Q&A Lisa Moore on Flannery
Profile Liz Howard on Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent
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Eden Mills Writers' Festival
September 15-18th 2016

September 2016

The Millwright:

Musings from the Eden Mills Writers' Festival

Vol. 27 No. 6 Festival Issue


It’s that time!  After a slew of summer newsletters, interviews and podcasts, we’d like to officially invite you to join us this week for the much-anticipated Eden Mills Writers’ Festival 2016. 

Below, find our Q&A and PODCAST with Lisa Moore on her new YA book, Flannery, as well as a profile of Liz Howard and her 2016 Griffin Prize-winning poetry collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent.  Don’t miss the full lineup of EMWF events this week, starting on Thursday September 15th with the opening gala at the Eden Mills Community Hall featuring readings by Nick Ruddock and Sarah Mian and performances by Guelph musicians Alanna Gurr and NEFE.  Saturday, September 16th we are pleased to welcome Alexandre Trudeau to the stage at the University of Guelph’s War Memorial Hall at 1pm to discuss his new book, Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China.  And finally, we can’t wait to see you on Festival Sunday in the small village of Eden Mills to soak up the words of some of Canada’s most influential writers.  With readings from George Elliot Clarke to Lisa Moore, Cordelia Strube to Liz Howard, the 2016 EMWF is taking care to set you up for a stunning day with your favourite writers.
The EMWF is delighted to announce it will be partnering with Guelph’s Bookshelf Cinema to bring you a screening of The Complete Works, a film that adapts the work of poet bpNichol to examine his life and works. Don’t miss it -- Monday, Sept 19, 6:30 pm at the Bookshelf Cinema in downtown Guelph.  Director Justin Stephenson will be present for a Q&A following the film.


Do you have your tickets yet? 2016 EMWF Events

Purchase Tickets

Thursday, September 15, 8 pm
Eden Mills Community Hall, 108 York St., Eden Mills

We start off the Festival with an evening of readings by Nicholas Ruddock and Sarah Mian complimented by an eclectic and exciting music program featuring Alanna Gurr and NEFE.

Author of Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China
Saturday, September 17, 1 pm
War Memorial Hall, University of Guelph

Barbarian Lost, Trudeau’s first book, is an insightful and witty account of the dynamic changes going on right now in China, as well as a look back into the deeper history of this highly codified society. On the ground with the women and men who make China tick, Trudeau shines new light on the country as only a traveller with his storytelling abilities could. Madeleine Thien will moderate a half hour conversation between herself and Trudeau and participate in the Q&A.

Sunday, September 18, noon to 6 pm
Eden Mills

Join over 40 of Canada’s top Adult, Young Adult and Children’s authors as they read from their latest books. Enjoy the beauty of the Village and the Eramosa River as you listen to old favorites and discover new voices. Book signings, a book fair, food court and licensed patio complete the day.
Download the 2016 Sunday Schedule (PDF)

Author Profile
Liz Howard on Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent 

By Anna Bowen

“I write from a position of relative oppression and I do so with complexity and grief and hope and perhaps even beauty” 
Liz Howard came on the scene this year in a flurry of approval as she swept away the Griffin Prize for Poetry with her first collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent.  Howard, originally from Chapleau Ontario, had recently completed the University of Guelph’s MFA in Creative Writing.  
Howard’s introduction to poetry is stunning -- her mother found a collection of literature in the town dump and Howard treasured it. She was introduced to Susan Musgrave, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton as a young teen. “Poetry was the form that took hold of me,” Howard told The Millwright,  “I adored the multiplicity of form, the possibilities within, and the musicality of poetry.” Howard credits her mentor Margaret Christakos with having the most impact on her own work. 

Howard is biracial with Anishinaabe heritage and explains that writing poetry speaks back against the possibility of ‘being erased’. “I write from a position of relative oppression and I do so with complexity and grief and hope and perhaps even beauty,” she told The Millwright. Of her poetry collection, she says, “It is a book designed to ‘work’ on the reader.” She aims to indigenize the spaces she is in, saying “I try to let the land teach me about itself. I try to dwell in a kind of indeterminacy. I try to think in Anishnaabemowin when I can and learn the traditional narratives as they relate to a given place.”
Howard is busy reading Maggie Nelson, Djuna Barnes, Margaret Christakos, Sergio González Rodríguez, and Indians Don’t Cry Gaawin Mawisiiwag Anishinaabeg by George Kenny, translated into Anishnaabemowin by Patricia M.  To aspiring writers, Howard says, “Listen to poets read their own work … Memorize poems that delight or mystify you. Write in way that trusts your gut and then also in a way that doesn’t.”


Lisa Moore on her YA novel, Flannery

Listen to the podcast here.

By Anna Bowen

Lisa Moore is a novelist and short fiction writer from St. John’s, Newfoundland.  She is a three-time nominee for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2006, she was awarded the regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for her first novel, Alligator, and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. She also won CBC’s Canada Reads competition for her second novel, February.  Her novels include Flannery, Caught, February, Alligator, Open and Degrees of Nakedness as well as two collections of short stories.  We reached her on her cell near the ocean.

MW What was the “glimmer of a beginning” for Flannery?
LM Well I actually began Flannery probably about ten years ago just taking notes, and a lot of it has to do with the experience of being a mom and having tons of kids running through my house all the time, neighbourhood kids, and the wild crazy things that kids do -- like making potions out of the mustard they find in the fridge … There were lots of glimmers.

MW Did you know it was going to be a YA novel from the beginning?
Yes. I always wanted to write one partly because when I was a kid I read a lot of them … I grew up in the country – only 20 minutes’ drive from St. John’s, but it was isolated enough that I could go for long walks in the woods -- and once we got home from school … it was solitary so I read a ton of books and I was completely drawn into them. It’s a kind of intensity of reading experience that I miss as an adult; nothing quite parallels that kind of intensity.

MW Where did Flannery’s character come from?
LM She’s 16 and I think that moment in a person’s life is a really intense and powerful time. In some ways it’s that giving up of childhood for adulthood -- but you are still a changeling, there are still elements of being a child ... And when you are that age, everything you feel, you feel with a great deal of intensity and that’s partly because there are so many new experiences like falling in love and negotiating friendships. This sounds silly and I hate it when I hear writers say this, but it is true that she kind of came fully formed. I could just see her.  This is the first novel that I have written in the first person and so… her character grew out of her voice, the way she spoke and thought. 

MW Did you feel constraints or surprising freedoms writing from her perspective in first person?
LM The freedoms were that I was surprised by the fact that I was able to tap into my 16-year-old self and remember what it felt like to be back in high school. I hadn’t spent a lot of time remembering it until I came to write this novel, but it came back very viscerally. Not so much the moments but the emotional cloud of it. The restrains I felt came when I had to recognize that Flannery is in 2015… and it is a very different world. I really had to do some research to figure out how the technology of today fits into young peoples’ lives.  There are all kind of anachronisms that arise from melding the two times.

To hear more, listen to our PODCAST where Lisa Moore reads from her novel and discusses her writing life, everyday storytelling in Newfoundland, bullying in the novel, and teenage friendship and love.

The Millwright Bookclub

Looking for something to read?
Take a look at these 2016 Eden Mills Writers' Festival reads.
Cherie Dimaline​
A Gentle Habit
Liz Howard​
Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent
Kamal Al-Solaylee​
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