STARFest 2011 the inaugural St. Albert Readers’ Festival at the St. Albert Public Library. STARFest kicks off with Will Ferguson, three time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour on being Canadian and becoming a writer (October 13). Then Charlotte Gray on her new book, Gold Diggers, which tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. (October 15). Gray will be in conversation with award-winning Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons. Mark Anielski will speak about ideas raised in his acclaimed book The Economics of Happiness (October 19). Gail Bowen gives a sneak previous on her next Joanne Kilbourn mystery novel due out in the spring. Charles Foran will read from his biography of Mordecai Richler in conversation with award-winning writer and Edmonton Journal columnist Todd Babiak. Closing STARFest is Marni Jackson, whose new book, Home Free, speaks to a topic familiar to many– kids leaving the nest! Hosted by Edmonton writer Anne Bailey.
The Writing “Life”: On Being Canadian and Becoming a Writer
Thursday, October 13, 2011 – 7pm
Join Will Ferguson for this humorous session about how he fell into the writing gig, first as a travel writer and later a novelist. He will read from his new collection Canadian Pie and will touch on many of his previous books. Born in the former fur-trading post of Fort Vermilion, Ferguson has lived in Ecuador, Peru, and Japan. While in Asia, he backpacked across Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and mainland China and became the first person ever to hitchhike the length of Japan (think Miami to Montreal). Ferguson’s stint on Prince Edward Island, selling Anne of Green Gables tours to Japanese tourists was “about as difficult as selling a glass of water to someone whose hair is on fire,” he says. He holds a BFA in Film Production and Screenwriting. Ferguson’s book How to Be a Canadian, has sold 200,000 copies and was awarded Non-Fiction Book of the Year. He is a three-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour; he was shortlisted twice in the same year (a first!). He has also been given the Pierre Berton Award by Canada’s National History Society.
Saturday, October 15, 2011 – 7pm
Share in Charlotte Gray’s experiences of researching and writing her most recent book, Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike, as she talks with journalist Paula Simons. She will bring to life the six characters through whose eyes she experienced being part of the biggest gold rush Canada has ever seen. Born and educated in England, Charlotte Gray began her writing career as a magazine editor and newspaper columnist. After coming to Canada in 1979, she worked as a political commentator, book reviewer and magazine columnist before she turned to biography and popular history. Her previous books include Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell, Sisters in the Wilderness and The Museum Called Canada. She has had a number of award-winning bestsellers. She appears regularly on radio and television as a political and cultural commentator and has been a judge for several prestigious literary prizes. She is currently Chair of Canada’s History Society and publisher of the magazine Canada’s History. Paula Simons is an award-winning journalist and columnist for the Edmonton Journal. Her documentary Stories of the Southesk Collection aired on CBC Radio’s Ideas.
Charlotte Gray will also appear at the Writers Cabaret for Literacy, October 16 at 7pm. See www.litfestalberta.org for details.
The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 – 8am
An Enmax 2011 Small
Business Week event
Be inspired by Mark Anielski, an expert in measuring the sustainable well-being of communities. He will focus his short presentation on the economics of well-being based on the science of happiness. Mark Anielski has been named one of the 50 most influential Albertans in Alberta Venture magazine. He wears many hats: ecological economist, entrepreneur, professor, author and president of his family-owned consulting firm. He has dedicated the past 25 years to developing ways of measuring the sustainability and genuine wellbeing of nations, communities, businesses and organizations. His book, The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, won the gold medal in the Nautilus Book Awards and a bronze medal in the New York Axiom Book Awards. In April 2011 Mark Anielski won the John Cobb Common Good Award. In the book he explains how economics, accounting, capitalism, and banking can be reoriented towards the pursuit of genuine happiness and how to measure “Genuine Wealth”.
A Night of Mystery
Thursday, October 20, 2011 – 7pm
Be one of the first to get a sneak peak of Gail Bowen’s new Joanne Kilbourn mystery due out next spring. Find out more about these popular Prairie based novels as Bowen shares her passion for mystery writing. Born in Toronto and educated at a number of universities, Bowen taught English in Saskatchewan, and was associate professor of English at First Nations University of Canada before retiring from teaching. Bowen’s mystery novels feature Joanne Kilbourn, a widowed mother, political analyst and university professor who finds herself involved in criminal investigations in various parts of Saskatchewan. The first book in the series, Deadly Appearances, was nominated for an award for best first novel. Many of her mysteries have been adapted as Canadian television movies. Bowen has had several plays produced which have been performed on the stage and on radio. She was a previous winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award and in 2008, Reader’s Digest named her “Canada’s Best Mystery Novelist”.
Mordecai: the Life and Times
Friday, October 21, 2011 – 7pm
Meet Charles Foran, whose biography of Mordecai Richler has received international acclaim. He will read from the book and talk with writer Todd Babiak about the surprises of researching and crafting this work. Foran was born and raised in Toronto. He studied in Toronto and Dublin, Ireland, and taught in China, Hong Kong, and Canada. He has published
ten books, including four novels, and writes regularly for magazines and newspapers in Canada and internationally. He is a contributing reviewer for The Globe and Mail and has won a number of awards for his work. Foran has also made radio documentaries and co-wrote the TV documentary Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews. He was the 2011 winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction for his biography of Mordecai Richler. His book The Last House of Ulster was chosen as Best Book of the Year by Maclean’s, The Toronto Star, and others. Titles by this acclaimed writer include Butterfly Lovers, The Story of My Life So Far and Join the Revolution, Comrade. Todd Babiak is an award-winning author, journalist, screenwriter and columnist for the Edmonton Journal. His most recent book is the novel, Toby: A Man.
Saturday, October 22, 2011 – 2pm
Join Marni Jackson for an afternoon of conversation with writer Anne Bailey. One of Canada’s most respected non-fiction writers, Jackson is best known for her stylish and darkly comic family memoirs, The Mother Zone and the companion volume, Home Free: The Myth of The Empty Nest. Marni Jackson writes about a broad range of subjects, including family, motherhood, medical education, pain studies, the literary world, and wilderness expeditions. Jackson’s writing has appeared in the Globe & Mail, Toronto Life, Maclean’s, Rolling Stone, and The London Sunday Times, among others. Her journalism has won numerous National Magazine Awards. She was also a senior editor at the award-winning Walrus Magazine. She is closely involved with the Banff Centre for Literary Arts. Jackson has featured as a panelist on CBC Radio’s Talking Books, been a TV co-host, and written pieces for the theatre. Anne Bailey is a writer at the University of Alberta. Author of two books of literary criticism, she has written recently for Legacy, New Trail and Work of Arts.
Marni Jackson will also appear at the AMPA Workshop, October 22 at 10am; The Mother of all Readings, October 22 at 7pm; and A Brunch of Writers, October 23 at 11am. See www.litfestalberta.org for locations and details.