Winnipegger writes mother of a memoir
WINNIPEG spiritual director, retreat guide and mother Kalyn Falk launches a memoir this week about the hopes, joys, struggles and disappointments of motherhood, inspired by her experiences with her autistic son. The idea to write Mother of the Year and Other Elusive Awards grew after her son had to be rescued after jumping into the river, an event that came just weeks after the family home burned down. She writes on her blog that as a TV reporter asked her about the near-drowning, “I could see my Mother of the Year award slipping out of my grasp.” She launches the book Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers. With the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War just months away, France inducted Danielle Steele, author of a thousand shiny-covered sex-and-shopping epics, into its Legion of Honour this month, according to the book-news website Galleycat. In response, writers across the English-speaking world belatedly lobbied for an alliance with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A great scab of Canadian cultural anxiety was freshly picked this month by the Toronto Star, when the newspaper focused on a few throwaway lines at the bottom of a lengthy culture-blog interview with American novelists Gary Shteyngart ( Little Failure) and Chang-rae Lee ( On Such a Full Sea) that questioned the value of literary funding. Shteyngart, who sat on the 2012 Giller Prize jury, remarked on Vulture. com that Canadian writers “just don’t take the same damn risks. Maybe they want to please the Ontario Arts Council, or whatever it is.” Quotes from the piece — along with responses from the Writers’ Union of Canada and 2013 Giller winner Lynn Coady — rebounded through the Canlit world and made their way to the Guardian. Novelist and NBC News Middle East correspondent Martin Fletcher will meet readers via Skype Jan. 28 at the Rady Jewish Community Centre. Fletcher will meet electronically with the JCC’s People of the Book Jewish Book Club to discuss his new novel Jacob’s Oath, a political thriller set in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the Soviet Red Army’s devastating conquest of East Germany. The discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. For details contact the JCC at 4777533. To paraphrase Thumper: “If you can’t say something nice, you might have a shot at the Hatchet Job of the Year Award.” British literary magazine the Omnivore has announced the eight contenders for its annual award for the best literary takedown, and the contenders include reviews of some widely praised books from 2013, including Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize winner The Luminaries and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, as well as the less-surprising inclusion of the autobiography of the brow-beating vegan and pop singer Morrissey. Canada is represented on the list with the born-in-Ontario, raised-inNew Zealand Catton and a review of Worst. Person. Ever, the 2013 novel by West Coast zeitgeist reader Douglas Coupland. Literary geeks the world over are hoping for a book tour by soon-to-be science-fiction novelist and longtime dream fixture Gillian Anderson, former star of The X-Files. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Anderson has signed with Simon and Schuster to co-write A Vision of Fire, the first volume of the EarthEnd Saga. The book, co-written with a Tom Clancy ghost writer named Jeff Rovin, will launch a new digital imprint called Simon451.