Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday October 2nd, 2011 International Festival of Authors

Hopefully you have heard about an exciting event coming up October 16th here in Thunder Bay. The International Festival of Authors Thunder Bay is presented in partnership with Authors at the Harbourfront Centre, International Festival of Authors Ontario, Sleeping Giant Writers Festival, Northern Woman’s Bookstore, Lakehead University, and the Thunder Bay Public Library. We are beyond excited to welcome James Bartleman, Johanna Skibsrud, and Jane Urquhart to read at the Prince Arthur Hotel on the evening of the 16th. In today’s Library Detective I’d like to share with you my first awareness of these authors.

My first encounter with any of these authors was on my high school summer reading list. Jane Urquhart’s Away was one of the selections (the only one I can remember now) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That summer, I borrowed Changing Heaven and The Whirlpool from the Toronto Public Library; all the while eagerly anticipating the release of her next novel, The Underpainter. Of all the summer reading required over the years that first reading of Away had the greatest impact. I suspect I chose it on the basis of the cover art and never looked back.

Prior to his becoming Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario I had never heard of James Bartleman. My knowledge of him remained limited, although I applauded the Lieutenant-Governor’s Book Program that he established. One would think this program would have tipped me off to his literary leanings, but alas it did not. His memoirs flew under my radar and it wasn’t until the publication of As Long As the Rivers Flow that James Bartleman, the Lieutenant-Governor, became James Bartleman the author for me. There was a period of me questioning myself “I know that name from somewhere, how do I know his name?” Finally, the pieces fell in place and now I am looking forward to hearing him read.

I admit it took the Giller nominations for me to become aware of Johanna Skibsrud. I had recently made the transition from working in Children’s and Youth Services to Adult Services, and so was caught up in learning new routines. When The Sentimentalists was nominated I spent a lot of time working on the proper spelling of Skibsrud. The Sentimentalists is currently on my eReader for my evening reading and I have a hold on This Will Be Difficult to Explain and Other Stories. The title of this work has delighted me from the moment I read the first review and I am thrilled that she will be reading from it on October 16th.

I know all of you will have your own memories of your first encounters with these authors and hope that many of you can make it to the readings on October 16th. Tickets are available at the Waverley Resource Library, The Northern Woman’s Bookstore, and online at The readings will be followed by a Q & A period and book signings. Books will also be available for purchase at the event thanks to the Northern Woman’s Bookstore.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

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