Monday, January 8, 2018

W.O.W. - Words the Orangeville Way, December 2, 2017

On Saturday, December 2nd, 2017, The Orangeville Public Library in partnership with The Headwaters Writers' Guild and local independent book store BookLore, held the third annual W.O.W. celebrating award winning authors Nicolas Billon and Michael Redhill.

Harry Posner, Dufferin County's first Poet Laureate and member of the Headwaters Writer's Guild, hosted the event with a special introduction by HWG member and USA Today bestselling author Diane Bator. Diane spoke about her experience with the Headwaters Writers' Guild and how the group has helped her to publish several novels. She went on to introduce our two guest authors Nicolas Billon and Michael Redhill. A panel discussion then took place moderated by Harry Posner followed by an audience Q&A.

Nicholas Billon, Harry Posner, Michael Redhill

On Finding Inspiration

Nicolas Billon: Reading. A question from something I have read.

Michael Redhill: My muse is spending time in a room and just waiting until something catches.

Writing Process

N.B.: I Write from 9-6. I try not to write outside these hours but sometimes the brain doesn't turn off. I don't always do an outline.

M.R.: Writing process consists of peaks and valleys. I respond when it is flowing in the right direction. Writing accrues in layers. In comparison to sculpting - Michelangelo chipped away at the rock until David appeared.

Advice for Beginning Authors

M.R.: Seek out a local writing group like the Headwaters Writers' Guild.

N.B.: Your mother is a good person to sell your writing to. She will always read it. She will always buy it. Have patience. Everyone's first draft is shit. You will be writing and rewriting.

On Books & Bookstores being killed by E-books

M.R.: I think they are bouncing back now. There is a lot of pleasure to be had by the physical object. I'm not that worried.

N.B.: I'm not that worried either. We've been talking about the death of books for about a decade.

M.R.: There are more people reading poetry more than ever.

Speaking About Their Books

Nicolas Billon: Butcher is currently in development for a future film. Can't say much without giving anything away.

The language spoken in Butcher is Levinian which does not exist. In Greek tragedies violence never occurs on stage. In order to hide the violence when someone is describing the violence he needed to use a language no one can understand.

The conflict is invented though the Balkan Wars and Rwanda Genocide are alluded to.

Themes: Revenge, justice and forgiveness.

"You can have justice or you can have peace but you can't have both." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Butcher seeks out whether that quote is true. Revenge is easy to understand. We have all felt it. Justice is more abstract. Your identity can be tied up in an emotion or a drive. The idea of identity and complexity of idea is woven throughout the play.

I cannot predict an audience and their reaction. If the audience walks away with questions I think that is a good thing.

Harry Posner: When you are writing a play do you think along the lines that it would be turned into a film?

N.B.: No. I feel if a play is adapted into a film I feel it has failed. Rewriting for a film is beginning from scratch.

Nicolas Billon went on to read from "Greenland" from the Fault Lines series.

Harry Posner to Michael Redhill: What does the Giller mean for a writer? (Michael Redhill having very recently won the 2017 Soctiabank Giller prize).

M.R.: I don't know yet. It was only 2 weeks ago. It doesn't seem real yet. I was stunned when my name was called. It was weird.

Harry Posner asked Michael Redhill to discuss the winning book "Bellevue Square".

M.R.: A woman hears she has a doppelganger hanging around Toronto's Kensington Market, a place of many sub-cultures. (On where the idea came from): I just sat in the park watching the people and wondered what it would be like for me to see "me" walk into the park. The book is about a woman who walks out and sees someone sucking up her reality.

Harry Posner: What was your process?

M.R.: I don't work with outlines. I would be stymied by sticking to the path. I wasn't sure where this book was going to end up. I knew there had to be confrontation between these two characters.

Harry: Did you know it would affect the reader?

M.R.: No. The original draft was 60 pages. I cut it down to 30.

Harry:  The book moves around between multiple genres.

M.R.: Keeping the reader wrong-footed was what I had in mind.

Harry: What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

M.R.: I started writing it in 2010. I wrote a book I wanted to read. I wanted it to be strange and difficult. This is the first book in a triptic. The next book is called "Modern Ghosts".

Michael Redhill went on to read from "Modern Ghosts".

Audience Question: Did you know when you were writing that you were writing a triptic?

N.B.: No.

M.R.: I wrote the first one, put it in a drawer. While writing the second one I heard the first one calling me.


BookLore had the authors' books on hand for purchase and the authors took the time to meet and sign books.

The Headwaters Writers' Guild and M.J. Moores had a table set up of their books for sale.

M.J. Moores; Judy Zarowny, Patricia Gallant, Harry Posner, Diane Bator,
Sonja Wolter, Clare McCarthy representing The Headwaters Writers' Guild.

Diane Bator (HWG), Darla Fraser (Chief Librarian, Orangeville Public Library),
Michael Redhill, Harry Posner, Nicolas Billon, and Lauren Tilly (Program & Research Coordinator, Orangeville Public Library)

A huge crowd was on hand.

Another successful author event held by The Orangeville Public Library. The Headwaters Writers' Guild was honoured to be a part of it and look forward to next year's event.

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