Our Hero Disbelieving

Our Hero Disbelieving

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hundreds of authors set to party with Canadian booksellers



Looks like The Great Canadian Book Bash is coming to a bookstore near you. On Saturday, May 2, more than 500 Canadian authors will turn up at 100-plus independent bookstores across the country. 
We’re calling it Authors for Indies and, yes, we mean to show our support for Canada’s independent booksellers. We want them not just to survive, but to flourish. You can read all about it at www.authorsforindies.com. You can even find out
which authors will be where. Here in the Beach Village, known for having Ontario's Best Small-Town Main Street, a bunch of us, Beachers all, will put our shoulders to the wheel at Book City (1950 Queen Street East). Wander into that well-stocked bookstore and you might run into Lee Gowan (The Last Cowboy), Tish Cohen (Town House), or Kim Echlin (The Disappeared). And that's just for starters. Yours truly (Fatal Passage) will be hanging out from around 2 p.m. And, hey, don’t be surprised if I try to sell you a book. Gotta love those indies.
Book City in The Beach: Authors: Ken McGooganLisa de Nikolits, DJ McIntosh, Kim Echlin, George A. Walker, Lee Gowan, Tish Cohen, Brian Panhuyzen, Dr. Vera Tarman




Friday, April 10, 2015

Celtic Lightning to strike bookstores in September





 With Celtic Lightning, best-selling author Ken McGoogan plunges into the perpetual debate about Canadian roots and identity: who do we think we are? He argues that Canadians have never investigated the demographic reality that informs this book -- the fact that more than nine million Canadians claim Scottish or Irish heritage. Did the ancestors of more than one quarter of our population arrive without cultural baggage? No history, no values, no vision? Impossible.
 McGoogan writes that, to understand who we are and where we are going, Canadians must look to cultural genealogy. He builds on the work of Richard Dawkins, who contends that ideas and values (“memes”) can be transmitted from one generation to another. Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived in Canada with values they had learned from their forebears. And they did so early enough, and in sufficient numbers, to shape an emerging Canadian nation. . . .

About the author:
          Ken McGoogan has published a dozen books, among them How the Scots Invented Canada, Fatal Passage, and Lady Franklin’s Revenge. His honours include the Pierre Berton Award, the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography, the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, and the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award.  Ken has crisscrossed Ireland and Scotland numerous times, and also circumnavigated both countries.

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Patrick Crean Editions
Media & events: Colleen.Simpson@HarperCollins.com
Publication rights: Beverley Slopen Literary Agency / Beverley@slopenagency.com



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Franklin's Lost Ships turn up on CBC-TV's The Nature of Things


Hats off to Andrew E.M. Gregg! He produced Franklin's Lost Ships, an extraordinary new documentary that turned up April 9 on CBC-TVs The Nature of Things. And finished in such a short period! The most impressive thing may well have been how smoothly the narrative unwound, cutting back and forth between the contemporary search and the history of the tragedy. So many figures winding in and out without a hitch: very sophisticated, very polished.

The seamless intermingling of documentary footage and credible reconstruction was terrific. Also, we got some exciting views of the sunken Erebus we have never seen before. Oh, and the CGI was great! I know, I know: the aficionados will be clamoring for more history: what does it all mean? But I expect that the longer version of this documentary, coming soon to PBS and Nova, will deliver more of that. Meanwhile, Franklin's Lost Ships will air again this Saturday on CBC News Network, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Honestly: this doc is the perfect primer for what promises to be an outstanding season of dives, discoveries and revelations. Don't miss it. 
[Here is the CBC link for online viewing: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/franklins-lost-ships]


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mount Royal University in Calgary is doing everything right

 
Everywhere he goes, Our Hero runs into a life-size image of himself.
This is happening at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where he is spending a week as writer-in-residence.  Last night, all kinds of old friends turned up for a talk entitled Our Story Begins in Calgary. And the introductions and expressions of thanks left even our grizzled road warrior blushing. This photo comes courtesy of Michelle Bodnar. Word has it that she has taken a few more to illustrate a looming article. Can you rely on Our Hero to keep you apprised? You betcha.
A FEW DAYS LATER . . . . Did I mention a looming article? Check it out: Click here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The days fly away like wild horses over the hills

 



The days fly away like wild horses over the hills. The poet Charles Bukowski said it first. But I've been feeling it as I get set to spend a week as writer-in-residence in Calgary.
I'll be at Mount Royal University from March 23 through March 27, courtesy of the English Department. For my public presentation (March 25), Our Story Begins in Calgary, I've been sorting through photos from my days as books editor at the Calgary Herald.  Above, we find me and Mordecai Richler . . . drinking coffee! To our left: Mavis Gallant in Banff with my old beater, aka the Silver Bullet. She was spending time at the Banff Centre and asked me to take her into town for groceries. She hated the elk! Could not understand why such dangerous animals were allowed to roam around freely. Below we have Tim Findley and his partner, William Whitehead, at Mescalero, one of my old favorite haunts. Richler, Gallant, Findley:
giants of Canadian literature . . . all of them gone. That's what struck me. That's what called up those horses. But not to worry: my subtitle is An Adventure in Creative Nonfiction. We'll venture beyond nostalgia. Even so, eh?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Our Hero goes public on Franklin, the Scots, and the Irish


The hue and cry is deafening. Where can we see Our Hero? Where is he appearing next?
Last night, Ken entertained the Canadian chapter of The Explorers Club. He talked about Chasing John Franklin into the Northwest Passage. You missed that? Not to worry.
On the evening of March 4, Ken will give a presentation at the Badminton and Racquet Club in Toronto. This time, he'll talk about How The Scots Invented Canada and, for the first time ever, preview Celtic Lightning: How the Scots and the Irish / Created a Canadian Nation.  He treats Oscar Wilde and Flora MacDonald in that book, which will appear this fall courtesy of Patrick Crean Editions / Harper Collins Canada. Then, on March 25, while spending a week in Calgary as writer-in-residence at Mount Royal University, Ken will go public about the Franklin expedition and the Scots and the Irish in Our Story Begins in Calgary, which would appear to be shaping up as a tour-de-force.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Richard Dawkins + Celtic figurines = Who Do We Think We Are?



Whoosh! Away it goes to the copy editor.  Beneath that title page, the manuscript reminds us that, despite our perpetual obsession with our collective identity, we Canadians have never investigated a crucial demographic reality  -- the fact that more than nine million Canadians claim Scottish or Irish ancestry. Did the ancestors of more than one quarter of our population arrive without cultural baggage? No history, no values, no vision? Impossible.

Canadians in search of their roots soon realize that an ocean is an artificial barrier. We revel in tracing our personal stories to ancestors who lived centuries ago. Too many Canadian intellectuals turn their backs on this model. Instead of voyaging with genealogists, they huddle at home with geographers and sociologists. And so they produce paper-thin surveys of the present and recent past.

Drawing on the work Richard Dawkins, who contends that ideas and values (“memes”) can be transmitted from one generation to another, I will argue that Canadians should look to cultural genealogy. Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived in Canada with values they had learned from their forebears. And they did so early enough, and in sufficient numbers, to shape an emerging Canadian nation. . . . 
At this point, the manuscript has been back and forth several times between me and the substantive editor, Patrick Crean. He has made suggestions -- eg. maybe rewrite this section, which is not working, and move that section nearer the front.  And, because he is really, really astute, and usually right, I have acted on those ideas. So now the copy editor will do a line edit: on page xx, you say she was born in 1572, but then, on page xxx, you say 1582?
Directly ahead: the proofing, the index, the photos, the design, the typesetting, the choosing of the cover. And then comes additional feedback: early readers say this book will become part of the national conversation. Ken is clamoring to go on the road. What are the advance orders like?  Has anybody checked out this preview?
HarperCollins Canada will publish Celtic Lightning in October. These are still early days. But look: the book-specific figurines are already working magic. Great success will surely follow.