COLUMN: Get hooked on the Ones That Got Away

Bill Richardson and Caroline Adderson have been many things: authors, multiple award winners, and, just possibly, ones that got away.

Bill Richardson (pictured) and Caroline Adderson headline the Saturday Night Live! event

Bill Richardson (pictured) and Caroline Adderson headline the Saturday Night Live! event

Third in an Elephant Mountain Literary Festival mini-series

Bill Richardson and Caroline Adderson have been many things: celebrated authors for adults and kids, multiple award winners, and, just possibly, the ones that got away.

Now, they’re coming back as co-stars of Saturday Night Live! the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival version on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hume Hotel.

What’s this about slipping the hook, you ask?

There’s a rumour out there that author, broadcaster, and funnyman Bill Richardson once courted the role of Nelson’s chief librarian. As a library staff member in my other life, that’s fun to imagine. But if that had happened, then he might not have written 18 books for adults and children. And that would have been a huge loss for us all.

Thanks to a poem in Bill’s 1990 book Queen of All the Dustballs, I can never look at a vacuum cleaner crevice tool without laughing. Thanks to the stories in the Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast, which won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, I now have two new friends named Hector and Virgil. And thanks to beloved CBC radio shows such as Richardson’s Roundup, Dear Sad Goat, and Bunny Watson, Bill’s quirky take on things has lightened many a happy hour.

At SNL, Bill reads from his most recent book The First Little Bastard to Call me Gramps: Poems of the Late Middle Ages (House of Anansi Press). Says the publisher:

“Richardson’s illustrated retirement rhymes for the hoary-headed do not just playfully reveal the inevitable weakening that afflicts the mind and body as the years wear on, they also cast light on the ageless, exuberant spirit that too often remains hidden inside. From retirement homes, cruises, and grandchildren to liver spots, memory problems, and geriatric sex, Richardson’s candid reflections on the trials, tribulations, and humiliations of growing old are funny, sharp, and irreverent.”

So come and cast your line! You don’t need to be hoary-headed to laugh along with Nelson’s rumoured-possibly-almost-chief-librarian.

Bill is also MC for the Reading the Earth eco-literary triple-header with J.B. McKinnon, Briony Penn, and Richard Cannings on Friday, July 8, 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre (so you can catch him twice).

Caroline Adderson’s connection to the Koots goes back to her Katimavik days in Kaslo and Argenta. She did a teaching practicum in Nelson in the 1980s, and came back later in the role of screenwriter when the movie Tokyo Cowboy featuring Nelson’s cultural ambassador for dance, Hiromoto Ida had its Nelson debut.

Caroline might have stuck around, but instead she settled on the coast to write novels, short stories, and children’s books, winning the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Sheila Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, three CBC literary awards, and the Marian Engle Award for Mid-Career Achievement.

Caroline’s fiction raises disturbing questions as she examines what it is to be human. She is also possessed of a light touch borne of insight and a keen understanding of the ways in which we find redemption. As a kidlit author, Caroline romps with kids and dogs in a way that clearly illustrates she is at home with both and you can’t go wrong there.

Caroline is EMLF’s 2016 writer-in-residence, advising ten writers through one-on-one critiques as part of the Holley Rubinsky Memorial Blue Pencil Sessions. She also appears on the Once Upon a Time children’s literature panel on Saturday.

At the Saturday Night Live! event, Caroline will read from Ellen in Pieces, a CBC Best Book of 2014, which she describes as “a novel-in-stories about a brassy, sometimes infuriating single mother navigating the loves and losses of middle age.” She adds, “I promise to read a funny part.”

After the readings, Selkirk College creative writing instructor Leesa Dean will facilitate a friendly discussion and audience Q & A.

Are Bill and Caroline the Ones that Got Away? Of course not! Because they’re back, and all you have to do to enjoy them is buy a ticket.

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival runs July 6 to 10 in Nelson. Other events include the 100-Mile Gala, Reading the Earth, and Saturday panel discussions. For information and tickets go to emlfestival.com.

Previously in this series

Warm, fuzzy, and in the know

Bibliobrilliance comes to Nelson

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