Thursday, April 20, 2006

festival notes, day three (or, eighty-eight lines on fourty-four authors)

Madeline Thien, from her reading last night of a fraction of her first novel, Certainty (Toronto ON: McClelland & Stewart, 2006), has written a book filled with beautiful music; what choice did I have but to buy it? She arrived with greetings from fellow Quebec City author Aurian Haller; I sent her home with an envelope for him (and one for herself, of course). Check out an interview with her here.

Author Tim Ward (who grew up in Ottawa, and wore the same tie two days in a row) had a very interesting presentation on the history (and pre-history) of the feminine divine in his Savage Breast (2006). I found it extremely interesting, in part because of the novel I'm writing on Persephone; Ward spoke of the dual goddess, and the continuity of women shown through Demeter and Persephone (my ex-wife and daughter regularly remind me of the continuity between women and the lack of the need of the male). Another book I was forced to purchase. Still, there were some in the crowd that theorized that he wrote about the goddess to get girls...

Fiction writer Ami McKay, who wrote The Birth House (Toronto ON: Random House, 2006), was completely and utterly charming, and I just wanted to adopt her, and keep her in my little apartment (she liked the idea in theory, but wasn't really going for it); we had an interesting conversation about the concern of research taking over the writing in a historical novel (although I argued, aren't all novels historical?). The fourth author from the two events last night was Anar Ali, author of Baby Khakis Wings (Toronto ON: Penguin, 2006), who arrived in the hospitality suite after the event with a number of friends, including a beautiful young Ottawa doctor (we had a conversation about ususual film, and where the best shawarma in Ottawa can be found). This doctor apparently has a practice in my neighbourhood, even. I haven't seen a doctor (in any professional capacity) or any other medical person since the 1980s; perhaps this is something I should re-think?

Winnipeg author Linda Holeman was also quite charming (she reads tonight); apparently she just sold a quarter million copies of her most recent book in Europe; of course, I immediately sold her a copy of my new Stride collection (wouldn't you?).

Paul William Roberts, who has been at the festival before (we watched the American vice-presidential debate together) has been here two days, but we haven't seen him yet; he is like the wind...

And why is Nigel Beale making problems where previously there were none?

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