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Writers Festival Radio
45 minutes | 2 days ago
25 Education and Social Mobility with Andy Hargreaves
In this Republic of Childhood episode we take a look at education and social mobility. Have we really transcended class in our school system? In Moving: A Memoir of Education and Social Mobility, renowned professor, government adviser, and global change agent Andy Hargreaves shares candid, poignant and occasionally hilarious personal experiences of social mobility. Deeply revealing, emotionally direct, and intellectually insightful, the book begins in 1950s Northwest England and takes readers up to Hargreaves's university education in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hargreaves openly shares how class movement has affected him throughout life, links his narrative to classic and contemporary research and realities, and calls on society to reverse the increasing levels of social immobility and inequity worldwide.
66 minutes | 6 days ago
24 Writing for Young Readers featuring Kenneth Oppel and Deborah Ellis
November 20 is Universal Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. To celebrate we are launching our fourth Republic of Childhood season with an exciting program of interviews of writers by students, conversations with young activists and innovative educators weighing in on amplifying the voices and concerns of children and youth. This episode of the podcast celebrates two of Canada’s most acclaimed writers for young readers. Governor General’s Award winner Kenneth Oppel takes questions from Ottawa students about his latest, Hatch, book two of the Bloom Trilogy and Governor General's Award winner Deborah Ellis discusses her new novel, The Greats, with Alan Cumyn, winner of winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award for children’s literature.
65 minutes | 9 days ago
23 Yes, It's Systemic featuring Eternity Martis and Tessa McWatt
CBC's Idil Mussa hosts Eternity Martis and Tessa McWatt. This episode of the podcast takes a hard look at racial belonging in contemporary Canada. For too long the conversation on race in Canada has been framed by issues south of the border. Here, we examine our own culture and some of the ongoing barriers to equity and inclusion. They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up by Eternity Martis is a powerful memoir about what it's like to be a student of colour on a predominantly white campus. Using her award-winning reporting skills, Eternity connects her own experience to the systemic issues plaguing students today. It's a memoir of pain, but also resilience. Interrogating our ideas of race through the lens of her own multi-racial identity, critically acclaimed novelist Tessa McWatt turns her eye on herself, her body and this world in a powerful new work of non-fiction. Shame on Me is a personal exploration of history and identity, colour and desire, from a writer who, having been plagued with confusion about her race all her life, has at last found kinship and solidarity in story.
75 minutes | 13 days ago
22 The Ever-Present Past featuring Maggie O’Farrell and Sarah Xerar Murphy
Join us for a taste of two remarkable historical novels that are rooted in the past, but speak to our current preoccupations and challenges. While this year of pandemic and social unrest feels unprecedented, we are not the first to live in interesting times. From Shakespear’s England in 1580 to Mexico in the 1960s, much of what we are facing echoes throughout history. Peter Schneider hosts Maggie O’Farrell, winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and J.F. Martel hosts Sarah Xerar Murphy, winner of the New Brunswick Book Award. Hamnet & Judith by Maggie O’Farrell is a luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. Itzel I: A Tlatelolco Awakening, the first of two-part novel, by Sarah Xerar Murphy, tells the story of three disparate characters swept up in the drama of the Mexican student movement of 1968. Broad in scope and exuberant in style in the best tradition of Latin American literature, this book roots its readers in the ebullience of Mexico's daily life and language, even as they are made to confront the horrors of history, to examine the difficulties of friendship and family.
79 minutes | 15 days ago
21 Fighting for Peace Featuring Tim Cook and Scott Anderson
Our Remembrance Day podcast features Mark Sutcliffe in conversation with Canadian historian Tim Cook on how World War Two has been remembered and taught over the past 75 years, and CBC's Laurence Wall in conversation with Scott Anderson on his bestselling look at the early years of the Cold War and the CIA's covert battles against communism. Both authors examine military history and its role in our culture today. Tim Cook’s The Fight for History examines how Canadians framed and reframed the war experience over time. Just as the importance of the battle of Vimy Ridge to Canadians rose, fell, and rose again over a 100-year period, the meaning of Canada's Second World War followed a similar pattern. This is the story of how Canada has talked about the war in the past, how we tried to bury it, and how it was restored. This is the history of a constellation of changing ideas, with many historical twists and turns, and a series of fascinating actors and events. From Scott Anderson, the bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia, comes a gripping history of the early years of the Cold War, the CIA's covert battles against communism, and the tragic consequences which still affect the world today The Quiet Americans chronicles the exploits of four spies: Michael Burke, a charming former football star fallen on hard times; Frank Wisner, the scion of a wealthy Southern family; Peter Sichel, a sophisticated German Jew who escaped the Nazis; and Edward Lansdale, a brilliant ad executive. The Quiet Americans is the story of these four men. It is also the story of how the United States, at the very pinnacle of its power, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
44 minutes | 20 days ago
20 A Life with Books, Writers and Virago: Emma Donoghue in conversation with Lennie Goodings
Playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Emma Donoghue hosts a conversation with editor and author Lennie Goodings about her book, A Bite of the Apple: A Life with Books, Writers and Virago. Part memoir, part literary history, and part reflection on more than forty years of feminist publishing, A Bite of the Apple is a story of idealism and pragmatism, solidarity and individual ambition, of challenges met and the battles not yet won—and, above all, a steadfast celebration of the making and reading of books. Following the chronology of the press where she has worked nearly since its founding, Lennie Goodings tells the story of the group of visionary publishers and writers who have made Virago one of the most important and influential publishers in the English-speaking world. Like the books she has edited and published—by writers ranging from Maya Angelou and Margaret Atwood to Sarah Waters and Naomi Wolf—Goodings’s contribution to the genre breaks new ground as well, telling a story of women in the world of work, offering much needed balance to the male-dominated genre of publishing memoirs, and chronicling a critical aspect of the history of feminism: how women began to assume control over the production of their own books.
73 minutes | a month ago
19 Spotlight on Arsenal Pulp Press featuring Sachiko Murakami and Jillian Christmas
Poet Nina Jane Drystek hosts conversations with two incredible poets, both published by Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press. Render is Sachiko Murakami's intimate and unflinching poetic memoir. In it, she travels the non-linear path of addiction to recovery, how it shifts over time, and what happens when it is translated through poetry. Looking beyond the straightforward, happily-ever-after narrative, Murakami wades through the aftermath of her addiction and questions what happens to trauma when it is put down on the page - and all the ways in which it can be rendered. In The Gospel of Breaking, Jillian Christmas extracts from family history, queer lineage, and the political landscape of a racialized life to create a rich, softly defiant collection of poems. Christmas draws a circle around the things she calls "holy": the family line that cannot find its root but survived to fill the skies with radiant flesh; the body, broken and unbroken and broken and new again; the lover lost, the friend lost, and the loss itself; and the hands that hold them all with brilliant, tender care.
56 minutes | a month ago
18 Craft, Content and Process Featuring andrea bennett and John Elizabeth Stintzi
This episode features a conversation between two of our most innovative and interesting authors and poets. Join them for a deep dive on the craft and the process at work in their most recent publications. Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett’s experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book's fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through truing a wheel). John Elizabeth Stintzi’s unforgettable debut poetry collection, Junebat, grapples with the pain of uncertainty on the path towards becoming. Set during the year Stintzi lived in deep isolation in Jersey City, NJ, these poems map the depression the poet struggled with as they questioned and came to grips with their gender identity. Through the invention of the Junebat — a contradictory, evolving, ever-perplexing creature — Stintzi is able to create a self-defined space within the poems where they can reside comfortably, beyond the firm boundaries of the gender binary or the plethora of identities gathered under the queer umbrella. A limited number of signed books are available from our friends at Perfect Books. The Ottawa International Writers Festival is supported by generous individuals like you. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter and making a donation to support our programming and children’s literacy initiatives.
70 minutes | a month ago
17 Imagining Worlds (part 2) Featuring MR Carey and Lauren Beukes
Join Sean Wilson in conversation with MR Carey and Hattie Klotz in conversation with Lauren Buekes. Everything that lives hates us: That’s the reality M.R. Carey is exploring in The Rampart Trilogy. The award-winning author of the Lucifer comics and The Girl With All The Gifts returns with The Book of Koli. Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don't venture too far beyond the walls. He's wrong. Most of the men are dead. Three years after the pandemic known as The Manfall, governments still hold and life continues–but a world run by women isn't always a better place. Children of Men meets The Handmaid's Tale in Afterland, a blend of psychological suspense, American noir, and science fiction from South Africa’s Lauren Beukes.
55 minutes | a month ago
16 Imagining Worlds (part 1) Featuring David A. Robertson and Derek Kunsken
Join Sean Wilson in conversation with David A. Robertson and Kate Heartfield in conversation with Derek Kunsken. Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in The Barren Grounds, an epic middle grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson. Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other–until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality. Life can exist anywhere. And anywhere there is life, there is home. The House of Styx takes readers 250 years before the events in Derek Kunsken’s bestseller, The Quantum Magician. In the swirling clouds of Venus, the families of la colonie live on floating plant-like trawlers, salvaging what they can in the fierce acid rain and crackling storms. Outside is dangerous, but humankind’s hold on the planet is fragile and they spend most of their days simply surviving. But Venus carries its own secrets, too.
43 minutes | a month ago
15 Letting Go of Anxiety with Tara Henley
CBC’s Olivia Robinson hosts a conversation with Tara Henley about the modern world--and why so many feel disillusioned by it. In 2016, journalist Tara Henley was at the top of her game working in Canadian media. She had traveled the world, from Soweto to Bangkok and Borneo to Brooklyn, interviewing authors and community leaders, politicians and Hollywood celebrities. But when she started getting chest pains at her desk in the newsroom, none of that seemed to matter. The health crisis--not cardiac, it turned out, but anxiety--forced her to step off the media treadmill and examine her life and the stressful twenty-first century world around her. Part memoir, part travelogue, and part investigation, Lean Out tracks her journey from the heart of the connected city to the fringe communities that surround it. From early retirement enthusiasts in urban British Columbia to moneyless men in rural Ireland, Henley uncovers a parallel track in which everyday citizens are quietly dropping out of the mainstream and reclaiming their lives from overwork. Underlying these disparate movements is a rejection of consumerism, a growing appetite for social contribution, and a quest for meaningful connection in this era of extreme isolation and loneliness.
86 minutes | a month ago
14 Crime and Punishment Featuring Katie Tallo, Amy Stuart and Scott Thornley
This episode celebrates the thrill of a good mystery. Our three guest authors have all spent a lot of time thinking about where to hide the bodies and how best to through us off the scent. It’s a good thing they are using those powers to delight and entertain!. CBC's Lucy van Oldenbarneveld interviews Katie Tallo and Scott Thornley and Andrew Pyper interviews Amy Stuart. Dark August is the internationally bestselling debut of Ottawa’s own Katie Tallo. It’s a page-turning mystery about a young woman haunted by her tragic past, who returns to her hometown and discovers that there might be more to her police detective mother’s death—and last case—than she ever could have imagined. Amy Stuart, the bestselling author of Still Mine and Still Water, returns with Still Here. PI Clare O’Dey is on the hunt for two missing persons. Little does she know she’s the one being hunted. Malcolm is gone. And no one knows where or why. As she searches for the man who helped her build her career as a private eye, Clare discovers that many women are in grave danger. And she is among them. Hamilton’s Scott Thornley returns with Vantage Point, the fourth suspense-filled instalment of his critically acclaimed MacNeice Mysteries. This time, MacNeice and his team on the hunt for a sophisticated serial killer who draws his inspiration from classic works of art.
89 minutes | a month ago
13 Lies That Tell Us Truth Featuring Shani Mootoo, Mona Awad and Farzana Doctor
Do we ever really tell the truth, even to ourselves? This episode features three novels that examine the lies and truths at the heart of our most intimate relationships: Seductive and tension-filled, Polar Vortex by Giller Prize nominee Shani Mootoo is a story of secrets, deceptions, and revenge. It asks if we ever free from our pasts? Do we deserve to be? A spellbinding, down-the-rabbit-hole tale about loneliness and belonging, creativity and agency, and female friendship and desire, Mona Awad’s acclaimed novel Bunny explores what happens when an outsider is suddenly invited into a clique of unbearably twee rich girls. Seven, by Lambda Literary Award-winner Farzana Doctor is about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between kinship and the fight against customs that harm us. When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India in 2016, she finds her family on opposite sides of the debate on khatna, an age-old ritual of female genital cutting.
56 minutes | 2 months ago
12 Truth as Fiction and Fiction as Truth Featuring Helen Humphreys and Will Ferguson
All history is a kind of fiction, and the best stories are often built around real people and places, so what can we learn from invented truths and our relationship with imagination and investigation? This episode features Helen Humphreys in conversation with Frances Boyle and Will Ferguson in conversation with artsfile.ca's Peter Robb. Based on a true story, Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen Humphreys is about a lonely boy in a prairie town who befriends a vagrant in 1947 and then witnesses a shocking murder. Being with Bill is everything to young Leonard, so his shock is absolute when he witnesses Bill commit a sudden violent act and loses him to prison. Fifteen years on, and reunited with Bill, he becomes fixated on discovering what happened on that fateful day. From Scotiabank Giller Prize–winner Will Ferguson, comes The Finder, a beguiling and wildly original tale about the people, places, and things that are lost and found in our world. Both an epic literary adventure and an escape into a darkly thrilling world of deceit and its rewards, this novel asks: How far would you be willing to go to recover the things you’ve left behind?
58 minutes | 2 months ago
11 Agency and Consent Featuring Rebecca Watson and Annabel Lyon
Two of the seasons most anticipated releases explore the inner lives of women, and the realities we too-often try to ignore. Resentment and resilience, rage and regret: There is turbulence under the surface, unacknowledged causes and effects that reverberate through lives. This episode features Rebecca Watson and Annabel Lyon in conversation with Author and educator Julie S. Lalonde. Fiercely moving and slyly profound, little scratch by Rebecca Watson reveals a young woman's every thought over the course of one deceptively ordinary day. Relayed in interweaving columns that chart the feedback loop of memory, the senses, and modern distractions with wit and precision, our narrator becomes increasingly anxious as the day moves on: Is she overusing the heart emoji? Isn't drinking eight glasses of water a day supposed to fix everything? Why is the etiquette of the women's bathroom so fraught? How does she define rape? And why can't she stop scratching? Centred on two sets of sisters whose lives are braided together when tragedy changes them forever, Annabel Lyon’s, Consent, is a startling, moving, thought-provoking novel on the complexities of familial duty and on how love can become entangled with guilt, resentment and regret.
77 minutes | 2 months ago
10 The Art of the Short Story with David Bergen, Frances Boyle and Souvankham Thammavongsa
Join us in celebration of the art and craft of the short story. How do these acclaimed authors distill the human experience into such a concentrated form? How can they illumine so much of live’s ambiguity with so few words? This episode features Frances Boyle in conversation with artsfile.ca's Peter Robb and Rhonda Douglas with David Bergen and Souvankham Thammavongsa. Following men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, and featuring a novella about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, the latest from Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost—and how we might be found:. The short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. In Seeking Shade, the debut short story collection from poet, editor and author Frances Boyle, nuanced characters endure trauma, evolution and epiphany as they face challenges, make decisions, and suffer the inevitable consequences. Named one of the best books of April by The New York Times, Salon, The Millions, and Vogue, and featuring stories that have appeared in Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review, How to Pronounce Knife from O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa establishes her as an essential new voice.
46 minutes | 2 months ago
09 Orange Shirt Day with Michelle Good
This episode features Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm in conversation with Michelle Good about her new novel, Five Little Indians. The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians by Michelle Good chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward. A limited number of signed books are available from our friends at Perfect Books. The Ottawa International Writers Festival is supported by generous individuals like you. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter and making a donation to support our programming and children’s literacy initiatives.
59 minutes | 2 months ago
08 Neurodiversity and The Ever-Changing Brain Featuring Sarah Kurchak and David Eagleman
Is there anything more mysterious and more fundamental to our lives than the human brain? But do any of us really understand how our brains work, where consciousness comes from or how best to deal with our unique quirks of perception? This episode features Stephen Brockwell in conversation with neuroscientist David Eagleman and Nina Jane Drystek in conversation with autistic self advocate and essayist Sarah Kurchak. Sarah Kurchak is autistic. She hasn’t let that get in the way of pursuing her dream to become a writer, or to find love, but she has let it get in the way of being in the same room with someone chewing food loudly, and of cleaning her bathroom sink. In I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, Kurchak examines the Byzantine steps she took to become “an autistic success story,” how the process almost ruined her life and how she is now trying to recover. In his new bestseller, Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain, best-selling author and neuroscientist, David Eagleman, takes us on a thrilling journey of discovery. The brain is often portrayed as an organ with different regions dedicated to specific tasks. But that textbook model is wrong. The brain is a dynamic system, constantly modifying its own circuitry to match the demands of the environment and the body in which it finds itself. The Ottawa International Writers Festival is supported by generous individuals like you. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter and making a donation to support our programming and children’s literacy initiatives.
74 minutes | 2 months ago
05 Living with Dying Part 2 with Sheree Fitch and Lorna Crozier
We seem to avoid thinking about mortality, or talking about loss, but it is an unavoidable fact that we all face the loss of a loved one, and will each confront that truth in different ways. If grief is unavoidable, what is the best way to make peace with it? Part Two of Living With Dying features Sheree Fitch in conversation with Neil Wilson, and Lorna Crozier in conversation with CBC’s Sandra Abma. In the wake of her son's unexpected death, author and storyteller Sheree Fitch wrote it all down, penning an honest, lyrical memoir with words to stir heart. You Won't Always Be This Sad invites readers on a journey through grief towards hope, guided by the immeasurable depths of a mother's love. Told with unflinching honesty and fierce tenderness, Through the Garden by Lorna Crozier is a deeply affecting portrait of a long partnership and a clear-eyed account of the impact of a serious illness, writing as consolation, and the enduring significance of poetry. When Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane met at a poetry workshop in 1976, they had no idea that they would go on to write more than forty books between them, balancing their careers with their devotion to each other, and to their beloved cats, for decades. Then, in January 2017, their life together changed unexpectedly when Patrick became seriously ill. At once a spirited account of the past and a poignant reckoning with the present, it is, above all, an extraordinary and unforgettable love story. A limited number of signed books are available from our friends at Perfect Books. The Ottawa International Writers Festival is supported by generous individuals like you. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter and making a donation to support our programming and children’s literacy initiatives.
61 minutes | 3 months ago
04 Living With Dying Part 1 with Dakshana Bascaramurty and Anita Lahey
We seem to avoid thinking about mortality, or talking about loss, but it is an unavoidable fact that we all face the loss of a loved one, and will each confront that truth in different ways. If grief is unavoidable, what is the best way to make peace with it? Part One of Living With Dying features Dakshana Bascaramurty in conversation with CBC’s Idill Mussa, and Anita Lahey in conversation with Ellen Chang-Richardson. This is Not the End of Me by Dakshana Bascaramurty is the moving, inspiring story of a young husband and father who, when diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of thirty-three, sets out to build a legacy for his infant son. Layton Reid was a globe-trotting, risk-taking, sunshine-addicted bachelor--then came a melanoma diagnosis. Cancer startled him out of his arrested development--he returned home to Halifax to work as a wedding photographer--and remission launched him into a new, passionate life as a husband and father-to-be. When the melanoma returned, now at Stage IV, Layton and his family put all their stock into a punishing alternative therapy, hoping for a cure. This Is Not the End of Me recounts Layton's three-year journey as he tried desperately to stay alive for his young son, Finn, and then found purpose in preparing Finn for a world without him. Equal parts humorous and heartbreaking, The Last Goldfish by Anita Lahey is a poignant memoir of youth, friendship, and the impermanence of life. Anita and Louisa, instant friends in grade nine, navigate the wilds of 1980s suburban adolescence against the backdrop of dramatic world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. They make carpe diem their manifesto and hatch ambitious plans. But when Louisa’s life takes a shocking turn, into hospital wards, medical tests, and treatments, a new possibility confronts them, one that alters, with devastating finality, the prospect of the future for them both.
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