A bookstore is a perfect place to hang out with some authors, especially ones who already stand out from the crowd.
The public is invited to schmooze with seven of the province’s top literary talents on Sunday, when Audreys Books hosts An Afternoon with the Authors. It’s a chance to meet the writers whose works are currently shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Awards and the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize.
Natalie Cook, program co-ordinator with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, said that the annual meet and greet is a great way to bolster the literary community in general.
“As awards season approaches … in the month preceding that, we invite all the others who are shortlisted to read from their work and to sign books,” she said.
The guild hosts one such event in Calgary as well. The Edmonton event starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday and will feature Lisa Martin, Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Kimmy Beach, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Nicole Moeller, Igby Kin and Morinville’s Cynthia Scott Wandler.
Wandler is thrilled not only for her nomination for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award – it’s the first time that she has been shortlisted for her creative writing, though she’s won awards for her journalism work – but for the chance to connect with readers in person at the bookstore.
“I’m excited about it. I’m honoured,” she said.
She’s especially pleased that the nomination is for her as-yet unpublished essay Things You Can’t Do With a Broken Left Arm.
“It’s the first essay that I’ve written that touches on what it’s like to parent a child with a brain health disorder. I say brain health not mental health because the brain is a part of our body. It’s really significant because I’ve been actively advocating about brain health for at least the last year. To have the opportunity to be able to just tell a little bit of what we’ve gone through as a family because most people have no idea … to be able to share that story at a couple of live readings is especially meaningful to me. The system needs to change.”
She describes the story as a list, as a kind of ‘hermit crab’ essay, which refers to the form of the writing.
“It’s when you tell a story but in a type of print format that you don’t normally associate with a story. For example, you tell a story entirely through an email exchange, or you tell a story as a recipe. I’ve seen one that was really well done written as a relationship test that you get in magazines. Hermit crabs … they borrow homes. It’s like you’re borrowing other forms of writing to adopt to your literary story.”
She’s a prolific writer who has had multiple new works published recently in such magazines as Far Off Places!, Understorey, and borrowed solace. She will read her essay to the crowd on Sunday.
There were more than 260 submissions that led to the 24 finalists for the eight categories of this year’s awards. The winners will be announced during the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 2 in Calgary.
Audreys Books is located at 10702 Jasper Ave. in Edmonton. Visit www.writersguild.ca for more details on the events and a full report on all nominated authors.