Booklore, Theatre Orangeville to present Author’s Night

March 16, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

A favourite with Orangeville bookworms, an authors’ night is coming to the Opera House on Tuesday, March 28, with three fine writers to read a little from their new novels and to indulge, with the audience, with what is always entertaining: a Q and A.

Welcome back to Eva Stachniak, with her latest: Chosen Maiden, which has been already well reviewed by Quill and Quirk. Chosen Maiden is an account of the true story of Bronia Nijinski, whose brother is the very famous ballet dancer, Vaslav Nijinski. Bronia, although perhaps not as familiar a name, was equally famous as a ballet dancer and  choreographer. Written as fiction, the story takes place between 1894 and 1939.

It is probably good news if Stephen King is referring an author as his “new hero,” as he does Emily Schultz. She is bringing her latest, Men Walking on Water, a “rollicking good read,” set in 1927, a story during Prohibition, when a gang of smugglers are ready to cross the Detroit River to Canada and a catastrophe takes place.

Ms. Schultz has been to Orangeville before to participate in a Headwaters Arts Authors Night. It will be great have her back with Men Walking on Water.

Born in the USA and raised in Canada, Ms. Schultz now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Roberta Rich is here for the first time but her books are not new to Orangeville. Hot off the press is her most recent offering, A Trial of Venice, the third in her trilogy of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife.

Also born in the States and, having lived some of her life there, Ms. Rich now divides her days between Vancouver, B.C. and Colima, Mexico. A divorce lawyer, Ms. Rich “burst onto the book scene” with her historical novel Midwife of Venice.

Although Emily Schultz and Roberta Rich were in the USA and not available for a interview, we did have the opportunity to speak with Eva Stachniak.

Born and raised in Poland, Ms. Stachniak came to Canada in 1981 as a post-graduate student to do her PhD in English literature at McGill University in Montreal. It was an exchange arrangement paid by a scholarship awarded to her through the Canadian Embassy in Poland. While many such students return to their home countries, Ms. Stachniak opted to stay in Canada, where, after achieving her PhD, she took on a variety of  jobs.

“I knew I wanted to write since I was a child,” she said,. “I was writing stories since I could read. I completed my PhD in ’88 but I didn’t want to be an academic. So, I was a journalist with the CBC, I taught English literature and writing; I was looking always for work that would give me time to write.”

Traveling back to Poland on a regular basis to promote her books, which are translated into Polish, and where she has family, friends and professional colleagues, Ms. Stachniak has seen Poland change beyond what it was when she lived there years ago.

However, as she tells us, the change is not a burden to her: “I have a vibrant life there. I speak Polish so the media uses me to discuss the book tours. They are so interested to receive my [literary] voice. It is refreshing to read not the Polish perspective but the broader view of being written about from the outside.”

Mr. And Ms. Stachniak’s son, raised and attending university here in Canada, was “stolen by Microsoft,” she joked, and is  living in Seattle with his Japanese wife and their children. The children are citizens of three nations: Canada, Japan and America – the way of the world.

This evening of three authors, coming March 28 at the Opera House, is a partnership production between BookLore and Theatre Orangeville as a fundraiser for Theatre Orangeville’s New Play Development Fund.

In a conversation with Nancy Frater, owner of BookLore, she told us why she is passionate about supporting this fund. “We use the authors’ nights since books and theatre go hand in hand. The New Play Development fund is important because it provides opportunity for Canadian writers to get out there – just look at Trevor Cole who wrote Norman Bray and the Performance of his Life. Of course, Theatre Orangeville benefits from premiering these plays when they are performed in other theatres.”

She added, “Culture is alive and well in Orangeville. “

After the main event on stage of reading and Q&A, there is a reception in the atrium, catered  by Mill Creek Pub with libations, as Ms. Frater refers to them, by Grand Spirits distillery from Grand Valley.

The authors will be there too, waiting to meet and greet us all, as well as to sign their books which will be for sale from BookLore at the reception.

Tickets are available from BookLore, 121 First Street, telephone 519-942-3830 and Theatre Orangeville Box Office at 87 Broadway, or telephone 519-942-3423.

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