Word On The Street puts books on the water

WOTS the buzz this weekend

Lynn Coady will read this Sunday - ROB APPLEFORD
Rob Appleford
Lynn Coady will read this Sunday
If you’re bussing it to Word on the Street on Sunday, September 25 (11am-5pm), hold on to your transfer—you might need it to hop on the ferry. That’s because this year, Halifax’s chapter of the national book and magazine festival spans both sides of the harbour, with readings and exhibitors located on the wharves behind the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and the graphic novel zone taking over Alderney Landing. Readings will also be happening on the water: you can catch kids’ authors on Theodore Tugboat, and nautical-themed stories on the CSS Acadia. Those with a million dollar book idea burning a hole in their hard drive might consider signing up for Pitch the Publisher, where a panel of Atlantic publishers tell potential authors whether their ideas are winners or fit for the pit. Other highlights of this year’s festival include a literacy celebration with a talk by Alexander MacLeod, panel discussions on poetry and young adult literature, and the awards ceremony for the Atlantic Writing Competition. Over 55 authors will be appearing , including heavy hitters like George Elliott Clarke, Linden MacIntyre, Tanya Davis, Sue Goyette, Stephanie Domet, Sheree Fitch and Lynn Coady.

Coady (originally a Cape Bretoner and currently an Edmontonian) will be reading from her fifth book, The Antagonist, which was recently longlisted for the Giller Prize.

The Antagonist takes the form of a series of emails written by Rank, a physically imposing man with a traumatic past. When Rank recognizes himself in a novel written by an old friend, he’s angry—both at what the friend, Adam, got right, along with what he got wrong. “He wants to hide from his past—that's all he's ever wanted—but at the same time he's so outraged by Adam's version of his life story that he's determined to confront it,” Coady says.

The novel (which is also about hockey, Facebook and religion) holds a magnifying glass up to several violent acts and their causes. “I was interested in the idea of violence as a social inevitability.  As something our culture collectively believes—deep down I think—we all just have to live with.  We also take a perverse comfort and even pleasure in it.”

Finally, The Antagonist raises questions about the ethics of writing. “Ultimately,” Coady says, “a writer’s first obligation is to the truth of her story.”

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