Bank robber and his wife featured at festival

Literary couples at Elephant Mountain event

Three internationally-renowned literary couples – including a bank robber and his wife – will share the spotlight at the 7th annual Elephant Mountain Literary Festival in Nelson this summer.

“Any intimate relationship takes creativity to make it work,” said EMLF executive director Natasha Smith as she announced this year’s festival lineup. “What is the creative dynamic like when both partners in a relationship are also writers? How does that work? We thought it would be fascinating to find out.”

Susan Musgrave has excelled in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children’s literature, anthology editing and memoir. She teaches in the University of B.C. creative writing department’s Master of Fine Arts program, and in 2014 was awarded the $20,000 Matt Cohen Award for “a lifetime of distinguished work by a Canadian writer.”

Joining Musgrave at EMLF is her husband Stephen Reid, whose most recent collection of essays, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden: Writing from Prison, won the 2013 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. He was released in 2015 after serving 18 years in prison for a 1999 Victoria bank robbery.

Also appearing is Jamaica’s former poet laureate Lorna Goodison, who also writes fiction and memoir. She is a past winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Americas, and her prose memoir, Harvey River: A Memory of My Mother and Her People, won the 2008 $40,000 BC Award for Canadian non-fiction, Canada’s top prize for non-fiction.

Presenting along with Goodison is her husband, J. Edward Chamberlin, who has been active in aboriginal land claims on many continents. His books include If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? Finding Common Ground, which explores how stories and songs locate people in a landscape. The book was shortlisted for both the Charles Taylor Prize and the Pearson Writer’s Trust Award.

Victoria, B.C. novelists Esi Edugyan and Steven Price will also take the stage at this year’s EMLF. Edugyan’s 2011 Half-Blood Blues won the Giller Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Governor General’s Award. Her latest is the non-fiction Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home (2014). Steven Price’s 2016 novel Gaslight was longlisted for the Giller, and his poetry has won the 2007 Gerald Lampert Award and the 2013 ReLit Award.

Serving as the Holley Rubinsky Memorial writer-in-residence at this year’s EMLF is Susan Musgrave. Also in the schedule is a Friday afternoon pub crawl involving local emerging writers and three Nelson craft brew pubs, followed by the Friday opening night gala featuring West Kootenay authors paired with Nelson Brewing Company beers. Authors reading at the gala are Griffin Prize winner poet Jordan Abel from Castlegar, New Denver poet, novelist, historian and journalist Sean Arthur Joyce, and Nelson poet Rayya Liebich.

Saturday panels explore themes of creativity and include a crime fiction panel featuring West and East Kootenay mystery writers Dave Butler, Rachel Greenaway, Roz Nay and Judy Toews, moderated by Deryn Collier.

More information on the 2018 EMLF, including ticket purchases and how to register for a session with this year’s writer-in-residence, is at www.emlfestival.com

 

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