Angie Abdoubegan writing fiction in 2000 and has since published three books. Anything Boys Can Do was praised by the Times Colonist (British Columbia) for its original take on female sexuality. The Bone Cage, a novel about Olympic athletes, was the inaugural One Book, One Kootenay, as well as a 2011 Canada Reads finalist and the 2012 MacEwan Book of the Year. Her newest novel, The Canterbury Trail (Brindle & Glass, 2011), is a dark comedy specifically about mountain culture and more generally about community and our relationship with the environment.The Canterbury Trail was a finalist for the Banff Mountain Book of the Year. Angie was born and raised in Moose Jaw, SK. She currently lives in Fernie, BC, and teaches full-time at the College of the Rockies.
Carmen Aguirre dedicated her youth to the Chilean revolutionary movement, running a safe house for underground resistance members seeking refuge in Argentina. Since then she has become a Vancouver-based theatre artist who has written and co-written twenty plays, including Chile Con Carne, The Trigger, and The Refugee Hotel. She has over sixty film, television, and stage acting credits and is currently appearing as Alcina on Showcase’s Endgame.
Something Fierce: Memoires of a Revolutionary Daughter (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011) is her first book—one she wrote in her mind for twenty years, but only found the courage to write on paper in the last few. It graced many Best of 2011 lists including those of The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and Quill & Quire. It was selected as Book of the Week by BBC Radio in the UK, and long-listed for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.
Roo Borson has published ten books of poems, including Rain; road; an open boat (McClelland & Stewart, 2012), her first poetry collection since Short Journey Upriver toward Ôishida, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, as well as a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Roo also writes with Kim Maltman and Andy Patton, as part of the collaborative poetry group Pain Not Bread, whose first book, Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei, was published in 2000. She lives in Toronto.
Marjorie Celona received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the Ailene Barger Barnes Prize. Her stories have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, and Harvard Review. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, she now lives in Cincinnati. Y (Hamish Hamilton, 2012) is her highly anticipated first novel, which weaves together the stories of Shannon, a newborn left at the doors of the YMCA, and her mother.
George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Dalhousie University, and Queen’s University, he now teaches Canadian and African diasporic literature at the University of Toronto. He has worked as an editor, publisher, social worker, researcher, journalist, and parliamentary aide. Clarke has won many honours for his writing, including the 2001 Governor General’s Literary Award for Execution Poems. His most recent poetry collection, Red (Gaspereau, 2011), finds company among his early ‘colouring’ books, Blue and Black. His publications have made him a pillar of Canadian literature, and in 2008, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Trevor Cole’s career as a magazine editor and journalist was impressive. For twelve years he was a senior editor in the magazine division of the Globe and Mail, then was the senior writer for the Report on Business Magazine. For his work there, as well as his in-depth features for Toronto Life magazine and his notorious satirical column for Canadian Business, he has won a total of seven National Magazine Awards (gold and silver).
Not to be outdone, his more recent endeavours as a novelist have been equally lauded. In a recent Globe and Mail review, Trevor was described as “one of the best young novelists in this country.” He has written two novels, Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life and The Fearsome Particles, both of which—in a rare event—were short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Literature and long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His most recent novel, Practical Jean (McClelland & Stewart, 2010) is a dark-humoured tale about Jean, a heroic character determined to protect her dear friends from the indignities of aging and illness…by killing them.
Trevor is also a huge supporter of fellow Canadian authors, creating the website Authors Aloud which showcases authors reading from their works.
Dani Couture is the author of two collections of poetry, Good Meat and Sweet. Sweet was nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted for the ReLit Award. Dani’s first novel, Algoma (Invisible, 2011), follows Leo’s family after he falls through the ice. Refusing to believe Leo is gone, his twelve-year-old brother Fred begins sending letters to Leo via any pool of water. Then, sopping notes begin appearing around the house.
Dani won This Magazine’s 2007 Great Canadian Literary Contest and received an Honour of Distinction from The Writers’ Trust of Canada – Dayne Ogilvie Grant in 2011. She resides in Toronto.
Louise Desjardins is the author of several collections of poetry. Her first novel, La Love, published in 1993, was awarded the Grand Prix du Journal de Montréal and the Prix des Arcades de Bologne. She’s published short stories, a biography: Pauline Julien: La vie à mort, and a collection of essays: Coeurs braisés. Her most recent novel is So Long (Cormorant, 2012), translated by fellow Festival attendee, Sheila Fischman. Through the 1990s, Louise was a member of the Board of the Union of Writers in Quebec, and from 2001-2008 she served on the board of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. A native of Abitibi, Louise now lives in Montreal.
Eric Dupont was born in Gaspésie. He is a teacher and translator in Montreal. This year sees his 2009 novel, Voleurs de sucre, translated to English by Sheila Fischman. Sugar Thieves (Cormorant, 2012) is a sweet tale of three-year-old Eric who, after his first taste of sugar, searches for ways to satisfy his new found sweet tooth. Eric’s other novel, La Logeuse, won the French language Canada Reads (Le Combats des livres) in 2008.
Sheila Fischman is one of Canada’s premier translators. She has translated over 125 books, including works by fellow Festival attendees Louise Desjardins, Eric Dupont, and Kim Thuy. For her work, Sheila won the Molson Prize in 2008. In 2007, her translation of Jacques Poulin’s novel, My Sister’s Blue Eyes, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, and in 2006, her translation of Pascale Quiviger’s novel, The Perfect Circle, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Sheila is a member of the Order of Canada, and the Festival is very excited to celebrate her accomplishments and the authors she has introduced to an English audience.
Doug Gibson has been described by the Globe and Mail as a “publishing icon” and by Quill and Quire as a “living legend.” For forty years, Doug built a career and well-respected reputation in Canadian publishing as an editor and as publisher at McClelland & Stewart. Now, he tells all in his new book Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau and Others (ECW, 2011). The Festival is thrilled to present a special session between Doug Gibson and Alistair MacLeod who will discuss their navigation of the ever tricky and often sensitive relationship between editor and author.
Richard Gwyn is an award-winning author and political columnist. He is widely known as a commentator for the Toronto Star on national and international affairs and as a frequent contributor to television and radio programs. His books include two highly praised biographies, The Unlikely Revolutionary on Newfoundland premier Joey Smallwood, and The Northern Magus on Pierre Elliot Trudeau. His book, Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Canadian, was selected by The Literary Review of Canada as one of the 100 most important books published in Canada. John A: The Man Who Made Us, Richard’s first volume on Sir John A. Macdonald became a national bestseller and won the 2008 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Last fall, he published the second volume, Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times (Random House, 2011), which is the 2012 winner of the esteemed Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
Ian Hamilton has written for many magazines and newspapers in Canada and the U.S., but most recently his Ava Lee series of novels have garnered him a lot of attention and a lot of praise. Of The Water Rat of Wanchai, past EMWF attendee and author Linwood Barclay says,
“Ian Hamilton makes the global search for hidden money as thrilling as James Bond fleeing down a snowy slope on one ski. Ava Lee is tough, fearless, quirky, and resourceful, and she has more – well, you know – than half a dozen male detectives I can think of. Ian Hamilton knows his stuff, and he has created a true original in Ava Lee.”
The fourth book in the series is, The Wild Beasts of Wuhan (House of Anansi, 2012). Ian Hamilton lives in Burlington, ON.
Brian Henderson is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Nerve Language, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 2007. He holds a PhD in Canadian Literature, has worked in many facets of Canadian publishing, and is currently the director of Wilfrid Laurier University Press in Waterloo, ON. Sharawadji (Brick Books, 2011) is his eleventh poetry book.
Speaking of Poems by John Cunningham at CKUW radio (Brian’s interview begins after about 5 mins.)
Michele Landsberg began her journalism career with the Globe and Mail in the 1960s. She joined Chatelaine magazine in the 1970s, under the editorship of leading feminist Doris Anderson and then moved to the Toronto Star. Her time as a columnist for the Star spanned twenty-five years and won her two National Newspaper Awards. Last year, Michele published a selection of her favourite columns in Writing the Revolution (Second Story, 2011), which not only reflects on second wave feminism but becomes an intriguing lens through which to consider the present-day state of women’s rights, activism, and feminism.
Michele is also the recipient of the Governor General’s Persons’ Medal for her tireless advocacy on behalf of women, and she can often be heard on CBC Radio reviewing children’s books. Michele lives in Toronto with her husband, Stephen Lewis.
Tim Lilburn is the author of eight books of poetry, including To the River, Kill-site, and Orphic Politics. His work has received the Governor General’s Award and the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, among other prizes. This year Tim released, Assiniboia, a new collection re-imagining Western Canada. Imagine the government of Louis Riel, an army fighting to overturn a century of colonial practice. You’ll have to turn the page to see what could have been.
Tim is also the author of two essay collections, Living in the World as if It Were Home and Going Home, as well as editor of two other collections on poetics. He teaches at the University of Victoria in BC.
Linden MacIntyre is a co-host of CBC’s the fifth estate and the winner of ten Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. His bestselling first novel, The Long Stretch, was nominated for a CBA Libris Award and his boyhood memoir, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, was a Globe and Mail Best Book and won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize. His second novel, The Bishop’s Man, which he shared with Festival-goers in 2010, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Dartmouth Book Award and the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award and has been translated into eight languages.
This year Linden returns with Why Men Lie, a novel exploring the nature of family, love, and the intricacies of relationships between men and women. At middle age Effie MacAskill Gillis is sure that she knows everything that she needs to know about men. Yet on a Toronto subway platform during the Christmas rush, Effie is taken by surprise when she runs into an old acquaintance, JC Campbell. As Effie lets down her guard and takes the plunge with a new romance, she is soon reminded that the progress of love can be difficult. In this whirlwind affair of the heart, Effie must also deal with the trials and tribulations of two ex-husbands trying to pull their lives together, a grown daughter who is about to make a surprising choice for a husband, and a brother in the midst of a difficult transition.
Alistair MacLeod was born in North Battleford, SK, in 1936 and raised among an extended family in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He still spends his summers in Inverness County, writing in a clifftop cabin looking west towards Prince Edward Island. In his early years, to finance his education he worked as a logger, a miner, and a fisherman, and writes vividly and sympathetically about such work.
He has published two internationally acclaimed collections of short stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun. In 2000, these two books, accompanied by two new stories, were published in a single-volume, The Collected Stories of Alistair MacLeod. In 1999, MacLeod’s first novel, No Great Mischief, was published to great critical acclaim, and was on national bestseller lists for more than a year. The novel won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, The Trillium Award for Fiction, the CAA-MOSAID Technologies Inc. Award for Fiction, and at the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards, MacLeod won Fiction Book of the Year and Author of the Year.
At the Festival, Alistair will join his editor, Doug Gibson, for a special conversation reflecting on their author-editor relationship, a tale documented in Doug’s recent publication, Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau and Others (ECW, 2011).
Ami McKay’s debut novel, The Birth House, became a bestseller in Canada. It won three CBA Libris Awards, was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was a book club favourite around the world.
Now Ami returns with The Virgin Cure, set in Victorian lower Manhattan. “I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart.”. A childhood of betrayals leads Moth into the world of the Bowery, filled with pickpockets, beggars, and prostitutes. Through the friendship of Dr. Sadie, a female physician, Moth learns to question and observe the world around her, where her new friends are falling prey to the myth of the “virgin cure.”
Born and raised in Indiana, Ami now lives with her husband and two sons in Nova Scotia.
Don McKay has published ten previous books of poetry, including Another Gravity, Camber: Selected Poems, and Strike/Slip, all of which were shortlisted for the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize, which he won for Strike/Slip. His most recent collection, Paradoxides (McClelland & Stewart, 2012), is described by the New York Times Book Review as “exuberantly musical…[the poems] seek to elucidate our relationships with our fragile dwelling places both on the earth and in our own skins.” McKay is also known as a poetry editor, and he has taught poetry in universities across the country. He presently lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Rene Meshake is author and illustrator of Blueberry Rapids, a storyteller, visual artist, spoken-word performer, musician, and filmmaker living in Guelph, ON. By seamlessly fusing Ojibwe and English words into his stories, poetry, and spoken-word performances, Rene has communicated his Ojibwe spiritual heritage to the contemporary world. He was born in the railway town of Nakina in Northwestern Ontario and was raised by his Okomissan grandmother. His training in the Anishinaabe oral tradition, arts, and culture, combined with his education in Graphic Design from Sheridan College and the Humber School for Writers make Rene’s body of work an expressive and entertaining presentation for an ever-increasing audience.
Donna Morrissey is the award-winning author of four adult novels: Kit’s Law, Downhill Chance, Sylvanus Now, and What They Wanted, as well as the Gemini Award-winning screenplay, Clothesline Patch, and the children’s book Cross Katie Kross. Donna grew up in the Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland, and now lives in Halifax. Her new book, The Seduction of Livvy Higgs (Penguin, 2012) will be released this fall.
Garry Thomas Morse was selected in 2008 as the recipient of the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist and has twice been selected as runner-up for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Just this spring, his poetry collection, Discovery Passages, was shortlisted for the BC Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Garry’s second book of fiction, Minor Episodes (Talonbooks, 2012) will be published later this year.
Lilian Nattel’s oldest friend remembers her telling stories when she was five years old, but she didn’t decide to be a writer until she was ten. That was when she discovered not all authors were dead. Grown up and writing in her garret, Lilian had no idea that there was anything like a literary scout, so she was shocked to find out that her first manuscript, The River Midnight, had been leaked to German scouts. As a result of the buzz, The River Midnight sold across North America, the UK, and Europe in a matter of weeks. She followed up with The Singing Fire, set in a Jewish ghetto in Victorian London, and this year sees her new release Web of Angels. It took eight years and ten drafts, but it’s finally ready to be shared. Lilian says she was privileged with the writing of it.
Michael Ondaatje is the author of five novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. The English Patient won the Booker Prize; Anil’s Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. The Cat’s Table (McClelland & Stewart, 2011) is his most recent novel. Set in the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England and spends his mealtimes with an unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. Looking back from deep within adulthood, and gradually moving back and forth from the decks and holds of the ship to the years that follow the narrator unfolds a spellbinding and layered tale about the discoveries of childhood.
Tanis Rideout received her MFA from the University of Guelph-Humber, and she has been a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the CBC Literary Awards. In 2006, she was named Poet Laureate for Lake Ontario by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Sometimes referred to as the Poet Laureate of CanRock, Tanis joined Gord Downie on tour to promote environmental justice on Lake Ontario and read a commissioned poem as part of Sarah Harmer’s I Love the Escarpment tour. Born in Belgium, Tanis grew up in Bermuda and Kingston, Ontario. She now resides in Toronto.
Leon Rooke our founder, friend, and unruly storyteller, reminds us every year of the fun of storytelling. Leon’s prolific repertoire includes short stories, novels, and plays. Pope and her Lady is Leon’s latest work, a novella in which Pope is charged with her partner Mady’s murder. Leon’s talent for making language jump off the page is evident yet again as he captures Glasgow’s street slang in this strange and wonderful tale. Some of Leon’s other works include The Beautiful Wife, A Good Baby, The Last Shot, and Shakespeare’s Dog. He is the recipient of the Canada-Australia Literary Prize, the W.O. Mitchell Prize, and the Governor General’s Award.
This fall sees the release of Linda Spalding’s latest novel, The Purchase (McClelland & Steward, 2012). While its official release is not until late September, the EMWF is honoured to offer advanced copies for sale on Festival Sunday. After Linda’s reading, you’ll find her along Publishers’ Way ready to sign her new title.
Born in Kansas, Linda Spalding immigrated to Canada in 1982. She is the author of three novels and a work of nonfiction, The Follow, which was shorlisted for the Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize. She is an editor of Brick: A Literary Journal, and has received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community.
Carrie Snyder was born in Hamilton, ON, and grew up in Ohio, Nicaragua, and Ayr, ON. Her first book, Hair Hat, was nominated for the Danuta Gleed Award for Short Fiction. Her latest publication is, The Juliet Stories, a collection of linked short stories set in Nicaragua and Ontario. Quill & Quire raves The Juliet Stories provides “the kind of nourishment that comes from a moving story, beautifully told.”
Carrie lives in Waterloo, ON, with her husband and four children.
Eva Stachniak’s The Winter Palace (Random House, 2012) has been the talk of the town, so to speak. Travel to 18th century Russian court and follow the lives of Barbara, a servant who will become one of Russia’s most cunning royal spies, and Sophia, the naïve German duchess who history remembers as Catherine the Great. This is well-crafted, beautifully narrated historical fiction.
Stachniak was born in Wroclaw, Poland. She came to Canada in 1981 to attend McGill University and has worked for Radio Canada International and Sheridan College, where she taught English and Humanities. Her first short story, “Marble Heroes,” was published by the Antigonish Review in 1994, and her debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award in 2000. Eva is also the author of Garden of Venus. She lives in Toronto and is working on her next novel about Catherine the Great.
Kim Thuy was born in Saigon and arrived in Canada in 1979, at the age of ten. She has worked as a seamstress, interpreter, lawyer and restaurant owner, and this year she is the buzz of English Canada with the translation of the Quebec bestseller and Governor General Award winner, RU (Random House, 2012, translated by Sheila Fischman). In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, a young female narrator takes us on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec.
“This is an exemplary autobiographical novel. Never is there the slightest hint of narcissism or self-pity. The major events in the fall of Vietnam are painted in delicate strokes, through the daily existence of a woman who has to reinvent herself elsewhere. A tragic journey described in a keen, sensitive and perfectly understated voice.” — Governor General’s Literary Award jury citation
Andrew Westoll is the winner of the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, which tells the incredible true story of a family of chimpanzees who were rescued from a medical research lab in New York State and who now live at an animal sanctuary on the south shore of Montreal
Andrew is a primatologist. He and his wife live in Toronto. Read on for more on his Charles Taylor Prize win.
Waubgeshig Rice is a broadcast journalist and writer who lives in Ottawa. He grew up in Wasauksing, an Anishinaabe community on the shores of Georgian Bay. His articles, essays and columns have been published in national newspapers and magazines, and as a television journalist he has filed reports from across Canada. Midnight Sweatlodge (Theytus Books, 2011) tells the tale of family members, friends, and strangers who gather together to partake in this ancient healing ceremony. Each person seeks traditional wisdom and insight to overcome pain and hardship. Rice captures the raw emotion and unique challenges of modern Aboriginal life.
Nora Young is a writer, broadcaster, producer, and documentary-maker. She was the founding host and producer of Definitely Not the Opera and currently hosts CBC’s national radio show Spark. She is fascinated with the intersection of technology and culture: how changing technology affects the way we see ourselves and each other.