Author Readings 2022

AUTHOR READING #1:
The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose 

Friday, June 3, 2022 – noon – 1pm – Free Event

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER• #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • CITYLINE BOOK CLUB PICK  

A dead body is one mess she can’t clean up on her own.

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanour has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black. But will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

Both a Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

#TheMaid #NitaProse

AUTHOR READING #2:
My Face In the Light by Martha Schabas

Saturday, June 4, 2022 – 10:30 – 11:30am
Maitland River Community Church

NAMED A “MOST ANTICIPATED” BOOK BY THE CBC AND THE GLOBE AND MAIL

 “My mother is an artist and I am a liar. Or, if I scratch the surface, my mother is a sick woman and I am an actress . . .”

Justine feels uneasy in her marriage, her theatre career and her relationship with her estranged mother, a famous painter. An intuitive and uncanny mimic, distinguished by a pronounced scar across her forehead (the result of a childhood accident), Justine has made acting the centre of her life since she was a teenager, but lately her outwardly charmed life in Toronto has begun to ring false. After a disastrous audition in London, England, a chance encounter with a stranger leads to an unorthodox business proposition that would allow Justine to abandon the world she knows indefinitely. As the complications and contradictions of leaving a life behind swell to the point of crisis, Justine must confront the collateral damage of a traumatic, long-repressed past.

 In psychologically astute prose full of provocative insights, My Face in the Light is a piercing, poignant novel about truth in art and identity. It’s the story of a young woman owning up to the lies she’s fallen in love with, and figuring out if she can still recognize herself when she finally lets them go.

#MyFaceInTheLight #MarthaSchabas

AUTHOR READING #3:
Animal Person: Stories by Alexander MacLeod

Saturday, June 4, 2022 – 12 noon
Maitland River Community Church
NOTE: Alexander will be reading as part of the Short Story Awards Lunch

From Giller Prize finalist Alexander MacLeod comes a magnificent collection about the needs, temptations, and tensions that exist just beneath the surface of our lives. Named a Canadian Fiction title to watch by the CBC, Quill & Quire, and 49th Shelf, and a “must-read book” by Maclean’s. Featuring stories published in The New Yorker, Granta, and the O. Henry Prize Stories.

Startling, suspenseful, deeply humane yet alert to the undertow of our darker instincts, the eight stories in Animal Person illuminate what it means to exist in the perilous space between desire and action, and to have your faith in what you hold true buckle and give way.

     A petty argument between two sisters is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Adjoining motel rooms connect a family on the brink of a new life with a criminal whose legacy will haunt them for years to come. A connoisseur of other people’s secrets is undone by what he finds in a piece of lost luggage. In the wake of a tragic accident, a young man must contend with what is owed to the living and to the dead. And in the O. Henry Award-winning story “Lagomorph,” a man’s relationship with his family’s long-lived pet rabbit opens up to become a profound exploration of how a marriage fractures.

     Muscular and tender, beautifully crafted, and alive with an elemental power, these stories explore the struggle for meaning and connection in an age when many of us feel cut off from so much, not least ourselves. This is a collection that beats with raw emotion and shimmers with the complexity of our shared human experience, and it confirms Alexander MacLeod’s reputation as a modern master of the short story.

AUTHOR READING #4:
Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel

Saturday, June 4, 2022 – 2:00 – 3:00pm
Maitland River Community Church

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
In this haunting and groundbreaking historical novel, Danielle Daniel imagines the lives of women in the Algonquin territories of the 1600s, a story inspired by her family’s ancestral link to a young girl who was murdered by French settlers.

1657. Marie, a gifted healer of the Deer Clan, does not want to marry the green-eyed soldier from France who has asked for her hand. But her people are threatened by disease and starvation and need help against the Iroquois and their English allies if they are to survive. When her chief begs her to accept the white man’s proposal, she cannot refuse him, and sheds her deerskin tunic for a borrowed blue wedding dress to become Pierre’s bride.  

1675. Jeanne, Marie’s oldest child, is seventeen, neither white nor Algonquin, caught between worlds. Caught by her own desires, too. Her heart belongs to a girl named Josephine, but soon her father will have to find her a husband or be forced to pay a hefty fine to the French crown. Among her mother’s people, Jeanne would have been considered blessed, her two-spirited nature a sign of special wisdom. To the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful—a woman to be shunned, beaten, and much worse.

With the poignant, unforgettable story of Marie and Jeanne, Danielle Daniel reaches back through the centuries to touch the very origin of the long history of violence against Indigenous women and the deliberate, equally violent disruption of First Nations cultures.

#DaughtersOfTheDeer #DanielleDaniel

AUTHOR READING #5:
Buffalo is the New Buffalo by Chelsea Vowel

Sunday, June 5, 2022 – 2:00 – 3:00pm – Virtual

Powerful stories of “Metis futurism” that envision a world without violence, capitalism, or colonization.

“Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”

Inspired by classic and contemporary speculative fiction, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo explores science fiction tropes through a Metis lens: a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) in the nineteenth century tries to solve a murder in her community and joins the nehiyaw-pwat (Iron Confederacy) in order to successfully stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West. A Metis man is gored by a radioactive bison, gaining super strength, but losing the ability to be remembered by anyone not related to him by blood. Nanites babble to babies in Cree, virtual reality teaches transformation, foxes take human form and wreak havoc on hearts, buffalo roam free, and beings grapple with the thorny problem of healing from colonialism.

Indigenous futurisms seek to discover the impact of colonization, remove its psychological baggage, and recover ancestral traditions. These eight short stories of “Metis futurism” explore Indigenous existence and resistance through the specific lens of being Metis. Expansive and eye-opening, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo rewrites our shared history in provocative and exciting ways.

#BuffaloIsTheNewBuffalo #Chelsea Vowell

AUTHOR READING #5:
Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall

Sunday, June 5, 2022 – 3:00 – 4:00pm – Virtual

A masterful debut novel about three women whose lives are bound together by a long-lost letter, a mother’s love, and a secret network of women fighting for the right to choose—inspired by true stories.

Tell them you’re looking for Jane.

2017 -When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession in a stack of forgotten mail, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane…

1971 – As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.

1980 – After discovering a shocking secret about her family history, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.

Weaving together the lives of three women, Looking for Jane is an unforgettable debut about the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice—and the enduring power of a mother’s love.

#LookingForJane #HeatherMarshall