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Democracy, poetry, life after death, bloggers: The Ottawa Writers Festival is back

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The Ottawa International Writers Festival is among the best literary events in Canada.  Each spring and fall, as well as individual events in between, some of the best writers from Canada and around the world come to the National Capital Region.  The result is a fascinating series of discussions on numerous topics. This year’s spring festival takes place from April 24-29, and brings together, among others, political thinkers, poets, a journalist writing about life and death, a New York Times bestselling doctor speaking about genes, and bloggers from Ottawa-Gatineau. Below... | Continue reading article

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Poetry meets pop culture at A Dramatic Reading of Pop Songs

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Screen shot from The Science Fiction Film Awards, William Shatner's performance of Elton John's Rocket Man.Screen shot from The Science Fiction Film Awards, William Shatner's performance of Elton John's Rocket Man.

Just in time for National Poetry Month, Ottawa VERSeFest and IdeaSpace invite you to come celebrate the sillier side of this art form. Dramatic pop song readings have a long history (think Peter Seller’s cover of A Hard Day’s Night, or William Shatner’s utterly bizarre rendition of Rocket Man). On April 17th, Ottawa’s top poetic talent will be on hand at IdeaSpace to carry on the tradition. If you’re curious about Ottawa’s poetry scene, this fundraiser will be a fun and approachable way to get your feet wet. Hosted by... | Continue reading article

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Book Festival to showcase dozens of local authors

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Photo by covs97 courtesy of Flickr (Creative Commons). Photo by covs97 courtesy of Flickr (Creative Commons).

The Ottawa-Gatineau region is overflowing with literary talent.  From captivating novelists, to wonderful authors of children’s books, to creative thinkers who write about politics and other contemporary issues. This amazing talent will be on full display this Saturday, April 12, when the Canadian Authors Association, National Capital Region, First Annual Book Fest takes place in Clark Hall at the RA Centre (2451 Riverside Drive) from 10 am to 5 pm.  Forty local writers will be participating and free parking is available.  The entry ticket is $5 and can be used as a... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Interview with the creator of the magical town of Applenook

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Lemonman cropped

Ottawa-based children’s author Natasha Ferrill is the creator of The Lemonman picture book series. Told in rhyme, the series tells the story of Mr. Lemonman, a lovable (albeit at times innocent) lemon who lives in the town of Applenook.  Located in the backyard garden of Mr. and Mrs. Applebrooke, Applenook is filled with numerous characters, such as the traveling salesman Cunningham C. Toad, and the friendly members of the Worm Community who, although kind, can sometimes be a nuisance. Having finished two books in the series, which comprise Ferrill’s first published work, Apartment613 caught up... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Wonderful debut novel sparkles with literary talent

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Ottawa-based author Stacey Atkinson is a joy to read.  In fact, I loved her novel Stuck so much, I had to double-check whether it was her literary debut. “Stuck is my first book, which I independently published under my own company Mirror Image Publishing,” Atkinson assures Apartment613.  ”It is also my first published work of any length, unless you count my song writing days . . . but that’s a whole other story.” Stuck tells the story of Odette Leblanc, a young 23-year-old woman in a small New Brunswick town who works in a... | Continue reading article

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Librarian in Residence: DIY books of all kinds

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Craft Walk 2011, photo by blurasis on Flickr.Craft Walk 2011, photo by blurasis on Flickr.

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips. I’ve simply had enough of this incessant winter or not-spring as the season seems to be. In times like this, I get creative, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the books we have about all kinds of creativity. Creative hobbies are good for you as they... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Children’s book still delights more than 20 years later

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mother is weird

They say you never forget your first love.  For some authors this is particularly true, as their first book holds such a special place in their hearts they decide, years later, to publish it once again. For Rachna Gilmore, the acclaimed Ottawa-based children’s author, this is what happened with My Mother is Weird, a picture book first published in 1988, but which has been re-released by Acorn Press. “My Mother is Weird was originally published by Ragweed Press in P.E.I. and to my delight was a huge success,” says Gilmore. ... | Continue reading article

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Ottawa author to participate in international writing project for the month of April

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Photo of Amanda Earl by Charles EarlPhoto of Amanda Earl by Charles Earl

Local author Amanda Earl is joining poets from around the world in an experimental writing initiative. For the last three years, the U.S. online magazine Found Poetry Review has organized a project to commemorate National Poetry Month in April. This year, the magazine has launched the Oulipo project, in which nearly 80 writers from seven countries will use text from local newspapers. “The selected poets have received a list of 30 prompts which involve Oulipo constraints for each day in April,” says Earl in an interview with Apartment613.  ”They must write... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Mary Hagey’s short story collection is a solid book debut with moving characters

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mary hagey

Ottawa-based writer Mary Hagey has lived an interesting life, having worked as a personal support worker, art instructor, housepainter and English composition instructor at Concordia University. This rich body of experience is evident in her debut book Castles in the Air, a collection of short stories published by Signature Editions that contains a wide range of characters and settings. Despite being her first published book, however, Hagey is quick to point out that she has been writing for decades. “I’m not the late bloomer I might seem to be,” she... | Continue reading article

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Darren Shan, world famous writer of YA fiction, is coming to Ottawa this week

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Photo of Darren Shan courtesy of HarperCollinsPhoto of Darren Shan courtesy of HarperCollins

Fans of young adult fiction are in for a treat this week as literary superstar Darren Shan is set to speak in the city’s west end. Born Darren O’Shaughnessy – Darren Shan is his pen name – the prolific Irish writer will be speaking about his new series Zom-B during a talk in Nepean at Ben Franklin Place (101 Centrepointe Drive), on Thursday, March 27, at 6:00 pm. Shan is the author of more than three-dozen books, including The Saga of Darren Shan collection of novels.  The film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s... | Continue reading article

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