By Courtney Stevens
I thought it odd when I felt the urge to buy Andrew Pyper’s book, The Demonologist, back on Wednesday during the Poetry Bash. However, upon listening to Andrew’s melodic voice read aloud one of the most intense scenes in the novel, I quickly realized that was one of the best books I had purchased.
The audience was a fair size, and I must agree with Charlene Diehl when she says that Winnipeg supports its authors. I never realized how many people were into the literary arts within the city, and was always overcome with amazement when I saw how many people came out just to listen and laugh with their favourite Winnipeg-bred story tellers. It truly is inspiring.
The lights dimmed and the audience went quiet. Lucie Wilk, who flew in from London, England, read to us from her book, The Strength of Bone. It was a beautiful, woven work that followed a Western medical doctor on his journey of rediscovery and … *snickers* revelation accompanied by a Malawian nurse. Lucie utilizes her medical training to make the book as personal and real, and takes us along with Bryce as he solves conflicts and makes crucial moral decisions that occasionally mean life and death for some people.
It’s hard to believe that someone can make an audience laugh and ‘aww’ in the span of only a few seconds the way Dennis Cooley can. Reading from his latest, The Stones, Dennis shared not only a number of plays on the word ‘stone’, but a range of messages and poems that were both inspirational and hysterical. Funny enough, The Stones was published by the company Turnstone, which would never have even existed had Dennis not been a part of it.
Lauren Carter, who had launched Swarm just last week, granted us the privilege to hear from the pages first. Lauren manages to capture an eerie, apocalyptic future of environmental crisis and economic downfall. Swarm features beautiful imagery that paints a vivid picture in the reader’s head, and gives an all-too-real sense that the world is very capable of coming to something like that unless we, as humans, drastically change our habits and addictions.
Now, back when it was mandatory, I struggled with the French language. To this day, I can pick up some words and get the general idea of sentences most of the time, but I always admire those who can speak the language fluently or, better yet, can speak both French and English fluently. Coming from Montreal, Daniel Canty had just been handed his English-translated Wigrum moments before stepping on to stage (he claimed the pages still smelled of fresh ink). He read bits and pieces that gave us an introspective vision of the main character, Sebastian Wigrum. Sebastian has taken a hobby to collect artifacts and curios that go overlooked by most, but all manage to connect to Sebastian in one way or another, giving us a delightful character and a colourful personality.
Last, but certainly not least, Andrew Pyper blessed us with his latest book, The Demonologist. Pyper shared that his goal or the book was to have two compelling characters bound together by some sort of emotion; in the case of The Demonologist, it’s ‘guilt’. The book follows Professor David Ullman’s journey to Venice along with Tess, his daughter. When Tess begins acting strange, David eventually confronts her on the roof of their hotel building with her final words, ‘Find me.’ Andrew’s combination of character development and horror makes The Demonologist a very intense book and, as Charlene put it, ‘Don’t read it before bed’.
Overall, the evening was intriguing and delightful as each author shared their stories of revelation and discovery, and I only regret not purchasing every book at the McNally Robinson stand as a token to look back on and smile.