EMWF Book of the Month: And a Dog Called Fig by Helen Humphreys

Wednesday, March 16, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. EST (online)

Warm up with our winter events!

Join us for our March Book of the Month event featuring beloved Canadian author Helen Humphreys in conversation with host Susan G. Cole. This event includes closed captioning.

Funded by the Government of Ontario.

 

Post-Event Book Club

Following the event, join our friends at Guelph Public Library for a post-event book club discussion!

Tuesday March 29 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. EST. Register here.

And a Dog Called Fig
by Helen Humphreys
Published by HarperCollins Canada

Into the writer’s isolation comes a dog, to sit beside the chair or to lie on the couch while the writer works, to force them outside for a walk, and suddenly, although still lonely, the writer has a companion.

An artist’s solitude is a sacred space, one to be guarded and kept apart from the chaos of the world. This isolation allows for uninhibited wandering, uninterrupted meditation and the nurturing of sparks of inspiration into fires of creation. But in the artist’s quiet there is also loneliness, self-doubt, the possibility of collapsing too far inward.

What an artist needs is a familiar, a creature perfectly suited to accompany them on this coveted, difficult journey. They need a companion with emotional intelligence, innate curiosity, passion and energy and an enthusiasm for the world beyond, but also the capacity to sleep contentedly for many hours. What an artist needs, Helen Humphreys would say, is a dog.

And a Dog Called Fig is a memoir of the writing life told through the dogs Humphreys has lived with and loved over a lifetime, culminating with the recent arrival and settling in of Fig, a Vizsla puppy. Interspersed are stories of other writers and their irreplaceable companions: Virginia Woolf and Grizzle, Gertrude Stein and Basket, Thomas Hardy and Wessex—the dog who walked the dining table at dinner parties, taking whatever he liked—and many more.

It’s a book about companionship and loss and creativity that is filled with the beauty of a steadfast canine friend and the restorative powers of nature. It is also a book about craft, divided into sections that echo the working parts of a novel—Beginnings, Character, Pacing, Setting, Structure, Process, Endings. Just as every work of art is different, every dog is different—with distinctive needs and lessons to offer. And if we let them guide us, they, like art, will show us many worlds we would otherwise miss.

Helen Humphreys is an acclaimed and award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She has won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, a Lambda Literary Award for Fiction and the Toronto Book Award. And she has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Trillium Book Prize and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. Her most recent novel is Rabbit Foot Bill. The recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, Helen Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario.
Susan G. Cole is a writer, editor and activist. She is the author of two books on violence against women, Pornography and the Sex Crisis and Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography (both Second Story Press) and is the editor of Outspoken, scenes and monologues from Canadian lesbian plays (Playwrights Canada Press). Her play, the comedy A Fertile Imagination, about two lesbians trying to have a baby, was nominated for two Dora Awards in Toronto. The former entertainment and books editor at NOW Magazine, she lives with her partner in Toronto, where she now freelances as a cultural and political commentator.

Need the book?

ONTARIO:

Elora: Magic Pebble Books is our Elora bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at magicpebble.ca or call 226-383-3855 for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

Guelph: The Bookshelf is our Guelph bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at bookshelf.ca or call 519-821-3311 x1 for curbside pickup, free local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

Kitchener-Waterloo: Words Worth Books is our Kitchener-Waterloo bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at wordsworthbooks.com or call 519-884-2665 for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

Ottawa: Octopus Books is our Ottawa bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at octopusbooks.ca or call 613-233-2589 for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

Toronto: Another Story Bookshop is our Toronto bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at anotherstory.ca or call 416-462-1104 for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

MANITOBA

Winnipeg: McNally Robinson Booksellers is our Winnipeg bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at mcnallyrobinson.com or call 1-800-561-1833 for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatoon: McNally Robinson Booksellers is our Saskatoon bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at mcnallyrobinson.com or call 1-877-506-7456 for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Lower Mainland: Black Bond Books is our Lower Mainland (B.C.) bookselling partner for this event. Purchase online at blackbondbooks.com or email [email protected] for curbside pickup, local delivery or Canada-wide shipping.