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November's Author of the Month: ROBERT HARRIS

Friday, Nov 01, 2019 at 11:14am

Robert Harris is the author of twelve bestselling novels. He is a former journalist and BBC television reporter. Harris was a columnist for the Sunday Times, but gave it up in 1997. He returned to journalism in 2001, writing for the Daily Telegraph. He was named “Columnist of the Year” at the 2003 British Press Awards. Although he began his career in non-fiction, his fame rests upon his works of historical fiction. Several of his books have been adapted to film, including The Ghost Writer, which starred Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams. Harris later shared a César Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Harris lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his wife, Gill Hornby, herself a writer and sister of best-selling novelist Nick Hornby. Harris contributed a short story, “PMQ”, to Hornby’s 2000 collection Speaking with the Angel.

In Harris’s new novel, The Second Sleep, it’s the year 1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote English village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts — coins, fragments of glass, human bones — which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death? As Fairfax is drawn more deeply into the isolated community, everything he believes — about himself, his faith and the history of his world — is tested to destruction.

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

October's Author of the Month: LYNN COADY

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2019 at 3:20pm

Lynn Coady is a Canadian novelist, journalist and TV writer, originally from Nova Scotia and now living in Toronto. Coady's first book, Strange Heaven (1998), was nominated for a Governor General's Award. Her 2011 novel, The Antagonist, was shortlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize and her 2013 collection of short stories, Hellgoing, about characters going through their own personal versions of hell, won the Giller Prize that year. She has published six books of fiction.

Since 2014 Lynn has worked on such TV series as Orphan Black, Sensitive Skin, Michael: Every Day, Mary Kills People, The Disappearance and Burden of Truth.

After her mother’s sudden death, Karen finds herself back in her childhood home in Nova Scotia for the first time in a decade, acting as full-time caregiver to Kelli, her older sister in Watching You Without Me. Overwhelmed with grief and the daily needs of Kelli, who was born with a developmental disability, Karen begins to feel consumed by the isolation of her new role. On top of that, she’s weighed down with guilt over her years spent keeping Kelli and their independent-to-a-fault mother, Irene, at arm’s length. And so when Trevor — one of Kelli’s support workers — oversteps his role and offers friendly advice and a shoulder to cry on, Karen gratefully accepts his somewhat overbearing friendship. When she discovers how close Trevor was to Irene, she comes to trust him all the more. But as Trevor slowly insinuates himself into Karen and Kelli’s lives, Karen starts to grasp the true aspect of his relationship with her mother — and to experience for herself the suffocating nature of Trevor’s “care.”

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

September's Author of the Month: RUTH WARE

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2019 at 3:14pm

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs Westaway were smash hits, and she has appeared on bestseller lists around the world. Ware's writing style is often compared to that of Agatha Christie. Her books have been optioned for both film and TV, and she is published in more than 40 languages. Before her writing career, Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller and a publicist. She also spent time in Paris, teaching English as a foreign language. She now lives near Brighton with her family.

Ware believes that the biggest autobiographical element of most of her books is that the main characters are generally intolerant of bad coffee. She has stated that “[...] the most interesting thing about me is my books, which are full of murder, family secrets, toxic friendships and things that go bump in the night, in contrast to my own very mundane, peaceful existence.”

In Ware's new novel, The Turn of the Key, Rebecca stumbles across an ad for a live-in nanny when she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss — with a staggeringly generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten — by the luxurious “smart” house fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What Rebecca doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare — one that will end with a child dead and Rebecca in prison awaiting trial for murder.

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

August's Author of the Month: YOKO OGAWA

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:32am

Yoko Ogawa was born in Okayama, Japan and attended Waseda University in Tokyo before becoming a full-time writer. Since 1988, Ogawa has published more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction and has won every major Japanese literary award. All of her books are written in Japanese, but her most successful titles, such as The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Diving Pool, and Revenge, have now been translated into English and many other languages.

Ogawa is unusual in the fact that she has also published award-winning works of non-fiction. In 2006, she teamed up with mathematician Masahiko Fujiwara to write An Introduction to the World’s Most Elegant Mathematics, a book dedicated to the beauty and fascination of numbers.

Yoko Ogawa currently lives in Ashiya, Japan and continues to write both fictional and non-fictional literary works, although much of her later work has yet to be translated.

In her new book, The Memory Police (translated by Stephen Snyder), things are disappearing on an unnamed island off an unnamed coast. First, animals and flowers. Then objects — ribbons, bells, photographs. Then, body parts.

Most of the island's inhabitants fail to notice these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the mysterious "memory police," who are committed to ensuring that the disappeared remain forgotten. When a young novelist realizes that more than her career is in danger, she hides her editor beneath her floorboards, and together, as fear and loss close in around them, they cling to literature as the last way of preserving the past.

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

July's Author of the Month: ROBERT MACFARLANE

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:13am

Robert Macfarlane is the author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks, and The Lost Words, co-created with Jackie Morris. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and writes on environmentalism, literature and travel for many publications.

Back in 2015, Robert Macfarlane went viral. A reworked version of the first chapter of his book Landmarks got snagged in the Facebook shares machine, drumming up so much advanced press that upon its eventual release the book hit bestseller lists around the world.

In it, the nature writer and academic talked about the deep, historic connections between language and landscape and mourned the loss of certain everyday words from the 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary; acorn, bluebell, conker — all had been omitted.

In Underland, Macfarlane takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland’s glaciers, to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deeptime voyage into the planet’s past and future.

Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, Underland is a work of huge range and power, and a remarkable new chapter in Macfarlane’s long-term exploration of landscape and the human heart.

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