The fall season of the 2017-18 Grimsby Author Series was closed out by two nationally celebrated literary figures (and Author Series veterans), Linden MacIntyre & Alison Pick. Both were at the Casablanca Winery Inn on a blustery November Monday to speak about their latest books, and impressed the audience with their deeply personal and moving talks about how they came to write them.
Before the authors arrived, there was a definite cozy feel in the air as series-goers made their way in from the cold to the Christmas tree lit room. Everyone was excited to hear our distinguished speakers and we all quickly settled in for another fantastic night. Trius Wines was our wine sponsor for the evening and shared with the audience a medium-bodied, slightly rich and fruity 2016 Chardonnay, and a medium-bodied 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon with a red currant and blackberry finish. Truly a delicious selection!
When Alison Pick last visited us she was on tour promoting Between Gods, a compelling memoir that dealt with the discovery of family secrets, and the struggle, exploration and ultimate reclaiming of her Jewish heritage.
In her latest work Strangers with the Same Dream, she continues this journey of discovery and understanding by delving into recent Jewish history in the Middle East. This is a stirring and powerful novel that provides a profound and emotional context to what was one of the most tumultuous events of the 20th century: the establishing of the Kibbutz in 1920’s Palestine that eventually lead to founding the modern country of Israel. Split into three narratives, we discover the intimate accounts of three pioneers whose ideals and dreams are confronted with the harsh realities of what they were trying to accomplish. Alison expertly and beautifully illustrates their overlapping perspectives to create a riveting, unapologetic and captivating book you won’t be able to put down.
On Monday, she gave an emotional and candid speech about the journey that led her to writing this story, and explained to us how it was instrumental to her own self discovery after converting to Judaism. Alison spoke eloquently and with passion and it was a wonderful experience to hear this talented author explain the process in her own words.
Linden MacIntyre has visited the Grimsby Author Series many times, and was back Monday night with a fascinating book about a man who harbours dark secrets, and his son’s quest to unravel them. Spanning three decades, The Only Cafe follows this mysterious character from atrocities committed in the Lebanese civil war in the early 1980’s, to the mid-2000’s where he disappears and is presumed dead after a dramatic explosion on his boat, to 5 years after that, when new evidence is discovered that appears to confirm his death. It is at this point his son begins his investigation to find out who his father was, and when he meets the equally mysterious, and possibly nefarious, Ari, who may hold the key to piecing it all together. In this novel Linden drives home the point that what we have done in the past never truly stays in the past, because it continues to affect the lives of everyone involved now and into the future – however big or small. When you try to suppress or hide it, it can come back to haunt you in ways you would have never imagined.
Linden’s depth of experience as a CBC journalist has given him the distinct ability and insight to fully set the scene for this kind of international drama. He manages to make the fallout his main character experiences feel real because he saw the devastation of the civil war in Lebanon for himself. Giving the audience, at times, a devastatingly raw account of his time there, we were able to catch a glimpse into how the author used his wealth of experience to create an incredibly vivid and true-to-life story.
Thanks to everyone who attended the first leg of the 2017-18 season, we had a blast with all of you, and we can’t wait to see you in the New Year! Ticket packages for the Winter 2018 session are still available, so if you’re looking for some seriously excellent stocking stuffers, make your way down to the Grimsby Library (or our website) to purchase yours before they’re gone. Perfect for the literature lover in your family!
At the end of the night door prizes were raffled off from our fabulous sponsors, which included items from Cole’s Florists, Objects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped Tea, Elipsis Day Spa, Lifelong Learning Niagara, Theatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to The Peanut Mill and Forks Road Pottery for providing our guest speakers with their lovely gifts.
A BIG thank you as well, of course, to Linden MacIntyre & Alison Pick for an inspirational and engaging evening, and for staying afterwards to sign copies of your books for the crowd. We had an amazing time, and it was the best possible way to conclude the fall season of the 2017-18 Grimsby Author Series!