Our Hero Disbelieving

Our Hero Disbelieving

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Getting excited to sail Out of the Northwest Passage

We've done eight or nine voyages with Adventure Canada, Sheena and I, but this year is shaping up to be special. First, sailing Out of the Northwest Passage is my favorite itinerary. As always, we'll be sailing through exploration history: John Franklin, John Rae, Thomas Simpson, Roald Amundsen. But this year, traveling in September, we'll probably be on the water at the same time as the Erebus search expedition . . . and at one point, not all that far away. Apart from which, we will sail north into Smith Sound and Kane Basin . . . and then, heading south along Greenland, we'll end up zodiac-winding among the most fantastical icebergs in the northern hemisphere.
Second, we've always enjoyed the Sea Adventurer (pictured above). But this year, we get a fancy new vessel called the Ocean Endeavour . . . and no fewer than twenty zodiacs! Multiple lounges . . . outdoor dining . . . and did someone whisper the words "hot tub?" Third, check out the resource staff.  Margaret Atwood, Freeman Patterson, James Raffan . . . and that's just for starters. But see for yourself. This gang is aces, top to bottom. Believe me, that makes a difference. OK, this is my first-ever commercial for Adventure Canada and I won't go on. If you've been hankering after the Arctic, check 'em out. Tell 'em Ken sent you.
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Searching for Franklin leads Our Hero to University Women

Originally, I had planned to give a talk entitled Nothing is More Fun Than Chasing the New History. But then came the finding of the Erebus. And participating in the documentary called Franklin's Lost Ships. And people saying, well, this latest discovery is fun. But what does it mean? Why does it matter?
So I've narrowed my focus. I'm still Chasing the New History. But I'll talk, more specifically, about Searching for Franklin: The Lost Ships, the Discoveries, and the Woman Who Created a Legend. Above, we see one of the slides that will turn up in my presentation.
The occasion is the celebratory May Dinner of the Aurora/Newmarket branch of the Canadian Federation of University Women. The venue is the DiamondBack Golf Club in Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto. The date and time: May 12 beginning at 6 p.m. Can you afford to miss it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hundreds of authors set to party with Canadian booksellers



Looks like The Great Canadian Book Bash is coming to a bookstore near you. On Saturday, May 2, more than 500 Canadian authors will turn up at 100-plus independent bookstores across the country. 
We’re calling it Authors for Indies and, yes, we mean to show our support for Canada’s independent booksellers. We want them not just to survive, but to flourish. You can read all about it at www.authorsforindies.com. You can even find out
which authors will be where. Here in the Beach Village, known for having Ontario's Best Small-Town Main Street, a bunch of us, Beachers all, will put our shoulders to the wheel at Book City (1950 Queen Street East). Wander into that well-stocked bookstore and you might run into Lee Gowan (The Last Cowboy), Tish Cohen (Town House), or Kim Echlin (The Disappeared). And that's just for starters. Yours truly (Fatal Passage) will be hanging out from around 2 p.m. And, hey, don’t be surprised if I try to sell you a book. Gotta love those indies.
Book City in The Beach: Authors: Ken McGooganLisa de Nikolits, DJ McIntosh, Kim Echlin, George A. Walker, Lee Gowan, Tish Cohen, Brian Panhuyzen, Dr. Vera Tarman




Friday, April 10, 2015

Celtic Lightning to strike bookstores in September





 With Celtic Lightning, best-selling author Ken McGoogan plunges into the perpetual debate about Canadian roots and identity: who do we think we are? He argues that Canadians have never investigated the demographic reality that informs this book -- the fact that more than nine million Canadians claim Scottish or Irish heritage. Did the ancestors of more than one quarter of our population arrive without cultural baggage? No history, no values, no vision? Impossible.
 McGoogan writes that, to understand who we are and where we are going, Canadians must look to cultural genealogy. He builds on the work of Richard Dawkins, who contends that ideas and values (“memes”) can be transmitted from one generation to another. Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived in Canada with values they had learned from their forebears. And they did so early enough, and in sufficient numbers, to shape an emerging Canadian nation. . . .

About the author:
          Ken McGoogan has published a dozen books, among them How the Scots Invented Canada, Fatal Passage, and Lady Franklin’s Revenge. His honours include the Pierre Berton Award, the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography, the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, and the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award.  Ken has crisscrossed Ireland and Scotland numerous times, and also circumnavigated both countries.

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Patrick Crean Editions
Media & events: Colleen.Simpson@HarperCollins.com
Publication rights: Beverley Slopen Literary Agency / Beverley@slopenagency.com



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Franklin's Lost Ships turn up on CBC-TV's The Nature of Things


Hats off to Andrew E.M. Gregg! He produced Franklin's Lost Ships, an extraordinary new documentary that turned up April 9 on CBC-TVs The Nature of Things. And finished in such a short period! The most impressive thing may well have been how smoothly the narrative unwound, cutting back and forth between the contemporary search and the history of the tragedy. So many figures winding in and out without a hitch: very sophisticated, very polished.

The seamless intermingling of documentary footage and credible reconstruction was terrific. Also, we got some exciting views of the sunken Erebus we have never seen before. Oh, and the CGI was great! I know, I know: the aficionados will be clamoring for more history: what does it all mean? But I expect that the longer version of this documentary, coming soon to PBS and Nova, will deliver more of that. Meanwhile, Franklin's Lost Ships will air again this Saturday on CBC News Network, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Honestly: this doc is the perfect primer for what promises to be an outstanding season of dives, discoveries and revelations. Don't miss it. 
[Here is the CBC link for online viewing: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/franklins-lost-ships]


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mount Royal University in Calgary is doing everything right

 
Everywhere he goes, Our Hero runs into a life-size image of himself.
This is happening at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where he is spending a week as writer-in-residence.  Last night, all kinds of old friends turned up for a talk entitled Our Story Begins in Calgary. And the introductions and expressions of thanks left even our grizzled road warrior blushing. This photo comes courtesy of Michelle Bodnar. Word has it that she has taken a few more to illustrate a looming article. Can you rely on Our Hero to keep you apprised? You betcha.
A FEW DAYS LATER . . . . Did I mention a looming article? Check it out: Click here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The days fly away like wild horses over the hills

 



The days fly away like wild horses over the hills. The poet Charles Bukowski said it first. But I've been feeling it as I get set to spend a week as writer-in-residence in Calgary.
I'll be at Mount Royal University from March 23 through March 27, courtesy of the English Department. For my public presentation (March 25), Our Story Begins in Calgary, I've been sorting through photos from my days as books editor at the Calgary Herald.  Above, we find me and Mordecai Richler . . . drinking coffee! To our left: Mavis Gallant in Banff with my old beater, aka the Silver Bullet. She was spending time at the Banff Centre and asked me to take her into town for groceries. She hated the elk! Could not understand why such dangerous animals were allowed to roam around freely. Below we have Tim Findley and his partner, William Whitehead, at Mescalero, one of my old favorite haunts. Richler, Gallant, Findley:
giants of Canadian literature . . . all of them gone. That's what struck me. That's what called up those horses. But not to worry: my subtitle is An Adventure in Creative Nonfiction. We'll venture beyond nostalgia. Even so, eh?