Ashley Audrain and Thomas King at the Grimsby Author Series

The summer solstice marked the final evening of our 20th Grimsby Author Series season! We were joined by Ashley Audrain, author of The Push who reminds us of the interpretations and perceptions of motherhood while Thomas King, creator of Sufferance, explores our ties to the finite world and how we cooperate together as we move through life.

Ashley Audrain

Six months after her child was born Ashley Audrain took the leap to challenge the realities of motherhood and the ideals that are expected from it. She did this in the form of her first novel, The Push. Formerly the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada, Audrain set out to create a compulsive page-turning read that would spark the conversation around motherhood beyond those who birth a child. The Push was written scene by scene about the fears and constructs of taking on a new role as a woman. “The real experience is vastly different than what you grow up learning it should look like…you are giving everything from love, to nourishment to time and there are little things left of you,” Audrain admits. She writes with astute detail about the profound transformation demanded from one’s body and the understanding that is often overlooked when such tremendous changes take place beyond your physicality. 

"The real experience is vastly different than what you grow up learning it should look like...you are giving everything from love, to nourishment to time and there are little things left of you."

The Push is a series of vignettes that poignantly showcase the before and after, the loss of identity and the diminishing sanity of Blythe Connor, mother to Violet and wife of Fox. She begins to question what she understood of motherhood and how to navigate a new chapter of her life where everyone has an opinion and holds her to exhaustive standards. Blythe does not connect with her daughter Violet who is distant and unaffectionate, much like her ties to her own mother and Blythe is convinced that something is not right. Fox, her husband, does not acknowledge her concerns about Violet and sees her as his struggling wife. It is not until their son Sam is born that Blythe feels a deeper attachment. What do you do when you can’t live up to the expectations of becoming a new mother? Or when what you thought is layered with fears, challenges and uncertainty?

Thomas King

Thomas King has transformed his love of writing between novels, short stories, children’s books, television and more. He is regarded as one of the most exceptional contemporary Aboriginal writers in North America. King uses the analogy of a front load washing machine to describe the American political scene; a circular motion that keeps going round and round where nothing ever happens and we don’t see beyond to the larger problems. That is what he wanted to try with Jeremiah Camp, the main character of his new novel Sufferance. “If I have to suffer this modern contemporary world, why shouldn’t my characters?” he asked when prompted to describe his similarities to Camp. King explained that by looking at society with reason and intelligence it can be observed that you can predict what might happen.

“If I have to suffer this modern contemporary world, why shouldn’t my characters?”

As a Forecaster, Jeremiah has the ability to notice patterns among the day-to-day cooperation of society to inform the opportunities taken by the rich and powerful. Overcome, Camp eventually flees to an old residential school on an Indian reserve with the hopes of hiding out of sight from the company who formerly employed him, the Locken Group. But before running away, Camp’s forecast produced a list of billionaires who are now suddenly dying off and he is tracked down for his skills. When referring to the phrase that got the book going, ‘We exist at the sufferance of others,’ King responded with, “Groups like billionaires think that they move and think on their own and are self-sustaining,” and reminds the reader that participation and understanding are necessary when it comes to how we treat people. Thomas King is fierce in his narrative about the imbalance within humanity that was created by privilege and power.

Thank you

As the 20th anniversary season comes to a close, a big thank you is reserved for the sponsors of the Grimsby Author Series who have supported this series throughout its impressive run. We look forward to the 21st season which will kick-off in the fall over Zoom.

Thank you to Harbour Estates Winery, the Hamilton Philharmonic and Objects to Desire for being a part of our final event this season. We are proud to have our series take place on National Indigenous Peoples’ Day as we reflect on the treaty agreement of sharing the land, side by side. Thank you to our authors, Ashley Audrain of The Push and Thomas King author of Sufferance for joining us, we wish you continued success! Our wonderful Epic Books of Hamilton will have copies available for purchase.

This blog post was written by our wonderful guest blogger Teanne Teeft, thanks Teanne!

Paula McLain and Edward Rutherfurd at the Grimsby Author Series

Welcome once again to the third event of our 20th season! Paula McLain graced our screens from her home in Cleveland, Ohio while Edward Rutherfurd made his debut to the series from Connecticut. These authors embrace the creative ideas that have come knocking on their door. They whole-heartedly immerse themselves in the worlds they write of and have honed the art of translating it to readers who are eager to be transported into their universe. We are delighted to be joined by Paula McLain, author of When the Stars Go Dark and Edward Rutherfurd, author of China: The Novel.

Paula McLain

The name Paula McLain is often synonymous with historical fiction and her clarity to paint the past with such astute detail. The idea for When the Stars Go Dark came to her while she was out for a long walk with her dog. The extended walk for an energetic canine gave her the opportunity to steep herself in the suspenseful concept that would soon connect her life deeply to her new novel. McLain admits, “If I knew I was going to pull off all of those layers [of my own life], I would have run the other way.” There is a lot of trust and self-awareness that is created when a story ties so tightly to intimate and personal events and McLain simultaneously tributes her craft and past while building the foundation of her work.

When the Stars Go Dark opens in the fall of 1993 with Anna, a detective who focuses on missing children in San Francisco who is navigating the hurdles of recent tragedies. When she flees to Mendocino in northern California, a place woven with past memories, Anna learns of a missing local teenage girl. This stirs up traumas of her past as her life becomes intertwined with the mystery of the youth’s disappearance. While McLain was engulfed in research, a podcast playing at the time, she tuned in as the name Polly Klaas surrounded her. Her preliminary writing began to echo back to her while listening to the real-life tragedy of young Polly Klaas who was kidnapped during a slumber party in October 1993 and found that December within an hour’s drive of Mendocino. As the hairs on the back of her neck stood tall it was clear the path her novel would travel, “I can tell a story,” she said, “but this is someone’s reality.”

Edward Rutherfurd

From the cadence of his voice while reading a short passage it is clear that author Edward Rutherfurd has internalized all 784 pages of his new work, China: The Novel. As a retirement present to himself this prolific writer went to China. Describing his travels as anything but a holiday, Rutherfurd did everything but rest. He traveled wherever he could and asked questions at each turn. “The history [of China] is so huge I wasn’t going to write about it,” he concedes, but here we are with his weighty and exhilarating novel in-hand.

China: The Novel is a collection of historical events woven together by various storylines and the fictional characters who lead the way. Beginning with the First Opium War, Rutherfurd chronicles the waves of China’s past through the lens of Chinese, British and American families. Although the content is dense and loaded with crucial research, readers are graced with stories of love, betrayal, fortune and peril. Through developed character narratives, Edward Rutherfurd shines a light on the ever unfolding country of China as it theatrically toils over perception, honour and rising power. 

When writing such an extensive and literally heavy novel, one might be curious how he stays organized. At this, Edward Rutherfurd produces a full belly laugh and admits that his writing process is chaotic. Even when producing huge books, a sense of architecture and musicality is required. “Architectonics is marrying the music and architecture. I don’t story board, I let things take over,” he says. His creativity gets the best of him every time, he simply does not interfere with the book.

Thank You

When inspiration visits Paula McLain and Edward Rutherfurd they listen and observe what it has to offer. One author shifted genres to observe her creativity more deeply while the other simply could not relent post-retirement. The Grimsby Author Series is proud to bask in an evening with individuals so in love with their craft. A big thank you to our authors, we hope to see you at the series in-person!

A deep thank you to our sponsors at Peller Estates Winery, Objects to Desire and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for providing our remarkable door prizes for the evening. As always, contact our beloved Epic Books of Hamilton for signed copies of When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain and China: A Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. Our next event of the season will take place on Monday, June 21 at 7 p.m., tickets are on sale now!

This blog post was written by our wonderful guest blogger Teanne Teeft, thanks Teanne!

Mary Lawson and Robert Rotenberg at the Grimsby Author Series

Welcome back to the second winter event of our anticipated 20th season! More than one hundred and thirty members of the Author Series community logged on to support the Grimsby Library as we greeted the eloquent Mary Lawson and Robert Rotenberg. This evening our roots remained in Ontario as our guests painted the picture of a mysterious life in the north and a series of murders in Toronto. While one author brings us to the past, the other observes the present to anticipate the thought-provoking headlines to come. We are delighted to be joined by Mary Lawson, author of A Town Called Solace and Robert Rotenberg, author of Downfall.

Mary Lawson

Mary Lawson joined us just after midnight from England for our 7 p.m. stream in Grimsby (thanks for staying up late with us!). With her first twenty-two years in Northern Ontario, Lawson calls herself a Canadian to this day, “it is home, it is what formed me,” she says. In her recently released novel, A Town Called Solace, we are transported back in time to how Lawson herself recalls the north. “I just hate research,” she laughs, “I stick to what I know.” The book is set in 1972 and opens by introducing the readers to Clara, a young girl who is set on looking after her neighbour’s cat, Moses. However, after no sign of Mrs. Orchard’s return, young Clara sees the mysterious Liam Kane, Elizabeth Orchard’s former young neighbour moving into the house. But what does this mean for Clara as she adamantly watches out the window, looking at the neighbour’s home but longing for the return of her missing sister, Rose?

If you travel to any small town in Northern Ontario, one may come across a handful of Lawson’s eclectic characters from her new novel. With humble brilliance, Mary Lawson captures the inner light of every character, all having abundantly detailed lives beyond their introduction. “The minor [characters] evolve, just as the main ones do, and taking it sentence at a time, you learn a lot about each one,” she reveals. Lawson’s sister is a therapist and her brother still lives in northern Ontario, both acting as a lifeline of inspiration to fully form the individuals that live within her pages. Previous to COVID-19, Mary was able to visit often and now uses her novels as a means to come back to Canada and return home. She sums up what it means to belong somewhere, saying, “The things you pick up before you know who you are form you, much in the way the people you grow up with and the landscape you grow up in.”

Robert Rotenberg

Robert Rotenberg is the author of a fleet of crime-based novels. In his new novel, Downfall, head of homicide Ari Greene returns to investigate a series of murders involving the homeless population of Toronto at the Humber River Golf Course. A pattern woven throughout Rotenberg’s books is his clarity while capturing the diversity, social issues and the rhythm of living and working in Toronto. When he sits with his publisher the question is, “What will happen in the next two years and what will people identify with?” From these moments Rotenberg has assembled a chronological timeline of the city through his novels. This signature feature in his writing meticulously reveals the rapidly changing landscape of a city like Toronto while bringing contemporary controversies to light.

By day, Rotenberg is a criminal lawyer where he has a front row seat to human emotion. When practicing law, he must understand his clients and in the pages of his book he illuminates this perception through his characters. Rotenberg focuses on character, action, setting and voice to activate the momentum of his fiction. When finishing the first draft of the manuscript for Downfall, he went on the early morning coffee runs to put himself into the day-to-day events he creates to establish a deeper connection to his character’s actions. Robert Rotenberg believes in good writing, no matter the form it appears in. He is currently working on another novel.

Thank you

Thank you to our authors for joining the Grimsby Author Series this evening. We are elated to have you on our screens from beyond the lake and across the pond. A deep thank you goes out to our sponsors tonight at Good Earth Food & Wine Co.Objects to Desire and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. For copies of A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson and Downfall by Robert Rotenberg, see our fabulous Epic Books of Hamilton. Our next event of the season will take place on Monday, May 31 at 7 p.m. and tickets are on sale now!

Jesse Thistle and Jennifer Robson kick off the spring 2021 Grimsby Author Series

The Grimsby Author Series is officially back for another stimulating spring season! As the Series is now being brought virtually to viewers over Zoom, authors are able to join from their home offices from anywhere in the world. This appealing feature will be noticed throughout upcoming events. However, for this evening’s stream we were joined locally by authors Jesse Thistle (From the Ashes) and Jennifer Robson (Our Darkest Night) who articulate the many sides of survival, perseverance and connection.

Jesse Thistle joins the author series with From the Ashes, which arrived on shelves in August 2019. Since its premier, Thistle has been moving through the obligations of a new bestselling author from attending events and readings while continuing his work as an assistant professor, Ph.D. candidate and advocate. Truly grounded to the earth, he wears lavender around his neck during events and connects to nature with a daily ten-kilometre walk. Jesse refers to himself as an accidental author having been offered a book contract following an article about him in the Toronto Star. Appearing incredibly humble, his writing is anything but; he acknowledges the responsibility of creating his own situations and writes with openness and clarity in this memoir of resilience.

From the Ashes feels like a flowing narrative as in story after story we glimpse the moments that shaped Thistle. This is a collection of forty-four years captured in a mere 384 pages. In these pages, the reader joins Jesse through abandonment, the foster-care system, a clash with austere grandparents, addiction, homelessness and self-destruction. As Metis-Cree-Scot, he brings his powerful Indigenous heritage to the forefront of his story. Though it was not at all the case in his pursuits growing up, his identity was the key to him moving through his addiction. His perseverance deepened with the help of many and in acknowledging his journey he relays this message to Indigenous youth: “You are loved.” Jesse Thistle is currently working on his second work about his uncle who lived as a professional bank robber. 

Jennifer Robson is a bestselling author of historical fiction set during and after the world wars. Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War is her sixth novel. What brings the balance of depravity and courage to life is Robson’s ability to capture an ordinary moment, “You can close your eyes and imagine what the air smells like…know the taste of their limited food and the state of hunger…” thus crafting tender moments and the trauma of war. The main protagonist, Antonina, was presented to Robson which led to the development of the novel’s relationships and her setting. Our Darkest Night paints the world of Antonina, sent with the hope to survive by fleeing Venice now occupied by Nazi Germany, to the countryside. Nina must leave her Italian Jewish family and pose as the bride of Nico, a proper man forced from the seminary to run his family’s farm. Hope, love and courage guide their journey together as they try to convince suspicious officials of their affection. Soon, the bond of survival turns to flares of true love.

Jennifer Robson expressed, “It is in the complicated grey areas where the true and deep stories lie.” Our Darkest Hour is more than historical fiction that displays the complexities of another time, it is inspired by true events. Robson encourages people to listen to the voices of those who endured this period because, “we are losing them along with their knowledge and their memories.” Currently, she is writing another work that focuses on the lives of ordinary people who get caught up in the extraordinary during the post-war era.

Thank you to Jesse Thistle and Jennifer Robson for safely joining the Grimsby Author Series from their homes, allowing each event to be accessible to so many. We are honoured to be sponsored this evening by Malivoire Wine Company, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Objects to Desire. A big thank you to Epic Books of Hamilton who will have signed copies of From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle and Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson available. Our next event will take place on April 19th and tickets are now available.

This blog post was written by our wonderful guest blogger Teanne Teeft, thanks Teanne!

Our next event

Mary Lawson and Robert Rotenberg

Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m. via Zoom webinar

Tickets now on sale / $10 per person

Buy tickets to this event

Enjoy a Zoom Webinar with critically acclaimed authors Mary Lawson and Robert Rotenberg. They’ll be discussing their latest novels and taking questions from the audience.

This event features:

Amy Stuart & Samantha M. Bailey close out the Fall 2020 Grimsby Author Series

As the fall season comes to a close, the Grimsby Author Series welcomed two bestselling Canadian authors to our virtual stage. Samantha Bailey and Amy Stuart remain bound by their ability to dominate with their thrilling new fiction. From the first chapter both authors create an explosive atmosphere, tension forced to the brim. It is with this heavy impact that Bailey and Stuart release their creative capabilities, start to finish.

Samantha Bailey

Standing on a Toronto subway platform, Samantha Bailey found the inspiration for her debut novel, Woman on the Edge. While watching a mother, stressed and exhausted with a newborn, Bailey thought, “What if? What if she wanted me to take her baby?” That is where the roots took hold as the story began to grow. The timeline follows Morgan Kincaid who must retrace the steps of the woman, Nicole Markham, who jumped from the train platform. Through pulse-tensing twists Bailey compels readers to constantly guess what will follow on the next page—this sense of the unknown is heightened to the brink by using dual perspectives.

How does one write a best-selling thriller, one might ask? People, Bailey describes. When creating, her Beach Babes are her support, “They will tear you apart because they want the best for you and that makes [the work] easier,” she says about the group of women she goes away with each year. When it comes to research and the details that honed each brilliant shift, Samantha Bailey also utilizes the power of people. More specifically detectives and private investigators. On one occasion, a friend that works as a detective constable contributed to her exploration by inviting her to visit a police station. Here, she entered through the sally port and was a suspect for a day; there were fingerprints, the evidence room and a short-lived stay in a holding cell. Bailey says, “people were generally very willing [to talk],” when she probed various departments about details (but only after thoroughly explaining the research was for a novel, of course).

Amy Stuart

In 2017, Amy Stuart joined the Grimsby Author series with her first novel, Still Mine. Though her novels can be read as stand-alones, Stuart knew that the story of Clare O’Dey would not fit into one book. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, her journey has spread across a third. Still Here is the latest novel from this best-selling author. In Still Here private investigator Clare must face some bitter truths when her partner Malcom goes missing and Clare knows that she might be the one with the answers needed to find him. But is Malcom the man she thinks he is? Intricately coiled, Amy Stuart bends the mind as the truth unfolds.

While writing the Still series, Stuart knew that she wanted Clare to be the hero in a way that would redefine what it meant to be one. “I wanted Clare to feel really authentic,” she admits, knowing that at the beginning her main character would have to make some controversial decisions. It is no wonder that women are the leading authors in the thriller and suspense genres. Stuart interprets the female influence on crime fiction as being “the idea of fear and the way we experience fear. There is a language that women can speak to each other about fear, like walking alone at night.” It is with this genuine connection that readers are able to witness Clare’s journey. 

Behind Amy Stuart a white board is filled with pink post-it notes, all lined up. “When you’re not actually writing, you need to be productive. It’s a thought organizer and reminds me, ‘hey, you have a book to write!’” says Stuart, looking at the layout of her Plot Board on her wall. For the audience, the mind sprints forward while imagining the many paths of Clare O’Dey detailed on those notes over the years. We are very grateful for this small glimpse into the process behind her creation.

Thank you

A great author brings forth the power of people to let a book be heard even in the midst of a pandemic. The Grimsby Author Series is overjoyed to have had two of them join us for the close of the Fall 2020 season. A big thank you to Samantha Bailey and Amy Stuart for joining our virtual event, we look forward to more from both of you. Thank you to Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for providing our remarkable door prizes for the evening. As always, contact our beloved Epic Books of Hamilton for signed copies of Woman on the Edge by Samantha Bailey and Still Here by Amy Stuart.

This blog post was written by our wonderful guest blogger Teanne Teeft, thanks Teanne!

The recording of this event is unavailable due to technical difficulties. We apologize for any inconvenience!

A note from the Grimsby Author Series committee…

The Grimsby Author Series committee would like to thank our loyal community for sticking with us while we navigated our first ever virtual event series this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These events would not be possible without all of you, and we could not ask for a more wonderful and supportive audience. We would also like to express our heartfelt appreciation to all the people who sent us letters and filled out our feedback forms, as well as those who so generously submitted donations during this difficult time. All of your lovely sentiments about our Series and the library are so appreciated and we are overwhelmed by the show of love and support. Thank you!

We are looking forward to the New Year with a whole new roster of virtual author events in 2021, with guests like Mary Lawson, Jesse Thistle and more. We will be announcing the full line-up in January so stay tuned. Have a wonderful, happy and safe New Year from all of us on the Grimsby Author Series committee and Grimsby Public Library!

Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown at the October Grimsby Author Series

In their most recent novels, national bestselling authors Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown both write about women and their fight for their future. Whether it is in the magic-filled world of an Iron Age Britain or the parallels between the modern day and a 1950s New York suburb, the issues of love, resilience and family tether these novels.

Watch a recording of this event below:

Cathy Marie Buchanan

Cathy Marie Buchanan transports readers—not only in time and place, but to a world painted rich with detail and textured with her imagination. Daughter of Black Lake is her first novel since The Painted Girls in 2012, a New York Times best-seller. Deciding the setting for Daughter of Black Lake appeared when Buchanan was flipping through a newspaper when the photo of a preserved thousand-year-old body with lines in the face and a noose mark around the neck caught her attention. Peat from a bog had carefully upheld the remains, hence the name “bog bodies.” From this vivid article she became curious about earlier generations and societies that were bound by the land, offering sacrifices in return for a high crop yield. Buchanan then recognized that the research for her next book would be very different than her other novels. Once it was clear that there was little written word and poor archaeologic record because of the various points of view, she zeroed in on an expert of the British Iron Age to take her on a trip to see for herself.

Magic flows freely through the traditions and rituals of a remote, ancient settlement during the first century AD. “I included magic because it was integral to how [the people] understood their world at the time. We have science and our origins, they have magic,” says Buchanan. She used more speculation and imagination while filling in the unknown of the world at this time and “it was very liberating!”

Daughter of Black Lake is full of enchantment and at its heart details a kinship with the earth. Hobble, daughter of Devout, has a remarkable gift propelling her deeply into the powers of the natural world. Cathy Marie Buchanan reminds us of our utter reliance on Mother Nature, that we have lost our sense of “awe” with regards to all she does for us. Buchanan closes with, “Hopefully while reading, people will look around and see what is around them.”

Karma Brown

Karma Brown’s captivating fifth novel, Recipe for a Perfect Wife, is a dual narrative that leaps across sixty years. In a suburban town outside of New York City, Alice Hale has relocated with her husband only to feel the overwhelming pressure to settle down and start a family. It is only when she finds a cookbook in her new home that she begins to find purpose in her day-to-day. The cookbook ties Alice to Nellie Murdoch, the 1950s housewife and former inhabitant of her new home. As Alice immerses herself in Nellie’s essence, disconcerting parallels begin to reveal themselves.

Being a lover of vintage cookbooks, a copy of The Purity Cookbook 875 Tested Recipes, became Brown’s talisman, a tangible object where she could center her characters. As Alice becomes obsessed with Nellie and the 1950s housewife culture, Karma Brown considers the correlation between the modern marriage and a time when a Ladies’ Home Journal existed. Though Nellie has had a more constricted life and must exude a more aggressive stance about how to achieve her independence, Brown highlights with great force that the fight for women’s autonomy has been a long and winding road.

A simmering mystery and timely novel, Recipe for a Perfect Wife is not shy about reiterating the dialogue we need to hear surrounding feminism, empathy, happiness and respect.

Thank you

To Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown, thank you for a powerful evening so full of knowledge surrounding your writing process and the overflow of research you sift through to weave your stories together. It was an enchanting to share a screen with you. Thank you to Bush Pilot Brewing Company and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for providing two lucky winners with your stellar giveaways! For signed copies of our featured novels, contact our beloved Epic Books of Hamilton.

This blog post was written by our fwonderful guest blogger Teanne Teeft, thanks Teanne!

November Grimsby Author Series

Monday, November 23

Amy Stuart and Samantha M. Bailey

Enjoy this Grimsby Author Series event from the comfort of your own home! Bestselling Canadian authors Amy Stuart and Samantha Bailey will be discussing their latest novels and taking questions from the audience via a free Zoom Webinar.

Event details:
Monday, November 23
Amy Stuart / Still Here
Samantha M. Bailey / Woman on the Edge
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Free

Register for this event

Door prizes
This evening this will feature giveaways from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra! One lucky winner will be chosen for each of the giveaways from those who complete our post-event survey. 

Signed copies of the books
If you would like to get a signed copy of either Still Here or Woman on the Edge please email or call our wonderful sponsors at Epic Books of Hamilton. They’ll have signed books ready, just tell them you would like to order one as a guest of the Grimsby Author Series.

Deliveries are free within Hamilton (on orders over $25), or if you’d like to pick it up at the library, let them know at the time of purchase.  We’ll let you know when it is ready to pick up here.

Emma Donoghue & Helen Humphreys kick-off the 20th season of the Grimsby Author Series

On Monday, September 14, the 20th season of the Grimsby Author Series began. From humble beginnings, the series has grown its community over the past two decades. The Series is fortuitous to have new members join the conversation each season, and honored to see attendees return again and again from the first days at the Elizabeth Street Pumphouse.

To all that joined in on Monday, it was a joy to see the support for the series continue to thrive. Throughout this time in history, a time where many are embracing a book as a place of solace, escape and adventure, we are proud to share the writers of those words. To commence the Fall Season, we were virtually joined by Helen Humphreys and Emma Donoghue, two bestselling Canadian authors. Both novels launched in 2020 and highlight the resilience of the human spirit. A string weaves through the novels, evoking tenderness and frailty, seeking light in the darkness, while the past influences the prose.

Miss the event? Watch the recording below:

Helen Humphreys returns to the Grimsby Author Series with her brand new novel, Rabbit Foot Bill, released in August 2020. From her home, Helen winds us along the path that brought Rabbit Foot Bill to the page. “The story first came up when I was giving a reading 18 years ago and a man wanted help with his writing,” years later, it grew and they both created their own versions of the story. The novel is a blend of fiction and non-fiction, the story being more eventful and amusing than the truth. Now doesn’t that just make for the perfect narrative? It sure does. Rabbit Foot Bill ties together the lives of Leonard, a young boy and Bill, the local tramp in Canwood, Saskatchewan. Bill is idolized by Leonard, who experiences a lonely and friendless adolescence plagued by bullies.  However, after an abrupt violent act, Bill is committed to prison and lost to Leonard for the next 15 years. When they are finally reunited, it is at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, Leonard a doctor of psychiatry and Bill in his earnest hands. Full of poignancy and kinship, Rabbit Foot Bill is a novel of compassion and resilience.

Writing short stories, YA, fairy tale, journalism and more, Emma Donoghue has professionally been putting pen to paper for 27 years. The Grimsby Author Series is proud to have had Emma participate numerous times — this event marked her 5th appearance! Her newest novel The Pull of the Stars was set to come out in 2021, but lucky for us, the publishers pushed for it to come out in the midst of our current pandemic. With shocking timing, The Pull of the Stars is set in Dublin, Ireland during a time of unrest: in 1918 at the height of the Great Flu following the lives of three women confined to a maternity ward over three days. With such a deep connection to the characters and the bonds that grow among them, it was a pleasure to behold as Emma spoke to the circumstances that brought them together. The book was written and researched before the 2020 global pandemic, and during her talk Emma was able to eloquently align the Great flu of 1918 to modern day COVID-19, touching on quarantine, political and social deception and the light that guides us through the dark. When asked about her literary choice to confine her characters to the maternity ward Emma does not hesitate, “It works at a technical level and gives me a small world I can know completely—to know how the light comes in and the objects in it.” It is these details that remind us to acknowledge the small expressions within a space when we look up from the pages of The Pull of the Stars.

Thank you to Helen Humphreys and Emma Donoghue for joining the Grimsby Author Series as we grow our community and take on a virtual platform. We are very proud to have partnered with Calamus Winery for this event to offer a Door Prize to one lucky winner! For signed copies of both Rabbit Foot Bill and The Pull of the Stars, our wonderful sponsors Epic Book of Hamilton will have copies available.

This post was written by the Grimsby Author Series’ fabulous volunteer blogger, Teanne Teeft. Thanks Teanne!

Our next event

Welcome to the first ever online season of the Grimsby Author Series! The Grimsby Author Series is the main fundraiser for the Grimsby Public Library. Donations are gratefully accepted through Canada Helps.

Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown with their book covers

Thursday, October 22

Cathy Marie Buchanan & Karma Brown

Enjoy this Grimsby Author Series event from the comfort of your own home! National bestselling authors Cathy Marie Buchanan and Karma Brown will be discussing their latest novels and taking questions from the audience via a free Zoom Webinar.

Event details:

Register for this event

Bush Pilot Brewing Company Giveaway

This evening this will feature a giveaway from Bush Pilot Brewing Company! One lucky winner will be chosen from those who complete our post-event survey. (To further increase your enjoyment of our upcoming event, be sure to pick up something from Bush Pilot to enjoy during the discussions and readings with Cathy and Karma!)

Signed copies of the books

If you would like to get a signed copy of either Daughter of Black Lake or Recipe for a Perfect Wife please email or call our wonderful sponsors at Epic Books of Hamilton. They’ll have signed books ready, just tell them you would like to order one as a guest of the Grimsby Author Series.

Deliveries are free within Hamilton (on orders over $25), or if you’d like to pick it up at the library, let them know at the time of purchase.  We’ll let you know when it is ready to pick up here.

Donate to the library

The Grimsby Author Series is the main fundraiser for the Grimsby Public Library. Donations are gratefully accepted through Canada Helps.

A Virtual Grimsby Author Series with Laurie Petrou

Laurie FB post - GAS

A night for the books! On Monday, August 24, Grimsby’s own Laurie Petrou joined us for our first ever virtual Grimsby Author Series event. From her home, she was framed by stacks of books and we expected nothing less. As the Zoom Webinar jumped from screen to screen, we were granted the view of more books piled on Ken’s table as he hosted and the beloved library stacks surrounding Kathryn while she moderated. These were scenes that celebrated the passion of reading that has surely kept many of us persevering over the last few months.

Laurie Petrou made her debut with her thrilling novel, Sister of Mine, in 2018 at the Grimsby Author Series where she presented her first ever book reading. Returning tonight, Laurie fills the Grimsby community with pride as she discusses her most recently published novel, Love, Heather with another series first: through our screens.

Missed this program? Watch the recording below:

 

Subscribe to our newsletter to get up-to-date information about upcoming events

With an active imagination and acute attention to detail, the characters of Love, Heather developed from two-dimensional figures in the writing process into fleshed-out, vulnerable individuals with insecurities and complexities who speak to readers. Laurie acknowledges these attributes sentence by sentence, particularly regarding the tension-filled high school years loaded with bullying, belonging, change and mental health. The main character, Stevie, is a grade nine student living in a small Niagara town who has her own YouTube channel about old movies. When Kathryn asked about Laurie’s relationship with Stevie her response was immediate, saying, “Oh yeah, having a YouTube channel is definitely something I could relate to with Stevie,” with the 80’s film Heathers being a nostalgic movie and one that was easy to tap into. “Heathers permitted girls to be angry – it was so different,” Laurie reminisced about the film’s impact.

Love, Heather is about the pull of revenge, of being seen and of  hierarchy changes between friends. Stevie is the vessel in which Laurie expresses the need to hide from others and one’s adolescence. In an encompassing manner, Laurie describes writing about Stevie’s cruel bullying experience as, “Difficult to write, difficult to read, and more difficult to experience.”

Before securing her writing career, Laurie’s devotion to the art of literacy was forged by books such as Catcher in the Rye and The Secret History; authors including Heather O’Neill and Kate Atkinson. With such powerhouse inspirations it is no wonder that Love, Heather is so thoroughly executed in its style and timeless impact.

A big thank you to Laurie Petrou for kicking off our very first Grimsby Author Series Zoom session. We look forward to seeing all of the goodness she put into print in the near future. Love, Heather can be found at the Grimsby Library and Epic Books of Hamilton!

This post was written by the Grimsby Author Series’ fabulous volunteer blogger, Teanne Teeft. Thanks Teanne!

Fall 2020 Season

Emma Donoghue & Helen Humphreys

_Fall 2020 GAS Brochure -Design

Join us for the first online Fall 2020 Grimsby Author Series event! Enjoy this free Zoom Webinar from the comfort of your own home with bestselling authors Emma Donoghue and Helen Humphreys. They’ll be discussing their latest novels and taking questions from the audience.

Register for this event here

Wine Giveaway “Door Prize”
This evening this will feature a wine giveaway from Calamus Winery. One lucky winner will win a free bottle of wine to be picked up after the event.  (Hint: To further increase your enjoyment of our upcoming event, be sure to visit Calamus Estates to purchase a bottle of wine that you can enjoy during the discussions and readings with Emma Donoghue and Helen Humphreys!)

Signed copies of the books
If you would like to get a signed copy of either The Pull of the Stars or Rabbit Foot Bill please email or call our wonderful sponsors at Epic Books of Hamilton. They’ll have signed books ready, just tell them you would like to order one as a guest of the Grimsby Author Series.

Deliveries are free within Hamilton, or if you’d like to pick it up at the library, let them know at the time of purchase.  We’ll let you know when it is ready to pick up here.

Book orders for pick-up at the library to be submitted by: Friday, September 18

The Grimsby Author Series is the main fundraiser for the Grimsby Public Library. Donations are gratefully accepted through Canada Helps.

Spring 2020 Grimsby Author Series Cancelled

Untitled design (3)

It is with extreme regret that we announce the cancellation of the Grimsby Author Series Spring Season as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to thank all of you for your support, understanding and patience as we considered the options of postponement vs. cancellation. We know how disappointing this is and we are very sorry, however, we feel that this is the only responsible decision we can take at this time.

An enormous amount of work has gone in to the organization and preparation of this event. The Grimsby Author Series is not only a well regarded and much anticipated event, it is also the main fundraiser for the Grimsby Public Library each year.  As such the decision to cancel was not made lightly, rather it was made with the health and safety and best interests of our attendees, authors, volunteers and staff in mind.

Refunds

In these special circumstances, the library will be issuing refunds.  This process will be different depending on where/how you purchased your tickets.

  • Online ticket holders will be refunded the ticket price only through Eventbrite. The ticket price will be refunded directly to the card used for the purchase.
  • Tickets purchased at the library
    • Please retain your tickets and bring them to the library (once we reopen) in order to arrange for a cheque to be issued to refund you the package cost
    • Tickets must be produced to allow for a refund to be processed
  • McMaster Alumni ticket holders will be refunded the ticket price directly from McMaster Alumni.

Donate to the Library

The Grimsby Public Library depends on the funds from the Grimsby Author Series to be able to provide services, purchase collections and to offer programming to our community.  Unfortunately, this means that the cancellation of the Spring 2020 season will have a significant negative impact on the library’s budget.  If you are in a position to donate back the price of your ticket package we would be very grateful.  The Grimsby Public Library is a registered charity and would gladly accept your donation through Canada Helps. Thank you for your consideration.

Donate to the library

Fall 2020 Season

Meanwhile, the Grimsby Author Series Steering Committee is busy planning a wonderful lineup of authors for the Fall 2020 series. However, we will continue to monitor and follow the best advice of Public Health officials and our government leaders to ensure that it is safe to proceed in September.  Along with you, we look forward to being able to gather again in celebration of talented Canadian Authors.

Thank you for your ongoing support during this challenging time.  We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well.  We look forward to seeing you all again in the fall.

CloudLibrary

We have added many Grimsby Author Series titles to cloudLibrary so you can read them at home. Just download the cloudLibrary app on your phone, tablet or computer to check them out or go on the waitlist.

e-Newsletter

To get all the latest updates about the Grimsby Author Series sign up for our e-newsletter

Family Literacy Day 2020 at the Grimsby Public Library: A Day of Play!

TV Screen powerpoint (14)

It was a fun day of play at the Grimsby Library on Saturday, January 25 when we invited the community through our doors for our annual Phelps Homes Family Literacy Day!

About Family Literacy Day:

  • Family Literacy Day focuses on parents, grandparents and other family members to improve the reading and writing skills of the whole family.
  • By reading to children and engaging in fun literacy activities regularly, adults actively keep their own skills sharp and also help children improve their skills.
  • Family literacy activities strengthen the relationship between family members which, in turn, encourages lifelong learning.

Photos

We had such a blast with everyone, thanks to all of our patrons and partners who made this event such a success. Activities by: Thanks to Niagara Children’s Centre, Grimsby’s FUN School of Music, Kinetic Elements Dance Studio, Therapy Tails Ontario, Pathstone Mental Health, Sparky The Fire Dog and the Grimsby Fire Department, Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Niagara Region Public Health, Niagara Region Police, Cultured Grimsby and new author Alayna Ffrench for joining us! We’d like to express our great gratitude as well to Phelps Homes Ltd. for their continued support of literacy events at the Library, we couldn’t do it all without you!