Sunday, 2 April 2017
gritLIT 2017 is kicking off tonight at the Staircase Theatre with our annual partnered event with the Lit Live Reading Series, and then we take over the Art Gallery of Hamilton for festival weekend April 6-9. We're exceptionally proud of this year's line-up. Come say hello if you're able to check out any of the following events. Tickets are available at www.gritlit.ca.
Thursday, April 6, 2016
Poetry with the HPC (6:30 pm)
gritLIT partners with the Hamilton Poetry Centre for a vibrant presentation featuring Robin Richardson (Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis), Vivek Shraya (Even This Page Is White) and two team members from Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP).
War and Remembrance (8:00 pm)
Two perspectives on war on its legacy, featuring Diana Bishop (Living Up to a Legend: My Adventures with Billy Bishop’s Ghost) and Leslie Shimotakahara (After the Bloom).
The Disappeared (9:30 pm)
Gripping, unnerving stories about characters on the verge of disappearing from Iain Reid (I’m Thinking of Ending Things) and Rebecca Rosenblum (So Much Love).
Friday, April 7, 2017
Lunch with the Dewey Divas (1:00 pm at Bryan Prince Bookseller)
Join Dewey Divas Andrea Colquhoun and Rosalyn Steele for a sneak peek at the best of summer reading from Penguin Random House and HarperCollins Canada. This event is hosted by gritLIT 2017 author Diana Bishop, and lunch is included.
Justice for All? (6:30 pm)
A revealing look at the Canadian legal system and the people whose lives it affects. Featuring reporter Christie Blatchford (Life Sentence) and memoirist Diane Schoemperlen (This Is Not My Life).
Identity and Self-Determination (8:00 pm)
Join Ivan Coyote (Tomboy Survival Guide), Bev Sellars (Price Paid) and Leslie Shimotakahara (After the Bloom) for an illuminating discussion about how we identify ourselves and how we are identified by others.
Worlds Away (9:30 pm)
Novelists Guy Gavriel Kay (Children of Earth and Sky) and Lesley Livingston (The Valiant) use Renaissance Europe and the Roman Empire as inspiration for tales of adventure and intrigue, pirates, spies and female gladiators.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Writing Workshop: Memoir Writing with Diane Schoemperlen (9:30 am)
Diane Schoemperlen, author of This Is Not My Life, looks at how to turn personal experiences into readable and relatable stories.
Author Talk: Price Paid (11:00 am)
Award-winning author Bev Sellars debunks myths and addresses misconceptions about First Nations in this riveting discussion of her book, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival. This event is pay-what-you-can.
Reading in the Digital Age (12:30 pm)
Author Merilyn Simonds (Gutenberg’s Fingerprint) and novelist/blogger Kerry Clare (Mitzi Bytes) examine how we enter the world of stories in the digital age.
Literary Salon with Ivan Coyote (2:00 pm)
Join award-winning author and performance artist Ivan Coyote for tea, sweets and one-on-one conversation at a lively, round-table discussion where you decide the topics.
Kyo Maclear at the HPL (2:00 pm at Central Library)
Follow Kyo Maclear’s journey from urban birdwatching to inspiration in Birds, Art, Life – a joyful examination of creativity and life’s small pleasures. This event is in partnership with the Hamilton Public Library. Free admission
Our Canadian Families (3:30 pm)
Ann Y. K. Choi (Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety) and Scaachi Koul (One Day We’ll Be Dead and None of This Will Matter) offer insight into the modern Canadian family.
Writing Workshop: The Art of Blogging with Kerry Clare (5:00 pm)
Author Kerry Clare draws on her 15+ years of experience blogging to show how to build a blog that works for you. A great workshop for both beginners and people who blog at work.
Democracy (In)Action (6:30 pm)
What if it is not our political system that is broken but our understanding of it? Dale Smith discusses his book The Unbroken Machine.
Anatomy of a Marriage (8:00 pm)
An intimate look inside two imperfect marriages and their far-reaching consequences with Shari Lapeña (The Couple Next Door) and Kate Taylor (Serial Monogamy).
Women and Power (9:30 pm)
Annette Hamm talks with Denise Donlon about her long career as a leader in the Canadian music industry and her book, Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances).
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Writing Workshop: The First Page with Merilyn Simonds (10:00 am)
Merilyn Simonds is the author of 16 books and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Join her for an in-depth look at the all-important first page including tips and techniques for drawing readers into your story from the very first line.
Writing Workshop: Historical Fiction with Kate Taylor (11:30 am)
Kate Taylor‘s first novel, Mme Proust and the Kosher Kitchen, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book (Canada/Caribbean Region). Join the author as she discusses how to use historical characters and events as building blocks for exciting, original new stories.
Youth Writing Workshop: Fantasy Fiction with Sarah Raughley (1:00 pm at Central Library)
YA Author Sarah Raughley shares tips and techniques for creating great fantasy fiction. This event is free admission but registration is required. For writers aged 13-17.
Hamilton Writes (1:00 pm)
Celebrate the work of three hometown authors with readings from Marnie Woodrow (Heyday), Jamie Tennant (The Captain of Kinnoull Hill) and Paul Benedetti (You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead).
Telling our Own Stories (2:30 pm)
Memoir author Denise Donlon (Fearless as Possible), poet Chris Pannell (Love Despite the Ache) and graphic novelist Teva Harrison (In Between Days) share three different approaches to telling their own stories.
Drafts and Drafts (4:30 pm at Mills Hardware)
Close out festival weekend by joining authors Wayne Grady, Merilyn Simonds, Marnie Woodrow and three Hamilton writers for a drink and readings from their latest works-in-progress. To meet our 2017 Drafts and Drafts authors, click here. Tickets include one drink. $12 advance, $15 at door.
gritLIT Weekend Pass: $60
Purchase a gritLIT Festival Weekend Pass and get admission to all 16 reading events (value: $160) for only $60! Pass includes all paid reading events taking place at the Art Gallery of Hamilton plus Lunch with the Dewey Divas at Bryan Prince Bookseller. Drafts and Drafts at Mills Hardware: pass includes admission to event. Cost of drinks is extra. Writing Workshops and the Literary Salon are not included.
Monday, 20 March 2017
I booked a trip to Vancouver last week, and I leave in just a few days. The excitement of heading to another coast reminded me that I still had a few posts from my St. John's, Newfoundland trip saved to my drafts, including this one about whale watching. Better late than never, right? This post is also especially timely because I'm on the final chapters of The Killer Whale Who Changed The World, Mark Leiren-Young's heartbreaking book about Moby Doll, the first publicly exhibited captive killer whale.
My sister and I booked our whale watching tour through Iceberg Quest, a tour operator with boats that leave from downtown St. John's. We were lucky to see dozens of whales, including a humpback that breached right beside our boat, a number of other humpbacks, minkes, and finback whales. Two other highlights were puffins and the incredible view of the St. John's shore. I tried not to spend the whole tour looking through my camera, but here are a few photos I managed to take.
View from our boat with Signal Hill in the background.
A palace on the water supposedly owned by the owner of Nascar.
Monday, 20 February 2017
Birds Art Life takes readers to city parks, harbours, and trails as Maclear seeks joy and solace through birding following a period in which her father's failing health consumes her. Though it is deeply appreciative of our feathery friends, Birds Art Life is hardly a manual for want-to-be birders. Rather, it's a contemplative journey exploring the ways in which the natural world can shape or influence our lives and art, yet at the same time, allowing us to escape them.
"For me, birding and writing did not — and do not — feel interchangeable. Birding was the opposite of writing, a welcome and necessary flight from the awkward daily consciousness of making art. It allowed me to exist in a simple continuity, amid a river of birds and people and hours. The stubborn anxiety that filled the rest of my life was calmed for as long as I was standing in that river."
— Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life
Birds Art Life is also about waiting. It's about the act of sitting quietly along a river or at a park for a momentary glimpse of a bird or birds — so small in the grand scheme of things, but with an ability to intensely affect a birder. It's about patience, even if a birding experience is happening amidst a hurried city. Like most of us, Maclear failed to notice the avian life around her until she made the effort to be watchful.
"Sometimes in the quiet moments of waiting or walking in a place empty of people, in vacant lots where the damage and hideous underview of the city was not to be denied, I felt a loneliness that struck me to my core. Why would anyone invite the experience? And yet there was also something undeniably uplifting in catching glints of life, sharing sightings with strangers. There was grace in witnessing the constant aerial motion and nervous twittering of common species."
Birds Art Life is one of those books that constantly saw me jotting down and sharing passages, not only those about the flit and flight of birds, but also Maclear's musings about books, reading, and love. Here are just three examples of Maclear's crisp, intricate prose that gave me pause, causing me to read them over and over again.
Kyo Maclear on Children's Literature
"The spark of children’s literature — stories lusciously rendered in words and pictures — was distinctive and determining. These books had a radiant quality, a quality that Anne Carson describes in her book Decreation. 'When I think of books read in childhood,' she writes, 'they come to my mind’s eye in violence foreshortening and framed by a precarious darkness, but at the same time they glow somehow with an almost supernatural intensity of life that no adult book could ever effect.'"
Kyo Maclear on Books and Reading
"Books have given me great stores of happiness, but if I am honest with myself I can see they have also taken something away. I glimpsed the real world between paragraphs of novels. I traced words when I might have touched the ground.”
Kyo Maclear on Small, Intimate Moments
"One morning while standing at a cafe counter staring at the magnificently thick brows of the man making my coffee, I discovered one should not gaze too long at faces unless one is prepared to fall in love again."
Monday, 6 February 2017
In 2015, I attended my first Hamilton Winterfest kickoff event at Pier 8 (Read about it here). A year later, I was part of the organizing team at gritLIT: Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival who welcomed Lawrence Hill to Winterfest. This year, despite the cold, I was back at the kickoff event for a third year in a row, just long enough to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, listen to Syrian performance troupe – Yasmeen AlSham (Jasmine of Syria), and watch skaters take to the ice.
Hamiton Winterfest is a celebration of the city of Hamilton and the beauty of the season, which takes place between February 4-20. This year, as part of the festivities, gritLIT is pleased to present an evening of winter tales at the Staircase Theatre on Thursday, February 9. The event will include a reading by Heather O'Neill, the Winter's Tale flash fiction contest, and the reveal of the 2017 gritLIT Festival. Details and tickets are available at www.gritLIT.ca.
See below for the event poster (Help spread the word!) and see a few photos from the Winterfest Kick Off event. Stay warm, #HamOnt!
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
"I spent the day at the archives and photocopied enough material to cover the entire floor white. But the original diaries I never got to handle. Someone had taken them out before me. Somewhere, across these several well-lit acres of industrial study of the past, a set of eyes was reading about the Newfoundland regiment. It was the only fact I could not research. Who. Reading was the only activity in the room not ordered or catalogued." — Michael Winter, Into the Blizzard
Sunday, 1 January 2017
In 2016, I marked five years since beginning Not My Typewriter. It started as a book blog and transformed into something else, and each year, it evolves a tiny bit more. Thank you to everyone who has been reading over the past five years, and to those who have just stumbled upon it recently. I look forward to another year ahead of exploring #HamOnt and #CanLit.
My blog birthday wasn't the only thing I had to celebrate in 2016. It was a huge year for Hamilton's literary community: Lawrence Hill won CBC's Canada Reads for a second time. Wolsak and Wynn, Hamilton's local publisher, had their first book on the Giller Prize longlist. Gary Barwin's Yiddish for Pirates landed a spot on the Giller Prize shortlist. Michael Helm of Dundas was nominated for The Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for his book After James. Local first-time author Jamie Tennant started Get Lit, a radio program which airs on CFMU (Check out the first few episodes here: https://soundcloud.com/jamestennant-1). On a personal level, I was proud to be part of the team that launched the Hamilton Review of Books in November. These examples are really just the beginning. It was an exceptional year for local lit.
I've pulled together a few of my favourite posts from 2016. I look forward to many more adventures in 2017! Happy New Year!
- Lawrence Hill at gritLIT
- Mountain City Girls
- Interview with Jenna Butler
- Beaver Hall Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
- Doors Open and Jane's Walks
- Interview with Amber McMillan
- Fringe Festival
- Eating and Drinking in St. John's
- St. John's: Downtown
Thursday, 29 December 2016
It was such a treat to be featured in the Hamilton Spectator yesterday as part of the team behind the newly launched Hamilton Review of Books, an independent online literary journal created by writers, editors, reviewers, and academics from the Hamilton area. Read Graham Rockingham's story here.
We launched the review in early November, on the same night of Game 7 of the World Series and a terrible downpour. Despite having the odds against us, we had close to 100 local book lovers in attendance. Here are a few photos from the launch, which was held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton's Annex. You can find the rest on our Facebook page.
Tor Lukasik-Foss as our literary palm reader
The Hamilton Spectator's Jeff Mahoney with local writer Jen Jones
Giller Prize shortlister Gary Barwin
Jeff Mahoney with some of the women behind gritLIT: Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival
Jaime of Epic Books on Locke Street and Noelle Allen of Wolsak and Wynn
Hamilton Review of Books editorial team members Sally Cooper, Dana Hansen, and Krista Foss
A literary journal dedicated to paying its writers!