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  • "A five-star work of heart."
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    Work With Me This Summer

    I have only two scheduled performances this summer, both close to home, so I am looking forward to a rare treat: a season at my desk. (That doesn’t sound nearly as romantic as it feels.)

    In lieu of touring, I will be bowing to the miracle of technology and conducting my first ever ONLINE memoir writing workshop. Essentially, this workshop will follow the same format as my regular ones: weekly meetings in which people read, discuss, and give helpful feedback on each other’s work. The only difference is that we will meet via teleconference (using either your telephone or your computer, in which case we can see each other’s faces). The experience would look something like this:

    GoToMeetingHDFaces6streamVideo

    You can find a detailed description on the WORKSHOP page.

    I’ll also be offering some private mentoring sessions this summer. (The term ‘mentoring’ makes me wince a bit, but I haven’t been able to find an alternative that isn’t worse.) This one-to-one work is intended for people seeking guidance, clarity, inspiration, encouragement and/or gentle accountability for a memoir writing project currently underway, and who would rather work privately than in a group setting. The sessions can range from a single consultation to a weekly arrangement. This can happen via Skype, telephone, or in person, depending on where you live. (I am based in this lovely town.)

    If you are interested in working together, please send me a short note describing your memoir writing project and what sort of work you would like to do together: info@alisonwearing.com.

    For the first two weeks of May, I’ll be in Ireland with my dad. He’s asked me to assist him with some genealogical research and I’ve assured him that while I am delighted to help (and to spend two weeks with him in Dublin!), I practically fall asleep just reading the word ‘genealogy’ and often confuse it with ‘gynecology’ when saying it aloud. Should be a fun trip.

     

     

    Performing at the edge of the world

    I am deeply grateful to the Haida Gwaii Arts Council for inviting me to perform in this majestic place (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). My heart is bursting. Special thanks to my host, Fran Fowler, who took it upon herself to show me every cove and corner she could over my week’s stay. What a gift. IMG_5214

    Confessions of a GG Judge

    photo (23)It was an honour to be one of the judges of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Awards and a delight to be able to congratulate Mark Winston, winner in the Non-Fiction category, at the awards ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

    As the three of us on the jury collectively wrote, “In Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, Mark Winston distills a life’s devotion to the study of bees into a powerful and lyrical meditation on humanity. This compelling book inspires us to reevaluate our relationships with each other and the natural world. Vital reading for our time.”

    I’d also like to recommend the rest of the books on the non-fiction shortlist, as well as a couple of others from among the 198 books under consideration.

    The Social Life of Ink by Ted Bishop

    This is a fabulous romp through the history of ink, how it has shaped culture, history, our minds and our hearts. In addition to being a truly delightful journey, this book inspires us to reassess our relationship with the written word–and how it gets written in the first place. I rushed out and bought a Lamy fountain pen as soon as I finished this book and I’ve been writing with it, blissfully, ever since.

    Norval Morrisseau by Armand Garnet Ruffo

    A mesmerising, dreamlike biography of the important and complex Aboriginal artist. The language of this work is so finely and richly textured, I would almost call it a literary painting. It is at once the story of a man and a people, a personal biography and a vast history. I will never look at a Morrisseau painting, or any painting, the same way again.

    Dispatches from the Front by David Halton

    I must admit that I did not pick this book up expecting great literature (because I had only known and admired David Halton as a television journalist), but it impressed and astonished me from the earliest pages and continued to enchant me to the end. Like his father’s extraordinary dispatches, David Halton’s writing soars. This book is captivating, engrossing and surprisingly moving. Even if it’s not your kind of book, you won’t be disappointed. And the history buffs in your lives would all like you to get them a copy.

    Party of One by Michael Harris

    Fortunately, this book is no longer relevant in any pressing or immediate way. Historians may turn to it to try to understand how Canada was nearly strangled within an inch of its essential values, but I am delighted to say that it is now a historical work. Buy it for your diehard Tory friends who still believe Stephen Harper had the country’s best interests at heart.

    Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan

    Shortly after our shortlist appeared (without this book on it), Stalin’s Daughter was awarded the prestigious Hilary Weston Prize for Nonfiction. I cannot tell you how loudly I whooped when I saw that news, as I was still losing sleep over this magnificent book’s puzzling omission from our list. Extremely well-written, impeccably researched, this is a tender and enthralling account of Stalin’s only daughter and her incredible–at times almost unbelievable–life.

    The House with the Parapet Wall by John Terpstra

    My final words to my partner and son before heading to Ottawa for the jury meeting that would decide the shortlist and winner of the Governor General’s Award were these: “I won’t be back until House with the Parapet Wall is on the shortlist at the very least!”

    Well, I was. Or rather, it wasn’t. Or rather, while I made several impassioned (and convincing, I thought) pleas for the book, the decisions of the jury must be made by consensus, and while there is always a modicum of compromise and concession, there is no out-and-out bargaining allowed, no I’ll scratch your book if you scratch mine. Ultimately, as we all know, these lists and prizes come down to the personal tastes and preferences of the judges and a slight change to a jury might result in a radically different list of finalists. (Witness how varied the shortlists of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Giller Prize were this year, for example.)

    Though I was unable to sway the other two jurors and the book is, admittedly, not for everyone, I found The House with the Parapet Wall to be a work of exceptional artistry, crystalline beauty and transcendence. The architecture of language alone makes the book worth savouring, but its resonant themes of love and loss and place and home are also explored with a masterful grace. One of the many notes I had stuck to frontispiece was, “this book calls to us from the greater possibilities of literature.” And the last note I wrote to myself was this: “Be prepared to go on a hunger strike for this book.”

    After the shortlist was announced and some time had passed, I wrote to the author to tell him how much I had adored his book and what it had meant to me. He was grateful, humble, and said he was glad I didn’t have to miss a meal.

     

    Cheers & Merry Reading ~

     

    Sold Out in New York

    Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word and sell out the show at the legendary Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City. An unforgettable night. And fantastic to be back in New York.

    cornelia street

    New Trailer

    Many thanks to Megan Laughton, David Doyle, Raymond Knight & Susan Taylor,
    all of whom contributed to the making of this snazzy new reel.

    Writing

    What writing is and what it means, in the most eloquent words imaginable.

    Confessions in New York City

    I’m delighted to be performing at the legendary Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village in November. Cornelia Street is where Eve Ensler premiered The Vagina Monologues, Suzanne Vega got her start, where Oliver Sachs would do readings, and the Monty Python boys occasionally perform, so I am tickled at the prospect of spending next Friday the 13th on that stage. Please join me!

    Reservations are essential: 212-989-9319.

    ConfessionsNYCwhite

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