February 2017

The Gift of Reading

Posted on February 21 by Kristine Scarrow in Teens

As the author of young adult novels that tackle gritty and difficult subject matter, I am often asked why I write what I do. What I think fuels my desire to write about these topics more than anything is the idea that life can be challenging, and reading about real issues is important. We need to know that we are not alone in our struggles, and that no matter how dire things may seem, there will be brighter days ahead.  I hope that when the characters in my novels dream beyond their current circumstance, it inspires the reader to do the same.

When Bryan and I initially read Arthur Manuel’s untitled manuscript, we were uncertain as to his intentions when he had decided to “tell his story” almost forty years ago. The document tone suggested Arthur wanted to set the record straight, as he saw it  — a Great War history told from the common soldier, front line infantryman’s perspective. He had plainly spent many hours researching, as the stubs from various book chapters confirmed, ones inserted at places where Arthur was making a specific point.

During my mother Marjorie’s final days, I found myself wondering if I had asked her all the questions that I needed to ask. It made me feel badly, as it took me away from being fully present. This worry had no place here. It was her time — her time to rest, her time to go forward and not look back. Not to worry — not to dig up the past — old wounds, old traumas. I had to let it go but it was not easy. This mother of mine with so many secrets. Her buried past. Did she tell me all, or were there other stories too difficult to bring to light?

Sault Ste. Marie-based author Nancy Scott has been nominated for a Gertrude H. Dyke Award for her work Lake Nipigon: Where the Great Lakes Begin.

The Gertrude H. Dyke Award recognizes the best popular full length book published about the history of Northwestern Ontario. This is one of the several awards that the Thunder Bay Museum gives every two years.

Helen Mclean 1928 - 2017

Posted on February 10 by Kyle in News

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Toronto writer and artist Helen Mclean.

A talented artist, she exhibited her paintings across Canada, she has shown in several cities and has painted portraits of authors Margaret Laurence, Michael Ondaatje, and Sarah Sheard. 

She also worked as a teacher and a journalist.

She was the author of Sketching from Memory (Oberon Press), Of All the Summers (Women's Press), and the acclaimed memoir Details From a Larger Canvas (Dundurn Press).

At thirteen, I was sent by my aunts from Jamaica to join my mother in Montreal in 1947. She had emigrated the year before to marry my new step-father in Canada. My life appeared to take a turn for the worse as I was sent out to work on a very cold January day the following morning.

I love Canadian landscapes. I’ve crossed and re-crossed Canada many times on book tours, and the incredible variety of landscapes I discover at each destination always amazes me. Georgian Bay, the Arctic tundra, Newfoundland outports, and stunning sweeps of prairie all have their own feel, beauty and lifestyle, and stir my senses.

As a writer for children this awareness of landscape has massive implications. Children do not travel like adults do, therefore every story I write not only needs a credible plot and well-developed characters, but it must create a strong sense of place.

Remembering and Celebrating Black History Month

Posted on February 8 by Kyle in News

February is Black History month. It is a time when we celebrate the people of African descent who have helped and contributed to make the world the amazing place that it is today. Black History month is most often talked about when you are a student, and it’s where you learn about courageous people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chinua Achebe, and Buddy Guy to name only a few. It’s where you learn about slavery, about civil rights, and about racism.

Alexis S. Troubetzkoy 1934 - 2017

Posted on February 8 by Kyle in News

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Alexis S. Troubetzkoy.

Troubetzkoy, born the scion of a Russian princely family, was an internationally published writer and archivist. Many of us at Dundurn had the privilege to work with him on his two most recent books, Arctic Obsession: The Lure of the Far North and The St. Petersbrug Connection. 

Although born in France and raised partly in the United States, Troubetzkoy called Canada home for more than 30 years with a career in education as a headmaster of private schools in Montreal and Toronto.

Toronto-based author Doug Taylor has been nominated for a Theatre Library Association Book Award, which honours a work published during 2016 of exceptional scholarship in the field of recorded or broadcast performance.

Every book I write starts with a personal connection. Blood Brothers was based on a boy I met who lived in a rooming house in a rough part of town with his dad. He’d gotten a scholarship to attend a private school. He spent three hours every day on the bus going to and from school, but he didn’t care. To him, attending the school was the chance to escape from poverty. His privileged classmates had no idea what his home life was like. Unlike the boy I know, Jakub doesn’t leave willingly.