Authors’ Night coming to Opera House Sept. 23

September 8, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Guy Gavriel kay 3 samantha kidd copy

Guy Gavriel

It is amazing to think: “Do you realize this is the 20th Anniversary of the Headwaters Arts Festival?” said Nancy Frater, owner of BookLore, in an interview this week.

This well-known independent book store sponsors the annual Authors’ Night, which is referred to as well, and for the past 11 years, as A Literary Celebration. Presented at the Opera House, The Author’s Night is to be held on Friday, September 23, with Nicola Ross mediating.

Featured are three authors, three books, very diverse one from the other, yet holding similar themes.

Peter Behrens, born in Montreal and currently a Fellow at Harvard, won the Governor General’s Award for his first book, The Law of Dreams, where he took his main character, a boy, into a life of being a refugee and hoping for a new life in a free country (the United States).

In his latest release, Carry Me, Mr. Behrens sticks to a boy as his main character and uses similar themes to tell a different story. For Carry Me, Billy Lange, endures the time of World War I. Beginning on the Isle of Wight, his father’s questionable identity eventually labels him a German and he lands in prison. Along with his mother and, at other times, his best friend, a young female, Billy escapes the idyllic Isle and they make their way to Germany. Caught in the wilds of international politics, they dream of escape from the savages of WWI and, later, WWII German prosecution. They dream of escaping to America. Here is a tale of a family dealing with the overpowering events of the mid 20th Century, a contemplative treatment of those very turbulent times.

Camilia Gibb comes to us with her latest work, a memoire, This is Happy. Already a winner of the Trillium Award, the Toronto Book Award and the CBC Short Story Prize,

Ms. Gibb has placed on offer the tale of her own life so far, her search to form a family and the roads she followed in this quest. Nothing went particularly as she hoped and the story within This is Happy tells of the pain of learning her answers to some of the big questions.

Camilla Gibb

Camilla Gibb

As she takes the reader through the very intense difficulties of her birth family’s mental illnesses and the blows her own intimate relationships deliver, Ms Gibb can turn the idea of family back on that reader. What constitutes a family in the truest sense of the word –  the bond of blood or the loyal hold of love?

Ms. Gibb is currently a professor at U of T’s Victoria College.

Welcome back, after attending the very first appearance of authors, Guy Gavriel Gay.

Mrs. Frater told us about the exuberance of that first authors fest, as it were, 20 years ago, at the very beginning: “It was a Sunday afternoon and, of course, we tried to do too much,” she told us. “There were four authors – Anne Michael, Paul Quarrington, Howard Engel and Guy Gavriel Gay. They were upstairs in the coffee house. And we had four children’s authors in the store. It was chaos,” she admitted with some humour. “Guy has gone on and on,” she commented, “to do great things. He recently received the Order of Canada.”

He was invited by J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson to assist in editing the Silmarillion.

Mr. Gay’s work is considered fantasy by most people and he has evolved into “historical fantasy” by which it is meant that he takes history to form the backdrop for his fantasy sagas.

An online review of Mr. Gay’s latest book, Children of Earth and Sky, refers to him as contemporary fiction’s finest fantasist. The story talks about the fall of a fabulous city, the threat to the other cities in the region by the tyrant who assaulted and defeated Sarantium. It is a tale not only about the momentous events but, even more to the point, about the common folk weathering the slings and arrows of holy war; families holding together – or not – through their trials.

Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens

With a sincere expression of thrill, Mrs. Frater remarked, “When I think of these authors who are Canadian, are coming here to Orangeville…”

She went to say, “Canadians are writing deeper books – they don’t write about commercial subjects but, to me, there’s redemption and lightness in the end.”

Pleased as ever that Nicola Ross is the host for the evening, Mrs Frater noted, “The audience wants to know about the process of writing and she encourages the authors to talk about that – what makes them tick.”

This year’s Author’s Night – A Literary Celebration takes place at the Opera House on September 23, starting at 7 p.m. For tickets, check the Headwaters Arts website, Headwaters Arts Gallery at 1402 Queen St, Alton – the Alton Mill Arts Centre, and at BookLore, 121 First Street, Orangeville (in the mall across from Orangeville Mall).

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