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Celebrate International Week at the University of Alberta

Thousands of newcomers are pouring into Alberta from around the globe, bringing unexpected gifts. Many are writers and storytellers. What pulls them to Canada? What happens to them on the journey? What experiences have they deliberately left behind? What treasures do they bring? How do they describe their emerging sense of place and their creative aspirations in a new home? Join Linda Goyette and several writers from around the world to share their thoughts on creating a life in Alberta. You will hear very personal accounts of joy and sadness, regret and humour, homesickness and exuberance, describe the defining moments of a departure and an arrival.

Linda Goyette is a writer, editor and journalist with a strong interest in oral history and contemporary storytelling in Canada. The University of Alberta Press published Linda’s award-winning book, Edmonton In Our Own Words, in 2005.

While serving as Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library in 2005, Linda began to work with a group of gifted writers who had moved to Edmonton from 36 nations and wrote in languages other than English. Together they produced The Story That Brought Me Here: To Alberta From Everywhere. Several of the writers will join her to share their stories.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
7:30 – 9:00 pm
U of A Main Campus
Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS)
Saskatchewan Drive & 114 Street / Lecture Theatre 1-430
This event is free.  No rsvp is required. All are welcome.

(Meter parking is available along Saskatchewan Drive.)

Panel of Writers

Nduka Otiono, a journalist, poet and short story writer from Nigeria, Otiono came to the University of Alberta as a FS Chia Scholar in the Department of English and Film Studies. He has published two collections of poetry, one collection of short stories and he has edited several anthologies. Otiono is a former General Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors.

Jalal Barzanji, a Kurdish poet from northern Iraq, Barzanji arrived in Edmonton in 1998 where he has continued to contribute to Kurdish language publications around the world. He was named Edmonton’s first PEN Canada Writer in Exile in 2007. The author of several poetry collections, he recently completed his memoir, The Man in the Blue Pajamas, which is being published this spring with the University of Alberta Press.

Rita Espeschit moved to Edmonton from Brazil in 2001. Writing in Portuguese, she is the author of thirteen published books of children’s literature as well as poetry collections, stage plays and screenplays and she has also worked as a professional journalist in Brazil. She became Edmonton’s second PEN Canada Writer in Exile in 2008. After working at the Writers Guild of Alberta, Espeschit recently joined the staff at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension.

Goran Simic arrived in Edmonton from Toronto this month as the newly appointed PEN Canada Writer in Exile. He will divide his working time here between the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Public Library. Simic came to Canada from Bosnia in 1996, and has served as a senior resident at Massey College at the University of Toronto, and as a Writer in Exile at the Banff Centre. He has published collections of poetry, short stories, plays and essays and in 2006 founded a literary press in Toronto called Luna Publications.

Peter Midgley was born in Namibia and raised there and in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. He is a poet, editor and storyteller, and also writes children’s stories and plays. Midgley came to Edmonton in 1999 to complete a PhD at the University of Alberta, and is now acquisitions editor with the University of Alberta Press. In his most recent published collection of poetry, he writes in an intermingling of English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

The Story that Brought Me Here: To Alberta from Everywhere will be available for purchase and to get signed at the event.

All are welcome:  Please forward this invitation to anyone who may be interested and encourage friends to join you for an informative evening in a beautiful new University of Alberta facility.

For more information on International Week, please follow this link:

Video review of Prodigal Daughter in Ukrainian

In a first for a University of Alberta Press title, Myrna Kostash’s Prodigal Daughter has received a video review, in Ukrainian no less.

UkieTalks features a write-up and an embedded YouTube video by reviewer Stanislav Nastenko. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I had to run the text through Google Translate in order to catch the gist.

What’s really awesome is the video review. I think we will see more of these in time. Very innovative, thank-you Stan!

CAAWS Announces Most Influential Women for 2010

CAAWS, the Canadian Association for the advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, wants to recognize women who have made a significant impact in sport and physical activity. In announcing their list of Most Influential Women 2010, they included the editorial board for the Women and Coaching Journal, both for their work on the journal and for publishing Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions from Female Coaches.

The University of Alberta Press is proud to be associated with Sheilagh Croxon, Guylaine Demers, Gretchen Kerr, Dru Marshall, Rose Mercier, Sheila Robertson, and Penny Werthner. Congratulations!

[Here is the complete list of women being recognized.]

Alberta Readers’ Choice Top Ten!

Albertans and beyonders take note: librarians in the province have spoken, and the following UAP titles have been selected to be considered by the Book Publishers’ Association of Alberta Book Champion panel:

Memory's Daughter cover Too Bad cover Prodigal Daughter cover

Memory’s Daughter by Alice Major

Too Bad: Sketches Twoards a Self-Portrait by Robert Kroetsch

Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium by Myrna Kostash

The panel is set to trim the list down to five finalists, at which point readers may weigh in to elect their favourite. Check out the 2011 ARC website for more details.

And most certainly, read the books! There’s no shortage of world-class literature being written and published in Alberta. Congratulations to Alice, Robert, and Myrna! We’re rooting for you!!

Will the Real Alberta Please Read this Book?

Geo Takach is a media renaissance man: filmmaker, writer, singer-songwriter, teacher, journalist, stand-up comic and speechifier. His new book, Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up? is provoking talk, thought and laughter wherever it goes. He has been handling interviews from various media; he even did a live phone-in show on CBC Radio One back in December, fielding thorny questions and comments from all kinds of Albertans. His interviews at the St. Albert Gazette and the Calgary Herald offer glimpses into the book and the author’s indefatigable passion for this province.

Geo worked closely with University of Alberta’s Geoff McMaster to produce UAP’s very first book trailer:

All of this helps stimulate conversation about place, people, and culture. It affords Albertans a view of themselves that is big and busy and challenging without sanctimony or exclusion. Genuine comedy. No one is safe from the mirror—which means Geo has somehow succeeded in fitting all of us into the frame.

And if last night’s Edmonton launch is any indication—a wildly entertaining variety show at the Provincial Archives of Alberta where Geo did a lot of his research—we’ll be talking, thinking, and laughing about this book for a long time.

Geo will be launching in Calgary at Pages on Kensington tomorrow, Thursday, January 13 at 7:30.

Book launch: Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up?

Dateline: Provincial Archives of Alberta, Edmonton.

With a great splash and a whack of vaudevillia, Geo Takach and about 70 friends and fans braved the cryogenic night to fête the publication of his carnivalesque cultural history that quests after the essence of that upstart Canadian province, Alberta. We’ve done a few book launches at UAP, but none like Geo’s. If the Smothers Brothers had written this book, this is how they’d have launched it. Geo did stand up comedy, he staged a talk show with guests Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (played by master thespian Michele Brown) and Albertosaurus (played by the dashing Jeff Carpenter), he screened a 4-minute micro-doc about his fave subject (titled Dual Alberta) followed by the world premiere of the book’s theatrical trailer (look for the 2-minute director’s cut/extended play version due out soon), and, finally, he and his son performed their “Alberta Song.” A perfect tonic for a cold Alberta night.

There was wine—both kinds!—and a multifarious spread of considered comestibles (visionary work, Cathie Crooks, arraying the beef jerky next to the camembert next to the maple leaf cookies next to the wasabi-covered peanuts, etc.)

Thanks go out to Jessica and Donna at the Provincial Archives of Alberta, who did so much to ensure this came off without a hitch. And thanks too, to everyone who came out last night!

Geo is heading to Calgary to try and somehow replicate the glory of this celebration. If you are in town tomorrow, Thursday, January 13, head to Pages on Kensington for 7:30. You won’t be disappointed by this thoroughly researched and highly entertaining miscellany.

Myrna Kostash interview

In December 2010 Myrna Kostash spoke with Roman Brytan, Program Director at 101.7 World FM, about her new book, Prodigal Daughter:

Myrna has been travelling tirelessly this season, launching Prodigal Daughter in several cities and speaking with scholars and media. In November, she was in Toronto to receive the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life.

Visit Myrna’s author site to see where she’ll be next.


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