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: