This week, as we rejoice in the beginning of gardening season, we welcome Cynthia Reyes and Hamlin Grange to talk about their collaborative memoir TWIGS IN MY HAIR and the many gardens they have made together. Cynthia is the author of two other memoirs A GOOD HOME, and AN HONEST HOUSE. She is also co-author of the award-winning Myrtle the Purple Turtle children’s illustrated books. Hamlin has been taking photographs since he was a student, and his first journalism jobs in both the US and Canadian media involved words and pictures. He’s brought that eye for images and the stories they tell to almost every job he has had subsequently. His beautiful photographs grace the pages of TWIGS IN MY HAIR. Please join us for this lively discussion.
This week we welcome back Shane Joseph a frequent contributor to this show. Shane is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and the author of five novels and three collections of short stories. His second novel, After the Flood, a dystopian novel of hope, was released in 2009 and won the Write Canada Award for best novel in the futuristic/fantasy category. This novel has been re-released in 2020 in a Kindle version. His short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in literary journals and anthologies all over the world and his latest novel, Milltown, was released in April 2019. Shane is the owner and publisher of Blue Denim Press (www.bluedenimpress.com), a literary press he founded in 2011.
This week we are re-broadcasting a programme, still relevant, that we made a while ago with Judy Fong Bates.Judy was born in Kaiping, Gwuandong, China and came to Canada with her mother as a six year old to join her father. Her father and mother ran Chinese laundries in first, Allandale, and then Acton. Neither of her parents spoke much English, so as July progressed through school, immersed in this new language, becoming absorbed by the “lo fon” community, she found herself living between the two cultures. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Judy taught elementary school in Toronto for over 20 years. She also became a well-known story-teller of folk tales and her own original stories in both schools and festivals all over Southern Ontario. Her first book was a collection of short fiction called China Dog and Other Stories published in 1997 and was followed in 2004 by her critically acclaimed novel Midnight at the Dragon Café. In 2010 after several visits to China to meet her extended family, many of whom she had never met before, she published her memoir, The Year of Finding Memory. Judy, a long-time resident, lives on a farm in Northumberland County with her husband Michael. She loves gardening and hiking.
Ronald Mackay feels that his life has been and still remains a series of periods and experiences somewhat detached from one another. He was born during WWII in his grandmother’s rural home in Scotland. In 1946 his family settled in the city of Dundee. Until he attended school, he was bi-dialectal, speaking both Broad Scots and Standard English. On leaving school he worked at a variety of temporary jobs that took him throughout Scotland, England, France and Spain. He has been a market-gardener, a forester, a cod-fisherman, a farm-labourer, a cook, and was employed in the banana plantations in Tenerife where he delighted in learning to use dynamite. Ronald talks about these experiences,his later adventures and how he became a writer.