October 26, 2018: An Evening with Ronald Wright and Deborah Campbell
Ronald Wright is the author of ten books –history, fiction, and essays –published in sixteen languages and more than forty countries. His 2004 Massey Lectures, A Short History of Progress, won the Libris Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year and inspired Martin Scorsese’s documentary film Surviving Progress. Wright’s dystopian novel A Scientific Romance won Britain’s David Higham Prize for Fiction and was chosen a book of the year by the New York Times, the Globe & Mail, and the Sunday Times. His other bestsellers include Time Among the Maya, What Is America?, and Stolen Continents. His latest work is The Gold Eaters, a novel set during the Spanish invasion of Peru. Born in England to Canadian and British parents, Wright lives on Salt Spring Island. ronaldwright.com
Deborah Campbell is the author of A Disappearance in Damascus, which won the 2016 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize as well as the Hubert Evans BC Book Prize. The New York Times (Editors’ Choice 2017) called the book “A searing and extraordinarily affecting account…[part] memoir, history and mystery story.” It has been optioned for film and TV. Her work has also appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, and Foreign Policy. She has won three National Magazine Awards, and in 2017 received the Freedom to Read Award from the Writers Union of Canada. She teaches in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria.
September 21, 2018: An evening with Yvonne Blomer and Cathy Converse
Yvonne Blomer is the Poet Laureate of Victoria, BC. Writer, critic, teacher and poet, Yvonne was born in Zimbabwe, and came to Canada when she was two years old. With her husband she has taught in Japan, cycled through Southeast Asia, and lived in the UK, where she completed a Masters in Creative Writing with Distinction at The University of East Anglia. Her most recent books are Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur (Palimpsest Press, 2017) and Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (editor, Caitlin Press, 2017). In Sugar Ride she details the couple’s experiences and impressions as they explore Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand, four countries with long histories of colonialism and war.
She is the winner of the Overleaf Chapbook Contest 2017 for her collection Elegies for Earth and has published three books of poetry, most recently As if a Raven (Palimpsest Press, 2014). In 2018 Yvonne will be part of a show at The Bateman Centre that features poems in response to Robert Bateman’s paintings.
Cathy Converse is a bestselling author with several books listed on the BC Bestseller List. She has been writing for over thirty years and has authored, co-authored, and co-edited six books and numerous cover stories for magazines. Her fourth book, Following the Curve of Time: The Legendary M. Wylie Blanchet, was one of the top five books chosen for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award in 2009. For her work in writing historical biography she has been named in the Canadian Who’s Who.
This fall Cathy will launch her newest book, “Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron.” Agnes (b. 1863) was BC’s first female high school teacher (Victoria High) and principal (South Park School), an internationally published writer, noted as one of the most significant writers of her time, itinerant traveller and promoter of western immigration. Learn more about the book at TouchWood Editions. In 2017 the Vancouver Sun lauded Agnes Deans Cameron as one of British Columbia’s most noteworthy historical figures. Cathy’s book is the first to be published about this fascinating woman.
July 16, 2018: Star Cinema Special Showing of The Seagull
The Star Cinema in Sidney held a special showing of The Seagull in support of the 2019 Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival on Monday, July 16 at 1 p.m.
May 11, 2018: An evening with Ron Norman and Keith Ogilvie
For two decades Ron Norman worked as a reporter, columnist and editor on community newspapers around B.C. He was also a regular contributor to CBC Radio’s Kelowna morning program. Norman left journalism in 2000 to take a job with the B.C. government. In his 12 years in government He worked at every level, eventually becoming deputy minister and head of communications. He is active with The Didi Society, a Victoria-based non-profit that works to empower women globally through fair trade and to educate youth locally to be social justice change-makers. Slouching Towards Innocence is Norman’s debut novel. Norman lives with his wife, Joan Young, in Brentwood Bay.
Keith Ogilvie was raised as a “service brat” on a succession of Royal Canadian Air Force stations in Ontario. He comes late to writing biographical stories after a varied and interesting career as an aerospace engineer, information technology consultant, glassblower and international development professional. Although he has written extensively throughout his working life, The Spitfire Luck of Skeets Ogilvie is his first public offering. Keith is a former private pilot, sailor and motorcycle enthusiast. He continues to be involved in international development, including as a member of the Board of the BC Justice Evaluation Society. He lives, writes and does a lot of walking with his partner Francine in North Saanich, British Columbia, where they enjoy an ever changing view of the ocean and islands of the Salish Sea. They have two children living in greater Victoria and one special, curly-haired granddaughter.
March 23, 2018: An evening with Bill Gaston and Margriet Ruurs
Bill Gaston’s fiction has been nominated for the Giller Prize, twice for the Governor General’s Award, and his most recent novel, The World, won the Ethel Wilson Prize for fiction. Barbara Gowdy has said of his latest work, A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage, “In this new collection Gaston’s range is so wide, his technique so masterful, his tenderness, humour and intelligence so finely measured that he stops my heart. He currently lives in Victoria where he teaches at the University of Victoria. Aside from teaching at various universities, he has worked as a logger, salmon fishing guide, group home worker and, most exotically, playing hockey in the south of France.
Margriet Ruurs is the author of over 35 books for children and educators. She lives on Salt Spring Island, where she runs a booklovers’ Bed & Breakfast called Between The Covers. She is a book reviewer for The International Educator and writes a regular column for Canadian Teacher Magazine. Her books have appeared in the York Times and on bestsellers lists. She has won many awards for her books, including The Information Book Award, Moonbeam awards, and the Crystal Kite award. Several of her books have been named ILA’s Notable Book for Global Awareness. Most of all Margriet loves reading with her two young grandsons and playing with language. Margriet’s recent book Stepping Stones was inspired by the beautiful stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr. It tells the story of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. www.margrietruurs.com
February 16, 2018: An evening with Monique Gray Smith and Richard Hebda
Monique Gray Smith is a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent and is the proud Mom of fourteen-year-old twins. Monique’s first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Literature and My Heart Fills with Happiness recently won the 2017 Christie Harris BC Book Award for Children’s Literature. Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation is currently being used across the country as a tool to educate the hearts and minds of both young and not so young readers. Quill and Quire’s starred review of Speaking our Truth defines it as, “The tool Canadians have been waiting for.”
Dr. Richard Hebda is Curator Emeritus (Botany and Earth History) at the Royal British Columbia Museum and is adjunct faculty at the University of Victoria. He is co-author of many scientific papers, popular articles on native plants and climate change and co-author/editor of several books and major reports including several on climate change for NGOs. He was the senior editor of the recently-released Royal British Columbia Museum book Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi: Teachings from Long Ago Person Found about human remains found frozen in a northwest BC glacier. He recently received the Queen’s Jubilee medal for his work in palaeontology and the national Bruce Naylor award for natural history curatorship in 2015.
November 24, 2017: An evening with George Mercer and Ulrike Narwani
Ulrike Narwani moved to Sidney, B.C. in 2003 after living abroad for many years. She and her husband, both passionate about flying, have co-written a memoir Above the Beaten Path about their adventures flying a single-engine Cessna 182 into remote corners of the world. Collecting Silence is her debut volume of poetry. Her poem ‘Three Wishes’ was selected for the BC Poetry in Transit 2017 program.
For over three decades George Mercer worked as a national park warden in Canada, on the east and west coasts, in the North and in the Rocky Mountains. For eight of those years, he was also Monitoring Ecologist in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. He is passionate about parks and protected areas, weaving elements of mystery and suspense into his fiction series about Canada’s national parks, Dyed In The Green.
October 20, 2017: An evening with Frances Backhouse and Ian Gibbs
Frances Backhouse is a freelance journalist and the author of six nonfiction books, whose writing focuses on nature, history, and the rich textures of the overlap zone. Her most recent book, Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver, was a finalist for the Lane Anderson Award for Canadian science writing and the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. In 2010, she won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for her previous book, Children of the Klondike.
Ian Gibbs is really excited to have published his first book Victoria’s Most Haunted: Ghost Stories from BC’s Historic Capital City. He has always been fascinated by storytelling, ghosts and hauntings, and has even found himself assisting friends with their ghost problems. He lives in Victoria, arguably one of the most haunted places in Canada, where he acts as a guide for Victoria’s popular Ghostly Walks walking tours.
June 12, 2017: Star Cinema Special Showing of A Quiet Passion
The Star Cinema in Sidney held a special showing of A Quiet Passion in support of the 2017 Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival on Monday, June 12 at 2 p.m.
May 12, 2017: An evening with Jennifer Manuel and Anny Scoones
Jennifer Manuel has won awards for her short fiction, including the Storyteller’s Award at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in 2013. She has also published short fiction in PRISM International, The Fiddlehead, Room Magazine and Little Fiction. Author Diana Gabaldon describes Manuel’s writing as “astonishing in its intimacy, delicate complexity and sense of compassion.” A long-time activist in Aboriginal issues, Manuel taught elementary and high school in the lands of the Tahltan and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples. The Heaviness of Things that Float is Manuel’s compelling debut novel: a deft exploration of the delicate dynamic between First Nations communities and non-native outsiders. She lives on Vancouver Island.
Anny Scoones was raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick. After moving to North Saanich, she served as an elected city councillor and now teaches English in Victoria. In her books Home, Home and Away, and True Home, she charms readers with her discoveries about life on a heritage farm in North Saanich. In Hometown, she delivers a reflective, often quirky tour of Victoria neighborhoods. Last Dance in Shediac is a vividly wrought memoir of Scoones’ personal memories of her mother, celebrated Canadian artist Molly Lamb Bobak. Scoones now lives in James Bay.
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March 17, 2017: An evening with C.C. Humphreys and Tilar Mazzeo.
Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in the UK. He is an actor and writer of historical novels. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. The first of his novels, The French Executioner told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn, was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002, and has been optioned for the screen. Its sequel was Blood Ties. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this 007 of the 1770’s – Jack Absolute, The Blooding of Jack Absolute, and Absolute Honour – short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association. He has also written a trilogy for young adults The Runestone Saga, a heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror. His newest book is Fire, a thrilling reimagining of the events of the 1666 Great Fire of London.
Dr. Tilar Mazzeo is the Clara C. Piper Associate Professor of English at Colby College, in Waterville, Maine. She is the author of numerous works of narrative nonfiction, and several of her books have been New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times bestsellers. She divides her time among coastal Maine, New York City, and Saanichton, British Columbia, where she lives with her husband at Parsell Vineyard. Her latest book, Irena’s Children is the remarkable history of a “female Schindler,” Irena Sendler (1910-2008), who saved more than 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis. The New York Journal of Books says “Mazzeo delivers with creativity and passion” and calls Irena’s Children “evocative, haunting and gripping and impeccably researched. Mazzeo’s work as a wine writer has appeared in numerous national outlets in the United States, including Food and Wine magazine.
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February 10, 2017: An evening with Lorna Crozier and Arleen Paré.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lorna Crozier has been acknowledged for her contributions to Canadian literature, her teaching and her mentoring with five honourary doctorates, most recently from McGill and Simon Fraser Universities. Her books have received numerous national awards, including the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. The Globe and Mail declared The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things one of its Top 100 Books of the Year, and Amazon chose her memoir as one of the 100 books you should read in your lifetime. A Professor Emerita at the University of Victoria, she has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and has read her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, on every continent except Antarctica. Her latest books are The Wrong Cat and The Wild in You, a collaboration with photographer Ian McAllister.
Arleen Paré has graduate degrees in Social Work, Adult Education and Creative Writing (Poetry). Originally from Montreal, she worked for over two decades in Vancouver in Social Service bureaucracies. Paré has published four books, Paper Trail, Leaving Now, and Lake of Two Mountains, and He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car. She now resides in Victoria, where she lives with her partner, Chris Fox. She has two adult sons.
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November 18, 2016: An evening with Steven Price and Pauline Holdstock.
Steven Price is the author of two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. His first novel, Into That Darkness, was published by Thomas Allen to critical acclaim in 2011. Steven’s new novel By Gaslight will be published in six countries. Quill and Quire has By Gaslight an “engrossing read” with “twists and turns that deepen our understanding of the characters even as they advance multiple plot strands.” It “immerses us in a world of sights and smells so precisely rendered they are nearly tangible.”
Pauline Holdstock is an internationally published novelist, short fiction writer and essayist. Her most recent novel is The Hunter and the Wild Girl, a finalist for the 2016 BC Book Prizes. Her work has been shortlisted for a number of awards, among them the Best First Novel Award, the Scotia Bank Giller prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Her historical novel Beyond Measure was the winner of the BC Book Prizes Ethel Wilson Award for Fiction. She lives here on the peninsula and spends writing time in France, where her latest novel is set.
The National Post called The Hunter and the Wild Girl “a provocative fable on what it means to be a human being, faced with freedoms both conventional and absolute.”
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October 28, 2016: An evening with M.A.C. Farrant and Barbara Smith.
M.A.C. Farrant is the author of fourteen works of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and over one hundred book reviews and essays for the Vancouver Sun and the Toronto Globe & Mail. Her memoir, My Turquoise Years, which she adapted for the stage, premiered in 2013 at the Arts Club Theatre’s in Vancouver, British Columbia..The World Afloat – Miniatures, won the City of Victoria Book Butler Book Prize in 2014. Her latest book of fiction (Fall 2016), is “The Days—Forecasts Warnings, Advice”. The Vancouver Sun says it “is great fun but also makes you look at the world in a new way.” A full-time writer, Farrant’s work as been nominated for many awards.
Barbara Smith was born and raised in Toronto and lived most of her life in Edmonton before settling in the Victoria area in 2006. Barbara is a full-time writer whose work is inspired by a love of mystery combined with her lifelong interest in social history. She has published over thirty books, twenty of which are collections of true ghost stories. Her latest book, The Valiant Nellie McClung highlights a selection of Nellie McClung’s columns—covering themes such as war, the strength of the family unit, and the pleasure of gardening—and offers a unique reflection of our country’s history and an uncanny resonance today.
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September 30, 2016: An evening with Arthur Black and Susan Juby.
Arthur Black is one of Canada’s best-known humorists, and one of only three living writers to have won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times. A former host of the CBC radio program, Basic Black, and the author of a syndicated newspaper column, Black is now permanently transplanted to Salt Spring Island, BC. His most recent book is Paint the Town Black (Harbour).
Susan Juby is the author of the critically acclaimed Getting the Girl and Another Kind of Cowboy, as well as the bestselling Alice series (Alice, I Think; Miss Smithers (winner of the Sheila Egoff award); Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last) and The Woefield Poultry Collective. Her latest novel is The Truth Commission. Dryly funny and knife-sharp it was written as “creative nonfiction” by the protagonist Normandy Pale, and features footnotes, illustrations, and a combination mystery/love story that will capture readers from the first page.
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June 22, 2016: An evening with John Crouch and Briony Penn.
John Crouch is a well-known athlete and writer who has published three successful guidebooks: Bike Victoria, Walk Victoria, and Hike Victoria, along with a memoir. John Crouch’s latest guidebook, Cycling the Islands, is the perfect resource and the ultimate guidebook for travellers looking to explore the beauty and splendour of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands and the American San Juan Islands by bicycle.
Salt Spring Island author Briony Penn is a naturalist, writer, educator, and broadcaster well known in BC for her indomitable spirit and tireless devotion to protecting endangered species and sensitive ecosystems in her native British Columbia. Her latest book, The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan, is a 2016 BC Book Prize Winner.
June 8, 2016: An evening of mystery and sci-fi with Janet Brons and Chad Ganske
Before taking to crime writing, Janet Brons worked as a foreign affairs consultant following a seventeen-year career in the Canadian foreign service, with postings in Kuala Lumpur, Warsaw, and Moscow. She holds a Master of Arts in political science and international relations, and has lived in Sidney since retiring in 2004. Her latest book, Not a Clue, is the second instalment in her Forsyth and Hay mystery series.
Chad Ganske was born in Red Deer, Alberta in 1976, relocating with his family to Sidney in the late eighties. He published his first novel, a dark science fiction tale called Idyllic Avenue in 2014, followed in March of this year by the sequel, Salus. He still lives in Sidney, enjoying the quiet life, as well as spending a great deal of time alternating between states of elation and frustration watching the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL.
May 18, 2016: An Evening with Tricia Dower and Grant McKenzie
Brentwood Bay resident Tricia Dower began writing in 2002 upon retirement from corporate life. Her first book, Silent Girl, features 8 short stories all with strong female leads inspired by Shakespearean characters, and dealing with contemporary issues. It was followed, Stony River, a powerful coming-of-age story and first in a planned trilogy. The second novel, Becoming Lin, is deftly crafted and deals with identity, trauma, and finding your place in a turbulent world.
Grant McKenzie is well known in the Victoria literary landscape as a journalist, Communications Director for Our Place, and author of six ‘edge of your seat’ crime novels. Under the pen-name M.C. Grant he is the author of the Dixie Flynn mysteries. Published internationally, McKenzie’s reputation is well established amongst fans of crime novels and thrillers.
March 17, 2016: An Evening with Gwen Curry
Gwen Curry’s book, Tod Inlet: A Healing Place, takes us on walks down to the inlet. Her beautiful photographs capture the spirit of present-day Tod Inlet, while her sensitive prose gives us glimpses into the Inlet’s natural, industrial, and First Nations history. Tod Inlet: A Healing Place has been short listed for the BC Book Prizes’ Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.