Bookmarks: angels and distinctions awarded to local authors


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Angels are everywhere.


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Edmonton author and photographer Shawna Lemay’s latest book, Everything Affects Everyone, is full of angels. They make appearances, just hover behind the scenes and occupy the negative space of the photos, just out of frame but still there.

Lemay was inspired by Kafka’s short story La Métamorphose; instead of a giant insect, his characters deal with winged figures, including a character transformed and reflecting on the nature of his new form.

But she also explores her subject from a secular point of view. When people think of angels, they suddenly appear everywhere. The visual arts and pop music are full of references, but individuals often have stories they cannot explain and attribute them to the supernatural and the guardians above.


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“I was blown away by the number of people who have angel stories,” says Lemay. “I am not a big believer in the paranormal. Once you start talking about angels, a lot of people have experienced something that they cannot explain. I wanted to get there.

Everything Affects Everyone unfolds as a series of short stories, with each vignette tied to a different perspective, one person’s story connected to the next. An interview influences the life of the woman who transcribes it; a stolen work of art leaves an impact on those who witness its absence, recorded and transcribed five years later in conversations with those who have seen the exhibition.

“I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to write a traditional story arc,” says Lemay. “It really happened very slowly. I just played in the direction of inevitability. It sort of unfolded as he sits. It kept giving the impression that it was not over. I just listened to whatever made him move.


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This non-traditional story arc unfolds throughout the book and includes more than a few surprises.

“The stakes of this book were: I want to change your life and I want to participate in your life and I want you to feel more alive,” says Lemay.

Everything Affects Everyone was published in October by Palimpsest Press. For more information about the author, visit

Local Judge and National Poetry Prize Finalists

Adriana Oniță moved from Romania to Edmonton in elementary school, and English immediately became the dominant language in her life. She writes multilingual poetry as a way to reclaim her Romanian heritage and was announced today as one of the five finalists for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize for her work, Untranslatable.


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Oniță is currently a doctoral student in language education at the University of Alberta, splitting her time between Edmonton and Italy.

Edmonton poet Adriana Oniță is one of five finalists for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize.
Edmonton poet Adriana Oniță is one of five finalists for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize. Photo by provided /Postmedia

Another of the five finalists, Lise Gaston is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the English department at Concordia University in Montreal, but lived in Edmonton for three years and worked at Audreys Books during her stay here. She is on the shortlist for her poem James, on the experience of her stillborn son in the summer of 2020.

This year’s award is debated by a panel of three judges, including Louise Bernice Halfe, also known by her Cree name, Sky Dancer. Raised in Saddle Lake First Nation and forced to attend Blue Quills Residential School in St. Paul, Halfe is also a Decorated Writer and was named the ninth Poet Laureate of the Parliament of Canada earlier this year.


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The winner of the CBC Poetry Prize will be announced on November 24 and its prize will be $ 6,000, a two-week writing residency at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, and his work will be published on the CBC Books website. For more information and to see the other finalists, visit

Award-winning children’s book arrives in paperback

A young girl is torn between the expectations of her family and the dream of playing the trumpet.

In the Key of Nira Ghani, the latest award-winning children’s novel by Edmonton author Natasha Deen, was published in paperback earlier this month. The book follows Ghani as she struggles with her traditional Guyanese family, who want her to continue her studies in science or medicine, and her dream of making music.

In the Key of Nira Ghani was nominated for a number of awards and won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. To find her book and more on the author, visit


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Freeze out of hockey

With all due respect to Ted Lasso, here in Canada hockey is life. It’s more than just a game or a hobby, but an experience shared among millions of people. A new book from the University of Alberta Press explores the experience of marginalized groups and their experience of sport.

Overcoming the Neutral Zone Trap, edited by Cheryl MacDonald and Jonathon Edwards, features both personal testimonials and scientific articles on the people, ideas and events associated with making hockey a more inclusive space. The book’s authors discuss women players, the Indigenous experience of the game, hockey parents, and the role of mental health and social media in hockey.

The book was released on October 28, and you can read more at


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Row to the finish line

A shattered competitive dream, a complicated family life with new members and a close relationship put to the test.

When you least expect it, the most recent novel by local author Lorna Schultz Nicholson, features competitive rower Holly and her dreams of going to the Olympics. When she’s not on the team, she’s devastated. She then learns that her mother has moved in with her new boyfriend and her two sons.

Nicholson is a young adult writer living in Edmonton and writes frequently about hockey. She coached rowing while working as a fitness and recreation coordinator at the University of Victoria and is married to Bob Nicholson, CEO of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

When You Least Expect It was released on November 15 and published by Red Deer Press. You can find out more about the author and his book at


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Human rights author in Edmonton on Tuesday

Award-winning author and activist Robyn Maynard will revisit her book, Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada, at a conference at the University of Alberta on Tuesday. Maynard’s book asks Canadians to question multiculturalism and the idea of ​​tolerance in this country in the face of state violence against the black community.

Policing Black Lives was a national bestseller, making The Walrus’s 100 Best Books of 2018 and receiving a French translation, which won the Librarians Award in 2019. It also won the annual Errol Morris Book Prize in 2017, and has shortlisted for the Atlantic Book Award and Mavis Gallant Award for Non-Fiction.

Maynard’s lecture is part of the university’s guest lecture on human rights. His speech is free and will be hosted online on November 23 at 7 p.m. You can confirm your presence to access it on the international portal of the U of A.

To learn more about the author, visit his website at



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