25th Trillium Award


Barbara Bell Named Artistic Director of Kingston WritersFest

Congratulations to Barbara Bell, who has been named to the top position at Kingston WritersFest!

Barbara Bell has been with Kingston Writersfest since its launch in 2009 as Producer, and in 2013 as Associate Director. In addition to her many contributions to KWF, Barbara is an award-winning actor, a playwright, director and producer, a freelance editor and she has hosted several seasons of Page Turners for TVCogeco in Kingston.

The Dirty Dozen, with Deborah Lawson

Award-winning poet Deborah Lawson is a woman of words. Whether she’s teaching communication, trimming texts with her editorial expertise or singing soprano with the Richard Eaton Singers, her days are spent immersed in the exploration of language. And now she has collected her own words into her Frontenac House debut Reckless Toward Blossoming, in which she explores solitude, landscape and awakening.

Today Deborah takes on the Open Book Dirty Dozen, which gives authors the chance to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves. Deborah reveals her Linda Ronstadt moment, her love for the great Canadian boat and an electrifying experience with a hair pin.

At the Desk: Allison Baggio

For each book we readers eagerly open, there's a writer who's spent countless hours researching, organizing, writing and rewriting. The place where all this happens is unique to every writer, and we love nothing more than to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the site where it all happens! In Open Book’s At The Desk series, writers tell us about their creative processes and the workspaces that inspire them.

Allison Baggio, who makes her home in Whitby, is fascinated by the ways in which our bodies tell stories. In her books, the body is a conduit for the spirit, a tangible manifestation of the experience of life. And it doesn’t always play by the rules. In Allison’s coming-of-age novel Girl in Shades (ECW Press), young Maya can see colours around people’s bodies and even sometimes read their thoughts. Allison first turned to this theme In her collection of short stories, In the Body (ECW Press), which includes stories on organ transplants and life after traumatic injury. Today Allison talks to Open Book about the desk where she writes — and the one where she doesn’t.

Allison Baggio is one of our featured authors in this month’s Focus On: Durham Region — The Recommended Reads.

Focus On: Durham Region - The Recommended Reads

By Ginger Pharand

The Durham Region boasts poets, novelists, fiction and nonfiction writers, filmmakers, songwriters — if it involves words, you can find someone writing it here! Home to the WCDR (Writer’s Community of Durham Region), which hosts the annual Ontario Writers Conference and Blue Heron Books, where artists, readers, even dogs are welcome!

Durham Region authors include Trillium Award-winning poet Jeramy Dodds and Trillium Award and Toronto Book Award winner Rabindranath Maharaj. But the region is also home to Ingrid Ruthig's textworks, the young adult writer Wesley King with his topsy turvy universe of villains and heroes and Allison Baggio tuning readers in to the body as barometer of the soul.

Somewhere among the 14 books below, every reader can find the next must-read selection for December. And any one of these titles would look great wrapped for the holidays!

Follow Open Book: Ontario's Focus On: Durham Region throughout the month of December to find out more about the talented, diverse and supportive writers who make their homes here.

Here Be Writers: Charting One Writer’s Journey in Literary Durham Region

By Ingrid Ruthig

HC SVNT DRACONES. “Here be dragons”, which came to signify mysterious unexplored territories, first appeared on the 16-century Hunt-Lenox Globe. Uncharted turf sometimes isn’t at the map’s edge, but right next door. During my years living in Toronto, what lay beyond the city’s eastern boundary remained largely a mystery. Then in 1988 I moved east, to a town named after a World War II battleship, one in a string of small towns that pearl this part of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. The lake marks the southernmost edge of the Regional Municipality of Durham, a 2,500-square-kilometre area that stretches north to Lake Simcoe. Yet my knowledge of my new home remained minimal, because I continued to visit friends and work in Toronto. That changed when I began to write.

Any journey, literal or figurative, takes time. When family life shifted my notion of time and community, a new sense of direction also began to build. I tackled my absence from work and staying home with two youngsters by challenging myself to write. Not one to do things by half measures, I searched out resources and found a newspaper announcement for a workshop sponsored by an organization called the Writers’ Circle of Durham Region (WCDR). I signed up. Then I joined the WCDR. Well, one workshop led to another, which led to more writing, to researching and submitting work to literary journals, to noticing that someone local was publishing one, which led me to approach Ruth Walker, co-editor of the fledgling Lichen Literary Journal. I mentioned I’d seen a copy, admired the initiative, and if extra hands were ever needed, mine were willing.

Focus On: Durham Region!

Durham Region is home to one of the most active writers' organizations in the province, the WCDR, which hosts the annual Ontario Writers Conference and is the inspiration for many similar writers' groups in other areas. Blue Heron Books and the region's public libraries offer venues for writers and artists to mingle, meet and inspire. Its rich literary history — think Hardy Boys and Anne of Green Gables — seems to infuse the atmosphere for today's writers with an incomparable energy. Follow Open Book: Ontario's Focus On: Durham Region throughout the month of December to find out more about the talented, diverse and supportive writers who make their homes here.

GG Awards Series: WAR: Writers as Readers, with Donald Winkler

Open Book continues the celebration of outstanding Canadian writing by featuring the winners of the 2013 Governor General's Literary Awards in the weeks following the announcement. In this special edition of The WAR (Writers As Readers) Series, filmmaker and translator Donald Winkler shares his reading habits, from what inspired his childhood imagination to the novel that brings him to tears — and laughter. Donald was born in Winnipeg, but his fascination with film and language drew him from the prairies to the Yale School of Drama, the National Film Board of Canada and finally to his award-winning career as a translator of Quebec literature.

Donald Winkler is the winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Award for French to English Translation for his translation of The Major Verbs (Vehicule Press). The original French-language edition of this book, Les verbes majeurs, by Pierre Nepveu, was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in Poetry.

The winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards will be celebrated this evening in a special ceremony at Rideau Hall. Congratulations to all of the winners!

The Proust Questionnaire, with Charles Wilkins

Charles Wilkins is a storyteller explorer. In fact, he’s the guy you hope sends you an invitation to his vacation slide show. Whether he’s walking from Thunder Bay to New York City, traveling with the Wallendas or communing with Canada’s great wilderness, he possesses a remarkable ability to fully experience the moment and then artfully and entertainingly recount his adventures.

In his latest book, Little Ship of Fools (Greystone Books), Wilkins once again invites readers on a nail-biting journey, this time from Morocco to Barbados on an experimental rowboat — seven weeks of food rationing, sharks, sleep deprivation and being pushed to a body’s physical and mental limits.

In his answers to Proust Questionnaire, Charles Wilkins reveals his influences and preferences and where he believes he may be less well-rounded in his life.

ReLit Awards Shortlist Announced

The shortlists for the 2013 ReLit Awards have been announced!

The ReLit Awards recognize books by Canadian authors published by independent Canadian presses. Founded in 2000 by Kenneth J. Harvey, each year ReLit winners are named in three categories: Poetry, Short Fiction and Novel.

Congratulations to the shortlisted authors!

From the ReLit Awards website:


Trobairitz, Catherine Owen (Anvil Press)

GG Awards Series: Five Things Literary, with Sandra Djwa

Open Book continues the celebration of outstanding Canadian writing by featuring the winners of the 2013 Governor General's Literary Awards in the coming weeks. In this special edition of Five Things Literary, Sandra Djwa shares her most inspiring Vancouver hide-outs and landmarks. Her latest biography, Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page (McGill-Queen's University Press), the fascinating study of one of Canada's most important artists, was just awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Congratulations, Sandra!

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