Jane Crossman, poet,

Jane Crossman, poet,
Reclines on the stone with her poetry at Marina Park

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spirit Garden and the Marina Writers

A perfect Lake Superior Day on Saturday hosted the readings of the poets whose work  embellishes Marina Park

Jean Pendziwal reads from her children's book, Dawn Watch
The acoustics in the Spirit Garden are impressive. The poetry could be heard clearly without the use of a mic. 

Marianne Jones telling us that she wrote poems as a child. At the time she fervently hoped to "find the right word to describe what I see."

Early settler and traveller and writer, Catherine Vickers, (daughter of Suzanne Moodie) described a thunder storm on Thunder Bay in 1870.

A Ceremony to Initiate a Sweat Lodge and other Readings at Brodie Library

The Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW), a group of writers based in Thunder Bay, is hosting a free reading. Details are below. For more information about NOWW and its programs, email admin@nowwwriters.org or visit nowwwriters.org.


A Fall Reading


Marian Agnew
Joan Baril
Jane Crossman

NOWW kicks off the program year with readings from some of Northwestern Ontario's finest authors. We will also be having a poetry open mic, so bring along a poem to share! Readings are free and open to the public, so come on out and show your support for local writers!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
 7 pm
Brodie Library Fireside Room
316 Brodie St. South,  Thunder Bay

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bill MacDonald September 25, 2014

I don't remember when I bought my first Bill MacDonald book, but I think it was in the nineties sometime after he started publishing with Borealis Press. I remember picking it out in Fireweed after perusing the shelves and thinking, this is one prolific author.   
The book's setting was Silver Islet which Bill called "his spiritual home." Of course,  I read it first before I sent it off to my sister in Southern Ontario as a birthday present. It was the first of many presents to out-of-town friends who loved the connection to the home town.
Bill wrote tales of the local scene in an easy friendly style which looks simple to do but in fact is not.  His work is charming but not sentimental, funny but not raw, cheerful but not silly and above all interesting and a damned good read.  A lot of it is based on true Thunder Bay tales, of which there are many as anyone who lives here knows. 

In 2012, Bill was the recipient of the NOWW Khoui award, Charlie Wilkins gave a marvellous speech some of which is added here along with a partial list of Bill's books. Bill MacDonald had a long and eventful life but his books will live after him.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Poem by Peggy Lauzon

Ribbons: September 20, 2014

We spread out along the ribbon of the Trans-Canada Highway. 

We are 8,000 kilometers wide, but only a pencil line high. 

Our map is not to scale.

The highway narrows from four-lane to two-lane to gravel to trackless bush.

And one more polluted lake equals one more missing or murdered Indigenous woman.  There is simply no way to separate ourselves from the land. 

Families drag the Red River at their own expense.  Drag our collective unconscious as we struggle not to look at what surfaces.

We cut the ribbon at the Museum for Human Rights.  Lest we forget atrocities that happened in other times; in other places. 

The Red River is a different kind of ribbon.

We narrow from four-lane highway to trackless bush.  Or is it the other way round?

We are not to scale.  We could stand taller.  We will, when we truly see what surfaces.

We drag the Red River.

And there’s no knowing what will come next.

Peggy Lauzon

Written for the day of the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Marianne invites you to a launch!

Local author and NOWW member Marianne Jones will launch her latest book, The Serenity Stone Murder, at Chapters this Saturday, September 27 from noon to 4.The Serenity Stone Murder, published by Split Tree Publishing, is a mystery novel set in Thunder Bay. You can read more about it here. Hope to see you all there! Congrats Marianne!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An absolutely wonderful story by Amy Jones.

Amy Jones, originally from Halifax, now lives in Thunder Bay. In 2006 she won the CBC Literary Award for Short Story in English. Her short fiction collection What the Boys Like was the winner of the 2009 Metcalf-Rooke Award.  I Think the Kids are in Trouble was first published in the Summer 2013 edition of Fiddlehead.

I Think the Kids are in Trouble
By Amy Jones
The baby falls down the stairs. There are carpet burns on her elbows and knees, a scrape just above her eye, jutting into her eyebrow. Blood leaking down her face. A miracle it’s not worse. Everyone runs around, not really doing much. The baby screeches, red-faced, indignant. How dare they let this happen to her? Pauline holds the baby, bouncing her up and down in her arms while she argues with her daughter, Carly, who is the baby’s mother, about whether or not she needs stitches.
            “It won’t stop bleeding!” Carly is yelling. She is frantic. She can’t stand still. Five minutes earlier, she had been out on the back deck drinking beer and playing Scrabble with her sisters while the baby played with her six year old cousin at the top of the stairs. Carly is young, and she hasn’t figured out appropriate levels of mothering: it’s all too much or too little. “Mom, what if she has a concussion? What if she has internal bleeding? Mom? Mom!
            “Shh, shh, it’s alright.” Pauline cradles the baby against her shoulder. “You’re scaring her.” The baby cries, blood spills onto Pauline’s blouse, red bleeding into white. Then, once all the blood and crying has stopped and the baby is asking for “juju,” which is her word for apple juice, they sit her on the couch in front of Dora the Explorer.
            “Donde esta Dora?” The baby squeals with laughter. All is forgiven.
            Pauline takes her blouse off in the kitchen and runs it under cold water with some dish soap. She can see Carly and her sisters on the back porch through the open window. “She skidded right down the stairs on her face,” Carly says uneasily. She looks as though she doesn’t know whether to be worried or amused. Her sisters shrug, take drinks of beer, fiddle with their Scrabble tiles. They’ve been through this before.
            “EXIT,” says Naomi. “Triple word score.”
            “Fuck you, you slut,” Eva says.
Pauline drops the soap container in the sink and they all look over. “Mom, for God’s sake, put your shirt back on,” Carly says, leaning back on her chair. Then they are all laughing, and Pauline’s skin turns cold. She holds the dripping blouse to her chest, feeling the weight of her sagging breasts against the backs of her hands

Saturday, September 20, 2014

And yet more yard sale offerings

Some of the DVD's plus a lot more audio books.  All available at the yard sale Saturday, Sept  27, at the bookstore, 65 S. Court, 11 - 2 pm.  Below a better shot. (also some neat clothes including the above cashmere scarf)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yard Sale for Women's Bookstore.

Desk lamps?  Huh?

Look closely and you will see three - all for sale at the Women's Bookstore yard sale, 65 S. Court, on Saturday September 27 outside and in, (rain date Sunday 28) from 11 am to 2 pm.

We have piles of CD's, audio books, scarves, dishes, binoculars, canoe yoke, maps, jewellery, etc and etc.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giller Prize Long List 2014

For all the local avid readers who read the entire Giller list, here it is. Lots of good stuff this year.

Miriam Toews at the Sleeping Giant Literary Fetival

The 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlisted books are: 

Heather O'Neill

Monday, September 15, 2014

Writers Coming to Thunder Bay November

Michael Winter

Alison Pick. Michael Winter, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, arriving in Thunder Bay for a blow-out night of readings.

Date and Time: November 6, 7 pm
Place: Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin Street
Box Office - Waverley Library for tickets at 10$ each.

Dear Joan
The 35th edition of the International Festival of Authors hits the road for its annual touring programme,IFOA Ontario, bringing literary events to 12 locations across the province from October 22 to November 7, 2014.

 This year, Canadian and international authors will visit BrantfordBurlington, Creemore, Hamilton, Kitchener, Markham (Young Readers event), Midland, Parry Sound, Port Hope, Thunder BayWindsor and Woodstock.

Now in its eighth year, IFOA Ontario partners with libraries, bookstores, universities and community organizations across Ontario to present the world’s best writers of contemporary literature in readings, interviews, round table discussions and public book signings. IFOA Ontario also brings authors into the classroom for students of all ages with its Young Readers programme.

Visit litontour.com for a full list of participants, events and biographies.

Barbara Philp, Head, Adult Services, Thunder Bay Library.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Retreats for You, a writer's place.

The Lounge and the huge fire place. Wine not shown.

Not long ago, I am sitting at my lap top and looking out the window at the inhabitants of Sheepwash in Devon, England, as they walk by my window. Not to give the wrong idea, Sheepwash is so tiny a village that a Sheepwashian appears in about intervals of an hour, usually walking a dog. A couple of times during the morning, a car goes by.

I am trying to fix up a manuscript using a list of suggested changes and I am finding this less simple than I first thought. Make one change and that triggers others down the line, in house-of-cards fashion. This is not writing, it is slugging. The calming view from the window helps a lot.

Writing spot with handy water bottle and kettle, a selection of teas. 

I love writers’ retreats. I have stayed at Dairy Hollow Writers’ Colony in Arkansas, a cottage at Holly Beach in North Carolina and a bed and breakfast in the Rockies at Ouray, Colorado. This is a first for the U.K. and one of the best.

Deborah Dooley and husband Bob Cooper have taken a 500-year-old house and turned it into the most welcoming and pleasant place imaginable.  It is a quiet, quaint and writable space.  Add delicious meals, wine, a lovely fire every evening, a mix of interesting people, great conversation all set in a pretty village surrounded by luscious rural English countryside.

The Retreat. Note the thatched roof. 

As at most retreats, I write in the morning and walk in the afternoon and drink wine and talk to the other guests in the evening.  The late August weather was dampish, English, coolish both inside and out. I had my Stanfields, which I always take to England no matter what the season, and Deborah slips a hot water bottle into one’s bed every evening.  How spoiled can you get.

Deborah writes on her web site: “Every writer needs space. A place away from work, chores, family and other distractions.
Deep in the heart of the beautiful North Devon countryside, that space is waiting for you.”

My clothes closet was set in an old (disused) fire place.

You can check out Retreats for You at http://www.retreatsforyou.co.uk.  Note: Deborah is selling her cookbook, Eats for You, on LuLu. I ordered one post haste.  I ate her great food and now I want to cook it.

Take the footpath.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Neat News

Marion Agnew's essay "Words" (about her mother and Alzheimer's, originally published in Room) has been selected for Best Canadian Essays 2014, published by Tightrope Books (due out in November or so).
Congratulations Marion!!

The Journey Prize
We’re introducing the 13 contributors to The Journey Prize Stories 26 one at a time and in alphabetical order. Say hello to our fifth contributor, Amy Jones, whose story “Wolves, Cigarettes, Gum,” was published by ROOM.
AMY JONES is the author of the short fiction collection What Boys Like, which won the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award and was shortlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award. Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay, where she is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories.
Congratulations to Amy and to everyone at ROOM!

Time capsules are pretty awesome, but a new initiative called the Future Library project is taking them to a whole other level. For the next century, one author per year will contribute a piece that will then be sealed away until 2114. Margaret Atwood is up first. If you’re a fan, you have 100 years to get pumped up.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Straight to the Top of the Bestsellers

Take a quick guess. Which book hit the stores and almost immediately, hit the number one spot on the New York Times best seller list?

Louise Penny's latest of course.  A former resident of  Thunder Bay, and one of the world's top mystery writers, has produced another hit. Congratulations Louise!

Her new book, Long Way Home, brings us many well-loved characters, such as Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Surete du Quebec, and now retired; but, of course, not for long. The inhabitants of the lovely Quebec village of Three Pines, familiar to constant readers, appear as well in all their quirkiness.

Like many mystery novels, a disappearance kick-starts the action. But the crime is only a background to what really interests the readers - the lives of the main characters.  Penny is a master psychologist who always keeps us intrigued. Or as the New York times says in a sparkling review: Ms. Penny's books mix some classic elements of the police procedural with a deep-delving psychology, as well as a sorrowful sense of the precarious nature of human goodness, and the persistence of its opposite, even in rural Edens like Three Pines.'

For more reviews, a list of Louise's previous hits and lots of other info check out Louise's web site at http://www.louisepenny.com.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Calling Contributors and Sellers for our Yard Bazaar!

Wow, what an opportunity  for me to down size  and sell off the piles of DVD's and audio books and knickity knacks . I have been wondering what  to do with the three desk lamps I have somehow acquired.  Students want a printer??? And so on. Want to join in? Read the letter below.

Dear Joan, 
Northern Woman’s Bookstore will hold a Yard Bazaar on Saturday, September 27th (rain date Sunday, Sept. 28).
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where? In the parking lot of the Northern Woman’s Bookstore, with a few tables inside the store available. 

Bring your own table, suitcase, blanket, clothes rack, etc. to display your wares. Spaces are $10, with a few inside tables available for $20. The cost goes to helping the NWB. We are planning to replace the flooring in the store. After paying for your spot, the proceeds of what you sell are yours.

What to Sell? Second-hand goods, crafts, art, vintage, baking, plants, books, and so on.
If you would like to donate quality used goods for the Yard Bazaar with the proceeds going to NWB, please drop them off the morning of the sale before 10:30 a.m. Items not sold will be donated to the Salvation Army.

To reserve your spot, send an email to the Bookstore at northernwomansbookstore@gmail.com or to Taina Chahal at tainacee@yahoo.com or drop down in person during our store hours. Pay for your spot the morning of the Yard Bazaar. All sellers should have their spot set up by 10:30 a.m. If you have any questions, please contact Taina.

Northern Woman's Bookstore
65 South Court Street
Thunder Bay, Ontario  P7B 2X2
Phone (807) 344-7979
Store hours: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 11 am - 4 pm

Visit us online! www.northernwomansbookstore.ca

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Marina Writers Read at the Spirit Garden

Meet local writers Jane Crossman, Donna Faye, Marianne Jones and Jean E. Pendziwol, whose works of poetry and prose are featured at the waterfront on steel signs and granite benches. 

Find out why those selections are meaningful to them, and learn what new projects they have on the go! Hear their stories as you enjoy refreshments, take part in Q & A, and don't forget to buy a signed copy of their books. 

Also for sale that day: The City and the Spirit Garden, a full colour coffee table book about the waterfront redevelopment at Prince Arthur's Landing.

At Marina Park's Spirit Garden, September 28 from 1 - 2 pm. 

Jane Crossman, reading at the Spirit Garden