Following the article below, I’d now like to highlight the following six male authors who have successfully continued their very fine literary careers since participating in the Denman Festival: Jordan Abel, Michael Crummey, Charles Demers, Terry Fallis, Steven Price and Chris Turner.
Jordan Abel joined us four years ago with his unique visual and dramatic presentation style, and writing rooted in his Nishga’a heritage. His star rose higher in 2017 when his long form poem Injun won the 2018 Griffin Prize. The target of Injun was racism and the representation of Indigenous peoples, and he employed techniques of erasure and pastiche using texts found in western novels published between 1840 and 1950. He now teaches creative writing and Indigenous literature at the University of Alberta.
Michael Crummey came to the Festival in 2015 and entranced audiences with his warmth, Newfoundland humour, and hi evocative readings of excerpts from his novel Sweetland. Last year, his newest novel, short-listed for the Giller, The Innocents, also set in his home province, weaves the story of two orphans, a brother and sister, whose growing up years in a remote fishing cove are tenderly and movingly portrayed.
Charles Demers was on the island in 2016. Famed as a stand up comedian and regular on CBC’s ‘The Debaters’, Charlie wowed us with his book The Horrors: An A to Z of Funny Thoughts on Awful Things. Since then, he has co-authored with another former Denman Festival author, George Bowering, a highly entertaining treatise called The Dad Dialogues: A Correspondence on Fatherhood (& the Universe), plus more recently, City on Edge: A Rebellious Century of Vancouver Protests, Riots and Strikes, co-written with Kate Bird.
Terry Fallis was a popular presenter back in 2013. That year he read from Up and Down, a rollicking romp about Canada/USA space competition, NASA intrigue and PR hijinks. Since then, the prolific Ontario writer has written three other novels, No Relation, One Brother Shy, and the latest, 2019’s Albatross which once again features his comic touch, likeable characters, and positive spin on life’s challenges. Hint for potential readers: golfers, librarians and teachers will especially enjoy this novel. Terry also recently mentioned the Denman virtual mini-fest on his Facebook account, saying “I have fond memories of this beautiful island and festival”.
Steven Price was on Denman in 2013 reading from his first novel, Into That Darkness about the impact of an earthquake in Victoria. Also renowned as a poet and UVic writing teacher, Steven has published two highly acclaimed novels since then, By Gaslight, set in the 1885 underworld of Victorian London and featuring the American detective William Pinkerton, and more recently, Lampedusa which was shortlisted for the 2019 Giller Prize, and is a novel about a man writing a novel, or as one reviewer put it, “an unsparing and tender portrait” of Guiseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa who wrote the famous Italian novel about class and society in Sicily, The Leopard.
Chris Turner gained a reputation as an investigative reporter about the oil and gas industries, and was here in 2014 reading from his stirring book The War on Science about the attempts of certain federal politicians to silence its science critics. In 2017 he produced another powerful critique called The Patch: The People, Pipeline and Politics of the Oilsands which focuses on Fort McMurray as the centre of the collision of two worldviews – industrial triumph and environmental stewardship – and poses the question, “in order to fuel the world, and to save it, what do we do about the Patch?”