We’re back! This past Monday we were at the Casablanca Winery Inn again to kick off the spring 2019 season of the Grimsby Author Series. In a first for our Series, we skipped the coldest months of the year, and are now holding 3 events in March, April and May. Remembering those frigidly cold and windy winter nights from years gone by, we were happy to see everyone’s slightly less frostbitten faces again in warmer temperatures. We couldn’t think of a better way to say hello to spring and a whole new season of great reading than with the two authors we brought to our stage on Monday night, Iain Reid and Anna Porter. With delightful refreshments from Calamus Estate Winery, a packed house and an excited buzz in the air, the mood was set for a fantastic night.
Iain Reid was thinking about becoming a fiction writer for a while. As a critically acclaimed non-fiction author, his first two books One Bird’s Choice and Truth About Luck featured himself as the protagonist. After speaking with someone about both of these books, and learning that their friend had read them, but didn’t like the main character (him), the idea of fiction-writing really started to take hold. He fulfilled this dream in 2016 with his first novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things. This book has now been published in more than twenty countries, with Oscar-winning screenwriter and celebrated director Charlie Kaufman now creating a movie based on it (in fact, filming had begun that very day in upstate New York). A pretty good start.
Following suit, Iain Reid’s latest mind bending thriller Foe has been selling out on shelves all across the country, and feature film rights have been acquired. An eerie, haunting and bizarre tale of a couple secluded from society, the theme of confinement in the book is reflected by both the size of the book and the fact that most of the action takes place within the walls of their house. Short and sweet, succinct and powerful, that’s how Iain Reid likes to write. Whereas some books are big and more like a thanksgiving meal – developing over time, his are short – more like a special sauce that has been reducing all day on the stove and the first spoonful tastes just perfect.
What better way to finish the evening than with Anna Porter? You could say that this author’s life, as well as her new memoir In Other Words, celebrate all things to do with Canadian literature – what a perfect a match for the Grimsby Author Series! The book, which has been called “A love letter to Canada’s authors and creative agitators…” gives readers a backstage pass to the Canadian publishing world, where we meet the biggest names in our country’s literary scene. It was her grandfather who originally sparked her love of stories, and it’s amazing to see how far that love has taken her.
Speaking in the same captivating style she writes in, Anna’s talk was full of anecdotes about her extraordinary life in Canada which started when she scored her dream job at McClelland & Stewart in 1969. She was lucky enough to be hired by Jack McClelland himself (which she suspects was due to her truly inventive resume). After being put to the test reading all 15 of the ‘Canadian Library’ over a weekend, he was impressed enough to put her exactly where she wanted to be: reading manuscripts for one of the biggest publishing houses in the country. During her time there, and later as co-founder of Key Porter publishing company, she has worked with the likes of Farley Mowat, Leonard Cohen, Peter C. Newman, Margaret Atwood and Margaret Laurence (who she considers a national treasure). All the time Anna was writing her own novels, and in a perfect story arc, has become an award-winning author in her own right. It was truly a pleasure to have this Canadian publishing legend come and share her stories with us.
Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night which included fabulous items from our sponsors Cole’s Florists, Objects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped Tea, Elipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art Shoppe, Theatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to The Peanut Mill, tMac Pottery and Trius Winery for providing our guest speakers with their wonderful gifts. We very happily welcomed back Epic Books of Hamilton as our book sellers as well, it was great to see and work with you again!