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The Chat with Richard Van Camp

Richard Van Camp by William Au Photography

Author Richard Van Camp is a celebrated and beloved storyteller who has worked across many genres. His latest offering, Gather: On the Joy of Storytelling (University of Regina Press), shares what he knows about the power of storytelling—and offers some of his own favourite stories from Elders, friends, and family.

Richard Van Camp is a proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories and is the author of over twenty books, including the Eisner-nominated graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies. His bestselling novel The Lesser Blessed has been made into a movie that has also received critical acclaim. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Twitter and at www.richardvancamp.com.

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Trevor Corkum: Gather explores the power of storytelling and in particular, the power and gifts of storytellers in creating and maintaining community. Why was this book important to write?

Richard Van Camp: It has been one of the sweetest joys throughout my life to record, transcribe, upload and share stories from my Elders and Knowledge Ke …

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The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

DIRADDO, CHRISTOPHER 1, credit Vincent Fortier

Christopher DiRaddo’s sophomore novel, The Family Way (Esplanade), is a dynamic and rich exploration of queer family, parenthood, and the deep bonds of love that sustain us. He’s our guest this week on The Chat.

Writer Ann-Marie MacDonald calls The Family Way "a love letter to families, chosen and otherwise, and an engagingly bittersweet tale of the city of Montreal."

Christopher DiRaddo is the author of two novels: The Family Way and The Geography of Pluto. He lives in Montreal where he is the founder and host of the Violet Hour LGBTQ+ reading series.

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Trevor Corkum: The Family Way explores many ideas of family: families of birth, chosen families, and new family configurations. Why was it important for you to tackle this subject in your new novel?

Christopher DiRaddo: I wanted to write a book that would have been helpful for me to read as a young gay man. In my early twenties, I had no idea what the rest of my life would look like. I only knew that it would be different from those in my family and my friends from high school. But I still couldn’t picture it.

What would life be like without a traditional family? Would I be lonely? Forgotten? Bored?

In the end, the opposite happened. It may have taken me a while to find them, but my chosen family has made my life …

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The Chat with Krista Foss

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With Half Life (McClelland & Stewart), Krista Foss has delivered a spectacular sophomore novel, one that entangles complex questions of generational trauma, aging, and resistance with physics, indie music, and Danish mid-century furniture. She’s on The Chat this week to answer questions about her new book.

Madeleine Thien says of Half Life, “Every sentence is alive in this miraculous novel—one in which the listening ear of Niels Bohr bends towards an aspiring physicist, where history walks beside science, and where a world ‘undaunted by paradox’ exists only in theory. What do we believe, and who, and why? How do we continue if denied the love entwined with belief? What if forgiveness itself becomes a lasting injury? Krista Foss has a vast heart. She is a stunning writer.”

Krista Foss is the author of the novels Half Life (2021) and Smoke River (2014) both published by McClelland & Stewart. Her short fiction has appeared in several Canadian journals as well as Granta (UK) and has twice been a finalist for the Journey Prize. Her essay writing has been published in Best Canadian Essays and won the Prism International Creative Non-Fiction prize (2016) and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

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Trevor Corkum: Half …

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The Chat with Krista Foss

tagged: The Chat

kfossheadshot

With Half Life (McClelland & Stewart), Krista Foss has delivered a spectacular sophomore novel, one that entangles complex questions of generational trauma, aging, and resistance with physics, indie music, and Danish mid-century furniture. She’s on The Chat this week to answer questions about her new book.

Madeleine Thien says of Half Life, “Every sentence is alive in this miraculous novel—one in which the listening ear of Niels Bohr bends towards an aspiring physicist, where history walks beside science, and where a world ‘undaunted by paradox’ exists only in theory. What do we believe, and who, and why? How do we continue if denied the love entwined with belief? What if forgiveness itself becomes a lasting injury? Krista Foss has a vast heart. She is a stunning writer.”

Krista Foss is the author of the novels Half Life (2021) and Smoke River (2014) both published by McClelland & Stewart. Her short fiction has appeared in several Canadian journals as well as Granta (UK) and has twice been a finalist for the Journey Prize. Her essay writing has been published in Best Canadian Essays and won the Prism International Creative Non-Fiction prize (2016) and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

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The Chat with Carol Bruneau

Carol Bruneau by Nicola Davison(2)

For anyone who adores the work of famed painter Maud Lewis and has wondered about her life, Carol Bruneau’s new novel Brighten the Corner Where You Are (Vagrant Press/Nimbus) is for you. In the book, she imagines Maud’s life, first as a child, and then through the tumultuous years of her marriage and her eventual discovery as a beloved and eccentric folk artist.

In a starred review, Quill & Quire calls it “a welcome addition to the Lewis legacy.”

Carol Bruneau is the acclaimed author of three short story collections, including A Bird on Every Tree, published by Vagrant Press in 2017, and five other novels. Her first novel, Purple for Sky, won the 2001 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award. Her 2007 novel, Glass Voices, was a Globe and Mail Best Book and has become a book club favourite. Her most recent novel, A Circle on the Surface, won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award. Her reviews, stories, and essays have appeared nationwide in newspapers, journals, and anthologies, and two of her novels have been published internationally. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband and their dog and badass cat.

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Trevor Corkum: Brighten the Corner Where You Are is a fictionalized account of the life of Maud Lewis, one of Nov …

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The Chat with Shanice Nicole

Dear Black Girls (Metonymy) is a gorgeous picture book offering love and reassurance to Black girls the world over. Writer Shanice Nicole has collaborated with artist Kezna Dalz to create a work that’s empowering and timely. This week, Shanice is our guest on The Chat.

Shanice Nicole is a Black feminist educator, facilitator, writer, and (out)spoken word artist. She believes that everyone has the power to make change and dreams of a freer world for us all. Learn more about her work at shanicenicole.com.

Kezna Dalz is a multidisciplinary Black artist from Montreal. She cares about representation, and portrays the beauty of womanhood, teen/adult angst, and the worst of pop culture using vibrant colours. You can find more of her work at www.teenadultt.com.

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Trevor Corkum: Dear Black Girls, a picture book, is a love letter to Black girls around the world. Why was this project important to you?

Shanice Nicole: Dear Black Girls is a book that I would have wanted to read as a young Black girl and it's a book that I still want to read as an adult. There's something so important about seeing and feeling yourself not only represented but understood. That experience is something I wanted to offer through the poem and Kezna has beautifully translated that same experience th …

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The Chat with Eva Crocker

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This week we’re in conversation with author Eva Crocker. Her debut novel, All I Ask, (House of Anansi Press) was published to rave reviews last year and was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Star calls the novel “wickedly funny, sexy joyous ... with heart.”

Eva Crocker (she/her) is a writer and a PhD student at Concordia University where she is researching visual art in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her short story collection, Barrelling Forward, won the Alistair MacLeod Award for Short Fiction and the CAA Emerging Author’s Award.

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Trevor Corkum: From what I understand, All I Ask was partly inspired by an event that happened to you personally. Can you talk more about that, and how the novel progressed from there?

Eva Crocker: I began working on this story in 2017 after a group of about ten police officers, all heavily armed men, forced entry into my home in St. John’s early one morning. They told me I was under arrest for transmission of child pornography and began searching the house.
 
I was home alone and terrified, I asked several times to use a phone and was told I wasn’t allowed. I wasn’t given a chance to get dressed and had to go alone to my bedroom with a young man wearing a gun. They wanted to collect all my electronics to comb …

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The Chat with Sheree Fitch

Sheree Fitch NEW by Keith Minchin Photo

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia, Sheree Fitch penned a verse that captured the heartache so many were feeling. Originally broadcast in a national vigil to honour victims of the tragedy, Sheree’s poem Because We Love, We Cry was recently released in book format by Nimbus Publishing.

Sheree Fitch’s first two books, Toes in My Nose (1987) and Sleeping Dragons All Around (1989), launched her career as a poet, rhymster, and a “kind of Canadian female Dr. Seuss.” Fitch has won almost every major award for Canadian children’s literature since then, including the 2000 Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work Inspirational to Canadian Children. She has over twenty-five books to her credit, including her bestselling and critically praised adult novel, Kiss the Joy As It Flies (2008).

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Trevor Corkum: Because We Love, We Cry was written as a response to the tragedy in Portapique and surrounding areas last year. How did the poem come to life for you?

Sheree Fitch: That Sunday, as things unfolded, we were franti …

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The Chat with Kimiko Tobimatsu

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Author Kimiko Tobimatsu and illustrator Keet Geniza have teamed up to create Kimiko Does Cancer, a timely graphic memoir exploring the unexpected cancer journey of a young, queer, mixed-race woman. This week, Kimiko joins us on The Chat to talk more about the book.

The Toronto Star has high praise for Kimiko Does Cancer: “The best graphic novel autobiographies provide insight into the lives of remarkable people and Kimiko Tobimatsu’s story, complemented by the highly skilled art of Keet Geniza, is a particularly special privilege for us.”

Kimiko Tobimatsu is an employment and human rights lawyer by day. Kimiko Does Cancer, based on her own experience, is her first book.

Keet Geniza is a Filipinx-Canadian illustrator and comic artist. Born and raised in Manila, she moved to Toronto in 2006 and has since immersed herself in zines and comics as a way to document her struggles as a queer immigrant woman of colour. Kimiko Does Cancer is her first book.

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Trevor Corkum: Kimiko Does Cancer explores the aftermath of your diagnosis with breast cancer at a …

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The Chat with Eve Lazarus

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Eve Lazarus has drawn back the curtain on some of Vancouver’s secret places. Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History (Arsenal Pulp) explores some of the city’s hidden history, focusing in particular on the city’s architectural and urban spaces.

Author Aaron Chapman (Vancouver After Dark) says “Fond, funny, and fizzing with some of the most fascinating people and places, Vancouver Exposed is a highly readable and revelatory cultural history chock-a-block with as many illuminating photos as insights into the city itself.”

Eve Lazarus is a Vancouver writer and podcaster with an Aussie accent and a passion for true crime stories, cold cases, and non-traditional history. She is the author of four Arsenal titles: Cold Case Vancouver: The City's Most Baffling Unsolved Murders (2015), a BC bestseller and 2016 finalist for the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes; Blood, Sweat, and Fear: The Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver's First Forensic Investigator (2017); Murder by Milkshake: An Astonishing True Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and a Charismatic Killer (2018); and Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City's Hidden History (2020). She is also the author of Sensational Vancouver (2014), Sensational Victoria: Bright L …

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The Chat with David Bateman

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Acclaimed writer David Bateman has just released his fabulous debut novel, DR SAD (University of Calgary Press). It follows the life of Stephen, a poet and academic living in a small city in the Interior of BC who learns he is HIV positive.

The late artist and writer RM Vaughn said “Only David Bateman, one of our finest poets, could bring academe to such sensual life. DR SAD is the story of a generational shift, one that turned learning into careerism and writing into telegraphing, and, most important, all that’s been lost in this turn. DR SAD makes academe sexy again. That in itself is an Everest-like feat, but to do it with style and grace? Only David Bateman.”

David Bateman has a PhD in English literature with a specialization in creative writing from the University of Calgary. He is currently a freelance arts journalist, painter, and performance poet who lives in Toronto. His poetry collections, all from Frontenac House Press (Calgary), include Invisible Foreground, Impersonating Flowers, ’tis pity, and Designation Youth. His collaborative long poems include “Wait Until Late Afternoon” with Hiromi Goto (Frontenac House Press) and “Pause” with Naomi Beth Wakan (Bevalia Press). His collection of short stories and creative non-fiction entitled A …

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The Chat with Steven Heighton

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This week, we’re in conversation with author Steven Heighton. His memoir, Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos, (Biblioasis) was a recent finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

The 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction jury says:

"We know Steven Heighton as an award-winning poet and novelist. With Reaching Mithymna, he emerges as an indelible nonfiction writer. Combining his poetic sensibilities and storytelling skills with a documentarian’s eye, he has created a wrenching narrative from the front lines of the Syrian refugee crisis. In 2015, Heighton travelled to Greece, his mother’s homeland, equipped with a duffel bag, a notebook, and a conscience. Reaching Mithymna is a heart-rending story of humanity and sacrifice by a writer who put his own life on hold in a desperate and often futile attempt to help shipwrecked strangers find a safe and secure future for themselves and their children.”
 
Steven Heighton’s most recent books are a novel, The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep, which has appeared in French and Ukrainian translations and has been optioned for film, and a poetry collection, The Waking Comes Late, which received the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His …

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