By Deb A.
It's summer—time to curl your toes in the sand or unfurl the picnic blanket and while away an afternoon with a good book and some sunshine. This year, we've compiled some hot tips from a former U.S. President, a business leader and philanthropist, and the Queen of All Media for you to find in your local independent bookshop.
This is the only one of Obama's suggestions that is not a celebration of African culture. But he says this this memoir by his former speechwriter and aide is "one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House."
By Deb A.
The Man Booker Prize has just marked its 50th anniversary by handing a golden trophy to the author of its 1992 winner, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient.
The shortlist for the Golden Man Booker consisted of a single title per decade of Man Booker winners: In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul for the 1970s; Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively for the 1980s; The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje for the 1990s; Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for the 2000s; and last year's winner, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, for this decade. The five novels then went up for a month-long public vote.
Author Kamila Shamsie was tasked with selecting a single representative for the 1990s. She picked The English Patient because "it does everything," with a rich cast of characters, beautiful language, intricate structure, and universal themes like "war and friendship and love and nationalism" that remain relevant to this day. She rejected the notion that her pick won because of its Oscar-winning film adaptation, but noted that "a lot of people when they're reading the book are probably imagining Ralph Fiennes though, and that doesn't hurt anything."
In accepting the prize, Mr. Ondaatje acknowledged authors who had never won, including William Trevor, Barbara Pimm, and fellow Canadian Alice Munro.
The Golden Man Booker is the third time that the institution has awarded a 'best of the best' prize—the Booker of Bookers, which marked its 25th anniversary, and the Best of Booker, created for its 40th, were both won by Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children.
By Deb A.
Happy Canada Day! Just two days ago a new slew of recipients of the Order of Canada were announced. The many-tiered award was established on Canada's centennial 51 years ago to recognise "outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation." Here are the individuals who were appointed to the Order of Canada for their contributions to Canadian art and literature:
Canada's first female astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar was recognised not only for her work in space medicine research, but also for promoting environmental sustainability—in particular through photography and writing. Her fifth photo essay book will be published soon.
Journalist and author Lise Bissonnette received an Order of Canada for her work as a journalist and author, as well as for her pivotal leadership role at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
American-born sculptor-painter Eli Bornstein became a Canadian citizen in 1972. He was honoured by the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking structurist reliefs and his contributions to art theory as the founder of journal The Structurist.
Hédi Bouraoui is a poet, novelist, and essayist. He received the Order of Canada for his various writings and his theories on cultural boundaries and identities.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Exile Quarterly Barry Callaghan has been lauded as a preeminent man of letters. The poet, writer, and painter was named to the Order of Canada for promoting Canadian literature at home and abroad.
Writer, artist, and art critic Gary Michael Dault has been writing about Canadian art for decades; he currently writes a weekly column for the Globe and Mail. His commitment to celebrating visual artists was a key factor in his inclusion on this year's list.
Anyone who has ever read I Want My Hat Back to their child will appreciate that illustrator and author Jon Klassen was named to the Order of Canada this year for his work as an illustrator and author of children's literature.
He is the artist and graphic designer responsible for the CBC's iconic 1974 logo: Burton Kramer received his honour for his extensive and influential contributions to the field of graphic design.
Scott Thornley's contributions to "the advancement of our collective appreciation of art, culture, science, and education through his unique graphic and verbal designs" were recognised this year—a sure boon for his consultancy, STC.
Novelist and essayist Aritha van Herk's work has shone an international spotlight on the western Canadian experience; her books, essays, and other writing have been translated into ten languages.
Elizabeth Hillman Waterston is Professor Emeritus of the University of Guelph. She is a founding editor of Canadian Children's Literature, an authority on Lucy Maud Montgomery, and the author of several books. She was named to the Order of Canada for her role in developing the academic field of Canadian literature, and for her years of mentoring Canadian authors.
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