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.
Poet Susan Gillis was invited to be the Guest Poet at Cobourg Poetry Workshop’s Third Thursday Reading Series for March. Postponed because of Covid 19, we hope that her reading will take place later in the year, but in the meantime please enjoy our conversation with Susan, which we recorded recently by using ZOOM. Her books include 2018’s Yellow Crane: part love poem to her former home and part meditation on the ecologies of place, writing, and desire. A member of the collaborative group Yoko’s Dogs and the performance group Bon Echo, Susan also co-curates the online journal HALIBUT for micro-poetry, and offers workshops, manuscript services and mentorship online and in person.
Meet Cobourg poet Marion Fuessel. Marion describes herself as a late bloomer. She never really thought about school beyond grade 12. However, as she grew into her skin, she decided to go back. She graduated with honours from Seneca College in her 30’s, studying part-time while raising three children. She found she had a vocation to work with young children and was most interested in the Montessori Method. She researched and then pursued this, obtaining her Montessori qualifications and entering a very satisfying career. After retiring Marion and her husband moved to Cobourg and love its beautiful surroundings and friendly people. She has written several children’s stories, but attracted to poetry she joined the Cobourg Poetry Workshop three years ago and has been learning and writing ever since.
As part of our celebration of Poetry Month we are very pleased to be broadcasting our interviews with poet Anne-Marie Burrus, which we have recorded on Zoom—a new adventure! Anne-Marie who also answers to her pen-name Mia, lives in the country north of Cobourg in a restored one-room schoolhouse, making occasional forays into Toronto, where she continues to provide accounting services for various charities. She prefers, however, using words and images to explore the boundaries and spaces between what is spoken and silent, solid and ephemeral, known and unknowable, and mindful and mindless.
This week we talk to Katie Hoogendam. Katie is a writer, artist, educator and communications specialist. Her past vocations include High school teacher, copy editor and radio host and producer. She remains professionally and personally concerned with environmental issues and educational theory and practice. Spirituality, faith, feminism and identity are ongoing topics of interest for her. Katie writes poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and tried her hand at drama last year. Her first play, Plan X, was produced at Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts 2019.
This week we interview, Gwynn Scheltema. Gwynn is a writing jack-of-all-trades: poetry; fiction, editing; memoir, and non-fiction. Retired .from many years as a “working writer” earning a living from writing newspaper columns, magazine feature articles, fiction editing for a literary journal, ghost writing non-fiction books and working as a senior writer and editor for several communications branches in the provincial government, she now lives and writes for pleasure in the village of Trent River. Retirement, however, hasn’t slowed the pace. She’s still a partner in Writescape, providing editing services, a variety of workshops and masterclasses, and retreats for writers. Through Writerscape, Gwynn also blogs regularly in The Top Drawer and 10 on the 10th.
Gwynn has also been co-host, co-producer and the sound editor for Word on the Hills for over six years. Presently she is making an effort to cut back somewhat on her many activities so that she can concentrate on her current writing projects. Please join us!