First Place for Poetry at NOWW Literary Awards

First Place for Poetry at NOWW Literary Awards
Rob Lem

CANADIAN SHORTS has arrived at Chapters in Thunder Bay.

CANADIAN SHORTS has arrived at Chapters in Thunder Bay.
All proceeds to refugees.

Margie Taylor's latest

Margie Taylor's latest
Harrow Road, a Victorian Novel. Available at Amazon.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chapters Providing an Opportunity for Local Authors.

Hello Authors!

Our Chapters store will be hosting a Canada 150 Event! On June 3rd to celebrate Canada's biggest birthday yet!
In celebration of this event we would like to host a Multi Author Signing! (Thank you Joan for being our inspiration!) 
Joan has already agreed (thanks Joan!), we are hoping to have 3-4 more Author tables in the front alcove of our store, if you could be available for this event we would love to have you!
 Please let us know as soon as you are able.

Thank you so much.
June 3rd, 1-4pm Chapters on Memorial  

Stefani Celine
Events Leader
CEL, Chapters 757

Hello blog readers. I will be signing Canadian Shorts, which contains my first-place story "The Big Hole." I also have a few give-aways to add to the fun. All proceeds from this book go to the Canadian Council of Refugees "a non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and migrants in Canada.' Joan N. Baril/

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trying on my new Canadian Shorts sweat for the book signing at Chapters Thunder Bay on June 3. The puzzle (100 pieces) and the mug are giveaway items. More info upcoming.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Kouhi Awaard

Kouhi Award winner Joan M. Baril with grand daughter Meghan Eddy.

Winning the Kouhi Award was a great honour. I still cannot believe it. The Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW) established the award in 1999 to "recognize contributions to the literature of northwestern Ontario." The Award is named in honour of poet Elizabeth Kouhi, a very good poet indeed who has appeared on this blog.

It was an unbelievable moment when I walked to the podium.

I am so honoured to follow in the footsteps of other award winners: the late great Richard Wagamese, Michael Christie, Eleanor Barr, Charles Wilkins, Jean E Pendzinol and so many other amazing writers.

This great literary whirl of books, writers, libraries, publishers, conferences, literary blogs, web sites, reviews, readings, discussions and arguments, publishing, book sellers and book clubs has at its core the solitary reader, immersed in the world on the page, but yet surrounded by a literary community which  supports the solitary journey. And this journey can be a momentous one, even life changing. My own life in literature has been a long and checkered one, but like many book lovers, I could not imagine life without books.  Joan M. Baril

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Winners NOWW Literary Awards Contest 217

Gail Linklater presenting the award to Susan Rogers for her second place submission in creative non fiction titled "No Sidewalks."

The annual gathering was a great time as usual. Good food, a fine key note speech by Denise Chong, the announcement of the writing winners as listed below.  Congratulations to the winners and to all writers who entered. 
First Place:
Cindy Matthews, Creative Non Fiction for “Nesting.”
Kirsti Salmi, Short Fiction for “Shag Tickets and Other Debris.”
John Pringle, Novel Excerpt: Speculative Fiction for “The Education of Alan Woodruff.”
Robert Y. Lem, Poetry for “Never Forgotten.”
Kevin Baker, Bill MacDonald Prize for “Ogoki Post.”

Second Place:
Jack Shedden, Novel Excerpt: Speculative Fiction for “Counting Sol.”
Alyssa Foulkes, Short Fiction for “The Memories of Brothers.”
Susan Rogers, Creative Non Fiction for “No Sidewalks.”
Holly Haggarty, Poetry for “River, Tree, Sky.”

Third Place:
Noah Cain, Poetry for “Home at Three Ages.”
Timothy Gynn, Novel Excerpt: Speculative Fiction for “Bandits.”
Julio Heleno Gomes, Short Fiction for “The Teacher’s Gift.”
Olive Mater, Creative Non Fiction for “It’s Canada 150. I’m not Celebrating.”

Deb deBakker, one of the organizers who created a fine evening.

NOWW President Jane Crossman with John Pringle, first place winner for the excerpt of his speculative fiction novel 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Canadian Shorts Riding UP.

Canadian Shorts is at #1 on Amazon Hot New Releases in Collections & Readers - and it's at #5 for Canadian Collections. Congrats to all of the short story authors! 
Available on Amazon. Soon to be in Chapters. Book signing in August (stay tuned). Launch in September. All proceeds from this book go to Canadian refugees.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

New titles for the book bag.

A letter from Helen Cimone, the book bag lady from the library, lists four new titles and also tells us about a new on line system for reserving books. 

Hello Joan, 
I am happy to let you know we have 4 new book bag titles to tell you about:

The Schopenhauer Cure by Irvin D. Yalom donated by the Country Neighbours Book Club in memory of Wendy Dolan
Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine checkup, eminent psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work -- and seeks out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom he failed to help some twenty years earlier. Yet Philip claims to be cured -- miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer -- and is, himself, a philosophical counselor in training.

Two Rivers by T. Greenwood donated by the Murillo Book Club
In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.

Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers, and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn't long before he begins to suspect that Maggie's appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Amy Jones, Leacock Medalist Finalist.

Amy has made the 2017 short list for the Leacock Medal for humour with her novel We're All in This Together.  The medal celebrates the best of Canadian humour and carries a $15,000 award. In Amy's novel, set in Thunder Bay, a mother goes over Kakabeca Falls in a barrel, survives and sets her dysfunctional family in an uproar when she becomes an internet sensation. In 2006, Amy won the CBC short story prize.  Big congratulations Amy. Good luck! Our fingers are crossed.

Amy Jones at Brodie Library after a reading.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Denise Chong Coming to Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay – LIVING – The author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling books The Concubine’s Children and The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War will make three appearances in Thunder Bay this month.
Denise Chong, who was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2013, will give a free public presentation entitled The Girl in the Picture – The Making of a Book on Friday, May 12 at 7 pm in the Baggage Building at Prince Arthur’s Landing. Her appearance is with financial assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts through the Writers’ Union of Canada.
On Saturday, May 13, Chong will offer a workshop from 10 am to noon at the Mary JL Black Library called Writing Memory – Writing Truth.
Later that day (May 13) she will be the keynote speaker at the annual Literary Awards Party hosted by the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW) at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel, beginning at 6 pm with a symposium. Interested participants can register for the Saturday events at
“Fans of Chong’s books will want to attend the reading, the workshop, the Literary Awards Party – or all three,” said Brandon Walker, a member of NOWW’s Board of Directors.
The Literary Awards Party is the perfect opportunity to learn more about great writing being produced in Northwestern Ontario.
“This year we had an incredible amount of submissions to our annual awards contest,” Walker said. “We may see some people receiving awards for the first time this year.”
The Kouhi Award will also be presented and the audience’s favourite play from the 10×10 Showcase will be performed.
“This is a special night for writers and lovers of writing in Northwestern Ontario and their friends and family members,” Walker said.
Writers from Northwestern Ontario will have the opportunity to display their work, too. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Mushroom Hunters by Neil Gaiman

Science, as you know, my little one, is the study
of the nature and behaviour of the universe.
It’s based on observation, on experiment, and measurement,
and the formulation of laws to describe the facts revealed.

In the old times, they say, the men came already fitted with brains
designed to follow flesh-beasts at a run,
to hurdle blindly into the unknown,
and then to find their way back home when lost
with a slain antelope to carry between them.
Or, on bad hunting days, nothing.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wind by Elizabeth Kouhi

A hundred thousand
muted harps strings sweep
long phrases, as winds
sough through Boreal tree tops.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yowzers - What a theatrical weekend

Cathy Grandfield writes.

Dear Joan

We are having three shows next weekend in honour of 10x10's Fifth Anniversary:

• GALA SHOWCASE Saturday April 29 (7:30 pm) $30

• YOUTH GALA Sunday April 30 (1:00 pm) Free Admission

• SHOWCASE MATINEE Sunday April 30 (4:00 pm) $15

All shows will be performed on the Finlandia stage (in the main hall above The Hoito). Tickets are available at The Hoito, The Growing Season, and on our website:

The 10x10 Showcase features ten plays by ten playwrights, each ten minutes long. At the Saturday Gala, there will be a champagne reception with live music before the show to celebrate our fifth anniversary. The Sunday Matinee will be the same show without the reception.    

New this year is our first Youth Gala, which will be presented Sunday at 1:00 pm before our 4:00 pm Matinee. The Youth Gala has been prepared by All the Daze Productions in partnership with 10x10. They will present a one-hour show featuring four fun plays written, directed, and acted by young people ages 8 to 18. These plays are also ten minutes each. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Write NOWW: Reviews

Fri Apr 21st 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Ryan Machett and friend
CommuniTea and Coffee108 Frederica St E, Thunder Bay, ON P7E 3V5
Critical Conversations about writing reviews with guest panelists Melissa Gaudette, Ryan Mackett and Michael Sobota.

Workshop: The Business of Writing

Sat Apr 29th 10:00am - 3:00pm
Mary J.L. Black Library901 Edward St S, Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6R2, Canada

H. (Heather) Leighton Dickson
Join hybrid author H. (Heather) Leighton Dickson and award winning author Jean E. Pendziwol for an extended workshop covering the mysterious and essential elements necessary for navigating a journey to book publication. Space is limited and registration is required.  Fee: 10$ for NOWW members; 40$ for non-members. To register


Workshop: The Business of Writing 

Sat May 27th 10:00am - 3:00pm
Dryden Public Library36 Van Horne Ave, Dryden.
Jean and Heather will travel to Dryden to present the above workshop. Fee. Registration required. To register 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Two local winners in the Canadian Shorts Contest

Local writers Marion Agnew and Joan M. Baril will both have stories in the upcoming anthology Canadian Shorts 2017 which should be out this summer. Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What a story collection! Celebrating Room's 40th Anninversary

Got my copy this week and just started reading. I can't put it down! Started with the poetry and now the stories. A treasure from one of Canada's best literary magazines. Joan M. Baril

Making Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine celebrates the history and evolution of Canadian literature and feminism with some of the most exciting and thought-provoking fiction, poetry, and essays the magazine has published since it was founded in 1975 as Room of One’s Own

This collection includes poems about men not to be fallen in love with, trans womanhood, the morning-after pill, the “mind fuck” of being raped by a romantic partner, and a tribute to the women who were murdered in the Montreal Massacre.

 In one story, a group of sexual assault survivors meet weekly and come up with a unique way to help police capture their assailant, while in another a dinner party turns to witty talk of racism, sexism, pornography, and time travel. One author recounts how she learned multiple languages in order to connect with her father, another reluctantly walks down the aisle in order to stay in Canada with the man she loves.