Categories: Entertainment

A Literary Lane for a fond farewell

Zach Polis is one of several writers who will be reading from their works during Marty Chan's Literary Lane tomorrow. The event is a send-off as Chan enters his last weeks as the writer in residence at the library

Marty Chan is getting a winter tune-up on his sleigh as he readies himself to ride off into the night. His gig as the writer in residence at the St. Albert Public Library wraps up on Dec. 14 but before he says, “ho, ho, hold on for Richard van Camp to take over,” he’s got one last gift to give.

As true as any nesting gift, it’s a bunch of things all in one box.

Chan is hosting Literary Lane, primarily as a showcase of local authors tomorrow evening including John Dolman and Timothy Fowler along with spoken word artist Julia Sorensen and Zach Polis.

“It’s my final, official event here at the library. We thought it would be a great way to showcase local literary talents. I assembled five writers to present readings from their work … a lot of them are from St. Albert from the Saint City Writers.

The Saint City Writers is the city writers’ group that recently published its yearly anthology. Polis, according to Chan, is a humorous and bright young writer.

“I used to compete in long jump for years. I found myself in a sticky situation once where I thought I could use my good jumping skills to get out of it. Instead, I landed in a worse one. I’ll tell that story,” Polis previewed.

The headliner for the event is Laurel Deedrick-Mayne who wrote A Wake For The Dreamland, the self-published winner of the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award this year.

“It was a passion piece; it was a story that had lived with her for a very long time. She got it down and published it. The success that it’s had is incredible,” Chan said.

“Having been a guest at more than 30 book clubs and nearly as many other literary events since my book came out, I can tell you connecting with people is absolutely essential,” Deedrick-Mayne averred.

“With so much of the book hinging on the Second World War, I’m especially looking forward to sharing some of the more hopeful and light-hearted nuggets from the book. There is a lot of love and joy in the story and these days that’s a good thing.”

Chan said that he thought it would be great to bring her in because people, especially other writers, love hearing their author friends read, but it’s important to mingle and talk to the literary crowd too.

“I think there’s a good segment of people who are probably in the same boat that Laurel was in: ‘I’ve got this great story and I just want to tell it. I’ve sent it out to publishers and now I’m getting impatient and I want to make that jump.’ In terms of somebody who has done it and succeeded, you can’t find a better example locally of someone who put something together and it wins an award.”

Apart from the lively readings, Chan himself has a parting gift of sorts. Yes, there will be cake but he’s also using the occasion to launch his new book, Melody and Myth, the second in the Keepers of the Vault series. The book itself was part of his proposal to the writer in residency program.

Polis hopes all of the local literati come out to support the wordsmiths.

“Our community has so many talented writers. For people who love books and parties, it’ll be a good time.”

It all happens from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Forsyth Hall in the library tomorrow. Attendance is free but pre-registration is required.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.