Coast to Coast: Canada’s Literary Women
Queenston Chapel – Laura Secord Homestead
This four-part speaker series highlights Canadian female authors, their unique perspectives and published works, inside the home of one of Canada’s best known heroines, Laura Secord. Enjoy wine and cheese as we celebrate these extraordinary Canadian authors.
This event is free to attend, but seating is limited.
Meredith Quartermain September 7, 7PM - 9PM
Meredith Quartermain is celebrated across Canada for her depictions of places and their historical hauntings. Vancouver Walking (NeWest, 2005) won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Nightmarker (NeWest, 2008) was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and Recipes from the Red Planet (BookThug, 2010), her book of flash fiction, was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.
Quartermain was the 2012 writer-in-residence at the Vancouver Public Library, where she led workshops on song writing and writing about neighbourhoods, and enjoyed doing manuscript consultations with writers from throughout the Lower Mainland. She’s now continuing these activities as poetry mentor in the Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University.
Award-winning author Meredith Quartermain’s second novel and seventh book, U Girl, is a coming-of-age story set in Vancouver in 1972, a city crossed between love-in hip and forest-corp square.
Frances Nelson escapes her small-town background to attend first-year university in the big city. “You’ve got to find the great love,” her new friend Dagmar tells her. But what makes it love instead of sex? And what kind of love bonds friends? U Girl blurs the line between fiction and reality as Frances begins to write a novel about the people she comes to know. With seamless metafictional play and an engagement with place that has come to be Quartermain’s definitive style, U Girl tells the story of a woman’s struggle to be taken seriously – to be equal to men despite her sexual attraction to them, and to dislodge accepted narratives of gender and class in the institution of the university during the “free love” era.
U Girl is a story that pays homage to local haunts and literary influences in equal measure. Quartermain brings to Canadian literature a wholesome and vital female perspective in this long-awaited bildungsroman.
Dawn Dumont October 5, 7PM - 9PM
Dawn Dumont is a Plains Cree comedian and actor born and raised in Saskatchewan and is currently a columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, the Regina Leader-Post, and Eagle Feather News. She was previously a comedy writer for CBC Radio and the Edmonton Journal, and the story editor for By the Rapids, an animated series on APTN.
Her writing has been featured in the anthologies Native Women in the Arts and Gatherings, as well Rampage Literary Journal and Now Magazine. Dumont’s work has been shortlisted for the SBA Book of the Year, Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing, City of Saskatoon Award, First Nation Communities READ Award, the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Award, and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. She was the winner of the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction, and her young readers’ novel was chosen for inclusion for the Best Books for Kids and Teens 2012 edition.
Rose Okanese, a single mother with two kids, has been pushed into a corner by Rez citizens to claim some self-respect, and decides that the fastest way to do that would be for her to run the reserve’s annual marathon.
Though Rose hasn’t run in twenty years, smokes and initially has little motivation, she announces her intention to run the race. One quality Rose doesn’t lack is spontaneity which sometimes clashes with her iron will and though she has initial regrets about opening her mouth, her life begins to dictate that she must follow through. But as fate will dictate, one rather huge unforeseen outcome of her decision is that she will have to do battle with an old inadvertently conjured demon that feeds off the strength of women.
At the story’s vortex is Rose, a woman destined to face her fears and provide some rich laughter while doing so. Will she send the demon back to where it came from before the spirit claims her teen daughter? Will she get back together with her philandering, rock musician husband before her girls grow up? Will she sort out her best friend’s winter pregnancy? But more importantly, will she get this all done before her big, face-saving race with Dahlia Ingram, a woman whom God has designed for one purpose: to run long distances at high speeds with effortless grace.
Cathy Marie Buchanan November 2, 7PM – 9PM
Cathy Marie Buchanan is the author of The Day the Falls Stood Still, a New York Times bestseller and Barnes & Noble Recommends selection. A native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, her novel The Painted Girls is a #1 National Bestseller in Canada, a New York Times bestseller, and an NPR, Good Housekeeping and Goodreads Best Book of 2013.
Her stories have appeared in many of Canada’s most respected literary journals, and she has received awards from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Cathy holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this is an epic love story as rich, spellbinding and majestic as the falls themselves.
1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near the falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, Bess’s vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating and harbouring a secret.
Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating debut novel.
Jessica Grant December 7, 7PM – 9PM
St. John’s Jessica Grant holds a PhD in English with a specialization in Creative Writing from the University of Calgary. She has taught creative writing classes and short fiction at Memorial University of Newfoundland, was a faculty member in Piper’s Frith Writing Retreat, and served as writer-in-residence at Memorial University. Grant has had short stories published in several prominent journals, including Event, New Quarterly, and Grain.
Her work has also been included in various anthologies such as Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow, The Penguin Book of Contemporary Canadian Women’s Short Stories, and EarLit Shorts 3. Grant’s work has won the Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Steward Journey Prize, the Western Magazine Award for Fiction, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Downhome Fiction Award. She has also been short listed for the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award, and long listed for the CBC’s Canada Reads competition. Ontario.
A delightfully offbeat story that features an opinionated tortoise and an IQ-challenged narrator who find themselves in the middle of a life-changing mystery.
Audrey (a.k.a. Oddly) Flowers is living quietly in Oregon with Winnifred, her tortoise, when she finds out her dear father has been knocked into a coma back in Newfoundland. Despite her fear of flying, she goes to him, but not before she reluctantly dumps Winnifred with her unreliable friends. Poor Winnifred.
When Audrey disarms an Air Marshal en route to St. John’s we begin to realize there’s something, well, odd about her. And we soon know that Audrey’s quest to discover who her father really was – and reunite with Winnifred – will be an adventure like no other.