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Our September Author of the Month: COLSON WHITEHEAD

Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 1:25pm

Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, which in 2016 won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction again in 2020 for The Nickel Boys, and is also the author of The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships.

Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, is a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s. "Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…" To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.

• Please join us for Colson Whitehead #IndieEventsWith on September 29 at 7:00 pm (virtual via Zoom).

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

Our August Author of the Month: ZOE WHITTALL

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 11:55am

Zoe Whittall’s first novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was named a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and one of the top ten essential Canadian novels of the decade by CBC’s Canada Reads. Holding Still For As Long As Possible, Whittall’s second novel, has been optioned for film, and was shortlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award, as well as winning a Lambda Literary Award. Her third novel, The Best Kind of People was shortlisted for The Scotiabank Giller Prize, and a best book of the year by Walrus Magazine, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Life, and The National Post and is currently being adapted for limited series by director Sarah Polley. Her poetry books include The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life, The Emily Valentine Poems, and Precordial Thump. Whittall has worked as a TV writer on the Emmy-Award winning comedy show Schitt’s Creek, and The Baroness Von Sketch Show, for which she won a 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy, and was nominated again in 2019. She was born on a sheep farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and has called Toronto home since 1997.

It’s taboo to regret motherhood. But what would happen if you did? Shifting perspectives and time periods, Whittall’s new novel The Spectacular is a multi-generational story exploring sexuality, gender and the weight of reproductive freedoms. By turns sharp and provocative, she captures three generations of very different women who struggle to build an authentic life in the absence of traditional familial and marital structures. Definitions of family, romance, gender and love will radically change as they seek out lives that are nothing less than spectacular.

Zoe Whittall IndieBookFest Virtual Event. Tuesday, September 14, 2021. 6 PM CT (SASK) / 7 PM CDT (MB).

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

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June's Author of the Month: IVAN COYOTE

Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11:56am

Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of thirteen books, the creator of four short films, and they have released three albums that combine storytelling with music. They have spent decades on the road, telling stories around the world. For years, Ivan has kept a file of the most special communications received from readers and audience members — letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig. Then came Spring, 2020, and, like artists everywhere, Coyote was grounded by the pandemic, all their planned events cancelled. The energy of a live audience, a performer’s lifeblood, was suddenly gone. But with this loss came an opportunity for a different kind of connection. Those letters that had long piled up could finally begin to be answered.

Care Of combines the most powerful of these letters with Ivan’s responses, creating a body of correspondence of startling intimacy, breathtaking beauty, and heartbreaking honesty and openness. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote’s celebrated work — compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive, a giant love letter to the idea of human connection, and the power of truly listening to each other.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

Our May Author of the Month: RACHEL CUSK

Friday, Apr 23, 2021 at 4:07pm

Rachel Cusk was born in Canada in 1967 and spent much of her childhood in Los Angeles before finishing her education at a convent school in England. Her first novel, Saving Agnes (1993), won the Whitbread First Novel Award. A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother (2001), is a personal exploration of motherhood. In The Lucky Ones (2003), she uses a series of five narratives, loosely linked by the experience of parenthood, to write of life’s transformations; of what separates us from those we love and what binds us to those we no longer understand. Her novel, Arlington Park (2006), was shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also published a memoir of a 3-month family stay in Italy, The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy (2009); and a novel entitled The Bradshaw Variations (2009). In 2014 her novel Outline was published by Vintage. It was inspired by Cusk’s experience of teaching a creative writing course in Athens supported by the British Council. Shortlisted for several major awards, it was the first in a trilogy, followed by Transit (2016) and Kudos (2018).

Second Place, Rachel Cusk’s electrifying new novel, is a study of female fate and male privilege, the geometries of human relationships, and the moral questions that animate our lives. It reminds us of art’s capacity to uplift — and to destroy. A woman invites a famous artist to use her guesthouse in the remote coastal landscape where she lives with her family. Powerfully drawn to his paintings, she believes his vision might penetrate the mystery at the center of her life. But as a long, dry summer sets in, his provocative presence itself becomes an enigma — and disrupts the calm of her secluded household.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

Our April Author of the Month: HELEN OYEYEMI

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021 at 2:54pm

Helen Oyeyemi is the author of several story collections and novels, including Mr. Fox and Gingerbread, as well as Boy, Snow, Birdwhich was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She received a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award and a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and in 2013 she was named one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists. Born in Nigeria and raised in London, England, Oyeyemi now lives in Prague.

> Watch the lovely video greeting Helen Oyeyemi sent us!

Peaces, her newest book, is a vivid and inventive story about a couple forever changed by an unusual train voyage. When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment — and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favourite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month
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