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Despite the Odds: a Review of Project Compass

Project Compass
Lizzie Derksen, Matthew Stepanic, Kristina Vyskocil, Robert Strong
Monto Books, 2017

Review by Peter Takach

What do you get when you take four emerging Edmonton writers and give them each a quadrant of their city to explore? In Project Compass, publisher and editor Jason Lee Norman has assembled a crack crew to take readers on an odyssey through a city that, despite producing its fair share of writers, is rarely the explicit setting of their stories. The result is an engaging and emotionally-arresting collection of four concurrent novellas that all unwind on June 21, 2016. Starting from the north, south, east, and west, we follow four Edmontonians as they wander their way through the longest day of the year and reflect on the paths they have taken.

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The Story Behind The Story: The Decedent by Yuly Restrepo Garcés

Yuly Restrepo photographed by David Wheeler

Our winter issue will be arriving soon, and includes a story by Yuly Restrepo Garcés, a writer and professor at the University of Tampa. A MacDowell Fellow, Yuly is also the recipient of a VONA/Voices Fellowship. Her fiction has appeared in Zone 3 and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge. Of her story, “The Decedent,” Yuly says:

I started to write “The Decedent” in May 2015, at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, during a seven-hour layover, though I had been thinking about it for at least a year before that. I wrote about twelve pages while I waited for my flight to Medellín, where I would spend the summer months visiting family and working on a rough draft of my novel-in-progress. The story itself is a convergence of several things I had been preoccupied with in the months before I started writing.
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Jessica Westhead photo by Derek Wuenschirs

Search for the Humour: An Interview with Jessica Westhead

Interview by Sonal Champsee.

Jessica Westhead’s fiction has been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards, selected for the Journey Prize anthology, and nominated for a National Magazine Award. She is the author of the novel Pulpy & Midge (Coach House Books, 2007) and the critically acclaimed short story collection And Also Sharks (Cormorant Books, 2011), which was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book and a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Short Fiction Prize. Her new short story collection is called Things Not to Do.

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Photographer credit: Esther Kabamba and Will Fraser

Between Us: The Language of Home

Interview by Emma Cleary

Welcome to the first installment of Between Us, a conversation series by, for, and between immigrant/first-gen Canadian writers. We’re featuring writers who move back and forth across the hyphen, straddling old country and new, negotiating ideas of home-place, belonging, and identity. Writers who create within and beyond the categories of “Canadian literature” and “Canadian immigrant literature.”

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Brave and Timely: Waiting for Stalin to Die

Waiting for Stalin to Die

Irene Guilford

Guernica Editions, 2017

Review by Deborah S. Patz

Waiting for Stalin to Die by Irene Guilford is a touching and thoughtful novel about post-war immigrants from Lithuania living and settling in Toronto from 1949 to 1953. Irene Guilford is a Canadian author whose work has been shortlisted for both the CBC Literary Competition and the Event Creative Non-Fiction Contest. She is also the author of The Embrace, another novel concerning the Lithuanian experience of exile and immigration. Waiting for Stalin to Die is Guilford’s second fiction novel.

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