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Friday, March 27, 2015

April is jumping with literary opportunities - read on!

NOWW is delighted to present a reading by Canadian poet and novelist Karen Connelly on Friday 17th April at 7pm in MJL Black Library. Her first book, a poetry collection entitled The Small Words in My Body (1990), won the Pat Lowther Award for poetry in 1991. Her second book, Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal (1992), won the Governor General's Award for non-fiction. Her experiences in Thailand served as the basis for her novel about a political prisoner, The Lizard Cage, which won the Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers and was long-listed for the 2007IMPAC Award.

Richard Wagamese, gives a free writing workshop April 17 

Here are some upcoming NOWW events to mark on your calendar
  • NOWW will hold a free writing workshop led by internationally acclaimed Aboriginal author Richard Wagamese. Mr. Wagamese is the author of thirteen titles from major Canadian publishers including novels, poetry and biographical work. His novel Indian Horse (2012) was the People’s Choice winner in the national Canada Reads competition. The workshop will be on Saturday, May 9 from 10 am to noon at Mary J.L. Black Library, 901 S. Edward Street. Seating is limited and pre-registration is mandatory no later than April 17. Sorry, no walk-ins.

  • Richard Wagamese will also be speaking at NOWW's Literary Awards Party on Friday, May 8 at 6 pm at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel and Suites. Tickets are $30 and are available at Northern Woman's Bookstore, The Book Shelf, and online. Tickets are selling fast, so get yours soon to avoid disappointment!

  • On April 23, NOWW will be offering a free poetry workshop with Lynda Monahan. The workshop will be held at Waverley Library Auditorium from 7-9 pm. All are welcome; no pre-registration required. Click here for more information.

  • NOWW is still accepting submissions for its e-Writer in Residence Program manuscript critique service. Submit your prose manuscript for critique by April 30. Details can be found here.
For more information on any of these events, please


Amy Jones
Administrative Assistant, NOWW

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Book Bag for Book Clubs, a Service of the Thunder Bay Library

A letter from Helen, the Book Bag Lady at the library. Great books here. I have read Longbourn and loved it, gave it to a friend and she loved it.  Munro is always wonderful. And doesn't Desiccate by Bonnie Ferrante sound good?  I have made a decision to try out some YA books and Ferrante's may be my first pick. Many thanks on behalf of the library, great Thunder Bay book clubs. 

Hello Joan
I'm not sure if I have sent out an email about these new titles or not, so forgive me if I am being repetitive. Here are some new book bag titles that you may be interested in:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I thought we should have this as part of our Book Club selection since Harper Lee's long-awaited sequel will be out in June....

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion donated by the (D.E.A.R.) Drop Everything and Read Book ClubThe humorous sequel to The Rosie Project

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr donated by the Beyond the Words Book Club
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instantNew York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Longbourn by Jo Baker donated by the Food for Thought Book Club
A look at the world of Pride and Prejudice from the servant's point of view, where other lives are simultaneously lived with very different concerns and dramas.

Desiccate by local author Bonnie Ferrante donated by the Surprise Lake Book Club
Book 1 of the "Sphere of Vision" Young Adult Fantasy series.
Leya Truelong has the potential to become a powerful Double Vision Mistress, if she can control her impulsiveness and temper and avoid being stripped of her gifts in a painful and debilitating ritual. But, Zandra, a devious bully, knows exactly how to rouse Leya’s anger. The girls’ battle of wits mirrors the greater conflict between the Mistresses and the renegades. Can Leya, a simple peasant girl, hold her own in a world of deception and betrayal?

Vintage Munro by Alice Munro donated by the Golden Heads and Silver Readers Book Club.
In this collection of short stories, Alice Munro has unfolded the wordless secrets that lie at the heart of all human experience. She has won three Governor General’s Literary Awards in Canada, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award.

A big thank you to all the book clubs that have donated books for the Book Bag collection. Your donations help to keep the selection varied and fresh for everyone. If anyone would like to reserve one of these new titles for their club, please call or email me.
Thank You
Helen Cimone
Public Services Assistant

Mary J.L. Black Library
901 Edward Street South, Thunder Bay, On P7E 6R2 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tales of Cats and Dogs by Joan Baril

Early every morning, the cat, Mickey, jumped on the dressing table and admired himself in the mirror.  Mickey was a striped tom with a big-guy hauteur, a long ringed tail and a handsome brown and grey symmetrically striped face.  Mickey began his morning routine by sitting completely still, his tail unmoving and hanging over the edge of the dresser, his chest and body erect, facing the glass straight on. After a long perusal of his facial perfections, Mickey tucked in his chin to view his wide beige chest, and straight beautifully-banded legs. Then, still sitting erect and still keeping both eyes on the mirror, he turned his head a fraction to one side and, after a long approving look, admired the other side.

Thus, every morning, for many years, the couple in the bed woke to see Mickey performing his morning rites and every morning they laughed, a pleasant way to start each day and a wonderful way to maintain a long-lasting marriage. As soon as one of them stepped out of bed, Mickey jumped down and headed for the food bowl in the corner of the kitchen, where he sat and meewed until breakfast was served.


Hobson the cat, who came along much later, could also maintain a six-mile stare. If he heard the sounds from the neighbouring house signaling that Snoopy, the husky, was being let outside into the back yard, Hobson, usually a lethargic cat, zoomed onto a table under a side window where he could look down on the dog. He then entered staring mode. It took a while for Snoopy to look up and see Hobson’s fat form and unblinking yellow eyes trained on him. The dog would shake a bit, sometimes take a run around his yard, but, in the end, he could not help himself. Returning to stand under the window, he lifted his head and barked. And barked again. And again. Hobson merely stared, rock still, eye contact made. The dog’s owner, an elderly Polish woman, flew out her back door, a rolled newspaper in hand and administered a few smacks to poor Snoopy’s flank. “You, quiet you,” she yelled as the dog cowered before her.

Muttering, she returned to the house. She never spotted Hobson in the window, a stone statue, still staring.

Snoopy cowered, defeated, chastened, head bowed. Time passed. Hobson stared. Slowly, so slowly, the dog lifted its head and locked eyes with the cat. Before he could stop himself, he barked. And barked. Again and again. The old Polish woman charged out her back door, a rolled up newspaper in her hand. Thwack, thwack. I secretly believe that Hobson was enjoying himself. This was the part he had been waiting for. He may have smiled inwardly, but outwardly, he did not move a muscle as he maintained the laser eye. “Enough,” I said, “of sadistic cat pleasures.” Ignoring his aggrieved meow, I scooped him up and removed him from the room.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Moon by Robert Matejko

The Moon

The moon is a goodess who opens her eyes at night,
as the sun,
it takes it reprieve,
and hides us from it's golden hued sight.

The moon is worshipped by the totem of the owl,
as nocturnal lights come to life in the form of firelies,
and the sweet lunacy of the moon,
it falls upon us in curtains purest pearly white light.

I dance under the moon with both devils and angels,
hoping to catch moonbeams of its light upon my skin;
its waxing and waning phases,
they reflect the rising and receding tides within my soul,
as I seek to lose control of my faculties,
so that the moon may bless me with her maddening power,
that has always stirred in my artists muse within.

For you see,
the great archetypes of music and of poetry,
of art and all other humanly artistic aspirations,
they rise most magnificently under the power of the full and pearly white moon,
as lovers swoon under its lights mysterious power,
and music flows like bacchuses' wine into the fingertips of composers,
who sleep and make love to their instruments under the moons magnificent power at night.

As I dance and laugh upon the moons surface in my mind,
I imagine butterflies catching kite strings flown by swan birds,
so that those butterflies wings may kiss the face of the moon for just one moment,
as the carriage of swans makes a circuit around it,
their wings glistening with a mysterious and mystic light,
under the sheen of the moon’s pockmarked face,
which is revealed to us each and every night.

Were that the moon were something I could put in my pocket,
I would carry its light with me,
but alas,
I fear that the induced luancy of a maddened artist would seize upon me forever,
and not simply for one night;
I would grow afraid that having but a fraction of the moons light carried upon my person,
that it would make the owl totem grow covetous,
and a phalanx of owls flight would descend upon me to take away my sight,
for the sin of taking a fraction of the light that comes upon us all at night.

I shall contend myself with looking upon it,
in all its phases and propagations,
and I shall trick the universe with the parallax shift of my fingers,
as I cover the moon with my fingers and than my hand,
and I shall than uncover it and let my face be bathed in its light yet again,
so that I may receive its blessing of lunatic power,
that embowers the human mind with artistic desire,
as devils and angels dance with me in my mind,
upon the surface of the moon,
that in each midnight sky of my life I find.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Signing

Marianne Jones

Saturday, March 28
Chapters Book Store
Marianne Jones will be signing copies of her Thunder Bay-based cozy mystery, "The Serenity Stone Murder"!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Write for Magazines Workshop

Richard Brignall

Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW) will be offering a free workshop entitled Writing for magazines. The facilitator will be Richard Brignall. Richard is a freelance writer based in Kenora, Ontario. The former sports reporter has written ten non-fiction books and contributed hundreds of articles to magazines across Canada. He has written for Cottage Life, Outdoor Canada, Ontario Out of Doors, Homes and Cottages, Cottage, and The Cottager. His books have been shortlisted for the Carol Shields Award, the Red Cedar Award, and the Golden Oak Award.
The workshop will be on Tuesday, March 24th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Waverly Library, 285 Red River Road. No need to register

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Slow Dance in the Flames of Poetry. Workshop by Lynda Monahan

Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW) will be offering a free poetry workshop

The facilitator will be Lynda Monahan who is a resident of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Lynda is the author of two previous collections of poetry, a slow dance in the flames and what my body knows.

 She facilitates a number of creative writing workshops and has been writer-in-residence at St. Peter’s College facilitated retreat and at Balfour Collegiate in Regina. She is editor of the collections 'Second Chances- stories of acquired brain injury survivors ', 'With Just One Reach of Hands' and the poetry anthology 'Skating in the Exit Light'. 

Lynda Monahan is currently writer-in-residence at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Her third poetry collection, verge begins with a small fox waiting at the river’s edge. She symbolizes a woman at a turning point in her life. She is on the verge of some understanding, some thing she is meant to know. The fox lopes through the manuscript of poems at first looking back on the ‘cold yesterday’ of childhood, then traveling with her as she moves through various changes and losses in her life and the lessons she learns along the way. The river holds the past and, in the end, the small fox and the woman find their way across, and come to a place of acceptance and peace.

The workshop will be on Tuesday, April 23rd, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Waverly Library, 285 Red River Road. No need to register.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

CBC Bookies - Great reads chosen by viewers

The votes are in for the CBC Bookies.  Here are the winners. Besides the three pictured here, one of favourite books Sweetland by Michael Crummy was also a winner. 

Other winners were Echopraxice by Peter Watts; Walt by Russel Wangersky, Chez L'Arabe by Mireille  Silcoff; Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and Isabelle Malenfant

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Looking for Jenna a story by Joan M. Baril

Looking for Jenna
By Joan M. Baril
I know Lake Superior well: the icy layers near the bottom, the streaks of light and dark blue that cross the surface on a calm day, the flash of white caps, the meditative shushing of the rollers lulling me to sleep at night.
I spent all my summers beside it from childhood on. As soon as spring unlocked the camping season, I was the first one in the water, faster than my brothers who were still unloading the car and faster than my parents who were busy setting up the cottage for the summer.
But my ten-year-old daughter Jenna is like my husband Donald, a little afraid of the water. She does not stay in long. She gets cold easily so I bring lots of towels to the dock when we go swimming and after, bundle her up well.
Donald seldom swims. He arrives after dinner every Friday. “Are you hungry?” I say. I always have a steak ready or fresh fish. “No, I ate in town.” His hand is in the air, outstretched. His fingers understand the latch on the upper cupboard, the bottle of scotch inside, the glass in the cupboard below.
“Daddy, I can do the crawl now. I can serve at tennis. Daddy, we hunted for mushrooms. We made a place mat of pressed leaves.” She holds it up with her long pale fingers.
He barely looks. “That’s great, dear.” He’s looking out the porch window, his gaze moving along the beach towards the other cottages. If he sees one of his friends, he wanders down, comes back late, bumping into furniture, his breath filling the tiny bedroom. “You’ll wake Jenna,” I say. His mumbles are unintelligible.
The knot in my chest eases when he drives back to town on Sunday afternoon. A  new week begins. I make sandwiches for the hikes, peg out the wet towels, sweep out the sand, go down to the beach to swim with Jenna and her girlfriend, Daisy. Sometimes Daisy’s mother joins us and I ask her to watch the girls for a bit while I swim out.
 I could swim forever. I could let Lake Superior claim me. I float and turn my head to find the line between water and air, the line where the waves change colours, move from mosaic to shimmer.
“Come down, come down,” the lake calls, just as it did when I was a child. I kick and dive and see the clarity of the underwater world. Perhaps a log or a stick twitches on the sand at the bottom. Sometimes, I try to scoop up a stray pebble, my fingers reaching through colder and colder levels of water. Why can’t my life take on this clarity, this simplicity? The lake holds me close.
But only for an instant.