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

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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:

 

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

CTV The Social’s Cynthia Loyst visits the Grimsby Author Series

Cynthia Loyst

TT: “You work all week. Then you finally plan a “nothing day” for your day off. When it arrives, you want to make the most of it but then there is a feeling of guilt for not being productive. How do you get over the guilt?”

CL: “In doing nothing, something valuable is still happening. That time is not wasted. Recognizing that is key.”

In 2013, Cynthia Loyst began a new adventure with the popular television talk show The Social. Loyst, already an award winning sex-educator and advice columnist, launched her website Find Your Pleasure (findyourpleasure.com) in 2016. Two years ago she was offered a book deal. For the release of her completed work, herself and co-host from The Social Jessica Allen visited the Grimsby Public Library. We could not be more thrilled to welcome these talented, engaging and well-spoken women to our community.

 

Through the library gate, guests eagerly scan the room to catch a peek at their waiting books. When the barrier lifts, the crowd funnels toward the volunteers to finally get their copy of Cynthia Loyst’s Find Your Pleasure in hand. There is a range of generations in attendance and all are seeking an answer to their question, “how can I find my pleasure?”

Lisa Teeft, who has been watching The Social since its premiere attends with friend Lori Schnittker. Schnittker says, “This is wonderful, it really shows the variety our library can bring!” Teeft asserts that, “seeing them in person only solidifies [her] commitment to the show and its co-hosts.” Teeft plans to bring her copy along on her vacation, truly satiating her pleasure.

TT: “You have insights in the book that we all dance around—how did you pinpoint those thoughts enough to put them onto paper?”

CL: “I had circling thoughts about writing around inhibitions and shame. In 2013, I had a wake-up call. I decided to write about the flip side of those negative things. I constantly started taking notes of what sparked my interest.”

Pleasure. A word commonly associated with gluttony, low-art, and over-indulgence is broken down to its bones as Cynthia and Jess, with wine afoot, showcase the power of pleasure. As Jess fulfills the audience in asking deep-rooted questions (that many would likely shy away from asking themselves), Cynthia answers with fluidity, not hesitating in the words she whole-heartedly committed to paper. From wedding spoons to beautiful things to simple things, Cynthia reminds her readers to see through the lens of pleasure.

Not only is Find Your Pleasure chock-full of tips and undiscovered pleasures, it is also Cynthia’s naked writing. Struggles with partners, friends and self-love are exposed for all to see. It’s about understanding that no one is alone in the brittle, anxious and stressful times. Cynthia affirms the idea of indulging in yourself and nourishing your pleasures. Embrace the contagious enjoyment of others while they bask in their joys and actively seek out your own bliss; as we get older, we forget to acknowledge the thrill of our imagination.

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Speaking of thrill, Jess leads to the topic of Cynthia’s advice column. Cynthia discloses that the most common question she is asked is, “How do I keep the spark alive in my long-term relationship?” At this time, the room clears of low laughs or whispers as each guest perks up their ears at the question. Cynthia simply responds, “It’s not a quick and easy answer,” there is a shallow release of shoulders around the room, “but it’s because I don’t know each person’s pleasure. It brings us to self-love and self-exploration to use as a stepping stone.” With a unanimous nod that ripples across the crowd, including Jess Allen, she announces it is time for her Rapid Fire question round. Without giving away too many details, everyone in the room is instantaneously bonded by laughter and anecdotes as the conversation drifts to the pubic region—Jess’s infectious laugh leading the way.

A big thank you and congratulations to our guest, Cynthia Loyst on the release of her first book, Find Your Pleasure. The evening would not have been complete without the witty banter and encouraging questions from her co-host, Jess Allen. We were overjoyed to have both stay after to sign copies of the book, take photos, and enchant us all.

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night which included outstanding donations from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped Tea and Theatre Aquarius. Thank you to all of these contributors along with The Peanut Mill and Wayne Gretzky Estates (who also contributed the wine for the evening) for providing our guest speakers with their lovely gifts. A big thank you as well to all of our generous sponsors and benefactors who made this event possible!

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

Our sponsors

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Marissa Stapley and Linden MacIntyre at the Grimsby Author Series

Marissa and Linden (1)

Making connections with Marissa Stapley and Linden MacIntyre

Before the doors open for the final Fall 2019 Grimsby Author Series, volunteers gather at the entrance to discuss what they are reading. The conversations shift from book-inspired goods available at the new Library Marketplace to the release of the Spring 2020 author line-up.

Linda Caldwell, like many others, is a regular to the series. Gesturing to the large crowd immediately behind her, she says, “Many of us are from out of town but we continue to come back because you can’t beat this series. It is very enlightening with all of the different authors they are able to bring in.” Caldwell and her group continue to buzz as they make their way to their prime seats at the front of the room—a tradition they are eager to continue in the Spring.

 

Marissa Stapley

Our first author of the night, Marissa Stapley, begins her talk by giving us a peek into her process. She unapologetically claims, “I am really good at titles,” because in order to get her novels moving, the title needs to fully encompass the story. Her statement tests true in The Last Resort. Here, a rigorous couples’ therapy retreat takes place at the luxurious Harmony Resort in the Mayan Riviera. While the setting appears rich and vibrant, the reader is surely consumed by the secrets that burden and bind each character. Stapley creates an atmospheric and timely backdrop. Her characters must face not only the secrets of their own marriage but also the unknown darkness of the people they have entrusted to care for them in the midst of a devastating hurricane.

Last May, actor Katherine Heigl posted a photo of herself reading The Last Resort. When asked about this occasion, Stapley easily replies, “Well, she hasn’t returned any of my calls,” the simple banter lifting laughs throughout the room. Effortless wit is laced throughout Marissa Stapley’s time at the Grimsby Author Series podium. She is currently working on her next novel which is expected to come in at over one thousand pages.

 

Linden MacIntyre

Ninety years ago to the day (November 18) at 5:02pm Newfoundland standard time, the Burin Peninsula faced a massive tsunami, caused by an underwater earthquake, whose aftershock was felt for years afterward. This story, scarcely heard of throughout Canadian History, is Linden MacIntyre’s tale to tell. At the age of 101, his mother helped him to fill in the details on his newest work The Wake. How? She was there.

As MacIntyre recounts the devastating repercussions of the tsunami that continued to wreak havoc on the small fishing villages, his connection to the story and its characters is acknowledged with sorrowful ease. Misfortune brings the outports into mining, followed by radioactive-related illnesses, virtually disintegrating the foreseeable future of the town. The Wake paints the history of a region that has been shattered and rebuilt more than once. While the content of his work is chock-full of ailment, grief, and struggle, it is also illuminated by humour and the natural resilience of humankind. As the night rolls on MacIntyre settles into his true Newfoundland style as he keeps the crowd in stitches with each sentence ending in “b’y” or “eh.”

This evening had an exciting highlight for McIntyre when he happened to spot a familiar face among the crowd. In the 1980s John Sudac was a Toronto landlord who formerly rented an apartment to the Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author— Linden in turn went on to use Sudac’s name to portray a rugged personality in his novel, The Bishop’s Man. As the two men reminisce it offers a reminder of the community that has been brought to fruition over the past 18 years of the Grimsby Author Series.

 

A big thank you to our authors Marissa Stapley and Linden MacIntyre for portraying tales that mirror the chaos of natural disasters. We were elated to have them stay afterwards to sign copies of their books and take photos with guests. A thank you to Laurie Petrou for coming by in support of the event!

 

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the evening which included exceptional donations from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, The Good Earth Food and Wine Company and  Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A special thanks to these contributors as well as The Peanut Mill, and Monique Mulder-Wallace Pottery for providing our guest speakers with such lovely gifts, as well as our wine sponsor for the evening, Trius Winery. Lastly, an enormous thank you to Epic Books of Hamilton for coming to sell books! Additional signed copies can be found in-store.

With an abundance of diverse genres, the Spring 2020 series is bound to sell out quickly. Tickets are now on sale at eventbrite.com and at the library.

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

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Shandi Mitchell and Terry Fallis at the Grimsby Author Series

Terry and Shandi

A heartfelt evening with Shandi Mitchell & Terry Fallis

Guests pour in and to take their seats as the doors open for the second event of our Fall season. It is almost ritualistic as groups of friends, long-time attendees, and newcomers hustle to take up the seats they have claimed as their own. This past Monday, we welcomed Shandi Mitchell and Terry Fallis to the Grimsby Author Series. The night dives into its full swing as supporters mingle around wine and charcuterie boards. Guests were in the Halloween spirit—the mini chocolate bars are the first to disappear from the table. Supporters Janet Oko and Janet Duncan have been attending the series for years and extend their love of books by attending other series in the area. This event will be their second time seeing Terry Fallis this week. “He’s so enthralling!” says Oko. Duncan nods along, “We are very pleased with the line-up this season.”

Shandi Mitchell

Shandi Mitchell is an author and filmmaker. Her newest work, The Waiting Hours, binds together the lives of three individuals whose job it is to rescue strangers. In particular, a trauma nurse, a police officer, and a 911 dispatcher. Mitchell admits to writing about “the courage of the everyday,” and poses the question: how do we keep going through the storms? Whether it is mentally, physically or emotionally, the theme of being lost and found permeates her work.

While reading a passage from her novel, she speaks as if reciting poetry while she maps the daily routines she has instilled in her characters. Mitchell traces the unraveling bonds that are holding these people together as the fateful epoch approaches.

“Where did it all begin?” she asks herself, anticipating this question from the audience. Her answer being, “I don’t know. Maybe police scanners, maybe dreaming of answering 911 calls, maybe feeling like a first responder in [her] own life, taking in the exposure, a myriad really.” These infinite signs led to further exploration. When researching for the book, Mitchell was granted access to ride-alongs, listening in on 911 calls, and individual interviews with first responders, allowing the shape of each character to form from real experiences. She knew she was able to move forward with the novel when the response she received to the question, “Did I catch something here?” was welcomed with overwhelming compassion from the first responders she was working with.

Terry Fallis

When Terry Fallis takes the stage, it is evident why he has been a finalist and winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour more than once. This season will mark the 5th appearance of Fallis at the GAS and we could not be happier to welcome him back for the release of his newest fiction, Albatross. Host Ken Boichuk jokes, “his first novel was at the age of 45, there is still hope for us!”

This novel employs humour to deliberate the misconception around success equaling happiness. Fallis makes an honest attempt to uncover a fable or moral in his writing to send his readers back into the real world with. Albatross, through authentic inward reflection, displays what it means to forge your own path.

The main character, Adam Coryell is a high school student with an obsession of fountain pens who, due to the study of a Swedish professor, quickly turns into a golf prodigy. However, the acceleration of Adam’s stardom is jaded because of his disdain towards his new-found talent. Adam goes so far as to say, “Truthfully, I was more excited about driving the cart than I was about playing my first official round of golf.” Fallis engulfs the audience as he discusses his aversion to research, hence his choice of golf, a sport he avidly plays. There are chuckled whispers throughout the crowd as he gears up to read by opening the cover and beginning, “Now, let me read you the first half of the novel.”
Terry Fallis ended our evening by revealing that his beloved character Angus McLintock and narrator Daniel Addison are expected to make their return in 2021 in a comic thriller!

A big thank you to our authors Shandi Mitchell and Terry Fallis for sharing their novels and discussing the ever-present hope of finding oneself. We were thrilled to have them speak and stay afterwards to sign copies of their books.

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the evening which included exceptional donations from our sponsors  Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A special thanks to these contributors as well as Monique Mulder-Wallace Pottery  for presenting our guest speakers with such lovely gifts, as well as our wine sponsor for the evening, The Good Earth Food and Wine Co. Lastly, an enormous thank you to Epic Books of Hamilton for coming to sell books and your commitment to this event!

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

Want another Grimsby Author Series fix? Join us on Friday, January 17, 2020 for our special At the Library event with Cynthia Loyst! Tickets on sale now / $40
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