LitFest Presents: In Conversation with Tanya Tagaq
Acclaimed musician Tanya Tagaq will discuss her new book, Split Tooth, in a candid conversation with host Omar Mouallem. Split Tooth is a fictionalized memoir that explores the ways that fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.
More about the book: A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents’ love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.
Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains.
Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget.
This event is presented in collaboration with Up+DT Music Festival, Penguin Random House Canada, and CBC Edmonton.
Whether you’re traveling to a new and exciting place, trekking through the river valley, taking a breather at Accidental Beach, or hoarding a table at your favourite coffee shop, LitFest has you covered with seven exciting recommendations for your summer reading pleasure.
Our #YEGSummerReads list features a number of authors that will appear at LitFest 2018. Get familiar with them now so you can have your questions ready for the events in October! Sound cool? We’ve got Early Bird passes on sale now through August 26—but quantities are limited, so get yours today!
Here’s What We’re Reading This Summer!
Food Artisan’s of Alberta | Karen Anderson and Matilda Sanchez-Turri
From the coulees of the badlands to the combines of the wheatlands, discover Alberta’s diverse terroir, and be captivated by the distinct tastes of this majestic province. Food Artisans of Alberta is a robust travel companion for local food lovers and visitors alike.
Learn about the stories, inspiration, and friendly faces of Albertans who craft incredible food, while participating in a diverse community of artisans. Journey beyond Alberta’s seven signature foods―beef, bison, canola, honey, Red Fife Wheat, root vegetables and Saskatoon berries―to also enjoy breweries, meaderies, distilleries, cheesemakers, and more. With regional maps that highlight the locations of 200 food artisans this book is the perfect summer road trip companion.
This Wound is a World | Billy-Ray Belcourt
Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound is a World is an invitation to “cut a hole in the sky to the world inside.” Billy-Ray Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder sadness and pain without giving up on the future. His poems upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where “everyone is at least a little gay.”
Pay No Heed to the Rockets | Marcello Di Cintio
Marcello Di Cintio first visited Palestine in 1999. Like most outsiders, the Palestinian narrative that he knew had been simplified by a seemingly unending struggle, a near-Sisyphean curse of stories of oppression, exile, and occupation told over and over again.
In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, he reveals a more complex story, the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors, books, and literature. Using the form of a political-literary travelogue, he explores what literature means to modern Palestinians and how Palestinians make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium and violence of survival.
The Power of Kindness | Brian Goldman, MD
In The Power of Kindness, Goldman leaves the comfortable, familiar surroundings of the hospital in search of his own lost compassion. A top neuroscientist performs an MRI scan of his brain to see if he is hard-wired for empathy. A researcher at Western University in Ontario tests his personality and makes a startling discovery. Goldman then circles the planet in search of the most empathic people alive, to hear their stories and learn their secrets. He visits a boulevard in São Paulo, Brazil, where he meets a woman who calls a homeless poet her soulmate and reunited him with his family; a research lab in Kyoto, Japan, where he meets a lifelike, empathetic android; and a nursing home in rural Pennsylvania, where he meets a therapist at a nursing home who has an uncanny knack of knowing what’s inside the hearts and minds of people with dementia, as well as her protege, a woman who talked a gun-wielding robber into walking away from his crime. Powerful and engaging, The Power of Kindness takes us far from the theatre of medicine and into the world at large and investigates why kindness is vital to our existance.
Wisdom in Nonsense | Heather O’Neill
“I broke all the rules that my dad gave me. It was he who had given me, in part, the confidence to think of my life as being worthy to mix with those of the geniuses”. —Heather O’Neill
With generosity and wry humour, novelist Heather O’Neill recalls several key lessons she learned in childhood from her father: memories and stories about how crime does pay, why one should never keep a diary, and that it is good to beware of clowns, among other things. Her father and his eccentric friends—ex-bank robbers and homeless men—taught her that everything she did was important, a belief that she has carried through her life. O’Neill’s intimate recollections make Wisdom in Nonsense the perfect companion to her widely praised debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals (HarperCollins).
Shrewed | Elizabeth Renzetti
Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground?
These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection of essays. Drawing upon Renzetti’s decades of reporting on feminist issues, Shrewed is a book about feminism’s crossroads. From Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign to the quest for equal pay, from the lessons we can learn from old ladies to the future of feminism in a turbulent world, Renzetti takes a pointed, witty look at how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go.
If Nellie McClung and Erma Bombeck had an IVF baby, this book would be the result. If they’d lived at the same time. And in the same country. And if IVF had been invented. Well, you get the point.
Seven Fallen Feathers | Tanya Talaga
In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied.
More than a quarter of a century later, from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.
Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.