Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Focus On: Waterloo Region - The Recommended Reads

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Museum Front (Courtesy of the City of Kitchener)

By Ginger Pharand

It's time to get wild with our Recommended Reads as we Focus On: Waterloo Region this November. Home to Wilfrid Laurier University Press and The New Quarterly Magazine, there is always something literary going on in Kitchener-Waterloo. And with the Wild Writers Festival just about to start up for its second season, it's a great time to take a look at the region's writers.

Waterloo Region offers readers a smorgasbord of genres, from Edna Staebler's classic cookbooks to David Chilton's record-smashing financial guide to Tamas Dobozy's award-winning fiction. And if you're a teen reader in Ontario, you'll find Kitchener-Waterloo is the place to be for new releases in young adult fiction. If you're in the area, there's no better place to pick up this month's Recommended Reads than Waterloo's must-not-miss destination, Words Worth Books.

With special thanks to Timm Vera and the City of Kitchener for permission to publish the photos in this series.

Winter Cranes (ECW Press), by Chris Banks

After spotting cranes near his home in late winter, Waterloo poet Chris Banks uses them as the central image in his third collection, Winter Cranes (ECW Press). In it, the poet explores the transience of life and how identity is shaped by momentary events, physical and metaphysical states, and how we remember or forget them.

The Young City (Dundurn Press), by James Bow

In his young adult novel The Young City (Dundurn Press), Kitchener author James Bow creates time travel within time travel as characters Rosemary and Peter find themselves transported from modern times back to 1884 Toronto. They make an attempt to adjust to life in the past when they believe they'll be stuck there, but then an anachronism shows up and gives them hope of getting home.

Sorrow?s Knot (Scholastic Canada), by Erin Bow

In her second young adult novel, Sorrow?s Knot (Scholastic Canada), Kitchener author Erin Bow creates a world of girl rangers who live among the Shadowed People. Suspenseful and daring, Sorrow's Knot is a novel of bravery and storytellers at the edge of the world. Erin has also published several books of poetry as Erin Noteboom, including The Mongoose Diaries: Excerpts from a Mother's First Year (Wolsak and Wynn).

Jeepers Creepers (Dundurn Press), by John Robert Colombo

In his book Jeepers Creepers (Dundurn Press), John Robert Colombo brings (back?) to life actual ghost stories from across Canada. From hauntings in Quebec to Ouija boards in Regina, "Canada's Master Gatherer of the Arcane" manages to bring together fright from the far corners of the country into one spooky collection.

Siege 13 (Thomas Allen Publishers), by Tamas Dobozy

Winner of the 2012 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, Tamas Dobozy's Siege 13 (Thomas Allen Publishers), is a collection of 13 linked stories that trace the path of the Red Army in 1944 into Budapest. The smart and enthralling stories in the book dive below the surface of war and then rocket across time to tease out the impact of one of the bloodiest sieges of the Second World War. The story "The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kallman Once Lived" won the 2011 O. Henry Prize for short fiction. Tamas lives in Kitchener.

Read Tamas Dobozy's Proust Questionnaire here.

The Jewels of Sofia Tate (Dundurn Press), by Doris Etienne

Not only is author Doris Etienne from Kitchener, but her first novel, the young adult mystery The Jewels of Sofia Tate (Dundurn Press), is set there as well! In it, 15-year-old Garnet Walcott befriends a widow who tells her of jewels dating back to Russian nobility that may be hidden inside her Victorian home. When the widow becomes ill, Garnet enlists the help of a friend to follow clues from the past to locate the treasure. What they find is much more.

The Juliet Stories (House of Anansi Press), by Carrie Snyder

Shortlisted for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and selected as a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, Waterloo author Carrie Snyder?s The Juliet Stories (House of Anansi Press) tells the story of Juliet Friesen, who moves to Nicarauga at age ten with her peace-activist parents during the political turmoil of 1984. When her brother is stricken with cancer, the family returns, this time with the struggle for peace being inside the home itself. The echoes of those experiences form the parenting and personal dilemmas Juliet faces decades later. Look for Carrie's new novel, Girl Runner, in September 2014 from House of Anansi Press.

Read Carrie Snyder's feature article for Focus On: Waterloo Region here.

Until Today (Second Story Press), by Pam Fluttert

In her first novel, Until Today (Second Story Press), Pam Fluttert tackles the difficult theme of secrecy and sexual abuse. Kat, a young woman who has been abused since childhood at the hands of a family friend, struggles with going public with her own painful history to save the little sister she fears may be next. Though she?s afraid she won?t be believed, she has always had her diary as proof of her experiences. And then it goes missing.

Sharawadji (Brick Books), by Brian Henderson

Nominated for the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry, Sharawadji (Brick Books) is Brian Henderson?s tenth poetry collection. His previous collection, Nerve Language (Pedlar Press, 2007), was shortlisted for the Governor General?s Award for Poetry. In Sharawadji, Brian makes the reader aware of language as ?an instrument of discovery,? spinning poetry that resembles Sufi recitals in a space of grief and loss and into alternate worlds where words re-humanize, even within unrecognizable locales and surrealist interiors.

Find out more in Brian Henderson's Gutter Series interview and in his On Writing interview.

Food that Really Schmecks (WLU Press), by Edna Staebler

Originally published in 1968, Edna Staebler?s Mennonite cookbook Food that Really Schmeck (WLU Press) was an instant classic. In addition to time-tested recipes she learned after moving in with an Old Order Mennonite family in the 1960s, Staebler?s stories and anecdotes about Mennonites, the kitchen, her family and the Waterloo Region continue to delight readers.

Must Write: Edna Staebler's Diaries (WLU Press), ed. Christl Verduyn

Drawing from over 80 years of Edna Staebler?s diaries, editor Christl Verduyn has created a portrait of a fascinating woman who recorded much of the 20th century in her 101 years. Before her life among the Mennonites, which led to her classic cookbooks, Edna was a journalist. That journalistic curiosity for recording the world informed her personal writing for the rest of her life. Must Write: Edna Staebler's Diaries (WLU Press) invites readers to consider that Edna Staebler, through the keeping of her diaries, wrote her way into the literary goals her diaries reveal.

TNQ Issue 127 (current) (WLU Press)

The New Quarterly Magazine has been publishing new and established Canadian writers side by side for 31 years. With a strong commitment to new voices in Canada, they are unflagging in the generous coverage they give to emerging writers. Within the magazine?s pages, readers will find interviews, reviews, essays, short fiction and poetry. If it?s being written in Canada, The New Quarterly Magazine is likely publishing it or discussing it. In Issue 127: Wrestling Humours, readers will find Mike Barnes considering the state of wellness, poetry by Isabel Huggan and a jeremiad from John Metcalf.

The Wealthy Barber (Stoddart Publishing)

Waterloo resident David Chilton?s 1989 money management financial management guide The Wealthy Barber (Stoddart Publishing) is the best-selling Canadian book of all time, in any genre. Offering advice on savings and spending in a parable-guide form, The Wealthy Barber dispenses timeless advice on the financial possibilities available to anyone willing to follow the homespun suggestions of the titular barber Ray. In 2011, Chilton followed up his best seller with The Wealthy Barber Returns (Financial Awareness Corp.), a straightforward financial planning book, updated for a new generation of readers.

Ginger is the Editorial Intern for Open Book: Ontario. She lives in Kingston, where she writes short stories, frightens squirrels with her bad banjo playing, and cross trains by running downtown then carrying home her body weight in books.

1 comment

Hi Ginger, I'd just like to point out that TNQ is not published by WLU press. In fact, TNQ's office space on St. Jerome's University?but it's published independently by The New Quarterly Literary Society Inc.

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