Sunday, August 30, 2015
EMWF BOOKSELLER PICKS
The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival has a great track record of bringing in your favourite authors. This year they’ve got the likes of Naomi Klein, Lawrence Hill, Elizabeth Hay, and Ann-Marie McDonald. But as much as Eden Mills is a place to see your tried and true favs, it’s always been where you discover new favourite authors. Here’s a certainly small, incomplete list of writers that we, in our humble opinion, think you should make a point of checking out at this year’s festival.
Craig Davidson (AKA Nick Cutter)
After cutting his teeth and knuckles on a decade’s worth of gritty realism (The Fighter, Rust and Bone, Cataract City), Craig Davidson, writing as Nick Cutter, has in the past year published some of the most visceral, tactile, and flat-out fun genre fiction I’ve read in a while. The Troop was hailed by Stephen King as “old school horror at its best”, The Deep was wonderfully claustrophobic and twisted, and his most recent, The Acolyte, drops James Ellroy into a dystopian future of religious fanaticism. Of course there’s no shortage of deft genre writers, but hopefully Davidson’s pedigree as a writer of so-called “serious” literature will hold the hands of readers reluctant to return to the sort of crackerjack fare that, if we’re being honest, turned most of us into readers in the first place.
There is a reason that we have asked Madhur Anand to facilitate the evening of November 25th which features Margaret Atwood. She has just been chosen by the CBC as one of the 16 writers to watch this year for her first book of poetry New Index For Predicting Catastrophes. Madhur is a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Like Atwood, she is a true renaissance woman and navigates emotional realms with the language of the sciences and the world of science with an ironic blend of skepticism and wonder. Her grand vocabulary will open up your boundaries!
Plum Johnson was a 68 year old first time writer when she won the prestigious RBC Charles Taylor Prize for They Left Us Everything. The book had received very good reviews in the fall and had sold moderately well for someone most readers had never heard of. But after she won the prize, the book took off like a rocket with her in it. I’m sure that it has been a splendid but wild media ride as she seemed to be everywhere at once. One of the reasons for the book's popularity is the subject matter. She helped care for her elderly, quirky parents for twenty years and then after their death she and her siblings had to declutter a home that had accumulating history for 50 years. This is an inevitable human experience and she gives us a sweet and touching glimpse of our own futures. My guess is that her reading will be packed!
Norah McClintock's newest book, My Life Before Me, is her third contribution to the enormously popular Seven Series; a well-written, gripping read set during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Before Me is a tautly-paced murder mystery, featuring an intelligent and courageous heroine who is equal parts Nancy Drew and Hermione Granger. Following a devastating fire at the orphanage where she has grown up, Cady Andrews is given a mysterious envelope containing a single clue about her origins. An aspiring reporter and natural skeptic, Cady decides to view the contents of the envelope as a journalistic opportunity, but it isn't long before her personal world and professional ambitions overlap in surprising and terrifying ways. Highly recommended.
Check out the panoply of great authors descending on Eden Mills this year at http://www.edenmillswritersfestival.ca. See you September 10 - 13th!