Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've gone pro

I'm pleased to advise that the Canadian Authors Association (CAA) has accepted me as a professional member. My main qualification for pro status is my book, The Ugly Truck and Dog Contest and Other Tales of Northern Life. The CAA's professional members include not only writers, but also teachers, cartoonists and photographers, among others.

Speaking of the CAA, I'm off to Victoria tomorrow for the annual CanWrite! conference. I attended CanWrite! in Edmonton two years ago, and was impressed by the quality of the workshops and the panels, and the non-stop access to incredible food. This year, I'm particularly looking forward to the CAA Literary Awards, which are presented during the conference. Annabel Lyon, one of my former writing instructors, has been nominated for MOSAID Technologies, Inc. Award for Fiction. The nomination is for her much-celebrated novel, The Golden Mean. Yay, Annabel!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The beer barge cometh

Who cares about the summer solstice? In Yellowknife, beginning of summer is marked by the arrival of the beer barge!

What is the beer barge, you ask? Well, back in the olden days (before the highway reached all the way to Yellowknife), most goods were barged across Great Slave Lake. The lake, of course, freezes during the winter. Prospecting and mining being thirsty work, liquor supplies usually ran out by late winter or early spring. So Yellowknifers waited for spring break up . . . and that first barge across the lake carried a much-anticipated shipment of beer.

Last year, the NWT Mining Heritage Society resurrected the tradition by re-enacting the arrival of the barge and holding a fab barbecue with live music . . . and beer! Members of the society - and others - wear costumes, and a good time is had by all.

Yesterday marked the 2010 arrival of the beer barge (photo above). Below is a shot of some "authentic Yellowknifers" stepping off the boat, with the contestants for best costume in the bottom photo.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

NorthWords highlights

Quite the whirlwind last weekend, with all that was happening with the Northwords Writers Festival.


Writing a new work and reading it at the ghost story open mic . . . Nice compliment from a member of the audience . . . Sharing a mic with Saskatchewan writer Sharon Butala, storyteller James Pokiak of Tuktoyaktuk, local writer Jamie Bastedo . . . Meeting Deborah Webster, children's author, anthropologist and sister of my old friend, Linda . . . Annabel Lyons's fabulous shoes . . . Launch of Annelies Pool's book, iceberg tea . . . Launch of Mindy Willet/James Pokiak/Tessa Macintosh's new book, Proud to be Inuvialuit . . . Ivan Coyote's funny and compassionate stories . . . Bob Barton's children's tales, always told with flair . . . Hearing why Steve Sanderson decided to tackle the topic of suicide in his graphic novels . . . Novelist Cathleen With's gentle handling of characters on the edge . . . The ever-present Richard Van Camp, untiring booster of the northern writing community . . . Judith Drinnan, owner of the Yellowknife Book Cellar, making sure everyone had a chance to buy our books . . . busy . . . fun . . . looking forward to next year.