*VIRTUAL* Leah Horlick and Larissa Lai: Double Book Launch!!
Tuesday March 16 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Join us for the online double book launch of Leah Horlick's Moldovan Hotel and Larissa Lai's Iron Goddess of Mercy. The event will be hosted by author Vivek Shraya!
This event will take place on Zoom with automatic captions, and will not run longer than an hour and a half. Audience members will be encouraged to turn their video off for the duration. The event link will be made available here the week of the launch; registration is not required. Given the nature of the texts we are celebrating, attendees can reasonably expect our authors' readings and discussion to contain descriptions of violence. Further instructions for Q&A to be provided during the event. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating together! Contact email@example.com with additional questions.
Treaty 7 Land Acknowledgment:
We at Shelf Life Books acknowledge that we are on the lands of the Treaty 7 People:
-The Blackfoot from Siksika, Kainai and Piikani,
-The Dene-Sarceee from Tsuut’ina,
-And the Stoney-Nakoda from Morley, the Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations.
We also walk in the footsteps of the Metis People from Region 3, Metis Nation of Alberta.
In 2017, Leah Horlick travelled to Romania to revisit the region her Jewish ancestors fled. What she unearthed there is an elaborate web connecting conscious worlds to subconscious ones, fascism to neofascisms, Europe to the Americas to the Middle East, typhus to HIV/AIDS, genocide in Romania to land grabs in Palestine, women’s lives in farming villages to queer lives in the city, language to its trap doors, and love to its hidden, ancestral obligations.
With force, clarity and searing craft, the poems in Moldovan Hotel are equal to the urgency of our political moment. “No one ever thinks they might be the dragon,” Horlick writes, and yet history repeats its cruelties. This work takes things apart to put them profoundly back together.
Iron Goddess of Mercy is a long poem that captures the vengeful yet hopeful movement of the Furies mid-whirl and dances with them through the horror of the long now. Inspired by the tumultuous history of Hong Kong, from the Japanese and British occupations to the ongoing pro-democracy protests, the poem interrogates the complicated notion of identity, offering a prism through which the term ‘Asian’ can be understood to make sense of a complex set of relations. The self crystallizes in moments of solidity, only to dissolve and whirl away again.
Iron Goddess of Mercy is a game of mah jong played deep into the night, an endless gamble. The poem dizzies, turns on itself. It rants, it curses, it writes love letters. Finally, it conjures the compassionate bodhisattva Guan Yin, as a balm to the poem’s devastating passion and fury. Summoning the ghosts of history and politics, Iron Goddess of Mercy explores the complexities of identity through the lens of rage and empowerment.
Leah Horlick grew up as a settler on Treaty Six Cree territory and the homelands of the Métis in Saskatchewan. Her first collection of poetry, Riot Lung (Thistledown Press, 2012) was shortlisted for both a ReLit Award and a Saskatchewan Book Award. In 2016 she won the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, Canada’s only award for LGBT emerging writers, and her second collection, For Your Own Good (Caitlin Press, 2015), was named a Stonewall Honor Title by the American Library Association. In 2018, her piece “You Are My Hiding Place” was named Poem of the Year by ARC Poetry Magazine and shortlisted for inclusion in the 44th Pushcart Prize by the Pushcart Board of Editors. She lives on Treaty Seven Territory & Region 3 of the Métis Nation in Calgary. Moldovan Hotel is her third book.
Larissa Lai has written eight books. For her first novel, When Fox Is a Thousand (1995, 2004), she received an Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers' Award, and was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. The Advocate called it "an elegant, elliptical spiral of gradually tightening circles that collide in a fusion of magical and objective reality." Her second novel, Salt Fish Girl (2002) was named an Otherwise Honor Book, and shortlisted the Sunburst Award and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Prize. The Georgia Straight said "Lai's creation reminds us of the importance of connecting with our past and with each other if humanity is to work together to create a future worth living in." After these two novels, she wrote three poetry books: Sybil Unrest (2008, 2013, with Rita Wong); Automaton Biographies (2009, shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize); Eggs in the Basement (2009, shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Prize), and a book of literary criticism, Slanting I, Imagining We (2014, shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in Literary Criticism). Her third novel, The Tiger Flu (2018) won a Lambda Award, was named Otherwise Honor Book, and was shortlisted for the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Prize. Autostraddle describes it like this: "Life - fierce, painful, unyielding, complicated - bursts from every page." Of her fourth poetry book, Iron Goddess of Mercy (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021), Fred Wah says, "I don't think I've ever experienced the intensity of an epistolary 'voice' performed with such impact as this Iron Goddess jamming through the syllables of an explosive imagination". Involved in cultural organizing, experimental poetry and speculative fiction communities since the late 1980s, Larissa received the Jim Duggins Novelist's Prize in 2020. She holds a Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary, on Treaty 7 Territory, where she directs The Insurgent Architects' House for Creative Writing.
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her best-selling book I’m Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel,” and her album Part‑Time Woman was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. She is also the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books.
A six-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal and was featured on The Globe and Mail’s Best Dressed list. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation, an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary, and is currently adapting her debut play, How To Fail As A Popstar, into a television pilot script with the support of CBC.
*VIRTUAL* Season of Fury and Wonder by Sharon Butala - A Book Club Talk
Wednesday March 24 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
“Inspired by canonical stories such as James Joyce’s ‘The Dead,’ Sharon Butala reinvigorates aging myths and the writing craft itself. Season of Fury and Wonder is poetic, flawless, and unflinching.” —Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury
SHARON BUTALA turned 80 in 2020 and her latest book, Season of Fury and Wonder is about old age: the joy of success and the sting of shortcomings. Each story is a riff on a classic work of literature by the likes of Raymond Carver, Willa Cather and Flannery O’Connor. Season of Fury and Wonder won The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. The highly-acclaimed Butala is the author of 20 books of fiction and non-fiction. She has been shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award three times.
On March 24, we will talk about one or two of the short stories in Season of Fury and Wonder and the works that inspired them. Soothsayer inspired by “Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48860/the-raven and/or Pansy inspired by Willa Cather's “Paul's Case.” https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss006
Sharon Butala will join us for a short while to tell us more about the selected works and answer questions.
A Zoom link will be provided closer to the day.
Order a copy right away so you have some time to digest and savour the stories in advance of the event.
*VIRTUAL* Ali Bryan - The Hill - in conversation w/ Leanne Shirtliffe
Thursday March 25 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Join us and our co-host Glass Bookshop online for the virtual launch of Ali Bryan's The Hill. Ali will be in conversation with Leanne Shirtliffe.
Check back closer to the date for Zoom details.
Set in a dark near-future where overconsumption and the climate crisis have come to a chaotic head, Ali Bryan’s young adult novel The Hill tells the story of Wren, the newly chosen leader of a secret clan of girls taught to survive by their own wits. Their home? A reclaimed garbage dump in the middle of the ocean called the Hill. Their bible? The Manual, which tells the girls everything they need to know about the world—or so they think. The gospel? Men and boys are dangerous.
In a pulse-racing story, The Hill explores gender, power, and access to truth in a world defined by scarcity and distrust. The book outlines the consequences of consumerism and environmental neglect, while reminding us just what it takes to be a girl in this world.
Ali Bryan is the author of three novels, Georges Bugnet Award winner Roost, The Figgs, and The Hill. Her nonfiction has been shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize and longlisted for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize. She is a 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist recipient. She lives with her family in Calgary, Alberta, where she divides her time between writing and mastering the flying armbar. Her thirteen-year-old daughter is a competitive wrestler and inspired the fight sequences in The Hill.
Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of several children’s books, including SLOTH TO THE RESCUE, as well as the adult humor memoir, DON’T LICK THE MINIVAN. She’s taught high school forever, and she feels like she’s been parenting her own teenage children for just as long. She used to travel.
*VIRTUAL* Genki Ferguson - Satellite Love - Live Q&A
Wednesday March 31 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Please join us in conversation around Genki Ferguson’s debut novel Satellite Love, our March Book of the Month. This event will be a live Q&A with the author.
This event will take place on Zoom; please check back closer to the date for login info!
Genki was kind enough to make an exclusive video reading and introduction, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/EHea0gyxHdg
You can find out more about the Book of the Month, comment on the book, and post any questions you'd like us to ask Genki in our forum here: https://shelflifebooks.ca/.../book-of-the-month-satellite...
Set in 1999 Japan, Satellite Love is a heartbreaking and beautifully unconventional debut novel about a girl, a boy, and a satellite--and a bittersweet meditation on loneliness, alienation, and what it means to be human.
GENKI FERGUSON was born in New Brunswick to a family of writers and grew up in Calgary. He spent much of his childhood in the subtropical island of Kyushu, Japan, where his mother's family still resides. Fluent in Japanese and capable of making a decent sushi roll, Genki was the recipient of the 2017 Helen Pitt Award for visual arts, and recently completed a degree in Film Production while working part-time at Book Warehouse, an indie store in Vancouver.
More about Genki Ferguson here: https://genkiferguson.com/