During WordFest in Calgary and LitFest in Edmonton this October, I caught Alberta at Noon. This phone-in program on CBC 1010 is available in podcast. Judy Aldous, in company with festival directors Shelly Youngblut and Fawnda Mithrush, discover listeners’ favourite books and share their own.
Fascinating — but I was driving! I know our members and other bibliophiles will enjoy this! Be sure to have a pen handy while listening, along with the requisite tea and goodies.
Here’s an interesting project, spreading a path across Canada!
Project Bookmark Canada has announced that Rosemary Griebel’s poem, “Walking with Walt Whitman Through Calgary’s Eastside on a Winter Day,” is to be a “bookmark” on the CanLit Trail. It will be located at Loft 112, along 8 Avenue SE (East Village), the site of the poem.
Crop of Image “Solzhenitsyn” by I, Evstafiev is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5
Freedom to Read
We take for granted our freedom to read and to write. Not so in Soviet Russia. Imagine the challenges faced by Russian writer Alexzander Solzhenitsyn winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature who’s writing also ‘won’ him arrest by the KGB in 1974 for treason and a one-way trip out of Russia.
In his time, publication decisions were politically determined by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Solzhenitsyn, considered an outspoken political figure by the Writer’s Union, was only briefly approved as a Soviet Writer with support from Khrushchev who considered One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1963) an instrument for supporting his political ambitions.
“During all the years until 1961, not only was I convinced that I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared that this would become known”.
With the forced retirement of Khrushchev in 1964, Solzhenitsyn’s celebrity status was short-lived. His manuscripts and private archives were confiscated by the Secret Police and he was forced to write secretly while in prison and later under constant police surveillance. Often writing on scraps of paper and never working on his complete manuscript, The Gulag Archipelago:1918-1956 exposed the complex and brutal Soviet prison system. The manuscript was spirited out to the west by friends in an elaborate under-ground manner and first published in France in 1973. The book was banned in Russia with possession a treasonous offence. Anne Applebaum (Death of a Writer) describes how in the winter of 1974 unbound, hand typed manuscripts began circulating around the Soviet Union with readers having only 24 hours to finish the lengthy manuscript before passing it to the next person.
Lillian Tickles sent me this book list, created by Michael Hare, co-owner of Owl’s Nest Books. Unfortunately it got lost in my personal “To Do List” (see last Post). In the spirit of “better late than never” here’s another take on great reads for our members — or perhaps a 2015 gift idea!