Author turns mem­oir into one-woman fringe play

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Bob Arm­strong

ON­TARIO writer Ali­son Wear­ing has come up with a clever so­lu­tion to the chal­lenge of at­tract­ing an au­di­ence for an out-of-town book tour.

She has turned her mem­oir about grow­ing up with a gay fa­ther, Con­fes­sions of a Fairy’s Daugh­ter, into a one-women show and taken it on the road to fringe fes­ti­vals in Win­nipeg, Regina and Saska­toon.

Wear­ing’s show, which runs at the Win­nipeg Fringe’s Venue 11 (Red River Col­lege on Princess Street) un­til next Satur­day, is part of the book tour for the mem­oir, re­leased re­cently by Ran­dom House Canada.

This year’s sur­vey on women and book re­view­ing, by the or­ga­ni­za­tion Cana­dian Women in the Lit­er­ary Arts, sug­gests an in­crease in re­views of books by women and a more sub­stan­tial in­crease in the num­ber of women re­view­ing books.

The re­cently re­leased fig­ures, avail­able on the CWILA web­site, show that 48 per cent of book re­views in 2012 in 25 news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and lit­er­ary jour­nals had been writ­ten by women, com­pared to 38 per cent in 2011.

CWILA be­gan study­ing gen­der dif­fer­en­tials in book re­view­ing in 2011 af­ter a U.S. group made head­lines the year be­fore with stud­ies show­ing un­der-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of books by women in the in­flu­en­tial New York Times re­view sec­tion.

Over­all, the per­cent­age of books by women went up only slightly (from 42 to 43 per cent). In the four news­pa­pers in the sur­vey, in­clud­ing the Win­nipeg Free Press, 38-42 per cent of books re­viewed were by women, while sev­eral lit­er­ary mag­a­zines were in the range of 60 per cent.

As a science writer, Wayne Grady has writ­ten plenty of books and mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles about other peo­ple’s dis­cov­er­ies. But it was a per­sonal dis­cov­ery that prompted him to write his first novel.

About 20 years ago, Grady looked up some cen­sus records in a li­brary in his home town of Wind­sor, Ont., and dis­cov­ered that his light-skinned fa­ther was in fact African-Amer­i­can.

Grady has now cre­ated a fic­tion­al­ized ver­sion of his fa­ther’s pass­ing from black to white in his novel Eman­ci­pa­tion Day, be­ing re­leased by Dou­ble­day Canada, on the an­niver­sary of the end of slav­ery in the Bri­tish Em­pire (Aug. 1, 1833).

Grady will read from the new novel this Septem­ber at the Thin Air Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Writ­ers’ Fes­ti­val.

De­spite all the at­ten­tion heaped on Canada Reads, the Giller Prize and I Love to Read Month, Canada is far from be­ing a na­tion of book­worms.

A re­cent in­ter­na­tional sur­vey of me­dia habits by Bri­tish mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy DJS Re­search places Canada in 23rd spot in­ter­na­tion­ally in aver­age weekly read­ing time. Cana­di­ans spend an aver­age of five hours and 48 min­utes per week read­ing, just six min­utes more than the Amer­i­can aver­age.

Ac­cord­ing to DJS Re­search, In­dia is the run­away read­ing win­ner, at 10 hours and 42 min­utes, while China and Thai­land are tied at eight hours and the Philip­pines comes in at 7:36.

One of the ju­rors who found Ge­orge Zim­mer­man not guilty of a crime in the shoot­ing death of Trayvon Martin has re­port­edly signed with a lit­er­ary agent to write a book that de­scribes her ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­plains how the judge’s in­struc­tions to the jury left no choice but a not-guilty ver­dict.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site Gawker, the ju­ror, known as Ju­ror B37, said dur­ing jury se­lec­tion that she doesn’t fol­low the news and only uses the news­pa­per to line her bird­cage.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.