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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Books & Lit

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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Poetry festival brings together talented wordsmiths from Ottawa and abroad

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Left: Moe Clark, photo by Nora Nathoo. Right: Stephen James Smith, photo by Bob Dixon.Left: Moe Clark, photo by Nora Nathoo. Right: Stephen James Smith, photo by Bob Dixon.

VERSeFest, Ottawa’s annual poetry festival, will take place from March 25-30.  In advance of this literary celebration, we spoke with acclaimed local poet David O’Meara, who is also the artistic director of the festival. Apartment613: The first VERSeFest took place in 2011. What was the aim of starting this annual poetry gathering, given that Ottawa already has a writers festival? David O’Meara: Ottawa has a very large, diverse poetry community, with over a dozen reading and performance series organized through the year.  Not a week goes by that there aren’t at least three... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: I am an author and so can you

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Lily and Jack. Photo by Lily Michailidis.Lily and Jack. Photo by Lily Michailidis.

Do you have that abandoned manuscript lingering in your drawer yearning to be picked up again? Well, local author Matthew Stella had one too but has spent the past two and a half years completing the biography of friend Thom Gulino. As such, he is no stranger to the ups and downs of the fickle writing process. It has taken him from Daegu, South Korea where he was working as an English teacher, to Eurasia on long train rides across Russia. Finally, upon his return to Ottawa in July 2013,... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: “My Life in Pictures” is a moving autobiography told through cinematic eyes

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Christian McPherson Christian McPherson

If you were to write your life story with poetry what would you say?  Would you leave out painful memories and focus on personal triumphs?  Or could you gather the strength to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, for public consumption? In his deeply personal book My Life in Pictures, Ottawa-author Christian McPherson offers his autobiography through a series of beautiful prose poems.  Starting with his birth in 1970, his life story combines painful memories (his father’s tragic mental illness; lost love; the death of his stepparents) with... | Continue reading article

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Librarian in Residence: Celebrate freedom of expression with Freedom to Read Week!

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Photo by Rach on Flickr. Photo by Rach 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. Freedom to Read week takes place from February 23rd to March 1st and it is an annual event run by the Book and Periodical Council of Canada. Libraries of all varieties (as well as independent bookstores) take part in this week as it is one of the central tenets of libraries to promote intellectual freedom.... | Continue reading article

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Weekend Roundup: What to do in Ottawa and ticket giveaway!

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Vaudeville troupe the Mansfield Brothers. Vaudeville troupe the Mansfield Brothers.

The weekend’s knocking at our doors and it’s another busy one, particularly if you’re living or heading to Wakefield! Thursday EcoEquitable is a non-profit, small-scale social enterprise that uses repurposed fabric in an innovative manner to create employment opportunities for women, particularly the immigrant & refugee, unemployed, or part-time workers. It’s been around for years but is taking a big step, opening up a boutique. Its launch party is taking place tonight at 404 MacArthur Ave at 5:30. DtD Media X presents lounge music at Pressed, hosted by Kway Sway... | Continue reading article

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Best of: Independent bookstores

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Black Squirrel Books. Photo from their Facebook page. Black Squirrel Books. Photo from their Facebook page.

There is a certain something about independent bookstores. A sense of community and bringing people together – connecting over a love of books (which eventually ends up being about so much more) – that you just won’t find at Chapters. Independent bookstores are the best because the people who work there are REALLY passionate about books and are often incredibly knowledgeable. Unfortunately, many independent bookstores are closing due to financial hardship. It is important that we continue to frequent those that do exist and to make sure that they stay... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Poetic novella ‘Ignite’ offers an explosive love story

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C-Ignite

It is too easy to differentiate between literary styles.  Poems go in one group, fiction in another, and drama is often seen as if it were a whole separate species. The best story telling, however, often ignores the boundaries between genres, and opts instead to mix and match different traditions until a unique work is produced. This thought occurred to me while reading Ignite by Ottawa-based writer Rona Shaffran.  If you were to go into a book store or library, you would almost certainly find this work in the poetry section.  This... | Continue reading article

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Photo books by local photographer seek to display Ottawa in all its gorgeous glory

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Photo by Christophe Ledent (copyright)Photo by Christophe Ledent (copyright)

Christophe Ledent is one of the most inspiring – and talented – photographers in the National Capital Region.  In early 2012, after rediscovering his passion for photography after almost 10 years, he launched the beautiful photo-blog Ottawa Seen 365 Ways in 365 Days. “The idea behind [the photo-blog] is simple: set out to explore, photograph and share a new Ottawa discovery everyday for a year,” Ledent tells Apartment613.  ”From tourist spots to local street art, festivals, culture and food, I wanted to discover everything Ottawa had to offer.” Having completed his full-year project, Ledent... | Continue reading article

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