Writers’ festival is underway

Live Words 2008, the Yukon Writers’ Festival, continues this week. Guest writers from across Canada include: Kevin Chong (novelist), Ivan…

Live Words 2008, the Yukon Writers’ Festival, continues this week.

Guest writers from across Canada include: Kevin Chong (novelist), Ivan Coyote (storyteller & novelist), Elizabeth Hay (2007 Giller Prize winner), Robert Priest (musician and poet), Jerome Stueart (science fiction writer and cartoonist) and Jon Turk (adventure traveler and science writer).

The remaining events of the festival are:

Readings and Music

Festival writers will be reading at a special community event hosted by Junction Arts & Music in Haines Junction on Saturday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the St. Elias Convention Centre. Admission is $10  at the door (children under 12 and seniors are free).

Elizabeth Hay Readings

As part of the Yukon Writers’ Festival, Elizabeth Hay, Yukon public libraries’ guest author, will be presenting free readings in several Yukon community libraries. All of the readings are free and open to the public.

Mayo library: Monday May 5, 7 p.m.

Dawson City library: Tuesday May 6, 7 p.m.

Carmacks library: Wednesday May 7, 7 p.m.

Teslin library: Thursday May 8, 7 p.m.

Elizabeth Hay was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, the daughter of a high school principal and a painter, and one of four children. When she was 15, a year in England opened up her world and set her on the path to becoming a writer.

She attended the University of Toronto, then moved out west, and in 1974 went north to Yellowknife. For the next 10 years she worked as a CBC radio broadcaster in Yellowknife, Winnipeg, and Toronto, and eventually freelanced from Mexico.

In 1986 she moved to New York City, where for a time she taught creative writing in the continuing education department of New York University. In 1992, with her husband and two children, she returned to Canada, settling in Ottawa, where she has lived ever since.

In 2002 Elizabeth Hay received the Marian Engel Award for a body of work that includes novels, short fiction, and creative non-fiction.

Her first novel was A Student of Weather (2000), a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Ottawa Book Award, and the Pearson Canada Reader’s Choice Award at The Word on the Street. Her second novel, Garbo Laughs (2003), won the Ottawa Book Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award.

Hay is also the author of Crossing the Snow Line (stories, 1989); The Only Snow in Havana (non-fiction, 1992), which was a co-winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction; Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York (non-fiction, 1993), and Small Change (stories, 1997), which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, and the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Hay’s work appears in various anthologies, including Dropped Threads 2 and PEN Canada’s Writing Life. Her books have been published in the United States and Britain, and translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Polish and Japanese.

In November 2007 Elizabeth won the Giller Prize for Late Nights on Air a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic tale centered on the cast of characters at a small radio station in the Canadian North.

Science talk

Science writer, Jon Turk, will present a lecture entitled, Asking the Unanswerable Question: Why did stone age people migrate across Beringia? Don’t miss hearing Jon Turk who, for 35 years, has wandered through exotic and remote regions of the planet and returned to write and speak about his adventures, the people, and the environments that he has encountered. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Sunday May 4, 7:30 p.m., Beringia Centre, Whitehorse

Monday May 5, 7:30 p.m., Kluane National Park VRC, Haines Junction

The Yukon Writers’ Festival is sponsored by: Yukon Public Libraries, Yukon Education, The Yukon News, Canada Council for the Arts, Writers’ Union of Canada, Yukon Tourism & Culture, Westmark Whitehorse, Mac’s Fireweed Books, FH Collins High School, Yukon Science Institute and Junction Arts & Music.

This column is prepared by Yukon public libraries, department of Community Services.

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