Monday, January 17, 2011
On January 22, Ann Birch was the featured speaker at the Arts and Letters Club luncheon in Toronto. She talked about the challenges of writing historical fiction. "People tell you to write about what you know," she said, "but what if you're dumb enough to write about what you don't know?"
Ann gave her audience a glimpse at the research she had to do to bring Upper Canada to life, circa 1837. For example, for Chapter Two of her novel "Settlement", she read a 500-page tome on moose-hunting in the 1800s, the book propped up against her computer and flanked by a cup of strong coffee and a large glass of limoncello.
Ann followed her talk with a quiz for her audience on some of the facts that she had to research. Were there paper patterns for dressmaking in those long-ago days? Did the insane have their own mental hospital for treatment? What did the maidservant do with the contents of the chamberpot? The winner of the quiz, Jane Schmidt, who got eight out of ten answers correct, received a free copy of "Settlement".
Ann's upcoming February talks are as follows:
Wednesday February 2: "Making the Case for Historical Fiction" at Swansea Historical Society, 95 Lavinia Avenue (Swansea Town Hall), Toronto, 7:30-9 p.m. Everyone welcome.
Thursday, February 24: "Meet the Author" at the Brentwood Book Club, Runnymede Public Library (upstairs room), 7-8 p.m.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Ann Birch will talk to Writers' Craft students at Silverthorn Collegiate,
Toronto, early in November. In an interactive session, they'll discuss
the challenge of researching a period that a writer knows nothing much
about. There'll be a quiz to give the students an idea of what Ann had to
discover in order to create a convincing background for her historical
novel Settlement. In addition, she and the students will talk about
building character through distinctive speech patterns. Finally they'll
discuss the writing of effective endings without using the dread deus ex
machina favoured by writers like Arthur Hailey who once killed off the
major characters in his novel Hotel by putting them into a defective
elevator. There are no easy routes to effective writing: that's the
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Author Ann Birch launched her historical novel Settlement at the Campbell House in Toronto on September 26 to a very large and appreciative crowd of friends, family and well wishers.
The Campbell House was the perfect venue to celebrate this novel because of its intimate connection with the story, which is set in Toronto in 1836, and because Ann is an historical interpreter at the musuem, which is in the heart of Toronto on King Street West.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
On Friday, October 23rd, author S.P. Hozy launched A Cold Season in Shanghai, a historical novel set in early 20th century China, at McNally Robinson bookstore in The Shops at Don Mills, Toronto. The launch was a spectacular success, selling out all the books that McNally Robinson had on hand. Toronto's weather that night was as dreadful as it could be -- cold, raining, with strong, gusting winds. Yet many people braved the elements and arrived dripping wet. Many thanks to all those who attended, and many, many thanks for your support and your incredible enthusiasm!