The 2019 Port Medway Readers’ Festival

ELIZABETH HAY – JULY 13

Elizabeth Hay is a Canadian novelist and short story writer of tremendous powers of understanding and sympathizing with real people and human situations. Her books are full of empathy and wry humour which has made her one of Canada’s beloved literary icons.

Her first novel, A Student of Weather, was a finalist for the Giller Prize, which she won in 2007 for her novel Late Nights on Air. She has twice been a finalist for the Governor-General’s Award. She was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and won another of the Writer’s Trust prizes – the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for non-fiction in 2018 for her latest book All Things Consoled.

A repeat visitor to the Readers’ Festival, Elizabeth Hay is a favourite.

Elizabeth Hay

ESI EDUGYAN – AUGUST 10TH

Esi Edugyan

Canadian author Esi Eduguyan has shot to international literary fame in the past eight years. It began with Half Blood Blues, a novel about a group of jazz musicians in Paris during World War II. But her promise was first noticed when her debut book, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was shortlisted for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in 2005.

Half Blood Blues was impressively short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2011 – as well as the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Governor-General’s Award for English-language fiction, and the Giller Prize. She won the first of her two Giller Prizes – the second being for her newest work, Washington Black. She is one of only three authors to have received the Giller twice.

She has been awarded the American Anisfield-Wold Book Award from a jury that included Henry Louis Gates Jr, Joyce Carol Oates, and Simon Schama.

Washington Black was also shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

This is Esi’s first appearance at The Port Medway Readers’ Festival.

TOMSON HIGHWAY – AUGUST 31ST

A Cree author born in Nunavut, Tomson Highway is a Canadian creative polymath. The proud son of a legendary caribou hunter and champion dog sled racer and a bead-work and quilting artist, Highway is a novelist, playwright, pianist and composer, and student of languages. Along the way, Highway has carved out an international career.

He may be best known for his plays, The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, both of which won Dora Mavor Moore and Floyd S. Chalmers Awards.

His somewhat autobiographical novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen, has been acknowledged as one of the most powerful books about the north Cree experience (in fact, the human experience) and an extraordinary expression of love, loss, trial, victory, talent and heartbreak. A cornerstone of Canadian literature, Kiss of the Fur Queen is studied in universities around the world.

His plays have been performed in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival, off-Broadway in New York, and in Tokyo. They have also been collected in anthologies that include Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Bertold Brecht, and Harold Pinter.

Highway has also written the first Cree language opera, The Journey of Pimooteewin. He is currently touring with a jazz/musical ensemble performing his own work, Songs in the Key of Cree.

He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994.

Tomson Highway

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