The authors who will be appearing this year include:
Andrew Faulkner: is a poet, copywriter, mortgage agent and publisher who lives with his wife, poet Leigh Nash, in Marmora. With Nash, he co-founded The Emergency Response Unit, a cooperatively edited chapbook press. His work was published inThe Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, and his chapbook Useful Knots and How to Tie Them was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. His debut poetry collection, Need Machine, was named one of the best books of 2013 byMaisonneuve quarterly and was shortlisted for the annual CBC Bookie Awards in 2014. Faulkner describes it as “a best-of collection of poems I wrote in my 20’s.” His impulse to write, he says, “comes from reading the good things that are already out there in print.”
Christine Fischer Guy: Her short fiction has appeared in Prairie Fire, Descant and other journals, and her work was nominated for the Journey Prize. Currently living in Toronto, she is a fiction critic for the Globe and Mail, contributes to online magazines including Ryeberg.com and themillions.com, and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto. She is also an award-winning journalist. The Umbrella Mender, published in September 2014, is her first novel. Set primarily in the 1950s, it centres on an idealistic young nurse, Hazel MacPherson, who has gone to Moose Factory to work in the hospital there during a tuberculosis epidemic that is ravaging the native communities of northern Canada. Hazel forms a troubled relationship with a drifter, an umbrella mender and seeker after the Northwest Passage.
Helen Humphreys: lives in Kingston, has published four books of poetry, six novels, and two works of creative nonfiction. Her finely crafted writing has won numerous awards – among them the City of Toronto Book Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Lambda Prize for fiction, the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry – and been nominated for many others. Her books have been published around the world, adapted for the screen and stage, and often appear on bestseller lists. Her most recent work, the novel The Evening Chorus, was published in February 2015. Set during World War II and its aftermath, it is a captivating story of loss, survival and redemption told in Humphreys’s precise, eloquent prose.
Frances Itani: started her working life in the field of nursing, but a writing class with W.O. Mitchell many years ago propelled her in a new direction. She is an acclaimed poet, short story writer, novelist, children’s author, writer for radio, writer for adult new readers, reviewer and more. A member of the Order of Canada, Itani is a three-time winner of the CBC Literary Prize. Her 2004 novel, Deafening, won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and her work has received many other awards and nominations. In addition to her literary achievements, Itani has been involved in humanitarian and volunteer work throughout her life. She once wrote, “No matter what the story, my interest is in the human condition, the perpetually amazing range of struggles and delights that make up human behaviour.”
Kath MacLean: Edmonton-based Kath MacLean is an award-winning writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, spoken word performer, literary critic, filmmaker, creative writing instructor, certified teacher, former university professor and holder of a Ph.D. in creative writing. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, and she has published poetry in book form as well as performance poetry in audio and video formats. Her most recent book is Kat Among the Tigers, poetry inspired by the journals and letters of Katherine Mansfield. MacLean is currently on a working retreat in the County with the Al Purdy A-Frame Residency Program, and plans to work on a collection of poems based on the culture of the Nancy Drew teen mystery series. Al Purdy once told her, “Kid, you’re going to go somewhere.”
Sean Michaels: lives in Montreal, is a journalist, fiction writer, music critic, lecturer, improv artist and blogger. His debut novel, Us Conductors, which won the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize, was inspired by the lives of Léon Theremin, who invented the curious musical instrument named after him, and the theremin’s most accomplished player, musician Clara Rockmore. As Michaels says, though, “This is a book full of make-believe,” and he has cleverly crafted a work of fiction, a love story that transports the reader back and forth from the glamour of New York’s Jazz Age to the brutality of Cold War Russia. As befits the musical author of a musical novel, Michaels provides a playlist of the songs, old and new, that inspired him: hear them at usconductors.byseanmichaels.
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 writing, which explores ethnicity, class, culture, gender and sexual identity, has garnered nominations for numerous awards including the Giller Prize, the Man Booker, the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award and the Lambda Literary Awards.
Leigh Nash: a writer, editor, publisher, yoga instructor and tarot card reader whose writing has appeared in a number of print and online literary journals. She helped establish The Emergency Response Unit, a chapbook press, and was managing editor at Coach House Books. She is currently co-publisher of Invisible Publishing, a not-for-profit firm that produces contemporary fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, and is also treasurer for Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. A graduate of the University of Guelph’s MFA in Creative Writing program, Nash cites her favourite occupation as “wordsmith.” Goodbye, Ukulele, a poetry collection that blends “crisp language, an often humorous absurdity, and a lush darkness,” is her first book. Nash and her husband, poet Andrew Faulkner currently live in Marmora, in “a very drafty farmhouse.”
Richard Scrimger: “I decided to be a writer in my mid-twenties,” Richard Scrimger says. “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 published books – nineteen so far — 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” 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.
Ted Staunton: trained as a teacher, is also a speaker, performer, musician and workshop leader who appears on television, on radio and in schools, libraries and other venues all across Canada. 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. 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, Who I’m Not, won the 2014 John Spray Mystery Award. It is a mystery/thriller/black comedy about a strangely likeable teen con artist.
Alexis von Konigslow:
The Authors Festival regrets that Alexis von Konigslow is unable to appear at this year’s Festival.
“I was planning on being a physicist,” says Toronto-based novelist and playwright Alexis von Konigslow. “I have an honours degree in mathematical physics … and was developing an interest in graph theory when my love of books snuck to the forefront.” She graduated with an MFA from the University of Guelph and her first novel emerged, after many years of steady editing, from her master’s thesis. The Capacity for Infinite Happiness, appearing April 2015, is “a moving, tragicomic novel of mathematics, family secrets and Harpo Marx” that takes place in two different eras: the 1930s and our own time. The intriguing setting is a fictionalized version of the Muskoka lodge von Konigslow’s family ran for many years, one of the few accessible in the early years to Jewish families.
Michael Winter: has won or been nominated for many literary awards, and in 2006 he served as a jurist for the Giller Prize. Until recently, he was known primarily as a novelist and writer of short fiction. With Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead, published last year, he adds nonfiction writer to the list. Into the Blizzard has been described as “part travelogue, part philosophical investigation and, yes, part history, albeit an unconventional one.” It centres on the men of the Newfoundland Regiment and the appalling losses the Regiment suffered at the Battle of the Somme during World War One. “It’s always important to remember that humanity rests in the individual soul,” Winter says, “and not supporting a vast military complex.”
SPECIAL appearances include:
The Authors Festival is very pleased to welcome musician Chris Trimmer to this year’s festival. Chris will join Sean Michaels at our Friday evening event where he will reveal the secrets of the theremin, the curious musical instrument that helped inspire Sean’s Giller Prize winning novel, Us Conductors.
Chris Trimmer has been playing the theremin in the Kingston folk-estra, The Gertrudes, since 2007. They’ve released three albums, and have toured throughout Canada. Chris built his first theremin in 2002 and now uses the instrument at his day job as a mental health crisis worker, as a therapeutic device in a music therapy group.
The ‘Zine of Your Dreams Team
Three special guests will present the Friday afternoon workshop on making a ‘zine.
Niall Eccles is a cartoonist from Prince Edward County with a background in character animation. His online cartooning project, Character Of The Day, can be found at characteroftheday.com
Tim Snyder is a recovering animator who now focuses on illustration and design, editorial cartoons for the [Wellington] Times, and teaching sculpture and design at Loyalist College. www.tonup.ca
Andrew McLuhan has published a series of poetry and artwork ‘zines, and is author of The Mutant Beavers of Delhi (check your local library).
Thanks to our 2014 sponsors!
Barley Days Brewery
Black Prince Winery
Books & Company
Closson Chase Vineyards
County Community Foundation
County of Prince Edward Public Library and Archives
East & Main Bistro
Elizabeth A. Crombie
Grumpy Old Man Mustard
Janet and Graham Davies
Friends of Sandbanks
From the Farm Cooking School
The Golf Club Grill
The Grange of Prince Edward
- Laurie Gruer, Sam Simone & Monica Klingenberg – Chestnut Park Real Estate
Half Moon Bay Winery
Hilltop Business Services
Honey Pie Hives & Herbals
Jackson’s Falls Country Inn
JEL Hair Studios
Lacey Estates Winery
Lake on the Mountain Resort
Lavender Brothers Construction
Long Dog Vineyard and Winery
The Manse Boutique Inn
Marlene’s Pet and Housesitting
Mayeski Mathers LLP
Miss Lily’s Café
Murray and Associates
- Oeno Gallery
The Painted Peppercorn
Picton Harbour Inn
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory
Prince Edward County Arts Council
The Regent Theatre
Sebastien Schwab Cuisine
Doug & Evelyn Sloane
Through the Cedars Music Production
Judith Van Bastelaar
VCAM Development Corporation
W. H. Williamson & Co. Ltd.
The Waring House