Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Beverly Akerman's Upcoming local readings from The Meaning Of Children




The Meaning Of Children is available in fine bookstores across Canada and online at Amazon.ca, Chapters, and through Exile Editions.

Just thought I’d let you know about a few readings I’ll be doing around town over the next few weeks…(click here to read some of the incredible feedback The Meaning Of Children has garnered--with a big "thank you" to those who have called, written, and emailed :)

1. Poetry in the Park

August 31, 2011 - 6 PM to 8 PM
Westmount Park Lagoon

A music and poetry event in
Westmount Park next to the lagoon. Bring a chair.

Performers are:

Beverly Akerman
Suzanne Daningburg
Hannah Franklin
Jan Jorgensen
Jeffrey Mackie
Noor
Wanda Potrykus
Gina Roitman
Music by Corinna Rose

2. Visual Arts Centre Tuesday, September 13, 2011


School of Art / McClure Gallery

POETRY AND PROSE READING

www.visualartscentre.ca

350 Victoria Avenue, Westmount

Tel: 514-488-9558

(Commuter Train, Vendome metro, Bus: 24, 63, 138)

Producer/host Ilona Martonfi Tel 514-939-4173

ilona.martonfi@sympatico.ca

Doors 7:00 pm; Reading 7:30 pm

At the door $5


An Evening of Poetry, Prose & Music

H. Nigel Thomas Spirits in the Dark, shortlisted for Hugh MacLennan Fiction award. Latest collection of short fiction, is Lives: Whole and Otherwise.


Nelly Roffé Literary translator from Spanish into French. She gives readings & conferences on poetry & exile, North African literature, & tango.


Kelly Norah Drukker Poetry & creative non-fiction in The Malahat, Room & other journals. Second prize for poetry, 2006 CBC Literary Awards.


Harold Hoefle’s debut novel, The Mountain Clinic (Oberon, 2008,) was the finalist for the 2009 QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.


Beverly Akerman Author of a first book of fiction, The Meaning of Children, published with Exile Editions, 2011. Winner, 2010 Richards Prize.


Erika White writes and gardens on the island of Montreal. With R. de Smit, she also runs Broken Rules Press.


Milton Dawes One of the seven drummers who started the “tam-tam” drumming on the mountain. Read some of his writings at miltondawes.com.



3. Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 2:00 PM. PWAC Reads during Journées de la culture! During the 15th anniversary of Les Journées de la Culture, PWAC Quebec members will be celebrating the art of the written word!

Beverly Akerman, Julie Barlow, Olivia Kona, Eve Krakow and Heather Grace Stewart will read from their published and award-winning works and more! Authors’ books will be available for purchase and for signing, so come out and support your fellow writers!

The Where & When



4. Local Author Salon Eleanor London Cote St. Luc Public Library

Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m.

Please join us for an evening of local authors reading and discussing their works.

Featured in this salon are the following authors: Beverly Akerman, David Brody, Melaine Lipsey, Ann Weinstein, and S. Nadja Zajdman.

Free

Hope to see you there!

Monday, 29 August 2011

"Are Books Dead?"--a fascinating article on The Guardian website








If you're a writer--or "just" a reader--you need to read this amazing article!! “Are books dead, and can authors survive?” It's by Ewan Morrison, based on a talk he gave at the Edinburgh Book Fair.
Here are a couple of intriguing excerpts to whet your curiosity. Feel free to drop me a line & let me know what you think...
“...Can books be written in sweatshops?

Well, books might not be manufactured in China and Korea but the long tail is the sweatshop of the future, and it will contain millions of would-be-writers who will labour under the delusion that they can be successful in the way writers were before, in the age of the mainstream and the paper book..."

"Authors must respect and demand the work of good editors and support the publishing industry, precisely by resisting the temptation to "go it alone" in the long tail. In return, publishing houses must take the risk on the long term; supporting writers over years and books, it is only then that books of the standard we have seen in the last half-century can continue to come into being."

Basically, Morrison's saying that the newer generations' expectation of free content has lead to the demise of the midlist author, the destruction of advances, the music and film industries (and the even the porn industry). The economic model for free content just isn't there. Meantime, it's the merchandisers making all the money--and those who "monetize" the data we generate everytime we point and click...

What do you think?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Never Forget: Irena Sendler, Social Worker


I received this via email, checked at Snopes and it's legit!! BA

REMEMBER THIS LADY, A SOCIAL WORKER!!!!

Look at this lady - Let us never forget!
The world hasn't just become wicked...it' s always been wicked. The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.



Irena Sendler

There recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena.

During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist.

She had an 'ulterior motive'.

She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).

Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids).

She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.



She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.

After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family.

Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was not selected.
President Obama won one year before becoming President for his work as a community organizer for ACORN
and
Al Gore won also --- for a slide show on Global Warming.





In MEMORIAM - 63 YEARS LATER

I'm doing my small part by forwarding this message.

I hope you'll consider doing the same..

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth'.

It's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide!

Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world..


It will only take you a minute to pass this along..


=

--
May the winds of love blow softly and whisper so you'll hear.


Check out:

www.irenasendler.org


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Visual Arts Centre Readings Sept. 13, 2011

I'm appearing with a roster of great local talent: poets, prose writers and musicians.

We'd love to see you!!



Visual Arts Centre

School of Art / McClure Gallery

POETRY AND PROSE READING

www.visualartscentre.ca

350 Victoria Avenue, Montreal Tel: 514-488-9558

(Commuter Train, Vendome metro, Bus: 24, 63, 138)

Producer/host Ilona Martonfi Tel 514-939-4173

ilona.martonfi@sympatico.ca

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Doors 7:00 pm Reading 7:30 pm At the door $5

An Evening of Poetry, Prose & Music

H. Nigel Thomas Spirits in the Dark, shortlisted for Hugh MacLennan Fiction award. Latest collection of short fiction, is Lives: Whole and Otherwise.

Nelly Roffé Literary translator from Spanish into French. She gives readings & conferences on poetry & exile, North African literature, & tango.

Kelly Norah Drukker Poetry & creative non-fiction in The Malahat, Room & other journals. Second prize for poetry, 2006 CBC Literary Awards.

Harold Hoefle’s debut novel, The Mountain Clinic (Oberon, 2008,) was the finalist for the 2009 QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.

Beverly Akerman Author of a first book of fiction, The Meaning of Children, published with Exile Editions, 2011. Winner, 2010 Richards Prize.

Erika White writes and gardens on the island of Montreal. With R. de Smit she also runs Broken Rules Press.

Milton Dawes One of the seven drummers who started the “tam-tam” drumming on the mountain. Read some of his writings at miltondawes.com.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Updated Feedback on The Meaning Of Children

I have been overwhelmed by people's generosity in offering their comments on my book, some of which I've collected here...

A keen, incisive vision into the hidden world of children as well as intimate knowledge of the secret spaces that exist between the everyday events of life. A work with a brilliant sense of story…Magical, and so refreshing for me to read. I absolutely loved it and I hope it goes on to do marvellous things. Yours is a luminous talent.

~JoAnne Soper-Cook, Author, 2010 David Adams Richards Prize judge

Loved your book... read it in one sitting. I loved how after going from story to story... it led perfectly together into your last chapter's list.

~Mutsumi Takahashi, Anchor, CTV News Montreal

Haunting and powerfully emotive, drawing on the subtleties of childhood, youth and parenthood that undermine us in strange and unexpected ways. Your writing is polished and mature, something I am always in awe of and why I got into publishing to begin with.

~Meghan Macdonald, Transatlantic Literary Agency

This isn’t the invented childhood of imagination and wonderment…[here] children both corrupt and redeem: each other, family relationships and the female body.

~Katie Hewitt, The Globe & Mail

Akerman holds up our greatest fears, not to dwell on them, but to marvel at our commitment to life, especially to passing it on to others.

~Anne Chudobiak, The Montreal Gazette

Counter-intuitive to the title, for me these stories resonate with the sad truth of being a grownup. Life is that damn hard and just-under-the-surface tension saturates our existence. But the kids, they know what's going on. They may not understand all the details but they know the score. Akerman nails that sorrow, highlights it with unexpected humour, credits our resilience and almost never skips a beat. As with any collection of stories, some are stronger than others. Lighter Than Air, The Mysteries, and Broken knocked the wind out of me, forcing me to take a long pause and mull them over, sit a while.

~Chris Benjamin, Author of Drive-by Saviours, on Goodreads

Your book The Meaning of Children is great and so are you!

~Anne Lagacé Dowson, CJAD Radio journalist, on Twitter

Thanks so much, Beverly. The book looks great. I read a couple of the stories and really liked them. Also revisited the ones you wrote in class and it was like wow, what prompt was that? What prompt was it, by the way? Do you mind if I use one for a writing book I think I might write?

~Nancy Zafris, series editor for The Flannery O’Connor Awards, former fiction editor of The Kenyon Review

Akerman engages with dichotomies. Childhood is that safe, magical, carefree time and place — but it’s also risky, threatening, ominous and dangerous — full of impenetrable mystery around things seen and experienced, but beyond understanding. And if it’s not too much of a simplification or stating the obvious, life and the world are not gentle on children simply for being children…If, as Dostoevsky once remarked, and as is quoted on the collection’s frontispiece, “The soul is healed by being with children,” it is the tragedy of adulthood that we become so isolated from childhood — and what children offer us. Artfully, evocatively, Beverly Akerman’s The Meaning of Children reminds us of that.

~Darrell Squires, The Western Star

Beverly’s background as a scientist, MSc and twenty years as a molecular researcher, inevitably spills into the stories…characters, the settings and her style. Intelligent, objective, open-minded but not clinical, her prose is refreshing and unprejudiced. Her characters are frank and genuine...With The Meaning of Children, we get a beautifully written exposé on the meaning of life.

~Francine Diot-Layton, The Rover

Your book is filled with insight and wisdom and gorgeous moving stories...You are dazzling. (I had read “Pie” long ago. It is just as moving the second time).

~Hal Ackerman (no relation), UCLA Screenwriting Area Co-Chair and author of Stein Stoned and Stein Stung

All I seem to read these days are parenting books. But I think I might be learning more about being a parent from Beverly Akerman's The Meaning of Children than from anywhere else. I can't put it down.

~Jenn Hardy, Writer, Editor and Blogger at mamanaturale.ca

I adore your knack for leaving questions hanging in the reader's mind…and then there are those thought provoking zingers tucked neatly inside the last thought, description or action of your narrators. I haven't enjoyed short stories like this since Margaret Atwood, Barbara Gowdy and Alice Munro.

~Rusti Lehaye, Writer and Editor

Beverly Akerman is what Alice Munro was supposed to be.

~Mike Rose (received by my publisher, via email)

A life-altering read is so rare for me, and I imagine for many writers, with a critical eye often hard to keep closed while hoping to get caught up and swept away while reading fiction for pleasure...Her stories are as diverse as her changing career path and yet string together a theme as connected as a genetic chain…Children weave their way through every tale…always sparking the reader to question where in all these stories sits their own story.

~Michelle Greysen, Writer, Editor, and Blogger

[You show us how] our childhood experiences affect us forever. And what we bury comes to the surface from time to time….The story about the woman who couldn't touch anything without it dying was sad and funny - loved the boys next door - and I liked PIE - as you have now given me a simple recipe that I can remember for pie crust -I am a baker. And the poor woman who had entered probably menopause and her marriage had broken without her noticing it. She was just so angry and exhausted. So many women I feel are and hide it.

~Carlene Orefici, a Facebook friend I haven’t met in real life (yet!)

Just finished “Like Jeremy Irons.” That was a tough one. Saying I loved it feels contrary to the agony I'm feeling right now. (Perhaps I shouldn't have settled into it with a glass of wine?) Awesome writing - even if my uterus is cramping!

~Lisa Dalrymple, Winner of The Writers Union of Canada’s 2011 Writing for Children Competition

I enjoyed The Meaning of Children so much that I wished there were twice as many stories! If I had to pick one, “Pour Un Instant” was my favourite. I was sad to come to the end of the book.

~Lisa De Nikolits, Author of The Hungry Mirror, on Amazon.ca

@Beverly_Akerman I am devouring your fabulous book The Meaning of Children!

~Alison Palkhivala, Writer and Editor, on Twitter

This morning I wrote to a friend in Victoria. I told her: ‘I finished Beverly Akerman's book and really liked it. The theme throughout is children: being a child, being pregnant, abortion, losing a child, being a father, giving a child for adoption. Touchy stuff but she has such kindness, such compassion and infuses hope and love in the saddest situation. She offers unique and surprising insights, it's never sappy or cliché. All this within the short story frame, quite a feat in my opinion. If you can't find her book, I'll send you my copy.’ Thank you for writing such an amazing book and for promoting yourself at the gym. It was a bold and creative move. I would have not known about your writing otherwise.

~Diane Des Roches, new gym friend and budding writer

Comments on individual stories from The Meaning of Children:

Beautifully unbearable.

~Nancy Zafris, series editor for The Flannery O’Connor Awards, former fiction editor of The Kenyon Review

Emotional and tightly written.

~David Bright, Editor, Gemini Magazine

Oh, it's lovely. I like it when my body responds to writing; right now there's an ache in my throat.

~Susan Rendell, Editor, EarLit Shorts

The judges liked…the resistance to the happy ending, and the idea that there is often something or someone waiting for the small mistake.

~The Writers’ Union of Canada 2007 Short Prose Competition Jury

I love the mystery and the fear in this story—the ending works so well.

~Colleen Donfield, Manuscripts Editor, The Sun

“Paternity”: you take a man's voice and point of view; stepping in the Oratoire and being confronted by the statue of St. Joseph holding baby Jesus is soo powerful and literally a validation of his own paternal feelings for Daisy.

“Pour Un Instant”: such a sensitive story, two English kids kissing at la Saint-Jean, seduced by Harmonium's lovely song Pour un instant. There are many layers here. Conflict in our two communities. Akiva being murdered for being Jewish, senseless abominable antisemitism. Marcy's lifelong grief. Your ending is so clear and liberating. I felt the water of the lake, I experienced the hope, the joy of being alive - in spite of all this.

“Like Jeremy Irons”: I love that you use the second person. It sets the necessary tone of detachment, as if the self is someone else. Your first paragraph is amazing. The OB closing up shop and the Gyno performing abortions = the English community is shrinking. Those were the days when one could choose a doctor! You give a chilling and accurate description of the whole process, from the waiting room to the operating room. Again, I found your ending to be compassionate, surprising and unique. You are a very talented and creative writer! Thank you for writing such an amazing book and for promoting yourself at the gym. It was a bold and creative move. I would have not known about your writing otherwise.

~Diane Des Roches, new gym friend and budding writer


The Meaning Of Children is available in fine bookstores across Canada and online at Amazon.ca, Chapters, and through Exile Editions.


Lots more at Fictionaut...and you can also find me at Goodreads and on Facebook (both me & my book). Stop by if you have a chance, set a spell. We can share a slice o' mah "Pie."

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Beverly Akerman Interviewed by CBC HomeRun's Jeanette Kelly


The Meaning Of Children now available on Kindle!

 

Today was the day...CBC Montreal's HomeRun reigning summer queen, Jeanette Kelly, interviewed me for the program. We talked about motherhood, meaning, and The Giller Prize Reader's Choice Contest. (Feel free to suggest The Meaning Of Children be part of the longlist!!)

Jeannette asked for tips for would be writers--I told her writers should be relentless in pursuing their art and their success, and that they should continuouslyask themselves WWAAD--"What would an American do?"

I talked up the Quebec Writers' Federation and Ilona Martonfi.

I read from "Pie."

All in all, a vibrant, action-packed segment.

See if you agree:




And then, my car sorta died...but at least it happened on the way home from the interview and not on the Ville Marie Expressway, eh? ;)

Find HomeRun on Facebook or at their website here.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Akerman Appearing on CBC Radio' s HomeRun Show August 10, 2011



I'm thrilled to announce I'm scheduled to be interviewed tomorrow (Aug. 10th) on CBC Radio Montreal's afternoon drive show, HomeRun, at 88.5 on your FM dial.

Jeanette Kelly (pictured here) is to interview me about The Meaning Of Children (the
CBC's Reader Choice contest for The Giller Prize is the hook)...

I may have a chance to do a really short reading. One to two minutes, (100-200 words), say.

Should I read "Pie," or something clearly set in Montreal (e.g. "Tumbalalaika")? Ah, decisions, decisions.

Nice problem to be having...if you have an opinion, either way, drop me a note or comment.

Oh and I'd be honoured if you voted for The Meaning Of Children!


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The I-Story, Part II: The Flashlight Voice, by Marko Fong


Marko Fong discusses first person present tense stories, referring to “Haircut” by Ring Lardner, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” (one of my favourite short stories!) by Amy Hempel, “Pie” by yours truly, and Pam Houston’s “The Best Girlfriend You Never Had”.

A companion piece to his views on first person past stories, "The I-Story, An Owner's Manual."

So here, without further ado, is the link to
The I-Story, Part II: The Flashlight Voice, by Marko Fong.

And all this comes from a new blog I've just discovered, McKenna Donovan's McKenna's Way, "the official blog of To Write Well."

I first "met" Marko on Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppolla's site. Thanks, Marko, for reading and appreciating "Pie," and placing it among such illustrious company.

Marko's bio: "Marko Fong lives in Northern California and has published first person stories (usually present tense) in Eclectica, Berg Gasse 19, Grey Sparrow Journal, Prick of the Spindle, Memoir (and), and Solstice Quarterly. His fiction has been nominated twice for a Pushcart and once for a PEN/O.Henry prize."

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Meaning of Children longlisted for The ReLit Award



I'm pleased to tell you my book, The Meaning Of Children, has longlisted for The ReLit Award for short fiction.

Founded by Newfoundland writer Kenneth J. Harvey, "Canada's ReLit Award--founded to acknowledge the best new work released by independent publishers--may not come with a purse, but it brings a welcome, back-to-the-books focus to the craft," says Amazon.com.

The Globe and Mail calls The ReLit Award, “The country’s pre-eminent literary prize recognizing independent presses.”

Shortlist due Aug. 31st, with the winners to be declared end of October, if 2010 is anything to go by.

Given annually in three genres--novel, poetry, and short fiction--the website says "winners receive the ReLit Ring, which features four moveable dials, each one struck with the entire alphabet, for spelling words."

Kenneth J. Harvey has won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the Winterset Award, Italy's Libro Del Mare, and has been nominated for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and twice for both the Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. His latest book is the novel Reinventing the Rose, which The National Post called, "profoundly entertaining."

Congratulations to all the other writers named, and to Exile Editions, whose writers Anthony DiNardo, Priscila Uppal, and Meaghan Strimas were named in poetry, with Jon Papernick also longlisted for short fiction.