Manitoulin Poetry Fest 2014

Enjoy Jazz on Saturday night (July 26) and join us for Special Guest Poets the next day.

Sudbury Poet Laureates past and present will read from their works at the Gore Bay Harbour Centre on Sunday, July 27, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Hear Roger Nash (past President of the League of Canadian Poets & Inaugural Sudbury Laureate), Tom Leduc (current Poet Laureate of Sudbury & Sudbury Writers’ Guild member)

Plus Manitoulin poets:

Ron Berti (De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Storytellers), Fay Becks (Manitoulin Writers’ Circle), and Margo Little (Sudbury Writers’ Guild & Manitoulin Writers’ Circle).

***Admission: $5.00***

Book Sale & Signing

More info 705-282-1714 or 705-282-2040.

Special Thanks to Ontario Heritage

Writing a Family Memoir

By Liisa Kovala

What motivates us to write about ourselves? Perhaps it is a desire to tell our personal stories for therapeutic reasons or to find a way to heal ourselves. Maybe it is to share our experiences and educate others on the lessons we have learned, or to hold others accountable for their role in our misfortunes or trauma. Possibly it is to leave behind our stories for future generations. Whatever the reason, the memoir is a powerful way of coping with the past, making sense of the present and creating connections with the future.

Over the past two years, I have been researching, interviewing and writing a story more personal than I could ever have imagined, a tale in which I am deeply immersed, and one that is a powerful part of my personal history. In many ways, I feel like I am writing a memoir. But the stories are not mine. They belong to my father.

For many months I interviewed my father, sitting in the worn blue armchair in my parents’ 1950s brick bungalow, my fingers tapping on my laptop keyboard as I frantically tried to keep up with his narration about his experiences as a concentration camp prisoner in Poland during World War II. I became absorbed in the time period, his life as a young boy in Oulu, Finland, the bombings of his hometown by the Russians during the Winter War, his exploits as a merchant marine sailor at the tender age of fourteen. His storytelling led me from his ship in the port of Danzig to the cattle car that transported the crew to KL Stutthof. His voice brought me to the Death Gate, where I waited alongside the Finnish sailors with fear and anxiety. Before long, I felt as though I became part of his experiences, first empathizing with the prisoners who endured forced labour, malnourishment and beatings, then envisioning the Death March, the naval evacuation and the traumatic day of his liberation.

While memoir relies on the first person narrator, the family memoir is usually written in third person, details a particular time in a family member’s life, uses supplemental research and relies on the literary techniques usually found in novels. After careful study of the time period, specific dates and events to ensure I was as accurate as possible, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with a retelling that read like a history text. Instead, I wanted his memories to come alive for the reader. For that reason, among other literary techniques, I incorporated dialogue and details about setting to recreate scenes, relying on my imagination to describe what it might have been like for him. These literary techniques, so often used in family memoirs, allowed me to write about the events in a more vivid manner. Fortunately, I also have my father as a first reader to confirm all of the details.

In the end, the family memoir is the perfect vehicle for telling my father’s story. More importantly, I hope that by recounting the events he has been able to heal some of the deep wounds he has carried with him for the past seventy years. His story teaches invaluable lessons about hope and resiliency and bears witness to the crimes committed on millions of victims. As a writer, I am able to share my father’s story with my children and my children’s children, thereby creating an indelible connection to his past, our present and their future.

Renny DeGroot – Family Business

On April 12th Renny DeGroot held a launch party for her novel Family Business at Fromagerie Elgin in Sudbury, Ontario.

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Description from Renny’s website:

Set in the Netherlands against the backdrop of the Great Depression and through World War II, Family Business follows the story of Agatha Meijer and her sons, André and Johan, as they build their textile business, a business Agatha is determined her sons will carry on, regardless of their own desires.

Family tension comes to a head when the boys each take a stand, sending all their lives spinning in directions none of them would have ever anticipated, and making each of them question the true meaning of loyalty, love, and freedom.

The event was well attended and Renny was on hand to read from her novel and sign copies. Below are a few pictures from the event. If you want more information about the book or to order one, please visit Renny’s web site here

Book Launch Photos: Lisa Coleman-Brown

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Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts – May 1st, 2014

Eight local artists will be celebrated at the inaugural Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts this Thursday May 1st 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Laurentian School of Architecture.

Poet Daniel Aubin, playwright Mathew Heiti, musician Alexandra Lee and choreographer/dancer Lauren Pero have been shortlisted for the Sudbury Arts Council Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist.

The CN Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Arts will be presented at the event as well. Shortlisted for this aware are musician/producer Dan Bédard, composer Robert Lemay, musician/actor/broadcaster Stef Paquette and visual artist Heather Topp.

Tickets for the event are $50 and are available at Artists on Elgin or through Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario by visiting their website at www.letno.ca/billetterie or calling 705-525-5606, ext. 4 or, or through any of the Creative Consortium organizations.

PlaySmelter 2014 – New Play Festival Hits Sudbury Next Week!

PlaySmelter_PosterPlaySmelter 2014 full releaseMatthew Heiti, Playwright-in-Residence at the Sudbury Theatre Centre and the man behind the very successful Playwright’s Junction, forwarded the following:

 

Click here for PlaySmelter 2014 full release

Sudbury, ON – From May 6– 10, four new plays will be given their first readings in front of a live audience as part of PlaySmelter, at the Jubilee Centre. Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Colleen Murphy will join local writers Karen Thistle, Jenny Hazelton, Jesse Brady and North Bay native Kristin Shepherd in this initiative, produced by Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. The series, now in its second year, offers the rare opportunity for an audience to get their hands dirty by participating in the development of these important works-in-progress. All readings feature performances by local actors, and will be followed by lively discussions, accompanied by delicious offerings from new Sudbury vegetarian/vegan hotspot, The HeartBeet Café.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTSplaysmelter.ca

Tuesday, May 6th – Festival Kick-off – Playwrights’ Cabaret, a reading by Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Colleen Murphy.

Wednesday, May 7th – The Intermediaries by Karen Thistle. A young woman, facing the pressures of high school and growing pains, is entrusted with the care of the magical beings that inhabit Bell Park.

Thursday, May 8th – Dead Pan Land by Jenny Hazelton. Two people are drawn magnetically together. A riveting piece of physical theatre about the adventure of breaking free from the mundane day-to-day routine.

Friday, May 9th – Hope Op by Kristin Shepherd. A hilarious and poignant look at ageing. In their daily yoga class, four women plan a hostile takeover of a supermarket.

Saturday, May 10th – The Ballad of the Locked Out Gang by Jesse Brady. Mired in a long and bitter strike, a group of miners plot a daring gold heist.

All readings begin at 7:00pm at the Jubilee Centre (195 Applegrove). Admission to each evening is Pay-What-You-Can (suggested minimum $10).

The Festival will also feature Development Sessions for budding writers. During the afternoon of May 10th, from 2pm-6pm, instructor-led discussions will be offered on a variety of theatre creation hot-topics. Space in these intensives is limited, so please contact Matthew Heiti, at matthew@patthedog.org for more information.

In just its second year, PlaySmelter is a grassroots festival that is getting attention from outside the city. In addition to the funders from the pilot year (including Ontario Trillium Foundation) who remain committed Pat the Dog can boast new and increased funding from Canada Council ($15,000), OAC Northern Arts ($12,500), Access Copyright Foundation ($7500). Supported by local partnerships with The Days Inn, The HeartBeet Café and STC, the Festival is quickly growing. “We are thrilled that these are both provincial and national funders,” says Pat the Dog’s Artistic Director Lisa O’Connell. “It is proof of the value of local art being created here in Sudbury.”

All dollars raised for PlaySmelter stay in Sudbury. This year, the Festival will hire more than 30 local Arts and Culture workers over the course of a month, and all are compensated based on professional union rates. Many of the writers have gained experience through the Playwrights’ Junction workshop at the Sudbury Theatre Centre. Several of the writers featured at PlaySmelter have gone on to be professionally workshopped, and one of last year’s scripts, Blind Nickel Pig, by Lara Bradley, will received its premiere professional production by Sudbury’s Encore Theatre Company.

Pat the Dog Theatre Creation www.patthedog.org is dedicated to the support and advocacy of playwrights and their plays, and is the only playwright development centre in Ontario open to both established and emerging artists. Pat the Dog has more than 300 members across Ontario and is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. For the past two years, PTD has been working to develop and promote Sudbury playwrights.

Writing Exercise/Prompt

We here at the Guild try to encourage each other to write whenever possible. To that end we issue prompts once a year. These can be items — I wrote a funny story about demon babies and witches based on a such a prompt (a baby soother) — photographs, snatches of dialogue, or even randomly selected words/phrases. At our March 27th meeting (rescheduled to April 3rd) I offered the following exercise:

 

Gene Roddenbery, the creator of Star Trek, didn’t start out as a writer. He was a police officer for years before deciding that television was his true calling. Not having a lot of money or free time he couldn’t afford classes in writing so he taught himself using a simple trick — he watched TV. First he would watch with the sound off and try to write dialogue to fit the action. Then he would sit with his back to the TV and write action to the dialogue he heard. In that spirit I ask you to think of a favourite movie and write part of it (the opening, a favourite scene, etc.) in prose. Don’t mention what movie it is and see if we can guess the title just from the brief (500 word) sample. Below is an example I wrote many years ago — it’s a bit rough, but conveys the opening shot of one of my favourite movies (hint: it stars Richard Pryor, John Candy, and Hume Cronin).

 

The sun gaped like open wound in the sky. Bloated and sickly it hung against the washed out blue background. A blue only matched by overused urinal cakes, with not a porcelain white cloud in sight. What little warmth the gaseous orb shed fell limp upon the mostly yellow, threadbare grass.

That stretch of dying growth, which only a true believer would call an “out-field,” worked hard to make the shitty dirt look magical and inviting. Like every other aspect of the old ballpark, it failed miserably.

Crooked chalk baselines marked the field’s wobbly diamond. The fence, a collection of mostly vertical boards that had been painted years ago with a colour now little more than a memory, threatened to collapse with every stale breath of wind.

There were two dugouts. Twin pits not even fit for an animal. Both moldy. Neither had a working fountain … just rusting pipes that groaned and dinged before releasing a trickle of thick, disgusting slime.

Each dugout was built around a long bench, roughly cut pine, little more than a squared off log. The bench was a place most of the players were intimately familiar with, having spent plenty of time sitting on it – or others like it – throughout their careers. Knots covered its length, explaining why it hadn’t been cut for timber. Small holes marked where various species of insects resided … those that weren’t busy afflicting the players.

Behind the dugouts lurked the fans. A surly lot, more interested in the overpriced beer than the laughably inept action on the field, they jeered the home team and tried to find a comfortable spot in the unforgiving steel and concrete stands. Built to house six thousand, it echoed pathetically with a few hundred in the seats. The public address system screeched like a scalded cat, thankfully failing to convey the announcer’s incoherent ramblings.

All things considered, it was a ballpark worthy of the city of Hakensack.

None of this was noticed by the scrawny figure standing alone by the scared rubber of the uneven mound. Sixty-two feet six inches from home plate, give or take a foot, he was oblivious to his surroundings. Standing in a much-mended uniform, complete with a more pink than red bull rampant on his breast, he existed in his own little world.

Montgomery Brewster was unaware of the curses rising from the half empty stands or the obvious disrepair of the stadium around him. In his mind he was back at Wrigley Field pitching for the Cubs. Living, once again, the high life of The Show.

Family Business by Renny DeGroot – Book Launch

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Toadhollow Publishing invites you to the launch of Renny deGroot’s debut novel:

Family Business

When: 12th April (2 pm to 5 pm)

Where: Fromagerie Elgin

(5 Cedar St – enter on Elgin)

Please RSVP to:

toadhollowpublishing@toadhollowconsulting.ca

March 27th Meeting Postponed!

Our regularly scheduled meeting for March 27th has been postponed due to less than favourable weather.

The meeting will be rescheduled as early as next Thursday April 3rd, depending on the availability of the space.

Welcome Sudbury’s new Poet Laureate – Tom Leduc

One of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild own, Tom Leduc, was recently announced as Sudbury’s latest poet laureate. As Sudbury’s the third poet laureate he follows in the footsteps of Roger Nash and Daniel Aubin. Congrats Tom!

Here is the announcement from the city:

Welcome to our new Poet Laureate Tom Leduc

We are happy to share we have a new Poet Laureate, who will be in the position for the next two years. Tom Leduc has been chosen by our selection committee as the successful candidate.

Tom was officially announced to the community on Friday, February 21, at the the Canada Reads Storytelling Festival at the South End Library. CBC host Jason Turnbull interviewed Tom and welcomed him as the new laureate.

Tom works for Wajax Industrial Components by day and has been developing his writing and poetry in his spare time over the past seven years. He started submitting his work to local publishers in recent years and in 2012 won the Vale Living with Lakes Centre poetry contest with his poem “My Northern Lake”. Tom is a member of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild and as a representative of the Guild, performed a collection of poems at Sudbury’s very first Wordstock Festival. He also regularly contributes to the Library’s monthly poetry nights hosted at the Main Library. He is planning, as part of his legacy project for this position, to work with young people in the community and encourage and support children and youth with writing and poetry.

We will be sharing more information soon, including details about when Tom will be available to meet with the public at the Main LIbrary.

Congratulations Tom, we look forward to working with you!

from Greater Sudbury Public Library Website

You can also listen to Tom talk about his background and read his wonderful poem Slag Flower during an interview with the CBC’s Jason Turnbull by clicking the link below.

Tom Leduc interview on CBC Point North

Brian Henry Workshop – March 22nd – Sudbury

Creative writing teacher and editor Brian Henry is returning to Sudbury this spring to give a workshop on How to Make Your Stories Dramatic. Hosted by the Sudbury Writers’s Guild the workshop promises to be a popular one.

From Brian’s website – The Quick Brown Fox

This workshop is geared to both beginners and more experienced writers. We’ll look at the most important part of all stories whether fictional or true: the fully dramatized scene. You’ll learn some of the most successful tricks of the trade to make sure that you’ll never write a lifeless scene again.

We’ll look at both dialogue and action scenes. You’ll learn how to write great dialogue and how to mix it with your narrative so that the interaction between your characters comes alive. But the most difficult scenes of all are climactic action scenes; such as love scenes, chase scenes and fight scenes. Primarily using fight scenes as our examples, you’ll learn how to ramp up the tension you need for one of these high-octane performances.

For more details and to register, please visit the workshop page at Brian’s site – How to Make Your Writing Dramatic workshop, Sat, March 22, in Sudbury

Fee: $38.94 + 13% hst = $44 paid in advance.
or $42.48 + 13% hst = $48 if you wait to pay at the door.

Sudbury Writers’ Guild members get a $4 discount if they register in advance. Fee in advance for Guild members is $40.