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Calendar of Events
This Month - September, 2014

September 19, 2014
3:30 pm

Behind the Scenes: Eleanor Catton

Canadian-born New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton took readers and critics by storm last year with her novel, The Luminaries. Winner of both the Governor General’s Award and the Man Booker Prize, this 848-page romp through New Zealand’s gold rush era is powered by eccentric characters and interweaving plot lines. Join Joanne Kelly, book club host extraordinaire, for a behind-the-scenes conversation with this accomplished young writer. Books for sale on-site—of course! The Community Classroom seats 32 people; advance booking is highly recommended. To register, click on the Classroom link at mcnallyrobinson.com, call (204)-475-0483, or drop by the store in person.

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September 19, 2014
7:30 pm

Opening Night. Featuring: Eleanor Catton

Canadian-born New Zealander Eleanor Catton is one of those writers who matures young—she was only 28 last year when her novel, The Luminaries, hit the world stage. Winner of both the Governor General’s Award and the Man Booker Prize, The Luminaries places you right into the flurry of New Zealand’s 1860s gold rush, yet still intrigues you with its intricate structure. It has everything you could want in a great book: adventure, mystery, love, atmosphere, style, and enough pages to get lost in for a good long while. Robert Macfarlane, the chair of judges for the Man Booker Prize, calls it “a magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling; and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold.” Catton will read from The Luminaries, then have an on-stage conversation with Festival Director Charlene Diehl. Books will be available on-site. Cash bar.

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September 20, 2014
10:00 am

Creating a Series Character, with John McFetridge

“We start with a theme, or a situation and then come up with the best characters to tell it.” David Simon, creator of The Wire “I start with a character and think about the kind of situations he can be in.” Elmore Leonard, novelist So, these are pretty much opposite approaches—they can’t both be right! And yet they both are. Because there is no right or wrong, only interesting or boring. John McFetridge has drawn critical praise for the memorable, complex characters populating his atmospheric mysteries. Join him in a workshop about creating a compelling series character. You may even discuss characters of your own creation. Registration includes coffee & tea. Pick up a light snack beforehand at the Human Bean on the main floor. The seminar is directed toward people with a strong interest in writing, but no publishing experience is required.

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September 20, 2014
3:00 pm

A Pint of Bitter Murder. Featuring: Alison Preston, and John McFetridge

Two tales of two cities… John McFetridge’s latest character-based mystery, Black Rock, is an artful police procedural set in the turbulence of 1970 Montreal, when terrorists threaten the city and a stalker is murdering young woman. In Blue Vengeance, Alison Preston returns us to Norwood Flats where Danny, an angry teen, plots to avenge the death of his troubled sister with a well-chosen stone and a slingshot. Get a taste of these new books, then hear the writers chat on-stage with Festival Director Charlene Diehl. Food service, cash bar. Enter our door prize draw for the featured books. If you aren’t the lucky person, McNally Robinson will be on-site selling copies.

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September 20, 2014
8:00 pm

Forewords. Featuring: Tom Howell and the Winnipeg Poetry Slam Team

Tom Howell has created an irreverent history of the English language in his new book, The Rude Story of English. It’s like the Oxford English Dictionary with naughty bits! Also on the evening’s roster: the poetry slam finalists who will represent Winnipeg at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Victoria this fall. After another competitive season, Steve Currie, Mike Johnston, Ulysses Knope, Steve Locke, and Chimwemwe Undi came out on top. They’ll show their stuff—provocative, political, personal—on the stage tonight. Back by popular demand: the Haiku Death Match! A contest of wit and wisdom parceled out in 17-syllable units. Comical, thoughtful, profane—what’ll it be? The audience votes for their favorites over several rapid-fire rounds to declare this year’s Haiku Master! Prepare to be amused, occasionally offended, and always amazed… Enter our door prize draw for a copy of The Rude Story of English. If you aren’t the lucky person, you can purchase a copy on-site.

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September 21, 2014
1:30 pm

The House the Books Built. Featuring: Tom Howell, John Nadler, Margaret Sweatman, Rev Dr. James Christie

Ralph Connor, the pen name of Rev. Dr. Charles William Gordon, was born in 1860 and, after a stint as a Presbyterian minister in Alberta, moved to Winnipeg where he lived until his death in 1937. As well as his work as a clergyman, he was a prolific and wildly popular writer of frontier adventure novels. His second, Sky Pilot, was published in 1899 and sold over a million copies. We are teaming up with the Friends of Ralph Connor House and the University Women’s Club to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the West Gate home Charles and his wife Helen built with proceeds from his books—literally the house that books built! Margaret Sweatman will read from her atmospheric novel, Fox, set in the turmoil of the Winnipeg Strike. Journalist John Nadler will share his new book Valour Road, about three young Winnipeggers, all from the same street, who were awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI. Lexicographer Tom Howell will give us a glimpse of the colourful history of the English language from his book, The Rude Story of English. Reverend Dr James Christie will read work by Ralph Connor himself. Explore the grand mansion with guided tours at 1:45 pm and 4:00 pm. Settle in for the 10-minute readings at 2:40 pm, 3:00 pm, and 3:20 pm. Have a cup of tea in the elegant dining room. Spend some time downstairs with old photos and records. Pick up a copy of the featured books—and also The First Women of 54 West Gate, an inside look at Helen Gordon and her six daughters. Books for sale on-site. Refreshments for a toonie donation.

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September 21, 2014
6:30 pm

Voices From Oodena. Featuring: Keith Cadieux, Ko’ona Cochrane, Roewan Crowe, Brenda Hasiuk, Charles Leblanc, Chimwemwe Undi

Oodena, the natural amphitheatre at The Forks, has been a gathering place for centuries. THIN AIR celebrates that history with a collage of commissioned work from writers who have made a mark on the local scene. Gather on the stairs for a magical evening of words in many flavours. Bring a jacket—the air is cool as the sun sets. Books for sale on-site. Inclement weather: Centre Court, The Forks Market Oodena, l’amphithéâtre naturel situé à La Fourche, est un lieu de rencontre depuis des siècles. THIN AIR célèbre cette histoire en présentant un collage de textes commandés à des auteurs qui ont marqué le milieu local. Venez assister à une soirée magique de paroles offertes sur tous les tons. Apportez une veste, car l’air est frais au coucher du soleil. Livres en vente sur place. Météo défavorable : cour centrale, marché de La Fourche

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September 22, 2014
11:00 am

Campus Reading: Arjun Basu

In Arjun Basu’s smart contemporary novel, Waiting for the Man, a disillusioned New York ad man unwittingly creates a media sensation with TV crews and blogposts when he heeds the advice of a mysterious stranger to go west and find himself. NOTE: This reading is listed at 1:00pm in the paperback program. The event is at 11:00am. Our apologies for any confusion.

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September 22, 2014
12:00 pm

Campus Reading: John Nadler

In WWI, three young soldiers, coincidentally from the same Winnipeg street, were all awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery. International journalist John Nadler unfolds their remarkable story in Valour Road.

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September 22, 2014
12:15 pm

The Nooner: Peter Norman

Emberton is a genre-bending debut novel about a young man who cannot read, a sinister dictionary publisher, and the literal—sometimes fearsome—power of words

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September 22, 2014
2:30 pm

Afternoon Book Chat: Guillaume Morissette & Diane Schoemperlen

Facebook or scrapbook? Today’s writers suggest that our urge to share might stay constant but our platforms keep changing.

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September 22, 2014
2:30 pm

Campus Reading: Fred Stenson

In Who By Fire, master storyteller Fred Stenson tackles complicated allegiances and competing demands. Decades after an Alberta farm family sees their livelihood ruined by a gas plant in the 1960s, their son deals with his guilt as he works in the oil patch.

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September 22, 2014
4:30 pm

John Nadler: Valour Road

In WWI, three young soldiers, coincidentally from the same Winnipeg street, were all awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery. Nadler unfolds their remarkable story in Valour Road.

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September 22, 2014
7:30 pm

The Mainstage: TECHNOLOGIES. Featuring: Arjun Basu, Guillaume Morissette, Peter Norman, Diane Schoemperlen, Fred Stenson, Margaret Sweatman

What do we gain and what do we lose as we seek to control our environments?

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September 23, 2014
11:30 am

Campus Program: Fred Stenson

In Who By Fire, master storyteller Fred Stenson tackles complicated allegiances and competing demands. Decades after an Alberta farm family sees their livelihood ruined by a gas plant in the 1960s, their son deals with his guilt as he works in the oil patch.

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September 23, 2014
12:15 pm

The Nooner: Joan Thomas

The Opening Sky, a stunning novel about the human desire to do the right thing, perfectly balances the dark underside of modern family life with wit and sharp observation.

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September 23, 2014
1:00 pm

Campus Program: Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson has proven herself an award-winner across the board, from books for young readers to books for adults. In her witty, genre-bending new adult novel, Ellen in Pieces, a single mother navigates the loves, lusts, and losses of middle age.

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September 23, 2014
2:30 pm

Afternoon Book Chat: Audrey Thomas & Miriam Toews

No story is too hard for these two writers—they’ve made their mark by daring to confront the big stuff.

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September 23, 2014
4:30 pm

Leanne Simpson: Idle No More

Simpson is one of the editorial collective that conceived of The Winter We Danced, a compendium of responses to Idle No More. Rabble.ca calls the book “an impassioned vision of a resilient Indigenous future.”

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September 23, 2014
7:30 pm

The Mainstage: WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES. Featuring: Caroline Adderson, Monia Mazigh, Alison Pick, Audrey Thomas, Joan Thomas, Miriam Toews

Some of our country’s most celebrated writers adventure into the lives of girls and women.

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September 24, 2014
12:15 pm

The Nooner: Doretta Lau

How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun is a wildly imaginative collection of short stories about self-aware young Asian Canadians: students, gangsters, and accidental porn stars.

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September 24, 2014
2:30 pm

Afternoon Book Chat: André Alexis & Martha Baillie

Today’s writers tell stories that defy simple explanation, suggesting that reality might be more complicated than we imagined.

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September 24, 2014
4:30 pm

Else Poulsen: Polar Bear Rescue

In Bärle’s Story, Poulsen, an expert in animal rehabilitation, tells the gripping story of a wild-born polar bear rescued from a Caribbean circus and rehabilitated in a Detroit zoo.

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September 24, 2014
7:30 pm

The Mainstage: WHO AM I NOW? Featuring: André Alexis, Martha Baillie, David Bergen, Doretta Lau, David Alexander Robertson

When everything around you is not what you anticipated, who stands in your place, looking out of your eyes?

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September 25, 2014
12:15 pm

The Nooner: Nicholas Ruddock

How Loveta Got Her Baby, a hilarious and bittersweet collection of stories about small town Newfoundlanders going about their business, merrily blurs the line between tragedy and farce.

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September 25, 2014
2:30 pm

Afternoon Book Chat: Denise Roig & Kathleen Winter

Fearless curiosity keeps landing these two writers in extraordinary circumstances—they have great stories to tell!

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September 25, 2014
4:30 pm

Monia Mazigh: Maher Arar

Hope and Despair is the story of Mazigh’s struggle to bring public attention and government action to help her Syrian-born husband, Maher Arar, unjustly imprisoned with the complicity of Canadian officials.

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September 25, 2014
7:30 pm

The Mainstage: ABSURDITY LOVES COMPANY TOO. Featuring: MAC Farrant, Eric McCormack, Maurice Mierau, Denise Roig, Nicholas Ruddock, Kathleen Winter.

Albert Camus called the absurd “the essential concept and the first truth.” Tonight’s writers might agree!

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September 26, 2014
12:15 pm

The Nooner: CR Avery

Some Birds Walk for the Hell of It is a brash, funny, and profane poetry collection that celebrates the bohemian brigade, like a cross between the Beats, Lenny Bruce, and Hunter S Thompson.

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September 26, 2014
2:30 pm

Afternoon Book Chat: Jordan Abel & Ken Babstock

With their strong social conscience, these poets go beyond our cultural claims to face down what is imbedded in language itself.

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September 26, 2014
4:30 pm

Peter Midgley: Namibia

In Counting Teeth, Midgley deftly weaves memoir and politics as he returns to Namibia, the country of his childhood, a place of stunning beauty with a war-ravaged past and a complicated present.

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September 26, 2014
7:30 pm

The Mainstage: POETRY BASH! Featuring: Jordan Abel, CR Avery, Ken Babstock, Alison Calder, Owain Nicholson.

These poets invent new paths through our language—and new languages for our paths…

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