International Festival of Authors - Parry Sound - The Men
Harbourfront International Festival of Authors – hits the road to Parry Sound.
Mark Sunday 1 November on your calendar - it is a date to remember. The Harbourfront International Festival of Authors is coming to town.
Four internationally recognized authors will read from their work on the stage of the Charles W. Stockey Centre. There are two men - John Brady and Alan Bissett, and two women – Miriam Toews and Diana Fitzgerald Bryden. Last week I wrote about the women, this week I will cover the men, John Brady and Alan Bissett.
A native of Dublin, John Brady is the author of the Arthur Ellis Award-winning Inspector Matt Minogue series and the Dashiell Hammett Prize-shortlisted novel Islandbridge. Brady presents the latest installment in the Inspector Matt Minogue series, A Long Hard Look, a story that begins with the discovery of a missing person’s body near the sea just south of Dublin.
John Brady divides his time between Ireland and Canada, where John and his wife Hanna raise their family. Growing up in Ireland, with a mother from the west of Ireland, and a father from Dublin, John’s home was one where imagination and character were close to the core of life. Everyone had a story, a song, a joke.
John continues to follow the lure of travel. rambling in Ireland’s Burren or Dublin's streets, or hill-walking in the mountains of southern Austria. Though trained as a teacher, John tries to live by Yeats’ dictum: ‘Only that which is useless, or can’t be taught, is irresistible.’
In John Brady’s own words, “Characters are everything for me. Following them around is what makes the stories. Many of the characters are composites of people I have met. Matt Minogue is based on the father of a boyhood friend. His temperament comes from my own observations of people in our families. Matt's talk is distinctly Irish, o more exactly Hiberno English - or as an acquaintance told me 'written in a language like English. 'His idiom and turn of phrase came to me from our family's talk, particularly from my mother's side. She was born and reared in County Clare. Our family maintains strong links with that singular part of the world. Felix Kimmel is very much a man of Styria, and decidedly rural - no matter his pretensions to being a fan of cities or towns. The talk in Poacher's Road borrows very heavily from the dialect and usage in German very particular to Styria. Considerable research was conducted in Styria to get the talk right, especially its rich provenance in cursing.”
Alan Bissett will be the other man on the slate. His acclaimed first novel, Boyracers – based on his adolescent experiences growing up in Falkirk, Scotland – was published while he was still a student. He is a former English teacher and has lectured in creative writing at the Universities of Leeds and Glasgow, and is now a full-time writer, playwright, and performer of his own work. Death of a Ladies’ Man, Bissett’s third novel, is a dark, funny and deliciously erotic portrait of male vanity, written with verve and emotional rawness. Far from being your usual beer swilling, football watching womanizer, the protagonist in the Bairn's latest tale is Charlie, an intellectual ladies man, who enjoys Chaucer and wears eyeliner. Charlie Bain is the kind of man who sees a lady with her legs crossed as a challenge. An outrageous, compulsive flirt, he is a serial womanizer, but one who considers himself loftier than the average. He rolls his eyes at the dull Glasgow hardmen he sees in pubs, chatting about football and shagging while dressed in their hetero-safe clothes. He, meanwhile, is a mother-loving, Chaucer-quoting, evolved and sensitive soul who prefers to use bookshops and libraries as his hunting ground. Intelligent women find themselves strangely powerless under his forceful eye contact, or inappropriate late-night text messages.
On the other hand, men, whom Charlie views only as a resource for gaining better access to more women, probably want to deliver a tightly packed punch to that megawatt smile of his.
I suspect that Alan Bissett will, himself, deliver a punch. Expect all of these authors to excite, entertain and educate you – an event not to be missed.