2017 Alberta Literary Awards winners

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature 

  • Georgia Graham (Lacombe) – Cub’s Journey Home, Red Deer Press

Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction 

  • Gisèle Villeneuve (Calgary) – Rising Abruptly, University of Alberta Press

Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction 

  • Sydney Sharpe and Don Braid (Calgary) – Notley Nation: How Alberta’s Political Upheaval Swept the Country, Dundurn Press

Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama 

  • Vern Thiessen (Edmonton) – Of Human Bondage, Playwrights Canada Press 

Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry 

  • Richard Harrison (Calgary) – On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood, Wolsak and Wynn

James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction

  • Austen Lee (Edmonton) – “Among Cougars and Men,” Glass Buffalo 

Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story 

  • Laurie MacFayden (Edmonton) – “Haircut,” Alberta Views

Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award 

  • Rona Altrows (Calgary) – “Letter of Intent”

WGA Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement 

  • Candas Jane Dorsey

Youth/Emerging Writing Award

  • Katie Bickell, “Angels in the Snow”

Richard Harrison book launch

Poetry reading and book signing to launch Richard Harrison’s new book,
On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood (Wolsak & Wynn). 
Also reading: Nasra Adem, Laurie MacFayden, Thomas Wharton
WHEN: ThursdayDec. 1, 2016; 7pm-830pm
WHERE: ChVrch of John, 10260 103 St, Edmonton

THE READERS


Richard Harrison – On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood
Richard Harrison is an award-winning poet, essayist and editor. His six books of poetry include Big Breath of a Wish, poems about his daughter’s acquisition of language, and Hero of the Play, poems in the language of hockey. He has published writings on literary criticism, comic culture, creative writing and mathematics. Richard also contributes to the scholarship on the superhero: with MRU colleague Lee Easton, he co-authored the book of essays, Secret Identity Reader (2010). Richard teaches composition, creative writing (poetry), and comics and graphic novels. After 11 years, Richard Harrison returns to poetry with a moving tribute to his late father in On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood.

The great Alberta flood of 2013 slides through Richard Harrison’s latest collection, its rising waters pulling his books of poetry off their shelves, washing the ink from letters kept in boxes in the basement and threatening to carry off his father’s ashes. On these waters float Harrison’s mourning for his father, who suffered a form of dementia later in life but never forgot the poems he’d memorized as a young man. Alongside these, the waters also carry Harrison’s love of comic books, his struggles with the haiku and his willingness to stay in the game, “to try again.” Combining elements of memoir, elegy, lyrical essay and personal correspondence, On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood is a generous and enchanting book, one that leaves you, like the poet, thinking about the way “characters in a novel can escape anything/except their story.”

Nasra Adem
Nasra Adem, 22, is a multidisciplinary artist and current Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton. She has performed at poetry and spoken word festivals across North America. Nasra studied musical theatre at MacEwan University and is  the founder of Sister 2 Sister: a monthly showcase of women artists of colour and the curator for Black Arts Matter, Edmonton’s first all-Black arts festival. Devoted to creative and spiritual authenticity, Nasra is uses her artistic practice as a way of breaking barriers, reimagining realities and creating forward momentum within her communities.
Laurie MacFayden
Laurie MacFayden is an Edmonton-based poet, visual artist and journalist. In addition to two award-winning books of poetry, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat and White Shirt, her writing has appeared in The New QuarterlyFreeFall, Queering the Way, Alberta Views, and online at canadianpoetries.com and DailyHaiku. Her work has been performed in Edmonton’s Loud & Queer Cabaret, Skirts Afire herArts Festival, Read and Write With Pride, and Calgary’s Q the Arts cultural festival. Her third book with Frontenac House, You Can’t Tell, will be released in September 2017.
Thomas Wharton  
Thomas Wharton’s most recent book is Rutherford the Time-Travelling Moose, a children’s story about the history of Edmonton. His first novel, Icefields, won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean division, and the inaugural Banff Mountain Book grand prize. His second novel, Salamander, was shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. He has published a three-volume fantasy for younger readers, The Perilous Realm. He is currently working on a collection of short fiction.

Dear Younger Me: Relax, you’ll turn out OK

youngerself

What would you say to your younger self?

Dear Younger Me … A letter to myself
Sunday, Nov. 6, 2-3:30 p.m.
Latitude 53, 10242 106 St, Edmonton

Six area writers have been invited to pen letters to their younger selves, whether as children or as young adults, and share these aloud with the audience, followed by a Q & A session. The event includes a silent auction, cash bar, and desserts from Cafe Reinette donated by The Writers’ Union of Canada. Proceeds go to our kids camps and sponsoring youth in financial need from Edmonton and rural Alberta to attend.

Marilyn Dumont, Minister Faust, Mieko Ouchi, Thomas Trofimuk, Thomas Wharton and Laurie MacFayden are the featured literati letter writers and presenters. They’ll have copies of their books available for purchase.

Tickets are available at the door for $25.

Another Golden opportunity

My second book, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat, was honoured with a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in the poetry category in July. I was not able to attend the awards ceremony in July in New Orleans, so this afternoon Frontenac House publishers Rose and David Scollard have invited me to crash their Quartet 2015 preview party (2 p.m., Harcourt House, Edmonton). I’ve been asked to kick off the readings with some selections from KKUA and my debut collection, White Shirt, which also won a Goldie in 2011. The event starts at 2 p.m. and will be hosted by Quartet editor Micheline Maylor.

This year’s four-pack features:

  • Changelings by Calgary poet/storyteller Cassy Welburn;
  • Two Minds by prolific B.C. author Harold Rhenisch;
  • Niche by Nova Scotian visual artist and poet Basma Kavanagh;
  • ClockWork by California based poet Zaid Shlah

    frontbooks2

‘That Laurie MacFayden, she’s a howler’

KKUA cover FINALLovely review of Kissing Keeps Us Afloat from Michael Dennis over at Today’s Book of Poetry.

And when I say lovely, I mean fan-fucking-tastic.

Some highlights:

kissing keeps us afloat is a sustained torrent, a laughing rush, a relentless scream/yodel of passion. This red boat has no oars as it crashes against the shores of love, breaks up on the rocks called desire.

Fearless, charismatic, funny, elegant, eloquent and frequently so horny you’d think the sky was falling before her final possible hump. Laurie MacFayden has done something wonderful in the dazzling kissing keeps us afloat.

And we love, love, love the joyous title. Around the office it won the poll for best title this spring.

This collection is a “page-turner.” You really can’t wait to hear what MacFayden is going to burn up and turn red next.

(A poetry page-turner? Blush.)

What MacFayden has done over the course of kissing keeps us afloat is to romp ribald, I mean Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Erica Jong rutting – and like those excellent writers, reach so much more of the reader than simple erotica ever could. In these poems love does not always win, passion is not always requited. That’s not the point. It is the celebrations, the joy you remember that gets you through the dark. The promise of joy that brings us to the threshold of another dawn.

All that jazz and more is in the keen, crisp kissing keeps us afloat.

That Laurie MacFayden, she’s a howler. An Allen Ginsberg howler, celebrating hope and hard love.

(Takes one to know one, methinks, MD)

Today’s book of poetry thinks MacFayden’s kissing keeps us afloat steps up and delivers big time. Love isn’t all sweetness and light, she knows everything.

You can read the full gorgeous love letter here.

(Michael Dennis, can I offer you a ride in my red boat?)

Book launch, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat

audreys books, 10702 jasper ave., edmonton7 p.m.  

launch of quartet 2014 featuring new work by poets laurie macfayden, david bateman,
sharanpal ruprai and joan shillington.

this book celebrates the unbridaled joy of romance and the colour red.

launch1kissing keeps us afloat is full of water and trees, animals and birds, lovers and liars.

we are lied to our entire lives — by our parents,
our siblings, our teachers, our intimates — and yet somehow we survive being lied to and live
to lust again.

this book is about the lust. the burgeoning. the lying. it’s about night swimming. and kissing. so much kissing.

colours. mostly red; but also the blues, the pinks, the sparking golden cymbal crashes of hormones and the ever-hopeful crushes of the human heart. the greens of nature. the lights and darks of the sky, of the human spirit.

yes, virginia, kissing keeps us afloat.

kissing = romance = love.

the state of being in love is all about floating, after all, isn’t it?

in love we float along as if on clouds, as if being carried away by a happy, effervescent stream.

my name is laurie and i like to write about the possibilities of love; of bobbing, floating, keeping our hearts and heads above water.

because love is the lifeline, and the reality is, we’re all drowning.