25th Trillium Award

London?s Literary Scene

Open Book: London
Focus on: London
A Guide to London?s Literary Scene
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Focus On: London

 
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Join Open Book: Ontario as we celebrate the vibrant writing communities across our province with our new "Focus On" series. This January we turn to London, the Forest City, and find a thriving ecosystem of authors, publishers, small presses and reading groups. Follow Focus On: London to hear from London's literati about their habits, hang-outs and highlights. We'll let you know about upcoming events and introduce you to local writers and organizers and publish new articles by some of London's best voices. You won't want to miss our regional Recommended Reads or our monthly contest...a $50 credit at the local bookstore of your choice!

London Landmarks

Muskoka Literary News

The WAR Series: Writers As Readers, with Don Gutteridge

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Don Gutteridge is the author of 40 books, including the captivating Marc Edwards series. These historical suspense novels are set in the North American colonies in the years surrounding the 1837 rebellions. The most recent installment is Bloody Relations (Simon & Schuster), which fids Marc Edwards scouring old Toronto for answers to a murder that threatens to undermine the fragile union of Upper and Lower Canada.

In today's WAR interview, Don tells us about treasure, expectations and mischief.

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Jeremy Colangelo

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) is our newest interview series at Open Book, and gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Jeremy Colangelo is a London writer and poet, as well as a former Open Book: Ontario Editorial Intern. He is the author of four chapbooks including the recently released chapbook Smile (Ribbon Pig). Smile is a unique short story about a call-centre worker, Aditi, as she goes about her day-to-day work. The chapbook not only demonstrates the dehumanizing effect that the interaction between a call-centre worker and a customer can have, but it also portrays both these people in a sympathetic light. Today, he tells us about the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem that was among his first adult-level reading, the well-known children?s book he read as a four-year-old and the Ezra Pound volume waiting on his to-read pile.

Get to Know Literary London, with Jean McKay of the Landon Book Group

The Landon Branch of the London Public Library is a hub of activity for London's lively literary scene. In addition to hosting Poetry London and housing Ted Goodden's poetry-inspired stained glass windows, it is also home to the Landon Book Group. Today the group's facilitator, local author Jean McKay, tells Open Book how this diverse group of readers and writers grew into an opinionated, passionate bunch who can only be lured away from meetings by the likes of Leonard Cohen.

Get to Know Literary London, with Karen Schindler

Earlier this month, Penn Kemp highlighted the Poetry London Reading Series as one of the can't-miss venues for literary happenings in the city. Lovingly (and meticulously) organized by seven volunteers, Poetry London is an event that leaves its invited readers and its enthusiastic audience feeling as if they are part of a nation-wide poetry community where anything is possible. Today Karen Schindler, one of Poetry London's volunteer directors and the publisher of London's Baseline Press, tells us why Poetry London works, what she loves about working with words and where to get the best scones in the city.

Poetry London welcomes the award-winning Susan Musgrave this Wednesday, January 23. Visit our Events page for details.

Brick Books: The Poetry Press That Could

It's been a great year for Brick Books. This fall, Julie Bruck won a Governor General's Literary Award for Monkey Ranch, which also made the Globe and Mail's Top 100. Salty Ink listed Brick poets Emily McGiffin and Jessica Moore and Brick co-founder Don McKay as top picks for poetry in 2012. The press's recently revamped website is already being applauded, and they continue to build a unique bank of poetry podcasts to bring their authors' words to life. Brick has outposts of writers and editors across the country, from St. John's, Newfoundland to B.C.'s Quadra Island, but its heart — and the address to which hundreds of hopeful poets send their manuscripts each year — is located in London, Ontario and managed by Kitty Lewis.

Brick Books is the only press in Canada to specialize exclusively in poetry, which means two things: it's a labour of love (although they do have bestsellers in Marilyn Dumont's A Really Good Brown Girl and Michael Crummey's Hard Light); and the poets, generally used to limited fanfare, receive all the careful attention of the dedicated minds behind Brick Books.

It's the kind of press that will ship copies of your first collection all the way to the Philippines so that you can sit on a bench near an old Spanish bulwark and leaf through your own book for the very first time, as Emily McGiffin did this spring. It's a press that hosts its authors for evenings of partridgeberry jam and co-founder Stan Dragland's guitar. It's a press that gives poets a detailed schedule of the editing and publishing process — and sticks to it; and it's a press that celebrates the achievements of their writers by bringing an entire band of well-wishers and collaborators to the awards ceremony, as they did this fall when Julie Bruck was presented with the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry.

We asked a number of Brick authors what it means to them to be published by Canada's poetry press. Here is what they had to say:

Poets in Profile: Kathryn Mockler

London, Ontario is a great home to poets. Poet and filmmaker Kathryn Mockler is deeply involved in the city's creative scene as both a creative writing instructor at the University of Western Ontario and as co-founder and co-editor of the literary and arts journal The Rusty Toque.

In today's Poets in Profile interview, Kathryn tells us about her sister's bright red tape recorder, Arda Collin's cantaloupe lady and the corn canning factory near London that inspired her first collection of poetry, The Onion Man (Tightrope Books). Her second book, The Saddest Place on Earth, has just been published with DC Books.

Literary London Life

By Penn Kemp

Surrounded by placid, excellent farmland all too quickly mushrooming into suburbs, London lays claim to many acclaimed writers, whether they were raised here, lived in the area most of their lives; left and returned; or are now here for the duration. Think Joan Barfoot, Bonnie Burnard, Emma Donoghue, Frank Davey, Don Gutteridge, Jean McKay, Orlo Miller, James Reaney, David Suzuki, Colleen Thibaudeau, Elizabeth Waterston, Marion Woodman and Ross Woodman. We claim too, those who were just passing through for a year or so, like Michael Ondaatje at 19, and those who stayed for years, like Stan Dragland and Don McKay.

Sometimes considered a staid, conservative county seat by those who live elsewhere, London has been a haven for literary eccentricity for decades. Louise Wyatt, my Grade 13 teacher at Central Collegiate in 1961, was truly an Eccentric and a learned one, declaiming poetry, with frowsy hair and dishevelled blouse, her glasses on a string bouncing as she gesticulated. Her house and desk were equally buried in stacks of books, half-read and all marked with placeholders. She'd sweep off a space for tea. An eye-opening influence on me as to what the literary life could be! She showed me the possibility of poetry as a career... she'd studied at the University of Chicago, and brought back issues of Poetry Magazine.

Focus On: London - Recommended Reads!

London, Ontario is home to an especially tightly knit community of Canadian novelists, short fiction writers, children's authors and poets. The list of fine books published by London authors in recent years is long indeed, and we've selected only a dozen not-to-be-missed titles to highlight. The London Public Library's Contemporary London Authors Collection is home to hundreds of excellent books by local authors — an excellent place to begin your London reading list! Follow Focus On: London all month long for more great features about London's literary scene. And don't miss your chance to enter our monthly contest!

Five Things Literary: London, with Debra Franke

We're celebrating Literary London all month long! What better place to start than with Five Things Literary: London, contributed by writer and librarian Debra Franke.

1. Poetry London is a popular reading series held monthly at the Landon Branch Library in Wortley Village. Created in 2004 by Cornelia Hoogland together with the Landon Branch Library, this poetry series has included a dynamic mix of well-known national poets, including Tim Lilburn, Jan Zwicky, Anne Compton, Patrick Lane, Sue Sinclair, Christian Bök, Jeramy Dodds and Ken Babstock.

Focus On: London!

Join Open Book: Ontario as we celebrate the vibrant writing communities across our province with our new "Focus On" series. This January we turn to London, the Forest City, and find a thriving ecosystem of authors, publishers, small presses and reading groups. Follow Focus On: London to hear from London's literati about their habits, hang-outs and highlights. We'll let you know about upcoming events and introduce you to local writers and organizers and publish new articles by some of London's best voices. You won't want to miss our regional Recommended Reads or our monthly contest...a $50 credit at the local bookstore of your choice!

Focus On: London - Bookstore Contest

Let loose, London lit-lovers! As Open Book celebrates your literary city this month, we invite you to enter to win our draw for $50 to spend at the bookstore of your choice. To enter, send an email with the Subject heading "London" to [email protected] and tell us what you love about literary life in London. Please include your name and mailing address in the email.

The contest is open to London residents and closes on January 31, 2013. For complete contest rules, click here.

Poets In Profile: R.L. Raymond

In R.L. Raymond's latest collection of poetry, Half Myths and Quarter Legends (Epic Rites Press), Raymond creates an intense atmosphere of horror that will grip and terrify readers, yet leave them wanting more. If you're in the area, Raymond will be launching Half Myths and Quarter Legends in London on December 5th at Mykonos Greek Restaurant. In his edition of the Poets in Profile series, Raymond tells us about why metal (music) is one source of inspiration for him, why he wouldn't exactly call himself a poet and what two poems, merged together, would create the über poem.

New Art Book, From Dream Sequins, by Penn Kemp and Steven McCabe! The Perfect Holiday Gift!

Penn Kemp and Steve McCabe have just released their new poetry/art book, From Dream Sequins (Lyricalmyrical Press). From Dream Sequins contains Penn's poetry accompanied by McGabe's evocative drawings, and is beautifully presented in a gorgeous hand-made book. The poems were first performed in Penn?s 2010 Sound Opera at Aeolian Hall with Brenda McMorrow and Bill Gilliam and are available on the CD, Night Vision. (Pendas Productions, London).

For orders, contact Luciano Iacobelli at [email protected] or 416 405 5186, or Penn at [email protected] or 519 434 8555.

Right in time for holiday gift shopping, be sure to get From Dream Sequins either for a gift or add it to your wishlist!

Upcoming Events in Muskoka

Poetry London Reading Series with Sandra Ridley and David Seymour

When

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 6:30pm

Where

Landon Branch, London Public Library
167 Wortley Road
London, ON
N6C 3P6

Details

You are invited to attend a poetry reading!

Sandra Ridley and David Seymour will read their poems.

7:30 to 9:00 p.m. At 6:30, there is a workshop (optional) prior to the poets' readings.

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