Sharon Ramsay Curtis talks about the evolution and publication of her latest picture book, GLADIOLA SLEEPS IN. Sharon is the author and illustrator of two picture books for young children. She is also a watercolour artist, potter and gardener. Sharon says, ” I love useful things and my pottery, while decorative, is always functional and ergonomically designed. I am inspired by growing things, change, words and their meanings, colours, lines, and patterns. These are the elements, which show up in my work most frequently. I create because creating is the conduit by which I am able to best understand the world and myself.”
This week Word on the Hills talks by Zoom to Bruce Kauffman. Bruce is a poet, editor, event organizer, workshop facilitator and lives in Kingston. He has had four collections of poetry published, the most recent – last year’s, ‘an evening absence still waiting for moon’. He also produces and hosts a radio show called ‘finding a voice’ at CFRC 101.9 FM Kingston. And he organizes and hosts a monthly poetry open mic. which began in 2009.
This week we talk to Erika Rummel. Erika is the author/editor of many non-fiction, historical works, and an established novelist. Last year one of her historical novels, THE INQUISITOR’S NIECE, a story from the time of the Spanish Inquisition, received the award for “best historical novel” from the Colorado Publishers’ Association. This year has been particularly busy; three books on which she worked during 2018/19 have come home “to roost” all at the same time: the first, a translation from the German of a biography of the philosopher and humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam; the second a non-fiction book about the man who was Austria’s Chancellor when the Nazis occupied the country in 1938 and who was imprisoned until he was liberated by the Allies in 1945. The book is about the strategies he and other prisoners used for their emotional and intellectual survival. The third book is a new historical novel, THE ROAD TO GESUALDO, set in 16th century Italy which is about to be released and has received enthusiastic pre-publication reviews.
Jan Thornhill was born in Sudbury and grew up living on the outskirts of small communities where the fields and woods became her world. She chose to go to OCAD after leaving school and when she graduated, decided to try free- lancing as an illustrator and to her surprise found employment this way for over 10 years. After she met her husband Fred in 1981, Jan started writing, and in 1987 wrote and illustrated her first children’s book – the Wildlife ABC, which is still in print. Jan has won many awards including the 2015 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People, a lifetime achievement award presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada, and, most recently, the TD Children’s Literature Award for The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk. Jan lives with her husband Fred in a house they built in the woods near Havelock, Ontario.
This week, we talk to Karen Ralley, from Prince Edward County, on Zoom. Karen was raised in Milford, the village where her great-great-grandfather William Byron Scott (1843-1921) owned and operated historic Scott’s Mill. One of her early articles was a history of Scott’s Mill which was published in The County Magazine in 1977. Karen’s short stories, poetry and journalism have been published in Lake Effect, The Queen’s Feminist Review, Ultraviolet, County Magazine, express, Umbrella, and Independently Reviewed. One of her short stories was recently published in The County Wave, an anthology of stories by county writers. She is currently working on a novel and now lives outside Picton in a century farmhouse on 12 acres of land, with her husband writer, J D Carpenter.
Carole Payne first came to Port Hope to start the Port Hope archives in 1994. She has lived here for 23 years, since 1997 when she took a job as a part time research librarian at Cameco. In 2000 she established BOUND TO LAST, a book bindery which she ran out of her own home. She made books and boxes, and repaired books for many years, but now is mostly retired. A naturalist, Carole served as president of Willow Beach Naturalists from 2001-2003. She is the mother of four grownup children and now a writer and the editor of THIS IS US DOING CHURCH, a book of 76 stories written by 50 authors, past or current members of the congregation or associated with Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, published as part of the celebration of Metropolitan’s 200th anniversary in 2018.
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.