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.

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