Friday, April 29, 2011

Storytelling workshop

Kim co-ran the first storytelling workshop I ever took (and I blame her, and Ruthanne Edward, for the story slamming I've been doing ever since...) If you've never tried storytelling, I can highly recommend Kim as a guide into the unexplored territory of getting up on a mike and starting to tell a story . . .)

Intro to Storytelling with Kim Kilpatrick
We all tell and listen to stories by our families, friends, co-workers. What is storytelling and how is it different from reading or from telling jokes? In this very interactive and entertaining program, learn what storytelling is and learn to find, gather, create, and tell stories. Everyone has stories to tell. Kim Kilpatrick has been telling stories all of her life but officially has been a storyteller for ten years. "I love creating and crafting autobiographical stories and helping others to learn how to do this." We will also talk about many genres of storytelling. From folktale to literary work, from historic to epic, there are so many kinds and styles of storytelling. Come and find your voice and find your stories. You'll be glad you did! 

Tues 1:00 – 4:00 PMMay 17 – Jun 21 (6 wks)
Fee: $120
Registration: Crichton Community Cultural Centre
2nd Floor-200 Crichton Street
Ottawa, ON  K1M 1W2
phone: 613-745-2742  fax: 613-745-4153

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Festival Kickoff

Well, today might be the first day on the posters but last night was the kickoff for the Writers Festival, with a launch for Michael Blouin's Wore Down Trust at the Barley Mow. I love when the Festival kicks off with a party for a local writer. The place was jammed, loud, happy, friendly, and celebratory. The reading even pre-empted Game 7 (it's okay, Montreal lost anyway.)

And the talk all died down completely so Mike could read from the book, which he did with aplomb, reading from each of the three sections of the book (from the perspectives of, severally, Johnny Cash, Alden Nowlan, and a semiautobiographical third character.)

What he read was grounded, bluesy, considered stuff, and I certainly thought I heard a few echoes of Cash's voice. The book itself, from all accounts, is hard to describe, and he didn't read for that long - I for one could have listened to much more. So, I got a sense of the feel of the book, but not, I think, the whole: I know I really want to get my hands on a copy so I can spend some time with it. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Short Stories

This afternoon, for Literary Landscapes, I got to interview the winner of the CBC Literary Awards for short stories, Meghan Adams - a Masters student in Creative Writing. Her story, "Snapshots From my Father's Euthanasia Road Trip, or, Esau," is a family portrait in miniature, where a daughter finds herself, vaguely unwilling but unable to refuse, driving her father from Nova Scotia to Toronto so he can jump off the Don Valley Bridge rather than die of some unnamed disease.

The show's here, if you want to listen!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Writersfest Season

I can't believe I haven't actually written about the fact that Writers Festival is coming up in a couple of weeks! I guess because I know everyone else is already posting their picks, etc. - for example, rob mclennan just posted one of his "12 or 20 questions" pieces with J.M. DeMatteis, who will be coming to the Festival this spring. (Search around: he's done 12-or-20s with a few other Festival guests too.) Most Festivals, I've been far too busy running around helping to put the Festival together to write about who I'm looking forward to seeing. But, as most of you know by now, I'm not working at the Festival anymore (although, festivalgoers will possibly not notice much difference, as I will be working for the bookseller and have been hired to drive authors around to schools, so my days during the Festival will be much as though nothing has changed. I'm really looking forward to being on site and part of the team again, actually. It feels really weird to be an audience member. I keep wanting to jump up and help with the mikes or the box office.)

Anyway. Have you seen the new and beautiful Writers Festival website? It's gorgeous. I really like the way you can print off your own tickets, and how the information is organized. Bye-bye scrolling and tiny brown font. And that index page is bold-looking.

What am I looking forward to? Well, I know I'll be selling books a lot of the time, so I may not be able to sit in on many of the events. But I'll be driving for the school program, which means I may get to sit in on sessions with JC Sulzenko, JM DeMatties, Mike Carey, AJ Lake, Lesley Livingston, or Arthur Slade - all of whom are people I really like and/or whose books I enjoy (not having yet met JM DeMatteis, I don't know what he's like in person, although I'm betting he's cool.)

The geek in me, too, is looking forward to Mike Carey and JM DeMatteis's talk on graphic novels, as well as the session where Mike and Andrew Pyper will talk about creepy stories. I'm also very curious about the You Are Not A Gadget session with Jaron Lanier and Lee Smolin, and the session on science's quest for immortality with John Gray. And of course, the geek in me will be there for Robert J. Sawyer's Webmind event. Can't miss out on one of Canada's most important SF writers.

Meanwhile, the poetry nerd in me is looking in anticipation at the next Messagio Galore (if you haven't seen one of these, you've been missing out on some exhilarating mental exercise), wiggling happily about getting to see Pearl Pirie read at the Poetry Cabaret, hoping to sneak in to the Poetry Masterclass with Robert Pinsky, and hoping to finally wrap my head around what a ghazal is and why everyone's so het up about them at the Ghazal Concert (besides,with Lorna Crozier, Rob Winger, Sandra Ridley and Robert Pinsky reading, it's sure to be awesome.)

I've found that, inevitably, going to hear poetry makes me more determined to try and write poetry. Once I get over sitting there with my jaw dropped thinking, "well, crap, I'll never be able to write like that..."

Other things that catch my eye - Marina Nemat, who is always lovely and gracious and whose story is just heartbreaking, is going to be at the Books and Brunch. Michael Blouin is reading from Wore Down Trust at the Barley Mow. There's a Short Story Masterclass with Clark Blaise. And Giller winner Johanna Skibsrud's coming too. And I can never resist an adventurer, so I'm eyeing the Will to Live event with Survivorman Les Stroud.

But that's just me. You be keen on all the stuff you're keen on. And see you there!