If anyone even hints to me that I ought to “take up arms against a sea of troubles,” I’m likely to tune out. Too busy, too tired, too depressed about the state of the world. Not knowing what to do about this state of affairs, I often look to literature to help me understand the more shadowy corners of the human condition. If you’re of like mind, you may want to click on Novel Rights (http://novelrights.com/). The website offers high-quality literary work for purchase (at very reasonable rates), using the fees to benefit specific human rights efforts.
I began by reading Ava Homa’s powerful story “Lullaby,” based on the true story of Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish schoolteacher and poet executed in Iran three years ago after a five-minute “trial.” Homa, a Kurdish writer-in-exile, based her story on the man’s letters, published after his death (her first story collection, Echoes from the Other Land was reviewed here). Powerful and heartfelt, “Lullaby” transported me into a nightmarish world, offering a resolute example of bravery and defiance. In reading a story like this, one is stung by the realization that people like Kamangar went to their deaths never knowing if their sacrifice was worth the effort. For that reason, it’s worth attending to the petitions that follow the story and which urge us to help save the lives of other innocent individuals trapped in Iran’s prison system. The site also has links to Amnesty International.
It’s been said that literature can’t change the world. Yet it can change us, touching us with the humanity we share with Farzad Kamangar and others like him. In pondering their stories, it becomes harder to turn away from suffering, not because of guilt but because of compassion. A writer’s artistic honesty allows us to face the world as it is. I hope you’ll visit Novel Rights and delve into some of their fine literary work.
Here’s a “heads-up” for all of you who live in the Toronto area (and even if you don’t!): I’ll be reading brand-new work at a Novella Night as part of the popular WordStage Reading Series. More soon, but save the date: Wednesday, December 14th . Things get rolling at 7.30 pm, at the New Dooney’s Cafe, 296 Brunswick Avenue (south of Bloor).
Torontonians, you’ll receive a newsletter soon with more info. Hope to see you there!
Wanto to join a book club? Come and meet Carole at the Bloor-Gladstone Library (1101 Bloor St. W.– Subway: Dufferin) on Wednesday evening, October 26th, from 7-8 p.m. She’ll share her experiences as a writer, and she’ll offer tips and suggestions to help jump-start your book-club experience. What kind of books do you enjoy? Find out more about novels, novellas and short stories and how you might use them for book club reading.
Carole will be speaking on Reading the Novella: A Gardener On The Moon at the North York Central Library (5120 Yonge St. — Subway: North York Centre) on Thursday, October 27th from 7- 8p.m. Find out about this distinctive form of writing which has been practiced by some of our greatest authors. When you’re short on time, novellas offer short, quality reading. Carole will discuss the novella in general and hers in particular. She’ll read from A Gardener On The Moon, co-winner of the 2010 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest, published by Quattro Books. To register, call 416.395.5639.
For something different this Hallowe’en, join Carole and a roster of readers at the Draft Reading Series, at The Merchants of Green Coffee, 2 Matilda St., near Broadview and Queen Sts. Writers are invited to take a chance and to read from new and unpublished work in draft form — or to read old work in a new and inventive way. Hallowe’en’s theme is “The Day of the Dead.” The reading’s in the afternoon, from 1.30 to 4 p.m.
Carole will be reading at the 4th Annual Words Alive Literary Festival on the Sharon Temple grounds in Newmarket, Ontario. The date’s Saturday, September 18th. Bring a picnic and enjoy the day! For more information about the festival and the speakers’ list, go to http://www.wordsalive.ca/speakers/
Toronto-area listeners, tune in on June 22nd to CIUT Radio, 89.5 FM, from 10 to 11 pm to hear my live interview with Nancy Bullis. We’ll be talking about my new novella, A Gardener On The Moon, and I’ll be doing a reading. If you’re not in the listening area, you’ll be able to check out the podcast on the station’s website. Go to CIUT-FM
I’ll be signing my new novella, A Gardener On The Moon at Toronto’s Small Press Book Fair from 2 – 3 pm on Saturday June 19th at the Quattro Books table. The Fair takes place at the Great Hall, 1087 Queen West (at Dovercourt). Check out the Fair’s website at http://www.torontosmallpressbookfair.org/