Archive for the ‘Headwaters Arts Festival’ Category

Heading back to the Headwaters Arts Festival

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Shortly after McClelland & Stewart published The Best Laid Plans in September 2008, I was invited to appear at the Headwaters Arts Festival in Caledon, Ontario alongside Giller winner Joseph Boyden, and prolific writer Drew Hayden Taylor (on whose new book Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, a blurb from me appears). I was over the moon to be sitting at the front of a packed house next to these wonderful writers. We all spoke for a bit and then read a piece from our respective books. Finally, the audience could buy books from the good folks at Booklore and we signed them. (To be clear, we each signed our own books.) It was a memorable night for me as you can read.

Well, I get to do it all over again this coming October. Yes, undoubtedly against the organizers’ better judgement, they’ve asked me back, this time to read from The High Road. Even better, I’ll be joining three other accomplished writers, one of whom I already know. Cathy Marie Buchanan, NY Times bestselling author of The Day the Falls Stood Still is married to a fellow ball hockey player in the Withrow Park Ball Hockey League. I attended her book launch last fall and I’m delighted to get the chance to read with her. Terry O’Reilly, the author of The Age of Persuasion, based on his excellent radio show, and Kate Taylor a Globe and Mail columnist and novelist round out the line-up. It’s still a couple of months off, but I know this will be a great night.

My thanks to Nancy Frater at Booklore for inviting me back.

Hang gliders & hovercraft: Tracing my roots

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

About a month ago, I was approached to write an essay for The New Quarterly, a well-established Canadian literary journal, as part of their “Magazine as Muse” series. Writers are invited to reflect on what magazine captured their imagination in their early teenage years and perhaps shaped their future in some way. I was delighted to be asked by Bruce Johnstone and Editor, Kim Jernigan, in connection with the selection of TBLP as this year’s choice for the Waterloo Region’s One Book, One Community program. I’ve now submitted the essay and it will appear in TNQ #115, the summer issue, due out in mid-July. The TNQ blog is here.

Choosing the magazine that influenced me as a 13 year old was relatively straight forward. At that age, I only read one magazine with any regularity after discovering stacks of back issues of Popular Science in my primary school library, when I was in Grade 8. I was captivated. There’s little doubt in my mind that being such an avid reader of Popular Science actually played a role in my decision to study engineering at university.  But long before I headed off to McMaster in the fall of 1978, there were a few Popular Science inspired adventures that I chronicled in the essay. Without going into too much detail, PopSci often featured garage inventors who built something that flew, or went fast, or baffled the experts in some way. PopSci somehow made it seem possible for dreamers to bring their inventions to life. I wanted some of that.

So while in Grade 8, my twin brother Tim, my friend Geoff Elmer, and I built three hang gliders. We called them the Falcon series. (We had to have a name for them, didn’t we?) You can read about my hang glider phase in the essay when it comes out, but I thought you  might like this photo of the (attempted) launch of Falcon 3 down the park hill at the end of our street. Yes, that is I, at 13, trying to take flight in June 1973. In hindsight, there was never any hope of me soaring anywhere that day, but still, I’ll never forget it.

Our second Popular Science-fueled foray was the design and construction of a full-sized hovercraft. You’ll know if you’ve read The Best Laid Plans, that a hovercraft figures in the story. That’s because of my abiding interest in them. We were 15 when we built the hovercraft below. This grainy photo was taken in 1975 when I was still months away from earning my driver’s licence.

I think Popular Science magazine may even have played a role in turning me into a writer. Just as its pages made it seem possible for us to build a hang glider or hovercraft way back then, perhaps it also made it seem possible that I might one day actually write a novel, let alone two.  PopSci seemed to engender a sense that all things were possible. Even a novel. That might be a stretch. But I still have my subscription to Popular Science and still look forward to it each month.

Here’s the cover of PopSci from March 1970 that sparked a lifelong fascination with air cushion vehicles and led directly to Angus McLintock’s Baddeck 1 in TBLP.

It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet…

Friday, January 1st, 2010

A friend just pointed me to this image on the Internet. I’d never seen it before. Believe it or not, it’s from a cool photoblog, called PICPU, that focuses on eyewear. Clarence Johnson is the photo buff behind the blog. I can’t tell for certain where this shot was taken. If the date on the photo means anything, I was either doing a reading at Word on the Street in Toronto, or reading at the Headwaters Arts Festival in Caledon. Note that the photo has been tagged “Ray-Ban.” I’d forgotten that I wear Ray-Ban glasses, but the spectacle expert Clarence seemed to know. I just glad he cropped out my ever-expanding forehead! Thanks Clarence.

Headwaters Arts Festival

Monday, October 6th, 2008

This past Friday night, I particpated in the Headwaters Arts Festival in Caledon, Ontario.  What a wonderful evening it was.  Billed as Armchairs, Authors and Art, I joined two very accomplished authors, Joseph Boyden and Drew Hayden Taylor for an evening of talking and reading before an audience of over 200 book lovers.  Then afterwards, our books were on sale and there was a book signing.  What a wonderful group of people.  Nancy Frater and the good folks at BookLore put on a great event.  Here’s the ad that ran in the local magazine:

It’s going to be a busy TBLP fall!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

As I’ve been threatening to do, I thought I’d list the readings and other speaking events I’m doing this fall in support of the release of the McClelland & Stewart edition of TBLP.  Being on the author circuit will be a new experience for me but I’m really looking forward to it.  In the next couple of weeks, this blog will go through a make-over of sorts and there will be a separate “Appearances” page in case any of you have the twisted desire to know where I’ll be speaking or reading.

Upcoming Speaking and Reading Gigs

So here’s what’s happening in the coming weeks and months after TBLP arrives in bookstores across the country on Tuesday, September 23rd:

  • Tuesday, November 18, 2008: A reading and talk at a McMaster Alumni “Coffee and Conversation” evening event in Toronto.

Wow!  It’s going to be a busy time.  But I can think of nothing else I’d rather be doing.  Stay tuned for a revamped website with its own “Appearances” page where I’ll try to keep track of all of these engagements.

Headwaters Arts Festival Confirmed

Friday, August 8th, 2008

I’m thrilled to be on the bill for a reading as part of the Headwaters Arts Festival in Caledon, Ontario on Friday, October 3rd. I’ll be sharing the stage with the award winning novelist Joseph Boyden and the seriously funny playwright and humourist Drew Hayden Taylor. The evening is called “The 4th Annual Armchairs, Authors, and Art.” I had such a great time meeting, and listening to Drew at the Summer Leacock Festival a few weeks ago, so I’m very happy to be joining him again on stage. As for Joseph Boyden, he is a comet who shot across the Canadian literary scene in 2005 with his debut novel, Three Day Road. It won a shelf-full of awards, and his new novel, Through Black Spruce, will be released in September.

It should be a great evening.