The last month of 2014 saw the publication of Printmaking on the Edge: 40 Years at St. Michael’s, an art book I curated and wrote for Newfoundland’s own St. Michael’s Printshop, in celebration of its four decades of creative endeavour. A terrific project that gave me the opportunity to use my long-standing interest in visual art. I’m so pleased with the design of the book. It looks fabulous. (Available at The Rooms and the Heritage Shops in St. John’s, and by mail order through the Printshop’s website.)
I did three trips with Adventure Canada this summer — Art on the Rock, Newfoundland Circumnavigation, and Newfoundland and Wild Labrador. The first was a 3-day cultural tour of St. John’s which I organize and lead, together with my wife Anne. The other two were aboard the Sea Adventurer, as one of the resource staff. Amazing journeys. Met some incredible people, saw some incredible sights. Adventure Canada takes adventure tourism to a whole new level.
A BBQ after going ashore in the Torngat Mountains.
Hold Fast – the movie – has been making waves at film festivals from Berlin to Seoul, Halifax to right here in St. John’s, where it closed out the Women’s International Film Festival on October 26. The theatre at the Arts and Culture Centre was filled to its 1100-seat capacity. With a standing ovation the second the credits started to roll. What a memorable night! A great prelude to the film’s public release – DECEMBER 6th – ST. JOHN’S & HALIFAX.
I haven’t seen any footage as yet, but the word is it is looking very good. I spent a good deal of time on set during the shooting, and I’m certainly excited by what unfolded! Look for the movie’s release in 2013.
I’ve just returned from a week in Ghana, West Africa, leading workshops for Ghanaian writers and editors to encourage the publication of more culturally-relevant, local fiction aimed at young people. I was volunteering on behalf of CODE (Canadian Organization for Development through Education) and the Ghana Book Trust. While there I also attended the ceremony for Ghana’s second annual Burt Awards. William Burt, Canadian philanthropist, has made a ten-year, generous commitment to four African countries, in the form of three book prizes each year for the best in local young adult literature.
A memorable experience indeed! The generosity and kindness of everyone has thoroughly endeared me to the country. A terrific first visit to Africa.
Hold Fast, my first novel, is being made into a movie! Shooting began this week, and will see Rock Island Productions moving about to various locations across the province. On Friday I ventured to the set in Tors Cove, where cameras have been rolling for a few days. Got to stand behind an interior scene being filmed. Got to hang out with the crew, with producers Rosemary House (who also write the screenplay) and Judy Holm, director Justin Simms, and host of cast members, including Molly Parker, Adian Flynn, Des Walsh, Jane Dingle, and the two young fellows whose characters are at the core of the story – Avery Ash and Douglas Sullivan.
That’s Avery, who plays Michael, in the centre. He’s from Hant’s Harbour. And Douglas, to the left, from St. John’s, plays his cousin Curtis. I am thrilled the movie is all being shot on the Island, with so many of the cast and crew from this place we call home.
Check it out on Facebook: “Hold Fast – the feature film”.
New Under the Sun has been shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, in the category of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction, which covers books by NL writers published over a two-year period, in this case 2010 and 2011. I’m thrilled. Congratulations to the other nominees, Gerard and Patrick. We’re all thrilled!
Here’s the shortlist. The Atlantic Book Awards ceremony will take place this year for the first time in NL, at the LSPU Hall on May 17th. And plans are for an evening of readings on May 15th from the three nominated books, together with those in the children’s literature category. If you live in the city, watch for the announcement of time and place.
For a complete list of nominations in all categories, go to www.atlanticbookawards.ca
Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction
Gerard Collins, Moonlight Sketches (Creative Book Publishing)
Kevin Major, New Under the Sun (Cormorant Books)
Patrick Warner, double talk (Breakwater Books)
Update: And the winner is…Moonlight Sketches. Congratulations, Gerard!