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 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.
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 Florists, Objects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped Tea, Elipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art Shoppe, Theatre 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