Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thin Air (Go Moose!)

I’ll be talking hockey with a dandy bunch of writers at this week’s Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Thin Air (go Moose!).

Friday September 26 I’ll be at Selkirk Library @ 2:00 with Cara Hedley, author of the women’s hockey novel, Twenty Miles (Coachhouse). Here’s a bit of the Twenty Miles blurb:

Iz has a long, fraught relationship with her sport. Her dad was a hockey star, and her grandfather made a rink for her as soon as she could stand. But when she leaves her grandmother behind to play for the university team, she can’t quite find her own place in the game.
   From the rowdy hilarity of the Scarlets’ dressing room to a quiet reticence toward first love—and with a little beer-bonging and a lot of hockey along the way—Iz tries to navigate the ways loss is played out on the ice.
   Both fast-paced and hesitant, Twenty Miles celebrates women’s hockey and offers an uncompromising look at the ways in which the sport haunts the women who play it.

Then on Saturday the 27th @ 2:00 on the Mainstage, Cara and I will be joined by poet Randall Maggs, whose amazing, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems (Brick) was called by Stephen Brunt possibly “the truest hockey book ever written. It reaches a level untouched by conventional sports literature.”

I read with Cara in Toronto last fall and she was not only smart and charming and sporty, she brought along a few members of the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team. Randall was a huge success at the international conference on hockey held here in Victoria a couple of years back. He’s a fantastic reader and a swell dude.

Not only them: the recently Giller-longlisted Paul Quarrington is also on the Saturday bill. His hockey novel,
King Leary, was last year’s Canada Reads selection, defended and championed by the suddenly magisterial Dave Bidini.

We’ll be reading and then yakking about the game. Question for Winnipeggers and Manitoba Moose fans: should Nolan Baumgartner play the fourth line in Vancouver or top line for the Moose?

More info on Thin Air can be found here: www.thinairwinnipeg.ca

Though I’m still suffering from summer Olympics hangover and can’t shake the gripe that pro athletes are snarky over-paid lazyboys, here are my three pre-season wishes to make the story of this season more engaging:

  • Nazzie—after yet another elbow surgery in April—finally gets to rip it up with Scott “The Alaska Passer” Gomez in New York.
  • Chicago makes the playoffs led by a healthy Jonathan Toews and then goes way deep and we see Dale Tallon’s big face light the arena like a mile of LEED-certified solar panels.
  • Eric Cole gets his body back from the broken neck and, along with Luby Visnovsky, gives Craig MacTavish’s chest a reason to fill out those snazzy suits.

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