Hamilton Review of Books

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!

Concerts in the Round: Hawksley Workman

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The fourth floor of the Hamilton Public Library's central branch is my go-to place for a lot of things: I've held meetings and events there. It's where I most-often do my freelance work. I've toured the Circuit, the library's collaborative creative space. However, until a week and a half ago, I hadn't attended an the space's music series, Concerts in the Round, which has boasted performances by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, The Sadies, and 54-40.

Most recently, the HPL hosted one of my favourite musicians, who is also now a published children's book author, Hawksley Workman. Workman's book, Almost a Full Moon, is based on the lyrics of a song from his holiday album, also called Almost a Full Moon. It was released by Tundra Books in September.

HPL's Concerts in the Round series is a chance to see musicians in an intimate venue in a unique downtown space, complete with brews from Collective Arts. (Seriously, drinking beer in the library: It's Jes heaven). I can't wait to see who they announce next.

St. John's: Downtown

Sunday, 11 December 2016
“Walkers are 'practitioners of the city,' for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

I began my series of blog posts about St. John's with a post on eating and drinking, which felt to be the most logical place to begin. Our trip could be easily divided into two categories: Eating and walking, and much of our walking took place in downtown St. John's.

What stunned me about downtown St. John's is how new it all is, the result of a fire that ravaged the city at the end of the 19th century. Very few buildings were left standing.
Late in the afternoon of 8 July 1892, a small fire broke out in a St. John’s stable after a lit pipe or match fell into a bundle of hay. Although containable at first, the flames quickly spread due to dry weather conditions, a disorganized fire department, and poor planning on the part of city officials. Within hours, the fire had destroyed almost all of St. John’s, leaving 11,000 people homeless and causing $13 million in property damage. (Source: Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador)
When we began researching things to do and see in the St. John's area, I relied heavily on the insight of bloggers. Here are just a few of the many places that helped me quickly fall in love with the city.

Harbourside Park

The National War Memorial

Bookish St. John's

Afterwords Bookstore (245 Duckworth St.)

Broken Books (183A Duckworth St.)

Jellybean Row

George Street Festival

The George Street Festival has been on bucket my list for many years, so we snagged tickets to not one, but two nights, to see our hometown boys Arkells and later Alan Doyle (formerly of Great Big Sea).

Fred's Records (198 Duckworth St.)

Government House

The Battery
The colourful Battery is where we began our hike up Signal Hill, but more on that memorable day later!

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