An Evening with David Helwig

To date, Canadian poet, novelist, and essayist David Helwig has published close to fifty books and edited numerous others. He has written for television and radio, worked at the CBC, taught at Queen’s University, been Poet Laureate of Prince Edward Island, and named to the Order of Canada. Yet, he remains little known.

David Helwig: Essays on His Works is the first book to gather new essays, an interview, and earlier material — by George Fetherling, Douglas Glover, D.G. Jones, Simon Lloyd, Tom Marshall, Rob McLennan, Shane Neilson, Ingrid Ruthig, Mark Sampson, and Lorraine M. York — in order to introduce and explore Helwig’s body of work while documenting the broad range of his literary talents and accomplishments.

The editor of this edition, Ingrid Ruthig, writer, poet, visual artist, said, “Within any literary community there are those writers who simply go about the business of writing — diligent, dedicated, building a body of work without fanfare. They seem disinclined to court chatter and celebrity, to inflate image and ego, or to stake out a place centre-stage. David Helwig is one of those unassuming craftsmen. Since he first aspired to it more than six decades ago, he has been living “the life of a writer.”

On September 25th at 7:30 PM at The Carriage House, 2 Kent Street, Bookmark and PEI’s Poet Laureate PEI, Deirdre Kessler, along with 20 Island poets and writers will present an evening to celebrate David Helwig and his remarkable literary accomplishments. This event is free and the public are encouraged to attend and meet a Prince Edward Island literary giant.

Villains: The Characters We Love to Hate – a New Workshop From Author Anne Emery

To register for this workshop, and to find out more, please see the event page.

What drives a good crime-mystery novel? The answer is obvious: a really bad, nasty, devious, twisted, elusive villain who’s always one step ahead of our poor hero as they desperately try to re-establish order and protect the innocent.

The PEI Writers’ Guild will present a day-long writing workshop on this topic on October 13 at the Haviland Club in Charlottetown. It will be led by Anne Emery, a Halifax lawyer and award-winning author of the Collins-Burke mystery series.

Her ninth novel, Lament for Bonnie, is now available in hard cover. Anne has won a number of awards and writing prizes, including the 2007 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel for her novel Sign of the Cross. Find out more about Anne here.

Anne will explore the factors that contribute to engaging villains, and how villains can be used to drive a story narrative. Participants will be tasked with defining what they enjoy in a villain, sharing villains in their own stories, and will be given the opportunity to create new villains based on the material covered in the workshop.

Registration is open now! To register and to find out more, please see the workshop page.

Lobsters, Armageddon, and Poetry – Book Launches at Beaconsfield

Two Island poets, Steve McOrmond and Chris Bailey, will launch their new books on Monday, September 17, at 7:00 p.m. in the Carriage House at Beaconsfield in Charlottetown. McOrmond’s poetry has captivated readers across Canada since his first book, Lean Days, in 2004, while Bailey, from a North Lake fishing family, is a newcomer to the literary scene.

Bailey, a recent UPEI Psychology graduate, has been living in Toronto and Hamilton, earning a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. He comes home during the summers, working on the family boat. Many of the poems in What Your Hands Have Done (Nightwood Editions) focus on the lives, work, and relationships of fishing families. This is the first major poetry book by an Islander to honour, at length, the realities and lore of PEI’s fishing community.

Bailey’s interests also range beyond the traditional land/seascape and livelihoods of PEI. His influences vary from Elmore Leonard, Warren Zevon, and Charles Bukowski – the “laureate of American lowlife” wrote Time – to Neil Gaiman and Lorna Crozier. Just as the wider culture’s zeitgeist pervades the Island, Bailey’s poems take readers on lively trips beyond the decks, wharves, and fishers’ homes.

McOrmond’s imaginative takes on experience, and his satirical wit, are evident in his other book titles: Primer for the Hereafter and The Goods News About Armageddon. With ironic perceptions in “Come Play on the Island,” he contrasts touristic summers with our winters, and in “The Lobster” he reveals the sardonic “second thoughts” of a PEI restaurant cook. In a bittersweet voice, he evokes Maritime outmigration in “So This Is Goodbye”: “The story of the Island is the story of paradise: / we have always had to leave.”

A 1995 UPEI graduate, Steve has lived in Toronto for two decades, returning yearly to the Island. His metropolitan experiences and computer software business career ingeniously permeate his new book, Reckon (Brick Book): “And we felt fortunate to live in the afterglow of Steve Jobs” and though “the air smells like burning tires…I love it here, I really do”;

His new poems reflect and critique the growing domination of our lives and consciousness by digital platforms and realms: “Deep in an offshore data centre, my vagaries / are tracked, time-stamped, mined / for meaningful adjacencies.”

A special guest poet, Annick MacAskill from Halifax, will give a short reading, followed by McOrmond’s and Bailey’s featured readings, a book signing, and a reception. The evening is sponsored by the UPEI Dean of Arts and Department of English, with generous support from The Canada Council for the Arts.

Walking, Writing, and Memory Mapping with Marlene Creates: Deadline for Registration EXTENDED

Howdy folks! There’re only a few more days before registration for Walking, Writing, and Memory Mapping: a Workshop with Newfoundland Artist Marlene Creates closes. The deadline is September 10 September 17, so don’t wait to sign up and reserve your spot!

Marlene Creates, award-winning environmental artist and poet, is coming to Prince Edward Island from her home in Newfoundland and Labrador to put on a new writing workshop in partnership with the PEI Writers’ Guild and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. This workshop, entitled Walking, Writing, and Memory Mapping, focuses on nature writing and memory mapping, and explores the connection between writing and observation of the natural world.

The workshop will take place at Macphail Woods on September 22, from 9am until 4pm (269 Macphail Park Rd., Orwell, PE).

For more information and to register, see the workshop page.

Stir of Shadows by Jaime Lee Mann – BOOK LAUNCH

Bestselling middle-grade fantasy author Jaime Lee Mann started writing down the bedtime stories she told her daughters when she realized they couldn’t get enough of the tales. Now she is preparing for the release of the sixth title in the beloved Legend of Rhyme series, Stir of Shadows. This magical tale full of mermaids and witches, pixies and phoenixes, and several special sets of twins is already enthralling advance reviewers both young and adult, and creating buzz around the latest plot twist: a bi-racial same-sex romance.

“Over the past four years, as I’ve gone through the process of writing and promoting this series, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many children who love to read,” says Jaime. “I’ve been feeling an even greater responsibility with each of these books to use my voice to inspire children to think more broadly, touching on environmental issues, feminism, mental health awareness, and wolves in sheep’s clothing. I wrote this particular book with the clear intention of wanting every child who reads it to be able to relate to the story on some level, hence the same-sex relationship, more sibling rivalry, and the consequences of making poor decisions.”

To fully enjoy the Legend of Rhyme series, Jaime encourages new readers to begin with the first book in the series, Elora of Stone, before moving on to Into Coraira, Teagan of Tomorrow, Second Twin, and Blood and Stars.

Stir of Shadows is published by Blue Moon Publishers and marketed by DigiWriting, and will be launching September 20th at 6:30pm, at the Confederation Centre Public Library.

PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series – Featuring Orysia Dawydiak

Orysia Dawydiak will be the first featured reader of the new season at the PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 7pm at the Receiver Coffee Co.,128 Richmond St. in Charlottetown.

Orysia has always been a keen student of human and animal behaviour. Her first novel was inspired by the story of her parents’ emigration from Europe to Canada after World War II, and how their traumas and culture shaped them and affected their offspring. She also writes for young people – from life on an island sheep farm, to coastal fishing communities where the possibilities of alternate life forms become real. She is currently working on two memoirs, one of them about a remarkable Turkish working dog who travelled the world.

All are welcome to this free event. The first ten writers to sign up may read from their work—poetry or prose—for up to 5 minutes. Following a short break, Orysia will read. The PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series will continue to run on the second Thursday of each month.

Villains: The Characters We Love to Hate – a New Workshop From Author Anne Emery

What drives a good crime-mystery novel? The answer is obvious: a really bad, nasty, devious, twisted, elusive villain who’s always one step ahead of our poor hero as they desperately try to re-establish order and protect the innocent.

The PEI Writers’ Guild will present a day-long writing workshop on this topic on October 13 at the Haviland Club in Charlottetown. It will be led by Anne Emery, a Halifax lawyer and award-winning author of the Collins-Burke mystery series.

Her ninth novel, Lament for Bonnie, is now available in hard cover. Anne has won a number of awards and writing prizes, including the 2007 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel for her novel Sign of the Cross. Find out more about Anne here.

Anne will explore the factors that contribute to engaging villains, and how villains can be used to drive a story narrative. Participants will be tasked with defining what they enjoy in a villain, sharing villains in their own stories, and will be given the opportunity to create new villains based on the material covered in the workshop.

Registration will open soon! Check back here for details.

Walking, Writing, and Memory Mapping: a Workshop with Award-Winning Artist and Poet Marlene Creates

For more details and to register, please visit the workshop page.

Marlene Creates, award-winning environmental artist and poet, is coming to Prince Edward Island from her home in Newfoundland and Labrador to put on a new writing workshop in partnership with the PEI Writers’ Guild and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. This workshop, entitled Walking, Writing, and Memory Mapping, focuses on nature writing and memory mapping, and explores the connection between writing and observation of the natural world.

The workshop will take place at Macphail Woods on September 22, from 9am until 4pm (269 Macphail Park Rd., Orwell, PE).

Under the tutelage of Marlene Creates, the group will walk silently through the beautiful woods twice, developing memory maps after each walk, and writing haiku-like poetry, or short prose after the first walk. The group will then compare the differences between their two memory maps and through this comparison will seek to answer the following questions: how did the experience of writing a poem/prose piece and listening to others’ writing affect your perception of the place? Can poetry and prose writing help us become better observers of our own experience and the natural world?

Drawing materials will be supplied by Marlene Creates, but please bring along writing materials, like pens or pencils, and writing paper or notebooks.

The PEIWG will help arrange carpooling to Macphail Woods.

As an added bonus, Marlene will give a retrospective tour of her exhibit currently open at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, entitled Places, Paths, and Pauses, on Friday September 21, from 4pm to 5.

For more details and to register, please visit the workshop page.

Marlene Creates is an environmental artist and poet who lives and works in a six-acre patch of boreal forest in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. Since the mid-1970s, her work has been presented in over 350 exhibitions and screenings across Canada and internationally. A touring retrospective exhibition of her work, titled Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses, is currently at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown.

She has been a guest lecturer at over 200 institutions and conferences in Canada and abroad, led similar workshops through numerous universities and organizations throughout Canada, England, and Chile, and has led environmental and place-based art projects with about 3,000 school children in Newfoundland.

www.marlenecreates.ca

“WHAT’S NOT IN THE PICTURE?” – A New Summer Workshop with Isabel Huggan

For details and for registration, please visit the official workshop page.

For the third summer in a row, prize-winning fiction and memoir writer Isabel Huggan is leaving her home in France to travel to PEI, where she will offer a writing workshop to Island writers. This one- or two-day event (participant’s choice) is in partnership with the PEI Writers’ Guild and will take place August 11 and 12 at The Haviland Club in Charlottetown.

Entitled, “What’s Not in the Picture,” this workshop is open to writers of all genres (fiction, non-fiction, and poets). Participants are asked to bring a pen and paper and at least two photographs (preferably ones that show a group of people at some occasion and of which there is a personal attachment).

On August 11, Huggan will lead participants through an imaginative development exercise in the morning. In the afternoon, participants will have the chance to create their own piece of work based on the morning’s exercise. Day one will end with the opportunity for participants to read their work aloud, allowing for critical comment and group discussion.

Those who would like some guidance in the fine art of “self-criticism” can sign up for day two of the workshop (August 12). This half-day program allows participants to work together, reading one another’s work with the unifying goal of improving the text. Those interested in this session are asked to bring no more than two pages of writing to the session.

For details and for registration, please visit the official workshop page.

Book Launch: The Secret of Bowring Park by Christine Gordon Manley

Christine Gordon Manley invites anyone who believes in the magic within to help her launch The Secret of Bowring Park on July 17 at 6:30pm at the Confederation Centre Library.

Every child who has ever visited the Peter Pan statue in St. John’s, NL, swears that it is magic. They know that the mice, squirrels, rabbits, and fairies are never in the same place as the last time they visited. Some say they’ve seen Peter wink at them, and others believe they’ve heard the soft whispering sounds of a flute. Are the stories true? Is the Peter Pan statue really magic? Or are the tales just childhood fantasies?

The Secret of Bowring Park, is a story of magic, eternal wonder, and the bond between sisters.

This early reader chapter book includes beautiful illustrations by Newfoundland artist Laurel Keating and is published through Breakwater Books.

A freelance editor, Christine co-owns communications and marketing company, Manley Mann Media, with fellow PEI author Jaime Lee Mann. She’s worked on over 40 books, including fiction, memoirs, children’s books, educational material, YA, and even cookbooks.

Christine’s short stories have appeared in various magazines, websites, and journals, with “I’ll Always Make it Back Home” winning Honourable Mention and publication in Canada’s Tales of the Fantastic (2017). She won third place in the Island Literary Awards in 2015 (children’s category) and was a Round Two Finalist for CANSCAIP children’s story national contest in 2016.

Christine was born, and grew up, in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. While she fell in love with the red soil of PEI, where she now lives, the rocky shores of Newfoundland are never far from her mind. She can attribute her love of a good cup of tea, tender moose stew, driving to reach that perfect scenic view, and getting outside on any decent day to her own Newfoundland childhood.

The launch is co-hosted by The Bookmark and Breakwater Books and is an all-ages event. Rumour has it there will be Tinkerbell-themed treats available.