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