Happy holidays from EVENT! On days this frosty, nothing beats staying inside with a hot mug of tea and some new reading material… but what about all that dreary shopping? Let EVENT make it easy for you: from now until January 31st, 2014, we’re offering two-for-one subscriptions to EVENT. That’s one year of hot new …
The pages of EVENT magazine bring you many experienced and established writers. But it is the up-and-coming voices that can be the most exciting to discover. Over the past 25 years, the winners of the annual EVENT Non-Fiction Contest have been fresh, talented writers. One such writer is Aylet Tsabari.
Tsabari, a writer from Israel, arrived in Canada in 1988. Writing in her second language of English was a challenge she soon overcame, winning EVENT’s non-fiction contest with “You and What Army” in 2007, and again in 2009 for “Victim,” a stark account of her assault on a Vancouver city bus.
Tsabari’s award-winning stories have appeared in Grain, PRISM international and Room. This spring she published her first book, The Best Place on Earth (HarperCollins), a collection of short fiction that plunges the reader into the vibrant sights, sounds and tastes of Israel and fearlessly explore the complicated relationships among people living in war. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Guelph and University of Toronto and is working on a novel.
I recently interviewed the very busy Tsabari about writing in English, learning the rules and cooking.
Word Vancouver has come and gone, wrapping up last (rainy) Sunday. Fortunately the organizers managed to move the exhibitors and most of the programming inside the downtown Vancouver Public Library. We at EVENT sponsored a little shindig featuring Anne Fleming and Billeh Nickerson reading from their Notes on Writing pieces in our last issue (EVENT 42/1). Notes on Writing, a yearly feature in EVENT since 1989, allows writers extraordinary freedom to write whatever they want, however they want, about their craft and writing life.
Sue Sinclair’s latest collection of poetry is Breaker, published by Brick Books and nominated for the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Pat Lowther Award. Sue is currently critic-in-residence for CWILA (Canadian Women in the Literary Arts) and is living in Montreal, where she’s practising her wobbly French.
EVENT published one of her poems in 41/2, and Elena E. Johnson was curious to ask her a few questions—about beauty, criticism, her current influences, and the new collection of poems she’s working on at the moment.
One year Anne Fleming gave her nephew a book for Christmas and watched from the sidelines as the volume captivated him for the next three hours. Though she hadn’t seen him in months, though she gave him the book that spellbound him, though she would have loved to talk to him about the book, he commenced to read the book from cover to cover, oblivious to everyone around him. Reminded of her own childhood, of not being available to her father or anyone else while she read, she realized that perhaps this ‘was the real reason [her] father turfed [her] out of doors time and again, bookless, to participate in things of this world.’ This is the ‘aha moment’ she recalls in EVENT magazine’s latest Notes on Writing issue (42/1) in her brilliant essay ‘Novels Are for Children.’ After reading countless stories, and writing many of her own, Anne recognizes that becoming wholly lost in a book rarely happens to her anymore. ‘Hyperaware’ of the tricks authors are up to, she reflects on how often our best experiences of reading are the ones we have while we are still wide-eyed children, easily and utterly swept away by a good story. Luckily for us at EVENT, we don’t have any trouble being swept away by her writing.
Remember gumball machines? Of course you do. For me, their draw was never really about the gumball. It was the process. It was putting the coin into the twisty thing and twisting it, and, (blop!), incidentally, out comes a gumball. At some point in time, this must have been considered high-tech and an indication of a promising/horrifying future.
What if I told you that you could get something way better, something healthier for your teeth, something with more lasting value, out of a similar, re-conditioned machine? Yes, I am referring to poetry.
This is the Automated Poetry Project, by the Literary Press Group of Canada, which uses gumball-machine technology to fund literary arts in Vancouver, one toonie at a time. So, what do you get for your toonie? Maybe you’ll get a poem from some of your favourite EVENT authors, or even EVENT editor Elizabeth Bachinsky. But it’s random. Just like you can’t choose the green gumball, you can’t choose a Calvin Wharton poem. Maybe you’ll get something new. Maybe you’ll find your new favourite poet. For a complete list of participants, click here.
Nine manuscripts were chosen from 94 entries by EVENT’s editor and assistants, and sent without the writers’ names to Russell Wangersky for final judging. The short-listed entries are:
- ‘CARE’ by Susan Buis, Knutsford, BC
- ‘Cat Face’ by Kayla Czaga, Vancouver, BC
- ‘Remember This’ by Kathleen Kennedy, Mulmur, ON
- ‘Elements’ by Fiona Tinwei Lam, Vancouver, BC
- ‘The Day I Married Jesus’ by Cathy MacLean, Gibsons, BC
- ‘Inshallah’ by Jennifer Morgan, St. John’s, NL
- ‘Shopping Day’ by Leslie Sakata, Coquitlam, BC
- ‘Charcoal’ by Souvankham Thammavongsa, Stouffville, ON
- ‘I Dream of My Standalone Quiznos’ by Benjamin Willems, Victoria, BC
Winners will be announced soon, so stay tuned! Check out the winning pieces in EVENT 42/3 — coming this winter.
Thanks to those writers who sent manuscripts to us. We look forward to reading submissions for our 2014 Non-Fiction Contest next spring. Visit http://eventmags.com/contest-2014 for details.
Souvankham Thammavongsa was born in Nong Khai, Thailand in 1978. She is the author of two poetry books, one of which, Small Arguments, won a ReLit prize, and the other, Found, was made into a short film and screened at film festivals worldwide including the Toronto International Film Festival, L.A. Shorts Fest, and Dok Leipzig. Her third poetry collection, Light, is out this fall.
Elena Johnson was impressed by the careful structural aesthetic and sensitive approach in Thammavongsa’s individual poems, as well as in Found, her most recent collection. EVENT published Thammavongsa’s poem “Perfect” in issue 41.3, and Johnson took this opportunity to talk to her about the poem, her new manuscript and her other creative work.
Come on down to Vancouver’s Little Mountain Gallery (195 east 26th Avenue) this Friday evening (April 26th) for readings, treats, and general frivolity…Rumour has it that a dance party may even be in the offing!
Readings at 8p.m. by (local legends):
Zoey Leigh Peterson
Check out our facebook event page–and we’ll see you there!
Well, spring has sprung, and with the longer daylight hours come diversions aplenty, so we’re giving all you writers out there an extra week to get in those creative non-fiction contest entries.
That’s right, a whole week! The new deadline is April 22nd, 2013, and now it’s even easier to submit. Visit our Contest page for all the juicy details.