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  • 23rd Annual Hamilton Art Council Literary Awards: Non - Fiction Finalists

    November 22, 2016 by Lisa Emmons

    This is the second in a three part blog series showcasing the finalists of this year's 23rd Annual Hamilton Art Council Literary Awards. Find out which authors will take home the prizes by attending the gala celebration on December 7th, 2016 at Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre at Theatre Aquarius at 7pm.  All are welcome and the event is pay-what-you-can.

     

     

    E. Graziani War in My Town

    E. Graziani is a teacher, author, speaker and life-long learner, who graduated from McMaster in history, specializing in the Renaissance and Reformation. She has worked with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to raise awareness regarding the disease, and she regularly speaks to young people about her books, and the writing and publishing process. War in My Town is based on her family’s experiences in Nazi-occupied Italy during World War II. Graziani’s other books are Alice of the Rocks, Alice-Angel of Time, and Jess Under Pressure. She teaches in Hamilton and lives in Stoney Creek with her husband and four daughters. 

    Teenaged Bruna's life is turned upside down when her small Italian village becomes the centre of fighting in the last months of the Second World War.

    Bruna is the youngest of seven children, living an idyllic life in a small village in Italy in the 1940s. As the Second World War unfolds Bruna's life remains largely the same. By 1943, her biggest disappointment is that food rationing means there is no cake to celebrate her fourteenth birthday. The Italian leader Mussolini's allegiance to Hitler and the distant reports of fighting seem far away from their lives. 

    But when the Italian people turn against their fascist regime, war comes to their region. Bruna struggles to cope as Nazi soldiers descend to occupy their village, and she must help her mother and sisters stand up to the occupying soldiers. Her peaceful life is turned upside down by the fact that her beloved little village is now the centre of the final stage of fighting between the Allies and the Germans, the only front left defended by the Nazis in Italy.

    Including photographs and maps, War In My Town is a true story based on the experiences of author E. Graziani's mother and her family.

    James King Inner Places: The Life of David Milne 

    James King is the author of six novels and nine biographies, the subjects of which include William Blake, Margaret Laurence, Jack McClelland, Farley Mowat, and Lawren Harris. His biography of Herbert Read, The Last Modern, was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award. He appeared in this summer’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, and his biography of Canadian artist Greg Curnoe will appear next year. King’s biography Virginia Woolf was selected one of the best non-fiction books of the year by Publishers Weekly.  A member of the Royal Society of Canada, James King lives in Hamilton, and teaches English at McMaster University.  

    David Milne is one of Canada’s finest artists, a man whose work speaks to the intricate beauty of the world as he experienced it.

    David Milne (1882–1953) dedicated his life to exploring nature and casting it into art in a variety of modernist formats. He was born into poverty in rural Ontario and remained poor all his life because of his relentless dedication to his art. For him, art was life. Nothing mattered to him as much as the enormous “kick“ he felt when he was able to produce the image his artist's eye told him was there.

    Milne returned to Ontario in 1929 after a twenty-five-year stay in the United States. In every place he lived his peripatetic existence, Milne created a different kind of landscape painting. In his chosen life of solitude, his mind and hand remained very much alive.

    Since Milne spent as much time writing as he did painting, he provides an enormous amount of material for a life writer. His biography re-creates the texture of the artist's one-of-a-kind life and struggles, allowing a truly intimate portrait to emerge.
     

     

    David Tysdale • Unwanted

    “I write, sketch, paint, film, practice healthcare, philosophize and coach. Not necessarily in that order,” writes David Tysdale, who has worked in education and health care for over 30 years. Dr. Tysdale has taught primary and university level programs, worked in family counseling and prehospital emergency medicine, and is a visual artist as well as the author of the Kindle books The Lost Witch and The Missing Link. Unwanted is the true story of Tysdale’s father Albert, detailing his journey through the orphanages and foster homes of a gritty Canadian steel town during the Great Depression, and into the years of the Second World War.

    Seven year-old Albert Tysdale’s idyllic world is shattered by the cruelest of betrayals when his mother abandons him at The Hamilton Boy’s Home, instead of taking him on a promised vacation to the beach. Totally unprepared for the institution’s cruel pecking order, he must quickly learn the art of survival while battling against the persecution of a vindictive matron, in his quest to make a life for himself.
    Unnwanted is Albert’s true story. This remarkable memoir details his journey through the orphanages and foster homes of a gritty Canadian steel town during the Great Depression years. Filled with both heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes, and with the Second World War as a backdrop, Unwanted transports you back to a time when life was tough and you made your own luck. 

     

    This year's Award for Non-Fiction is sponsored by: 

     

  • 23rd Annual Hamilton Art Council Literary Awards: Fiction Finalists

    November 17, 2016 by Lisa Emmons

    This is the first in a three part blog series showcasing the finalists of this year's 23rd Annual Hamilton Art Council Literary Awards. Find out which authors will take home the prizes by attending the gala celebration on December 7th, 2016 at Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre at Theatre Aquarius at 7pm.  All are welcome and the event is pay-what-you-can.

     

    Gary Barwin • I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457

    Since winning a 2015 Hamilton Literary Award for his book of poetry moon baboon canoe, Gary Barwin has had quite a year; his novel Yiddish for Pirates spent weeks on the Canadian bestseller list, and was shortlisted for English Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. A composer and multimedia artist, as well as author of over 20 books of poetry, fiction, and books for kids, Barwin has a PhD in music composition, and has been Writer-in-Residence at Western University and the Toronto Public Library Young Voices eWriter-in-residence. A new poetry collection, No TV for Woodpeckers will appear from Hamilton’s Wolsak and Wynn in 2017. 

    At times comic, tender, dark, and arrestingly bizarre, Gary Barwin’s latest fiction, I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457, collection marvels at the strangeness, charm, and beauty that is contemporary life in the quantum world. Ranging from short story to postcard fiction, Barwin’s stories are luminous, hilarious, and surprising. A billionaire falls in love with a kitchen appliance, a couple share a pair of legs, a pipeline-size hair is given the Nobel Prize only so that it can be taken away, a father remembers with tenderness the radiant happiness of his teenage child, trapped inside his body.

    Lawrence Hill The Illegal

    Lawrence Hill is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction. His first two novels were Some Great Thing and Any Known Blood, and his third novel, The Book of Negroes, attracted international attention and was made into a successful TV mini-series; as the Globe and Mail’s Carrie Snyder writes, both it, and The Illegal, “use story to give flesh, breath, and blood to cold, calculating political and economic practices.” Hill is currently writing a new novel and a children’s book, and co-writing a television miniseries adaptation of The Illegal. He has recently become a professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph.

    The Illegal by Lawrence Hill is about a boy, Keita Ali who is on the run. Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita’s ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches—until Keita is targeted for his father’s outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family’s survival. Keita escapes into Freedom State—a wealthy island nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown.

    Keita can stay safe only if he keeps moving and eludes the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he would face almost certain death. Keita’s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but for his sister’s life, too.

    The Illegal is being adapted by Conquering Lion Pictures into an eight-part television miniseries with CBC TV.

    Janet Turpin Myers • The Last Year of Confusion

    Janet Turpin Myers is a Burlington-based poet and novelist. Her first novel, Nightswimming, was shortlisted for the 2014 Hamilton Literary Awards. Her latest novel, The Last Year of Confusion, is a humorous, thought provoking—at times dark—commentary on the heaviness of humankind’s boot prints upon this planet. Rhonda Dynes, in the Hamilton Literary Review, has written “For those looking to situate The Last Year of Confusion in the Canadian canon, think Stephen Leacock wrapped in a Hudson's Bay blanket with Joseph Boyden and Paul Quarrington.” Myers’ poetry has been published in Hammered Out and Sage, as well as in anthologies published by Hamilton’s Tower Poetry Society.

    Villis—a cranky, retired anthropologist and survivor of Stalin’s GULAG work prisons—walks daily in The Pearl, an unspoiled frill of forest, along with his long-time friend, Bipin. They banter about the nature of man, of gods, and of what Bipin calls the World Wise Web. Everything is connected, Bipin believes. There are no coincidences. So, when a cerebrally challenged young man invades The Pearl on an obnoxious all-terrain vehicle, chewing up trails and threatening amphibians, Bipin seeks the cosmic meaning inherent in this assault. Villis, on the other hand, wants to wage war. Villis’ and Bipin's naïve efforts to dispel the ATV-man from The Pearl spiral into a rollicking chaos of confusion, involving celebrity impersonators, visions of cavemen, and a time portal swirling from within the vibrating heart of The Pearl. The Last Year of Confusion is a humorous, thought provoking—at times dark—commentary on the heaviness of humankind’s boot prints upon this planet.

    Marnie Woodrow • Heyday

    Marnie Woodrow is the acclaimed author of two short fiction collections, Why We Close Our Eyes When We Kiss, and In The Spice House, and a novel, Spelling Mississippi, a love story set in pre-Katrina New Orleans that was shortlisted for the amazon.ca First Novel Prize. Woodrow’s second novel, Heyday, tells the parallel stories of two lively girls who meet aboard a roller coaster in 1909, and a modern-day woman who grieves the loss of a partner with whom she was not in love. Marnie Woodrow has written for Xtra!, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and NOW Magazine. She now lives, works, and teaches creative writing in Hamilton.

    In Marnie Woodrow’s second novel, Heyday, two lively girls who meet aboard a roller coaster in 1909 and a modern-day woman who grieves the loss of a partner with whom she was not in love. Heyday is a double-barreled story about nostalgia, the soul’s quest for pleasure, and the power of love to endure through lifetimes. The contemporary half of her story relies on the inner thoughts of Joss, a recovering alcoholic and struggling photographer who is grieving the death of her wife, Bianca. In the narrative past a happier love story begins when Bette meets Freddy, a tomboyish ticket taker at the Toronto Islands movie theatre. Heyday examines what it means to love and be loved, and to maintain a clear sense of self in the process.

    This year's Award for Fiction is sponsored by:

     

     

     

     

    Look for the second installment of this blog series: 23rd Annual Hamilton Arts Council Literary Awards: Non-Fiction Finalists

  • INTERVIEW WITH DAVID FALLIS

    November 11, 2016 by Bud Roach

    David Fallis (Artistic Director, The Toronto Consort; Music Director, Opera Atelier) in conversation with HAC Board member and Hammer Baroque Artistic Director Bud Roach. November 7th, 2016.
    The Toronto Consort will present ``The Italian Queen of France`` at Hammer Baroque on Sunday, November 13th, 2016, 4pm.
    www.hamiltonartscouncil.ca

  • Interview with Recordist Alison Melville

    September 30, 2016 by Bud Roach

    This week, Hamilton Arts Council Board member and Hammer Baroque Artistic Director Bud Roach presents the second installment of his new blog video series. This second in-depth conversation features Alison Melville (recorder - Tafelmusik, Toronto Consort) who performs in Hammer Baroque concerts on October 8th (ACTA Recorder Quartet) and November 13th (Toronto Consort).

     

  • Interview with Cellist Alex Grant

    September 22, 2016 by Bud Roach

    This week, Hamilton Arts Council Board member Bud Roach begins a new video blog series featuring in-depth conversations with members of the arts community. New Arts Council member Alex Grant, cellist at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-On-The-Lake, talks about what attracted him to Hamilton, working at the Shaw Festival, and his favourite moments in the current Shaw production of Sweeney Todd, on stage until October 19th.

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