a kids’ act, complete with cutesy costumes: Edgar is the bee. “It’s only one gig,” he tells himself, but in fact it’s the first step in a hilarious journey that leads to songs about backyard animals, attempted murder, and way too much dancing. In addition to writing books, stories and articles, Strong, who lives in Kingston, creates and performs musical satire with the group, The Arrogant Worms, teaches creative writing, song writing and comedy, and makes custom songs for people. He is fascinated by humour and its importance, both socially and developmentally, and wroteUnderstanding Humour: A Teacher’s Handbook for his Master of Education degree.
In addition to reading from his latest novel at this year’s festival, Strong will be presenting a workshop on humour writing. “Humour is a Funny Thing: The Secrets of Writing Comedy” will take place on Friday, April 11 from 2:00 to 4:00pm. ($30. Pre-registration is required.) Please see the schedule for details.
Wendy Trusler: a visual artist whose installations incorporate various media, including drawing, painting, sculpture and film, presented in venues ranging from galleries to industrial spaces, parks and storefront windows (such as Books & Company’s in 2011). She has also been a cook, caterer and food stylist, and was the camp cook as well as the resident artist for an ecological clean-up expedition to Antarctica in 1996. Her experiences cooking tasty dishes close to the South Pole are related in the newly-released The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning, co-written by Trusler and the expedition’s creator, Carol Devine. The beautifully illustrated book draws on the authors’ journals, letters, menu plans and provision lists, and also looks back at Antarctic expeditions – and meals – of the past. The central feature, as the title suggests, is recipes. According to the book’s website, “The first thing that comes to mind about Antarctica is not likely food. But if you are going to spend any time there it should be the second.”
Thanks to our sponsors!
- Barley Days Brewery
Books & Company
By Chadsey’s Cairns Winery
Cherry Valley Soap Co.
Closson Chase Vineyards
County of Prince Edward Public Library & Archives
Doug & Evelyn Sloane
From the Farm Cooking School
Half Moon Bay Winery
Honey Pie Hives & Herbals
Hilltop Business Services
Janet & Graham Davies
Judith Van Bastelaar
Laurie Gruer, Sam Simone and Monica Klingenberg, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.
Libby Crombie, Royal LePage.
Mayeski Mathers LLP
- Merrill Inn
Miss Lily’s Café
Murray & Associates
PEC Arts Council
Pet Valu Picton
Picton Harbour Inn
Susan’s, Just Because
The Pink Lunch Pail
The Regent Theatre
Travellers’ Tales Books
Treat Hull, Sales Representative, Hartford and Stein Real Estate, Ltd., Brokerage
Through the Cedars Music Production
W.H. Williamson & Co. Ltd.
Welch & Company