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Canada Reads 2013: Meet two of this year's authors

Meet two of this year's five authors in CBC's annual battle of the books, Canada Reads 2013: Turf Wars.

Richard Wagamese: Indian Horse
Jane Urquhart: Away

Join us for readings and an open discussion about roots and writing. Hosted by Superior Morning's Lisa Laco.

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 7- 9 p.m.
Location: Thunder Bay Public Library, Waverley Branch
Admission: Free tickets available at all branches: 2 per person

For more information about Canada Reads, visit the official website.

Away.jpgAn epic family saga spread across multiple decades and countries, Away details the history of an Irish family in Canada. Esther O'Malley Robertson is the last occupant of her family's homestead in Ontario, where she is being forced out by an encroaching limestone quarry. Esther relates the 140-year history that brought her family from the inhospitable shores of Ireland during the potato famine to the challenging realities of the Canadian Shield. Shot through with Irish mythology, Away also vividly depicts the 19th-century pioneer life in settlements in Ontario at the time of Canadian Confederation.

Away is Jane Urquhart's third novel. It was first published in 1993 by McClelland & Stewart, and won Ontario's Trillium Award in 1994.

Away is being defended by Charlotte Gray for Canada Reads 2013.

Jane.jpgJane Urquhart is the internationally acclaimed author of seven award-winning novels, three books of poetry and numerous short stories.

Born in Little Long Lac, Ontario, she grew up in Toronto. As a novelist, Jane is well known for her evocative blending of history with the present day. Her first novel, 1986's The Whirlpool, gained her international recognition when she became the first Canadian to win France's Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (Best Foreign Book Award). Her subsequent novels were even more successful. Away, published in 1993, won the Trillium Award and was a national bestseller. The book was also one of the six finalists for the inaugural Dublin IMPAC International Literary Prize.

In 1997, her fourth novel, The Underpainter, won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. Jane has also won the Marian Engel Award and is a recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been named to France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres as a chevalier.

She currently lives outside of Toronto.

Indian Horse.jpgRichard Wagamese's latest novel deals with Saul Indian Horse, an alcoholic Ojibway man who finds himself the reluctant resident of an alcohol treatment centre after his latest binge. To come to peace with himself, he must tell his story. Wagamese takes readers on the often difficult journey through Saul's life, from his painful forced separation from his family and land when he's sent to a residential school to the brief salvation he finds in playing hockey. The novel is an unflinching portrayal of the harsh reality of life in 1960s Canada, where racism reigns and Saul's spirit is destroyed by the alienating effects of cultural displacement.

Indian Horse is Richard Wagamese's sixth novel. It was published by Douglas & McIntyre in February 2012.

Indian Horse is being defended by Carol Huynh for Canada Reads 2013.

Richard.jpgOne of Canada's foremost Native authors and storytellers, Richard Wagamese has been a professional writer since 1979. His impressive body of work includes six novels, a book of poetry and five non-fiction titles, including two memoirs and an anthology of his newspaper columns.

An Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, Richard has garnered a number of awards in different fields over the course of his career. In 1991, he became the first Native Canadian to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, published in 1994, won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. He has twice won the Native American Press Association Award for his journalism, and he received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song. He was also awarded the Canadian Authors Association Award for fiction in 2007 for his third novel, Dream Wheels. Most recently, Richard was honoured with the 2012 Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications.

Richard is well known as a storyteller and a teacher, both in British Columbia, where he now lives with his wife and their dog, and across the country. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, in recognition of his lifetime of achievement in writing and publishing, and in 2011 he was the Harvey Stevenson Southam Guest Lecturer in journalism at the University of Victoria.

Is Truth Stranger Than Fiction?

Canada Reads is an annual literature competition between books chosen by well-known Canadian personalities. This year, for the first time ever, Canada Reads will be focusing on non-fiction books. In celebration of Canada Reads, CBC Thunder Bay has matched five local authors with this year's Canada Reads books. Listen to Superior Morning January 30 - February 4 for their reviews and verdicts on whether the truth really is stranger than fiction.

Canada Reads - Something Fierce Author Carmen Aguirre lived through a childhood of constant flux and constant danger, as part of the Chilean resistance movement. She tells about it in her memoire, Something Fierce, one of this year's Canada Reads books. We'll ask Northwestern Ontario poet Al Hunter whether he thinks the truth is stranger than fiction.
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Canada Reads - Prisoner of Tehran A harrowing story of a young girl, held as a political prisoner. We'll ask local author Duncan Weller what he thinks about the book Prisoner of Tehran
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Canada Reads - On a Cold Road Fans, vans, and beer cans. On A Cold Road by Dave Bidini is all about the gritty experiences of Canadian musicians on tour. We'll ask local author Heather McLeod whether truth is stranger than fiction in the world of travelling rockers.
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Canada Reads - The Game Is truth stranger than fiction, on the ice? We'll ask local author Amy Jones that question when she reviews The Game by Ken Dryden
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Canada Reads - The Tiger A man-eating cat stalks a Siberian village, in "The Tiger." We've tracked down local author Michael Christie, and asked him to sink his teeth into the book for our local version of Canada Reads.
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About the Participants

Jones.jpgOriginally from Halifax, Amy Jones is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC. Her short fiction has appeared in several publications, including Maisonneuve, The New Quarterly, Taddle Creek, and Best Canadian Stories 08 and 09. In 2006 she won the CBC Literary Award for Short Story in English. Her first short fiction collection, What Boys Like (Biblioasis, 2009) was the winner of the 2009 Metcalf-Rooke Award, and was short-listed for the 2010 ReLit Award. After living in Toronto, Vancouver, and Scotland, Amy now calls Thunder Bay home. Amy is reading Ken Dryden's The Game.

McLeod.jpgHeather McLeod is the author of Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince!) recently nominated for the 2012 Blue Spruce Award. She is a former CBC host, a journalist, songwriter and recording artist who toured North America throughout the mid-1990s. She now lives and farms at the northern edge of Thunder Bay with her family.Heather is reading Dave Bidini's On A Cold Road.

Weller.jpgDuncan Weller is a writer and visual artist. Primarily, he writes and illustrates children's picture books. His latest work, Rocket Fish, is a book of short stories for adults. Duncan displays his visual art at least once a year. His picture book, The Boy from the Sun, won two of Canada's top awards for children's books, the Governor General's Award and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Picture Book Award. Nine new picture books will be launched this year as eBooks through his website, followed by a young adult novel, Undercats, as a printed work and eBook. This year Duncan travels to Africa and the Caribbean to do research for a children's graphic novel, Tiger Dream.Duncan is reading Marina Nemat's Prisoner of Tehran.

Hunter.jpgAl Hunter is the author of 3 books of poetry, Spirit Horses; The Recklessness of Love: Dreams & Regrets; and, thirdly, Beautiful Razor: Love Poems & Other Lies, which will be released in 2012. All are published by Kegedonce Press. His work has appeared in many North American and international journals and anthologies. Mr. Hunter is also a former Chief of the Rainy River First Nations. Renowned novelist and poet, Louise Erdich, writes, "Al Hunter's poems are healing songs for the earth and the human spirit. For the sake of the moon, for the sake of our hearts, I am glad he is writing." Al is reading Carmen Aguirre's Something Fierce.

Christie.jpgMichael Christie is the author of The Beggar's Garden, a linked collection of stories that won the Vancouver Book Award, was a finalist for the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize and was longlisted for the Giller. His work has been twice nominated for the Journey Prize and his book reviews appear semi-regularly in the National Post. He currently lives in his hometown of Thunder Bay, where he teaches creative writing at Lakehead University and is at work on a novel. Micheal is reading John Vaillant's The Tiger.