Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Book Awards: Congrats to all Saskatchewan Writers

The 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards was a fine celebration of Saskatchewan writing and publishing. Congrats to the winners — Bruce Rice, Tracy Hamon, Brenda Baker, Dawn Dumont, Suzanne North, Ernie Louttit, Ken Dalgarno, Ken Caron and Angela Caron, Michelle LaVallee, Merle Massie, Paul Hanley, Laurier Gareau.

Congrats, too, to those nominated, and to those who haven't yet come near the podium, but who have the talent and drive to keep on writing!

Two composites with scenes from the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards - and if you're pictured and want a jpg of your piece of the square, let me know and I'll e-mail to you. (Or if I've made up or misspelled your name, let me know and I'll fix!)

Top Row: Suzanne North, Paul Hanley, Angela Caron, Ken Dalgarno,. Second Row: Ernie Loutit, Brenda Baker,
Laurier Gareau, Merle Massie. Third Row:Tracy Hamon, Bruce Rice, Michelle LaVallee, MC Art Slade. ©SB

First column: Gwen and Robert Currie, Linda Biasotto, Eric and Donna Greenway, Nik Burton and Susan Buck.
Second column: Saskatchewan Writers' Guild staff and board members; Tables of honourees and guests.
Third column: Sandra Birdsell and Tara Dawn Solheim, Karen and Trevor Herriot, SBA Administrative Director Courtney Bates-Hardy with volunteers; poets Jeanette Lynes, Kathleen Wall, Judith Krause. .

The full list of winners - click to enlarge. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mystery Writer Anthony Bidulka at Regina's Readers' Summit

Anthony Bidulka with Regina Public Library 
Writer-in-Residence Art Slade
Surprise! We have several mystery writers in Saskatchewan, and last night Saskatoon's Anthony Bidulka gave an inspiring talk at the Regina Public Library Reader Summit about his successful mystery-writing career.

It was also great to see RPL's Writer in Residence, Art Slade, who gave the intros for the night. (Slade writes novels for young adults, and released the graphic novel, Modo: Ember's End last fall. It's related to his Hunchback Assignment series)

Anthony Bidulka talks about the Pits, the Passion, and the Prairies:
What I Learned about Life from Becoming a Writer.  

Bidulka is the author of two series, one featuring Russell Quant, described online as the "first, and perhaps only, half-Ukrainian, half-Irish, Canadian, gay, ex-farmboy, ex-cop, world-travelling, wine-swilling, wise-cracking, Saskatchewan, prairie private detective being written about today anywhere."

His second series, which includes his latest, The Women of Skawa Island, features Adam Saint, an international disaster recovery expert. (Also from Saskatchewan, which he says some readers find surprising. Flood. Fire. Plane crash. Typhoons... Excitement. Adventure. Surprise!)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Regina, SK, writer Linda Biasotto at the Regina Public Library

Last night, my friend Linda Biasotto talked about writing and read from her new short story collection at the Regina Public Library. It was great to see the audience interest in the stories, set in Italy and Canada, and their involvement in the Q&A session that followed — before the cakes claimed us.

First up, the Regina author-with-book pic, then a more relaxed one. (Public readings are fun, Linda! Thank you for reading to us!)

Linda Biasotto, 2015 Saskatchewan First Book Award nominee
Sweet Life (Coteau Books)  ©SB
Linda Biasotto 

Linda Biasotto's novel Sweet Life (Coteau Books) is nominated for the O'Reilly Insurance/The Cooperators First Book Award in the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Robert Currie, Paul Hanley, Ken Dalgarno at Vertigo

This week's Vertigo Reading Series in Regina,SK, featured readings by three nominees for the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards: Robert Currie, Paul Hanley and Ken Dalgarno, with music by the Quarter Tones Flute Ensemble.

What a range of writing, from Currie's intriguing novel for young adults (Living with the Hawk, Thistledown Press - and I love hearing Bob read!), through Dalgarno's gorgeous photographs (Badlands: A Geography of Metaphors, Red Deer Press), to Hanley's well-researched Eleven (Friesen Press).

David Popoff, Tara Semple, Marie-Véronique Bourque, Linda Lucyk
of the Quarter Tones Flute Ensemble
Robert Currie 
Paul Hanley

Ken Dalgarno, with his photographs of the Badlands on the easels and the screen 

Robert Currie's book is nominated for the SaskEnergy Young Adult Literature Award; Ken Dalgarno's for the O'Reilly Insurance/The Cooperators First Book Award; and Paul Hanley's for the University of Saskatchewan President's Office Non-Fiction Award.

The awards will be announced on Saturday, April 25. 2015.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Slow Food and Poetry in Saskatoon

One of the many colours
of the hand-bound chapbook.
Slow Food Saskatoon hosted a food and poetry salon earlier this week to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Organizer dee Hobsbawn-Smith invited a great group of writers from around the province to participate by giving a reading and contributing a poem to the handmade chapbook, Food Works: Plums in the Icebox.

Look at that list in the Table of Contents!

Three of Saskatchewan's Poets Laureates! Award-winning amazing writers! (It's possible that dee may have extra copies if you're interested... This fundraiser book should be a collector's item.)

Slow Food Saskatchewan Poets: Back Row, Brenda Niskala, Dave Margoshes, Don Kerr, Glen Sorestad,
Belinda Betker,Dwayne Brenna, Shelley Banks, gillian harding-russell, Mitch Spray, Taryn Goff,
Katherine Lawrence and Tom Wilson. Front Row: Tara Dawn Solheim (who sang at the event), Laura Edna Lacey,
Nicole Haldoupis, dee Hobsbawn-Smith, Sara-Jane Gloutnez, and Bruce Rice.
(And yes I do have my "you-are-holding-my-camera!" look. Thanks, Gord!) 

And, just because I like this shot,
Slow Food Poet (and much more) dee Hobsbawn-Smith,
with writer Dave Margoshes
What a great list of Saskatchewan writers! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Poetry Month Reading with 2015 SK Book Award Nominees

Judith Krause, Bruce Rice and dee Hobsbawn-Smith — nominees for the 2015 poetry prize at next weeks Saskatchewan Book Awards — entertained a large crowd at Government House this week with readings from their recent published and brand new work.

It was great! My thanks especially to Judith Krause, Saskatchewan's Poet Laureate, who very graciously and generously read one of my poems and told the crowd about my collection, Exile on a Grid Road, to be published by Thistledown Press in Fall 2015. (Now that is awesome!)

Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield
welcomes poets Judith Krause, Bruce Rice and dee Hobsbawn-Smith  ©SB
Bruce Rice reads from The Trouble with Beauty    ©SB

Judy also read a poem by Moose Jaw poet Jim McLean, and Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield read one from Regina poet Cassidy McFadzean's collection, Hacker Packer, newly released from McClelland and Stewart.  

dee Hobsbawn-Smith is nominated for Wildness Rushing In (Hagios Press); Bruce Rice for The Trouble with Beauty (Coteau Books), and Judith Krause for Homage to Happiness (Hagios Press).  The Saskatchewan Books Awards will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gerald Hill: Hillsdale -- The Book

Gerry Hill at Luther College, showing the Hillsdale map and photos on display 
First, there was Hillsdale, then the Hillsdale Map, and now the Hillsdale Book.

Or was poet Gerald Hill (map and book author) the first?

Details, details.

Gerry Hill launched his new collection of Hillsdale poems — and stories, fragments, photos, drawings and found text — at Luther College this week, accompanied by readings from students from his creative writing class.

Great to hear Gerry read about this Regina, SK, neighbourhood, and lovely to hear new voices, too.

As for the Hillsdale Book (NeWest Press), it's highly entertaining — and made me ever-so-slightly nostalgic for a place where I've never lived...

As Will Chabun says in the Regina Leader Post review:
It's a mark of his skill as a poet, prose writer and researcher that he's able to show Hillsdale, which lies between Albert Street and the University of Regina, south of 23rd Avenue, for what it was, and is: a place of innovation, hope, and occasional tragedy.
Or, as former Canadian Poet Laureate Fred Wah says: "An intense and fascinating exploration of the layering of thought and feeling about place that goes much deeper than moth balls. This book-collage of poetry is so down to earth."   

Gerald Hill introduces his student readers 
The book signing. Congrats, Gerry! 

Congrats. Gerry — and help yourself to any pix here! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Regina's Connie Gault Launches A Beauty

Connie Gault, reading in Regina, SK  
Regina writer Connie Gault launched her latest novel, A Beauty (McClelland and Stewart), with a flash mob of dancers — and even better, a wonderful reading. This book is definitely on my list!

Connie's novel was also recently featured in The Globe and Mail, where the reviewer had this to say:
Gault, who has published several plays for stage and radio, as well as two short-story collections and an award-winning novel, Euphoria, has that rare talent that makes every character important, no matter how apparently peripheral their role in the story. Gault cares about the idiosyncrasies and distinct world views of each of the characters and these qualities extend to their narration. 
The launch took place at the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild's annual Talking Fresh writing conference, held at the University of Regina on March 3, 2015, where there just happened to be a few other great writers on hand...

BelowTara BeaganChristian Bök, Michael Helm, and Angie Abdou discuss the theme of the conference, writing and luck. 

Tara Beagan
Christian Bök
Michael Helm
Angie Abdou

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lawrence Hill at Saskatchewan's Sage Hill Writing Event

In November 2014, Lawrence Hill visited Regina, SK, to speak at a fundraiser for the Sage Hill Writing Experience. (Hill, the award-winning author of The Book of Negroes, was an instructor for several years at Sage Hill—and with talent like that, Sage Hill is clearly a great place for writers to hone their skills!)

Lawrence Hill   
Saskatchewan poet Katherine Lawrence
interviews Lawrence Hill    
Regina novelist Anne McDonald,
with Lawrence Hill      
Ticket takers: Regina writer (and board member)
Brenda Niskala, with Sage Hill Executive Director Philip Adams
Writer and all-round entertainer
David Carpenter 
One of many door prizes 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Robert Calder, dee Hobsbawn-Smith, Lloyd Ratzlaff:
Hicks Manuscript Award Winners

Today, a salute to the recent winners of the 2014 John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award — Robert Calder, dee Hobsbawn-Smith and Lloyd Ratzlaff. These writers' book-length, literary non-fiction manuscripts were celebrated in late October at the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild's annual conference.

Robert Calder took first place for Gonzalo Guerrero: Father of the Mexican; in second place, was dee Hobsbawn-Smith for Bread & Water: Essays; and in third, Lloyd Ratzlaff for Bindy’s Moon: A Sojournal.  The three—who receive $1,000, $650, and $350, respectively—were selected by judges Tim Bowling and Lori A. May. Honourable Mention this year goes to Cassidy McFadzean for Curious Cabinet.  (from the SWG news release... congrats to Cassidy, too!) 

Robert Calder, dee Hobsbawn-Smith and Lloyd Ratzlaff


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