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2019 Word on the Street Halifax Schedule

WoTS Halifax Festival Line-Up Updates as of September 1st.

Atlantic Fiction

12:00 PM - 12:50 PM

Laurie Glenn Norris – Found Drowned

Based on a true unsolved crime from 1877, Laurie Glenn Norris’s debut novel tells the story of two small towns linked by the disappearance of a teenage girl. Mary Harney is a dreamy teenager in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, whose ambitions are stifled by her tyrannical grandmother and alcoholic father. When Mary’s mother becomes ill, an already fragile domestic situation quickly begins to unravel until the October evening when the girl goes missing.

Across the water on Prince Edward Island we meet Gilbert Bell, whose son finds a body washed up on the beach below the family farm. As the community is visited first by the local coroner and then by investigators, Glenn Norris paints a fascinating and darkly comic picture of judicial and forensic procedures of the time. At once tightly plotted and pensive, the novel travels back to the circumstances that led to Mary’s disappearance and then back further to the circumstances of her parents’ marriage, all the while building toward a raucous courtroom finale.

Laurie Glenn Norris’ articles and book reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Quill & Quire and Atlantic Books Today.

Her non-fiction book, Haunted Girl: Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery, (Nimbus) was a finalist for the 2013 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing and is currently optioned to become a feature film. Her first novel, Found Drowned, was published by Vagrant Press in Spring 2019.

Laurie’s passion is biography, historical fiction and non-fiction, with a particular interest in the lives of nineteenth-century women. She is currently transcribing a series of letters for publication and researching her second novel. She holds a MA in Art History from the University of Victoria and is currently the Education and Outreach Manager at the Joggins Fossil Institute. Laurie lives in River Hebert, Nova Scotia with her husband Barry, who is a freelance editor, lots of books, and Dinah the cat.

Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy – Never Speak of This Again

It is 1917 and Nellie, seventeen years old and pregnant, has just returned to Cape Breton from Boston to find her lover. Instead of a safe haven, she encounters rejection and humiliation and is told to clear out and never speak of this again. In her shame, she contemplates suicide at Victoria Park in Truro, but a passing stranger, headed to the WWI front, offers her some gifts that could help her survive, and allow him to run away from his own past. She returns to Boston, where she finds shelter and learns to live with dignity and purpose. The circle of life there, of struggle and kindness, of pain and beauty, for both the living and the dying convinces her to return to her family. However, her plan of a quiet life on Campbell’s Mountain does not pan out as she thought it would.

Nellie’s story reflects the lives of many Nova Scotia women who found their way to Boston. Her world becomes a matter of daily survival, while so many in the world, including the stranger from Truro, try to survive the catastrophic chaos of WWI and the Spanish Flu. Never Speak of This Again takes the reader from eastern Canada to western Canada, to Europe, and back again. In the messy existence of life, heroes can be victims and villains, and she hopes there is always a chance for redemption, but she wonders how far she can risk society’s scorn for her own personal happiness.

Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy is a born and bred Cape Bretoner, though she tends to roam the world occasionally in search of adventures with her husband, now that their four grown children are self-sufficient. She loves to delve into community stories through her four plays and now her first novel.

Frank Macdonald – The Smeltdog Man

an ACCIDENTAL INVENTION—a Cape Bretoner’s marijuana-laced, munchie-inspired Smeltdog—becomes the most successful fast food franchise in Canada: Good Karma Corporation!

As the billion-dollar business booms beyond his control, he consults Granddaddy Blue, whose pragmatic mixture of horse-trader economics and 1960s hippie ideals provides his grandson with the guiding principles and necessary scams he needs to survive in the corporate world.

Frank Macdonald is Inverness’s award-winning author of A Forest for Calum and other novels, short stories, and drama.

“…I was kind of embarrassed by how much I made myself laugh with this book!”

Frank Macdonald, columnist, poet, songwriter, playwright and novelist, was born in Inverness, Cape Breton, where he and his partner, artist Virginia McCoy, now live. For the past 30 years he has penned a weekly column as a humourist/satirist with Inverness Oran newspaper and other Maritime publications. His columns have appeared in two collections, Assuming I’m Right (Cecibu 1990), and How to Cook Your Cat (Cecibu 2003).