Esi Edugyan, author of WASHINGTON BLACK at the Mack Theatre Nov. 12

We are thrilled to welcome author Esi Edugyan to The Mack Theatre for a reading, Q&A and book signing. Esi’s new novel, Washington Black has been shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the 2018 Giller Prize. It is a dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom, from the author of the international bestseller Half-Blood Blues. From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness of life. This inventive, electrifying novel asks, What is Freedom? And can a life salvaged from the ashes ever be made whole? The evening will be hosted by Lee Ellen Pottie, well known UPEI professor, writer and editor. This event is free, and is hosted by Bookmark.

Please note the location for this event has been changed to the Mack Theatre, from the Confederation Centre of the Arts Studio One.

PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series – Featuring Richard Lemm

Richard Lemm will be the featured reader for the PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 7pm at the Receiver Coffee Co., 128 Richmond St. In Charlottetown.

Richard Lemm has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Prince Edward Island since 1988. He has published six poetry collections, most recently Jeopardy. He received the Canadian Authors’ Association Poetry Prize for Prelude to the Bacchanal, and two CBC Literary Competition prizes of poetry. His short fiction collection, Shape of Things to Come, won a PEI Book Award. His biography Milton Acorn: In Love and Anger received a PEI Heritage Foundation Award. He edited Riptides: New PEI Fiction, an Atlantic Book Awards finalist for Best Atlantic Canadian Published Book, and winner of a PEI Book Award. He also edited Snow Softly Falling: Holiday Stories from Prince Edward Island. He is currently completing a memoir entitled Promised Land: Life and Times of an American-Canadian, and fumbling his way into a novel set mostly on PEI. His grandchildren say that he makes the best waffles.

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. We’ll be shaking things up this month by having our featured reader perform first. Following a five minute break, the open mic portion of the evening will begin.

The PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series will continue to run on the second Thursday of each month.

PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series – Featuring Erin Suurkoivu

Erin Suurkoivu will be the featured reader for the PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 7pm at the Receiver Coffee Co., 128 Richmond St. In Charlottetown.

Erin Suurkoivu was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, and has lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, Sooke B.C., and Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a passionate environmentalist, yogi, and surfer (when she can be). Her debut poetry collection, Blood for Honey, is available at Indigo, Bookmark and also online. She lives in the country with her husband and their two children.

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, Erin will read.

The PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series will continue to run on the second Thursday of each month.

A Poet For All Seasons – A.F. Moritz Reading at UPEI

In a Globe and Mail review, Doug Fetherling writes, “In somewhat the same way that a person can become a highly decorated soldier, A.F. Moritz has become a highly decorated poet. The process has taken years.” With a half-century of campaigns on the poetic front, twenty books, and a wall-full of awards, A.F. (Al) Moritz will give a Winter’s Tales reading in Charlottetown on Monday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the UPEI Faculty Lounge.

Moritz’ all-seasons subject matter includes love and eroticism; divine presence and mortality; contemplation of nature; history, modernity, and current events; philosophical, ethical, sociological, and political inquiry; and an elegant evocation of life’s exaltation and ennui, emptiness and fulness.

He won Canada’s most lucrative poetry prize, the Griffin, with The Sentinel. In the title poem, readers witness the anxieties of a sentinel for an armed camp bedded down for the night. He must report to his commanders, who may find him lacking or, worse, a foreign agent. Mortiz says it is also “an allegory of the poet and poetry” – the poet at once a far-seeing scout, ethical bellwether, and troublemaker.

Born in Ohio, Moritz moved to Toronto in 1974, worked in journalism and advertising, and has taught part-time at the University of Toronto since 1986. “I’ve never considered myself anything but a poet who does other things to support himself.” As famous literary critic Harold Bloom said, Moritz is “a true poet.” At UPEI, he will read from his newest book, The Sparrow, a selection of poems from his forty-five year vocation.

The evening is sponsored by the UPEI Dean of Arts and Department of English, with generous support from The Canada Council for the Arts.

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.