Summer 2008

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Essay

Al Purdy – The Voice of the Land

On May 20, 2008, a statue of the poet Al Purdy was unveiled in Queen's Park. Toronto poet Paul Vermeersch was in attendance for the dedication ceremony, and he takes this opportunity to reflect on Purdy's life, death and legacy. Al Purdy, the man widely regarded as Canada's first true national poet, died in April, National Poetry Month, in the year 2000.

The 48-Hour Interview

Artful Agenting

A conversation between two literary agents.

Over a 48-hour period, Sam Hiyate, president of The Rights Factory, and Hilary McMahon, vice-president of Westwood Creative Artists, interviewed each other about their development as agents, the responsibilities of a literary agent and the "golden age of non-fiction." The interview was conducted via e-mail.

Hilary McMahon:

This should be an interesting discussion - as agents focused on our own clients, we tend to exist in somewhat parallel universes, where our paths only cross at bookfairs or publisher parties.

Book Excerpt

Dry Water

A Novel by Robert J.C. Stead

Dry Water tells the story of Donald Strand, from the time of his arrival as a ten-year-old orphan at his relatives’ Manitoba farm in 1890 to his apogee as a successful farmer. It recounts the crises he faces during a troubled marriage and the great stock market crash of 1929. His life parallels the growth and development of Manitoba during the same period.

Profile

Scream

A look at an unlikely literary festival.

As with all things to do with the Scream Literary Festival, this story starts in a bar - the Victory Café. Its brown and beige interior is familiar to most Torontonians who live in the Annex neighbourhood. A good selection of craft beer keeps its patio crammed through the summer months. Its small but well-trod stage on the second floor has made it a touch point for the city's artistic communities, the poets among them. I'm sitting at one of the few empty tables on the patio.

If you have an article in mind for Open Book's seasonal online magazine, please send a 200-300 word abstract and a brief note about yourself to submissions@openbooktoronto.com. Open Book's magazine is published in March, June, September and December. We publish creative non-fiction with a focus on the Toronto literary scene and articles run a minimum of 1500 words. Response time is one to three months.

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