June 2017

As a proud Canadian citizen would like to express my sincere thanks to Canada after 66 years of coping with adversity and surviving with dignity. I was sent to join my mother in 1947 in Montreal, Quebec, as a thirteen-year-old boy. I was put out to work on the day after my arrival in Canada. My new stepfather was a Second World War veteran who wanted me to contribute to his family home. Since that time I never stopped working, or was ever unemployed in Canada. Also I have not had to use any government benefits that Canada has for its people.

2017 marks not only Canada's 150th year as a country but Dundurn's 45th year as a publisher. In honour of this, we asked our authors to describe how the Canadian identity or history influenced their work. Some went into great detail, some kept it simple. Here's what they said.

Calgary-based author of mysteries and young adult novels David A. Poulsen is a finalist in the Young Adult category for the High Plains Book Awards.  The awards were established by the Billings Public Library Board to recognize regional literary works that examine and reflect on life on the High Plains.

 

The winners will be announced at an awards banquet that is held in conjunction with the 2017 High Plains BookFest on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Each winner will receive a $500 cash prize.

 

I started school in 1956 in a one-room schoolhouse west of Wilton, Ontario, in a tiny community called Thorpe, which encompassed about five or six farms. From that moment on, my teachings about Native Studies encompassed, to my recollection, a few pages on the Iroquois and pictures of teepees and longhouses. To be a Native at that time was definitely not cool. Being designated a Native would have brought beatings, stares, and a path towards poverty because no one would hire you.

No matter where you are, any avid reader knows that it’s crucial to have a book on them at all times. How you enjoy the book, however, is crucial, so why not enjoy it with your favourite coffee? Whether it is a mid-day coffee break, or that endless “just one more chapter” promise to yourself before bed, these coffee and book pairings are perfect to suit any type of reader, and all types of coffee lovers.      
     

The Donald Grant Creighton Award 

The Donald Grant Creighton Award honours the best book of biography or autobiography highlighting life in Ontario, past or present, published in the last three years. The 2016 award went to Steve Paikin for his outstanding book, Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All, published by Dundurn.

Unless you’ve spent the past few weeks living in an internet-free cave in Afghanistan, you are probably aware of the “cultural appropriation prize” fiasco. In short, attempting to explain the expansive creativity of contemporary indigenous writers, Write magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki suggested a learned ability to appropriate. “Buffeted by history and circumstance,” he wrote, indigenous writers must borrow and engage with cultures not their own, and “so often must write from what they don’t know.” As a joke, he suggested a “cultural appropriation prize.”

Explores the history of Toronto through the final moments of the famous (and infamous) who made it their final resting place. From ancient First Nations burial mounds to the murder of Toronto’s first lightkeeper; from the rise and fall of the city’s greatest Victorian baseball star to the final days of the world’s most notorious anarchist.

Get a small visual glimpse into Adam Bunch's Toronto Book of the Dead with this neat infographic (right-click and save to see a bigger version)!

June 2, 2017 is the 64th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. In Season 1 of the Netflix series, The Crown, there is a dramatic scene where Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, argues that the Queen’s coronation should be shown on television so that audiences around the world could share in the event. As depicted in The Crown, there was substantial opposition to televising the coronation including skepticism from then Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Recently I was the moderator for a panel discussion that was part of Calgary’s participation in the nationwide Arthur Ellis Crime Writing awards simultaneous shortlist announcements. The topic was “Not Your Grandmother’s Whodunit.” Over the course of the discussion the panelists and I examined the changing face of crime writing over the last century.