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Literary Sala Announces This Year’s Big Read Novel

By Susan Page

Each winter season, the Literary Sala selects a book by one of the Writers’ Conference keynote speakers for a community-wide Big Read. Everyone in town is invited to read the book and to participate in a book discussion group.

Big Read Novel for this Season
San Miguel Literary Sala presents:
Through Black Spruce
By Joseph Boyden
Thu, Nov 9, 5pm
Hotel Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15
Also: Presentations by
Lili Wright and Nancy Shapiro
100 pesos (50 pesos for Literary Sala members)
Complimentary wine reception

The book selected for this year’s Big Read is the novel Through Black Spruce by the celebrated Canadian writer Joseph Boyden. The novel, winner of the coveted Giller Prize, is set in a fur-trading post on the edge of Hudson Bay. Through the use of two narrative voices, we are taken into the contemporary world of indigenous people’s encounter with the cosmopolitan worlds of Manhattan and Toronto, while at the same time we hear stories of the past and the vanishing life of the Bush country of upper Ontario. This is a beautifully crafted novel of the plight of indigenous people trying to sustain their identity within the larger society, and above all, it is a story of family resilience.

Readers may begin signing up for discussion groups at the regular Literary Sala gathering on November 9 at 5pm at the Hotel Aldea, and signups will continue throughout November, December, and January. During the Writers’ Conference, people who have participated in any of the discussion groups will be invited to a private reception with Joseph Boyden.

Big Read Director Mary Katherine Wainwright has planned two pre-Conference programs to better acquaint readers with the novel. On January 22, at both 1:00 pm and again at 7pm, the film The Angry Inuk will be shown at the Santa Ana Theater in the Biblioteca. And on January 29, at 5pm, a panel will discuss the issues raised in the film, controversies surrounding cultural appropriation, and the novelist Joseph Boyden himself.

Director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s film, The Angry Inuk examines, with heartbreaking effect, the impact of seal-hunting protests on Inuit communities in Canada and around the world. Part exposé and part personal documentary, the film charts the history of the anti-sealing movement with precision and clarity and provides a glimpse into one of the many issues being faced by First Nations people.

Join us on November 9, at 5pm, at the Hotel Aldea, for the regular Literary Sala author reading, where we will launch this year’s Big Read project.


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