Thursday Book Beat: Booker Prize, Community Reading Outreach, and Ian McEwan is Back!

Hi book lovers! Hope your week has been amazing so far! Toronto has settled down after the TIFF mania, and the city has fallen into a lull as we begin to prepare for the hibernation that will come with winter. You know what goes great with the fall season? Knit sweaters, lattes, and books!

We’ve been lucky to have some great new reads released just in time! Some standouts include The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (added to Oprah’s booklist), Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (highly anticipated, the buzz in the bookstores is intense).

I can’t leave out the long awaited return of Ian McEwan! The previous Booker Prize winner stunned us with Atonement, and now he’s back with Nutshell, similar to Hamlet in it’s messages of murder and father-son relationships, the premise being that an unborn fetus hears his parent’s murder plot. I’m already immersed in it, and trust me, it’s as entertaining as it is ominous sounding. It’s creative, Ian McEwan at his best, and I for one am rejoicing in his return. You can read an interview with the author in which he explains his writing process and idea for the book here.

Ian McEwan Nutshell Book Cover from The Guardian review.
Ian McEwan Nutshell Book Cover from The Guardian review.

It is with great national pride that I can share that two Canadian authors have been nominated for the highly prestigious Man Booker Prize. This is the first time since 2011 that two authors with connections to Canada have been nominated at the same time. Nominees are Vancouver-born Madeleine Thien and David Szalay. Both have had previous success. Whatever the outcome may be, it is great to see Canadian literature in the big leagues. You can read more about the nominees here.

Also, on Wednesday morning, the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize Shortlist was announced. This is a prestigious Canadian literary award that has been in the past awarded to Andre Alexis for Fifteen Dogs and Emma Donoghue for Room, to name only a few. You can check out the 2016 nominees here.

The Word on the Street Festival, hosted by CBC books, will be back in town September 25. If you’re a book lover or an author, this is a great event! Last year I went and read the short story I had published in Macleans and it was a great experience. It’s also a great event to bring kids to! A few Canadian authors stop by, and it’s been confirmed beloved children’s author Kenneth Opal of Nest will be there. Check out more on the event here.

Another great community reading project was launched in Beaconsfield Park, Montreal. A project done in collaboration with the Beaconsfield library, the new installation of the mini public library runs on the honour system of take one leave one and hopes to encourage reading. You can read more about the project here.

Happy Reading!

Ashley Ash

Ashley Ash

Ashley is a proud Torontonian, third year social worker student, full time child advocate and national award winning writer. She will defend Anakin Skywalker and Jon Snow till she dies.