I just attended Theatre Calgary’s gripping presentation of A Thousand Splendid Suns, adapted from Khaled Hasseini’s bestseller. That’s how I discovered Theatre Calgary has recently launched an online book club. This book was its first selection. For each show in the season, Theatre Calgary will select a book appropriate to the current production. Sound interesting?

To learn more about TC’s online book club

Janet Halls

Unstuffing stuffed shirts (George Jonas)


George Jonas (Image from Toronto Sun article January 10, 2016

George Jonas  (Image from Toronto Sun article Jan. 10 2016)

George Jonas escaped Hungary and arrived in Canada at age 21 without speaking English well. He went on to become a respected Canadian journalist, novelist, playwright and poet. He provided a unique point of view based on classical liberalism. Journalism lost an important voice January 2016.

Anita Madill’s presentation serves as a strong reminder of the importance of journalists and journalism, especially of the caliber of George Jonas.

Read Anita’s Presentation Summary on George Jonas


CWLC news and upcoming guest Speaker

Our March 14 meeting included a special guest, Julia Harrington, the new Community Outreach Librarian for the Memorial Park Library. With WordFest above us, extended library hours and more program offerings, our Memorial Park Library is hopping!

Next week’s meeting will feature special guest Shane Book, University of Calgary’s Writer in Residence. Get boned up (What an odd expression that is!):

Read more on Shane Book here.


Special Invitation from WordFest to CWLC members for March 23

We (WordFest) are having an event next Thursday evening in our Engagement Lab at Memorial Park library and wanted to extend an invitation to your members.  Cecilia Ekback is a Swedish mystery writer, whose first book was published to wide acclaim. She’ll be at Wordfest presenting her new novel, The Midnight Sun.

A link to the event and some reviews of Cecilia’s work can be found here:

Here’s a link to the event.

To obtain WordFest’s complimentary tickets for CWLC members, please email

Thanks, WordFest!



Chances are you know of Scout (Harper Lee)

Photo of Harper Lee with President G.W. Bush

Harper Lee receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom

Cited from Wikimedia Commons:

President George W. Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room. “To Kill a Mockingbird has influenced the character of our country for the better. It’s been a gift to the entire world. As a model of good writing and humane sensibility, this book will be read and studied forever,” said the President about Harper Lee’s work. (Wikimedia Commons)

CWLC members go above and beyond for their presentations:  Cecilia Krupa, in her Summary of Harper Lee  notes her presentation is fourteen pages long and fifty minutes in length. It includes a display of books, photos, and a one-page handout. The movie was also shown during the social hour.

Those who were there were very fortunate!

Our first Spring meeting & Jeannette Walls presentation

If the cold and snow reminded us that Spring is still but a hope, our Club nevertheless began its spring season March 7 with gusto.

Shelley Youngblut, CEO of WordFest, was our guest. She invited CWLC members to visit their new premises on the 2nd Floor of the Memorial Park Library. WordFest now has its own performance space upstairs. She impressively listed off many events for March/April (starting this Friday). Another good reason to get out of hibernation!

Upcoming events at WordFest

Our President Margaret invites us to CWLC’s Spring Luncheon and AGM. Please note: It will be held on WEDNESDAY, April 26 at the Calgary Golf & Country Club. The cost is $40 per person (see Della Mae for payment).

CWLC is in Avenue Magazine this March, under “5 Book Clubs You Should Join.”  What an honor!

Mary Carwardine gave a truly delightful presentation on her favorite author, Jeannette Walls. Jeannette’s memoir and subsequent books deal with heartbreaking stories of childhood neglect, offset by human resilience and forgiveness. Jeannette Walls is a truly inspirational author and individual.

Read more about Jeannette Walls here.


Is Helen Humphreys on your reading list?



Image result for The Frozen Thames images

(Photo circa 1900. Source: Getty Images. )

Regrettably, I missed Betty Sherwood’s presentation last October. However, I have access to the next best thing and you do too.

You’ll be seeking this author’s books also, once you read Betty’s engaging presentation on Helen Humphreys. “The Frozen Thames” is on my list!

Read Betty’s Summary on Helen Humphreys here.




Freedom to Read

Photograph of Solzenhitsyn 1994

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.


Enjoy our Freedom to read and write.


Anita Madill

Read Anita’s Presentation Summary on Solzhenitsyn