Novelist Marina Endicott enters stage right at the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival All-Star Reading on Saturday

Dim the lights, cue the brilliance

A new installment in Anne DeGrace's mini-series on writers at the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival.

Festival Tales

An Elephant Mountain Literary Festival Mini-series

In Marina Endicott’s book The Little Shadows, three young sisters tour the vaudeville circuit. It’s WWI Canada, and Aurora, Clover, and Bella are singing their way from one meal to the next as they navigate small town theatres and the sundry characters that lurk in the wings.

Marina herself will be on stage at Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s All-Star Reading on Saturday, July 11, 7:30pm at the Capitol Theatre. We won’t know what goes on behind scenes, because we’ll be in the audience. Lurking in the wings (or simply waiting for their cue) will be co-presenters Bob Bossin and Kate Pullinger for a three-act evening that’s sure to bring down the house in this very best of small town theatres.

There is a theatrical feel to Marina’s books, from the overt, such as the plot of The Little Shadows, to the subtle: characters who feel as if they are acting a part until their true selves are discovered, or simply in the way characters enter and exit the scene.

The dramatic qualities of Marina’s four novels—Open Arms, Good to a Fault, The Little Shadows, and most recently, Close to Hugh—make sense when you learn a little of the writer’s background.

Growing up in Golden, BC, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, Marina Endicott longed for the stage. She told Australia’s Booktopia blog that she was always “deeply in love with the instant, intimate magic of theatre.”

After spell of acting and directing in Canada, Marina was lured to England and the footlights of London, but the spotlight was elusive. She returned to Canada to a position as a dramaturge at the Saskatchewan Playwright’s Centre, not on stage, but working the magic.

But if that instant, intimate magic of theatre was initially intoxicating, “by the time I was thirty I’d recovered from that madness and wanted to be a writer, for the more sustained spell of fiction,” she admitted to Booktopia. She had always been a voracious reader, the first prerequisite.

It was a good move, both for Marina and to the rest of us voracious readers. Open Arms was shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, praised by W.P. Kinsella for meeting “one of my major criteria for successful novels: three weeks after reading it I can still recall characters, scenes, and events.”

Good to a Fault won of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was shortlisted for the Giller. The Little Shadows was shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award. Her newest novel, hot off the press this spring, prompted Globe and Mail reviewer Kerry Clare to write: “Close to Hugh feels more like a play than a book in its compression of time and space, connections illuminated between characters to create a web in the gossamer sense, in that connections are sometimes barely visible until they shimmer.”

The stage is never far in Close to Hugh, from the oft-punned Hugh (inject “you”), whose mother chose stage over son, to the teenaged kids who waft in and out of scenes uttering strains of dramatic dialogue from A Streetcar Named Desire and The Importance of Being Ernest (perhaps metaphors for the action at centre stage). It’s a matter of the writer writing what she knows—letting it inform the story as it finds its voice, its drama, and its inevitable shimmer.

Four panels on Saturday explore creative process and include local artists and thinkers along with our special guests. For the 11am the panel, The Gathering of Elements, Marina is joined by actor and singer Bessie Wapp and creative nonfiction author Rita Moir for a lively discussion. Come learn about the origins of brilliance—and then experience brilliance first hand in the second act, at the All-Star Reading at 7:30 at the Capitol Theatre. We promise an unforgettable cast of characters.

Footer: The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, which runs July 10 – 12 in Nelson and includes a 100-Mile Gala, All-Star-Reading, panel discussions, a youth storytelling workshop, and more. For information and tickets go to www.emlfestival.com.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Nelson’s Cedar Grove Estates affordable housing site to receive $3.2 million in renos

The project was made public during the Nelson CARES annual general meeting

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

Woman stabbed in downtown Nelson

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

Most Read