Sunday, April 27, 2014

Richard Ford, Kevin Barry, Josip Novakovich: Blue Met 2014

Dutch edition of Canada
When Richard Ford confirmed his presence at the Blue Met 2014 back in the fall, I was considering some way  to work in setting to one of his events because it seems to be such a key part of his writing. And not just the setting in one particular novel but the fact that his novels have such a variety of settings (Saskatchewan and MontanaNew JerseyMexico, etc.).

Then when we nailed down the participation of Irish writer Kevin Barry I knew I had the way in because Barry's work, too, is wedded to place in very unique ways. Unlike Ford, Barry sets most of his books in Ireland though it might be contemporary Ireland or a vague near-future Ireland. Barry is an interesting writing and is one of those rare fiction authors who can make you laugh out loud, not only at one his neurotic protagonists think and feel but at the hum-drum but also bizarre situations these protagonists find themselves in. His short story collection, Dark Lies the Island, was so well done that after I finished it (in almost one sitting), I flipped back and re-read it (most of it, anyway), something I almost never do.
Irish writer Kevin Barry

Josip Novakovich is a writer whose career is just plain interesting: I saw him  years ago at Blue Met (before I ever had any idea I would work here!) when he launched his book April Fool's Day and I had not heard of him before then (this was probably 2005 or 2006). I got his book and read it over the next few weeks and was mesmerized by it. Then he did a small collection with Snare a few years back called Three Deaths which, again, really impressed me (that small publishing house managed to publish some really great stuff in its short run). For Novakovich himself, place is key to his writing as he's noted in interviews as well as in his most recent book, Shopping for a Better Country.

Ford, Barry and Novakovich will be at Hotel 10 in Salle Godin on Sunday, May 4 at 11:00am to talk about how place informs their writing. Hosted by Slate Magazine's Stephen Metcalf, the event is sure to be one that will be a highlight of our Festival this year. The event tickets are $15 and can be bought here. This one will definitely sell out so don't wait too long!

Structuring Landscape: Ford, Barry, Novakovich      (photo credit here)

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