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International Festival of Authors Parry Sound 23 October 2013

The International Festival of Authors Parry Sound takes place Wednesday 23 October at 7:30 pm at the Charles W. Stockey Centre. This is the seventh year that this prestigious organization has worked with a local committee, with the support of local sponsors, to bring internationally recognized authors to Parry Sound.

This year four authors, Lewis DeSoto, Alexander Maksik, Nicole Lundrigan and Janet E. Cameron will read from their most recent novels. I first met Lewis DeSoto in 2005 when he accepted my invitation to come to Parry Sound to read from his first novel, A Blade of Grass. Set on the border between South Africa and an unnamed country, A Blade of Grass tells the story of a young couple, Ben and Marit, farmers maintaining old traditions, their days passing peacefully. They manage the farm, and their black workers cultivate the fields and tend the animals. But when guerilla violence and tragedy erupt the novel proceeds to its devastating conclusion, unfolding a tale that is both terrifying and hopeful. We are offered a profound perspective on what it means to be black and white in a country that both call home. A Blade of Grass is on my list of favourite novels. Lewis De Soto’s most recent novel is The Restoration Artist. This novel is set in France, mostly in Normandy, where Lewis DeSoto and his wife live for part of each year. We meet Leo, a painter, his wife Claudine and their son, Piero, on holiday in Cyprus when tragedy occurs. Claudine and Piero are killed and Leo survives – a man broken by grief and guilt. A year and a half later we find Leo on a small island off the coast of Normandy where he has come to find a way to carry on – or not. What follows is the story of a man struggling to find love and peace and fulfillment. The cast of characters includes others who are damaged - a child, Tobias, and a woman, Lorca - and the very perceptive local curate who truly lives his faith and helps each one in his own quiet way. This is a novel that explores loss, despair and hope.

Lewis DeSoto was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, to a family that arrived from Europe in the eighteenth century and eventually located to farming country near Vryheid in Zululand after the Boer War. Lewis attended the University of British Columbia, where he received a master of fine arts. Lewis DeSoto is also the author of Emily Carr a volume in the Extraordinary Canadians Series.

Joining Lewis DeSoto, Alexander Maksik and Janet E. Cameron is Nicole Lundrigan.

Nicole Lundrigan is a native of Newfoundland, where she grew up in Upper Gillies with her five siblings. She now lives in Ontario.

She is the author of The Seary Line, Thaw and Glass Boys all set in Newfoundland.

Nicole Lundrigan steps far away from Newfoundland with her new novel. She will read from The Widow Tree, a novel set in the 1950s, in post-war Yugoslavia. When a trio of young men find a cache of Roman coins they argue over what to do with their new found wealth. Silent betrayals take place in this tightly knit village, where suspicion counters hope in the post war years. Secrets, once closely guarded, are revealed, resulting in tragic consequences.

The International Festival of Authors provides a unique opportunity to hear authors not usually available for readings right here in our own community. Join us for an entertaining and exhilarating celebration of the written word.

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