Sharanpal Ruprai, author of Seva, was interviewed by Chaudiere Books for their blog. Read the interview here.
We are so sorry to learn of the passing of Sharron Proulx-Turner, one of the great Frontenac House poets, author of she is reading her blanket with her hands. The poems were a series of love letters to her family and friends, but it soon became obvious that they were also love letters to life. The following is from the end-note to the book:
a bear on a branch of a great white pine
an echo blowing back on a breeze
thirty-five years ago, I read maria campbell’s halfbreed. shirley bear, maria campbell, linda hogan and luce irigaray have profoundly influenced me as a writer. language fascinates me, always has, and as a small person I read every book I could get my hands on at the local library. I could tell there was a whole world out there that was very different from the one I lived in, and in many ways that’s one of the main things that kept me going and kept me able to hold my silence and maintain a sense of peace in the face of the utter chaos that defined my childhood.
in my growing years, I found it very difficult to place my “I” anywhere where I might be seen. language was something that was dangerous and carried with it the potential of unbearable pain and terror. at the age of six, I was unable to speak for several months. learning to read and write brought clarity and speech back for me. as I grew as a writer, I had difficulty with capitalizing many words, especially the word “I”. then I heard a talk by lee maracle, where she described the “I” as the centre of our beings, as the one who houses our spirits. it was then I knew that “I” would be the only word I would capitalize, a decision that would both satisfy my difficulty with the english language’s obsessive need to privilege certain words over others by the use of a capital, and my need to make my spirit visible to myself on the page. as aboriginal peoples, ours is the first generation since the indian act (meant to be capitalized) to be able to legally attend post-secondary institutions and to finally publish for ourselves inside an albeit predominantly western worldview.
if there was a way to express my feelings about writing right now, I would become the sound of the water I am. I’d mingle with the river in a way that was unavailable to me in my early years. my fingers have touched the softest down on my babies’ backs and felt the centuries of ancestors waiting – those who’ve gone before us and those yet to come – their stories open moments inside a rainy day.
First Person Plural has been shortlisted for the Alberta Book Publishers Trade Non Fiction Award. Congratulations, George Melnyk!
Niche has been shortlisted for the Alberta Book Publishers Award in both the Cover Design and Poetry categories. Congratulations, Basma Kavanagh.
Niche by Basma Kavanagh has been awarded the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. Visit http://manitobabookawards.com for more information on this prestigious award. Congratulations to Basma!
“Compelled by loss of knowledge, species, habitat and traditions, my intention with this collection is to elucidate the endurance of what is no longer physically apparent. Extinctions and an exploration of the Red List (the endangered species list for Nova Scotia) are important to this work. The poems grapple with human culpability, but also ask: What will happen as human relationships with non-human animals and other living things diminish? What will happen if we become extinct?” For more information about Niche, see https://www.frontenachouse.com/dd-product/niche/
Mayor Naheed Nenshi is tremendously supportive of the arts. He’s done a cameo at the opera, he’s read to children, he’s contributed to books. He has even written a poem which was published in The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual.
The Calgary Project was brought out through the auspices of the Calgary Poet Laureate program. The book carefully matches poetry and visual images, with a total of 90 separate contributions. Under the editorship of Kris Demeanor (Calgary’s first poet laureate) and Dymphny Dronyk (a Frontenac House author nominated for the Gerald Lampert award), this wide-ranging, creative insight into the heritage and dynamic of Calgary. The project was briefly interrupted by the Calgary flood and delayed to include poetic and literary responses to this super-natural event.
Here is Nenshi’s poem. Happy National Poetry Month to all of you – from Calgary.
The Hats We Wear
by Naheed Nenshi
Smithbilt. Flames toque. Turban.
Stamps cap. No cap. Bandana. Hijab.
… And a lot of cattle.
The energy is in the ground a long way away.
But also in the air right here.
In offices so high the sky is even bigger than from the ground.
In clinics and factories, on shop floors and in the rehearsal hall.
In a thousand crowded lunch spots.
Banh mi and ginger beef, perogies and dossa, roast beef sandwiches and shawarma.
Sometimes all on the same menu.
Since we’ve figured out that simple thing. That one thing that has escaped so many.
We’re better together.
Aaah, Sandburg. Your city can keep its big shoulders.
Ours are pretty big too.
But our dreams are bigger.
Aphra by Rose Scollard has been shortlisted for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama! Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 4, 2016 in MacDonald Hall at SAIT in Calgary.
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (Sponsored by Alberta Views)
- Beth Graham (Edmonton) – The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble
- Rose Scollard (Calgary) – Aphra
- David van Belle and Eric Rose (Calgary) – The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst
ABOUT APHRA BEHN
The first Englishwoman to earn her living by her pen, Aphra Behn challenged the popular expectations placed upon 17th-century women.
All Women together ought to lay flowers on the grave of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds. ~Virginia Woolf
Aphra Behn had travelled to the Americas, spied for King Charles the Second and spent time in debtors’ prison all by the age of 30. In 1670, the production of her play The Forced Marriage launched her as a playwright and the first English woman writer to earn a living solely through her pen.
ABOUT APHRA, the play
Aphra by Nancy Jo Cullen, Alexandria Patience and Rose Scollard
Aphra opens on 17th-century playwright Aphra Behn writing feverishly in her small, poorly furnished room. The weather is cold and bleak and she is seriously ill. It is two days before her death. The moral forces that would silence her and banish her to oblivion have never been stronger. In her agitated mind those forces have taken on form and substance in the unbending, menacing figures of Morality Man and Morality Woman, who threaten to overwhelm her. But her dearest friends, Betty Currer and Mary Betterton, are close by, ready to reassure her and nurse her through her fevers and demons.
Aphra premiered in 1991 with Maenad Theatre, Calgary, the first woman-centred theatre company in Western Canada.
Maenad Theatre was formed by the authors in 1986 because there were so few opportunities in theatre for women. As Rita Fraticelli reported, only a few years earlier, between 1977 and 1981 only 10 percent of produced playwrights in Canada were women.
Quartet 2016 is an exciting group of poetry books, covering territory as varied as the Canadian experience: A deeply personal and poignant story of surviving breast cancer; an examination of our relationship to our environment and our past; a playful, garrulous exploration of the duality of transformations; and a timely recounting of the challenges faced by refugees as they struggle to retain their identities in a new home. We are proud to introduce the authors of Quartet 2016, edited by Micheline Maylor. Available Fall 2016.
Click on the links below for more information on Quartet 2016.
“All women together ought to lay flowers on the grave of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” ~Virginia Woolf
Aphra Behn, adventuress, spy, novelist and playwright, defied the popular expectations placed upon seventeenth-century women. For this, the society of her day banished her and her work to oblivion. Her voice was effectively silenced for over 300 years. Few people knew she had ever existed. Aphra opens on Behn writing feverishly at her desk, ill, depressed, close to death, but still indomitable, still ready, one last time, to take on those moral forces eager to suppress her.
Aphra events will address issues of women in theatre.
Rose Scollard will present the book in Calgary at Shelf Life Books on April 4 at 7:30 pm, free admission, light refreshments. https://www.facebook.com/events/232868127057176/
A live streamed event between Glasgow and Calgary on July 7, 6:30 pm – 8 pm in Glasgow and 11:30 am – 1 pm in Calgary, details tba
Nancy Jo Cullen
is a Toronto writer who has written many stage productions, three poetry books and a story collection, Canary, which won the 2012 Metcalf-Rooke Award. She is the 2010 recipient of the Writer’s Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers.
is a writer, director, and performer who lives in Scotland. She has a long history of creating performance works and events as an interdisciplinary artist. The Scottish Book Trust selected her as a resident artist for 2016–17.
is a Calgary writer who has over 30 professional radio and stage productions. Her latest play, I Ain’t so Tough, will premiere with Urban Stories Theatre, Calgary. Tango Noir, a trio of her plays, was published in 2011.
Aphra premiered in 1991 with Maenad Theatre, Calgary, the first woman-centred theatre company in Western Canada. Maenad Theatre was formed by the
authors in 1986 because there were so few opportunities in theatre for women. As Rita Fraticelli reported in Women in Theatre, between 1977 and 1981 only 10 percent of produced playwrights in Canada were women.
In 2016 things have improved for women in theatre, but a recent report by Rebecca Burton, Adding It Up: The Status of Women in Canadian Theatre revealed that only 22 percent of plays produced in the 2013–14 season were by women, 63 percent by men and 15 percent by mixed-gender partnerships.
Besides the drama Aphra, the book includes:
• An interview with the three playwrights conducted by Susan Stone-Blackburn.
• An article by the authors describing their experiences of collectively writing Aphra.
• A history of women’s works produced by Maenad Theatre.
For review copies, excerpt requests, interviews with the playwrights or further information, contact Lyn Cadence at 403-465-2345 or email@example.com.
For production queries contact agent Caroline Russell-King at 403-238-4477 or via www.carolinerussellking.com.
Aphra Drama, 92 pages
Release date March 1, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-927823-45-3 paperback, $18.95
ISBN: 978-1-927823-46-0 pdf, $9.95
ISBN: 978-1-927823-47-7 html, $9.95
The 2016 shortlist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry has been announced, and Micheline Maylor, Frontenac House editor and author of Whirr & Click, is on the list!
The judge this year is George Elliott Clarke, co-editor (with Valerie Mason-John) of Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry.
Follow this link to read more about the shortlist and the award: www.matrixmagazine.org/#!robert-kroetsch-award/cgpc