You expect the best for something called a Gala, and Elephant Mountain Literary Festival doesn’t disappoint. Literary luminaries Donna Morrissey, Sid Marty, and Angie Abdou entertain with stories as varied and interesting as the authors themselves at EMLF’s Gala Reading on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Hart Hall (510 Carbonate Street).
Abdou had a strong following even before her novel The Bone Cage made the CBC Canada Reads shortlist. Although booted off the island, The Bone Cage went on to win the MacEwan Book of the Year, and was the inaugural One Book, One Kootenay selection. The novel, which followed Abdou’s well-received story collection Anything Boys Can Do, draws from Abdou’s own athletic experience as it follows two Olympic hopefuls and the sacrifices they make.
Abdou’s most recent novel, The Canterbury Trail, plays with themes from the Chaucer original as its characters set out for a remote cabin and the last good powder of the year.
Sid Marty comes by his Mountain Man status honestly. He spent years as a park warden for Parks Canada, patrolling the backcountry around Banff and Jasper by saddle, pack horses in tow. Embracing a love for the western Canadian landscape, the Albertan has eight books of creative nonfiction and poetry under his belt. He’s also a singer-songwriter.
Marty’s book The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek made The Globe and Mail’s Top 100 list and was shortlisted for a Governor-General’s Award.
Newfoundland is the home turf of multi-award-winning novelist Donna Morrissey, whose roots are in the tiny outport community of The Beaches despite having moved to the relative metropolis of Halifax. Newfoundland sensibilities — including trademark insight and humour — find their way into Morrissey’s novels as well as her presentations.
Morissey’s first novel, Kit’s Law, harks back to The Rock, and a remote community and the struggles and triumphs of 14-year-old Kit Pitman that had Canadian readers spellbound — and they wanted more from this fresh Newfoundland voice. And so Morrissey delivered, following with Downhill Chance, Sylvanus Now, What They Wanted, and The Deception of Livvy Higgs.
Tickets are available at emlfestival.com for the Gala Reading, as well as information about other EMLF events including the Thursday night Opening Social featuring local and visiting writers and the Saturday morning mystery writers panel with bestselling authors Gail Bowen and Nelson’s Deryn Collier. Other panels, presentations, and workshops include indigenous publishing, self-publishing, and storytelling for youth.