Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The best and cruellest of April

Barbara here. The arrival of spring always brings a sense of optimism and renewal especially for those of us living in the Great White North. Crocuses are pushing up, tiny leaf buds are forming, and the new book season is beginning to unfurl. In addition to the release of the ARCs of my new Amanda Doucette novel, Prisoners of Hope, I have two exciting book events to look forward to: the Arthur Ellis shortlist parties on April 18 and the 1000 Islands Writers Festival on April 27-29.

The Arthur Ellis awards are juried awards given annually by Crime Writers of Canada to honour the best in Canadian crime writing. There are seven categories, and every spring a panel of judges reads through all the entries in their category and selects a shortlist of five. This is a time-consuming, important, and sometimes contentious job, and their dedication is greatly appreciated. The shortlists will be announced on April 18 at parties across the country, with readings, signings, and sometimes blood-letting by local authors. I will be participating at the Ottawa event. Check out the one nearest you at Crime Writers of Canada and come on down to join the nail-biting!

The 1000 Islands Writers Festival is being held on the final weekend in April in the picturesque riverfront town of Gananoque, and brings together a mix of talented authors for a large gala reception, more intimate conversations, and lively interviews. The theme this year is Stories: a matter of life and death. Among the guests are myself, Kelley Armstrong, Maureen Jennings, and Terry Falls. Check out the website for details and tickets. Maureen and I are doing a luncheon chat where we promise to reveal some of our writing secrets (but not all!).

But this year April brings sad and shocking news as well. The wonderful independent mystery bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Aunt Agatha's, announced today that it is closing its doors this summer. Aunt Agatha's is not only a local and national treasure, but an international one as well.  For years the owners, Robin and Jamie, have been bringing mystery authors and readers together through their books, newsletters, reviews, book clubs, and invited author programs.  It's been my privilege to be invited several times and I gladly make the trek from Ottawa to Ann Arbor for the event. There are no greater fans and advocates of mystery.

It is a sad testament to changing times and buying habits that this loving, personalized service is being lost. Robin and Jamie, thank you so much for your years of support to readers and writers alike. You are irreplaceable and will be missed. As a final hurrah, Aunt Agatha is hosting a series of author events and book sales until the doors close, so check out their Site and come on down to share your thanks and best wishes for the future.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

I will second your support of Aunt Agatha's. It is a really special store, a gathering place, actually, and its closing will leave a large void in the crime writing community. Major bummer…