Listen & Watch

Craig Davidson, Cherie Dimaline & Heather O’Neill

Tuesday 16 July 2019

1:00 pm

Bantry Library


Ottawa International Writers Festival present an exciting trio of writers from Canada – Craig Davidson, Cherie Dimaline and Heather O’Neill.

Craig Davidson’s The Saturday Night Ghost Club is “a moving, delightful, thrillingly unexpected coming-of-age story about the irresistible collision of childhood’s dark wonders and adulthood’s haunting mysteries.” (Elan Mastai). When neurosurgeon Jake Baker operates, he knows he’s handling more than a patient’s delicate brain tissue – he’s altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows well, can be a tricky, quicksilver thing. When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls, a.k.a. Cataract City–a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place–one of Jake’s closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the “Saturday Night Ghost Club”–a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City’s more macabre urban myths. Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake not only met his lifelong best friend and began to imagine his own future, he came to realize that his uncle’s preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something so painful, and buried so deep, that Calvin himself was unaware of the source.


Cherie Dimaline will read from her award-winning YA novel The Marrow Thieves. In a dystopian future humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The Indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden. But what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

A timely and necessary read… powerful and endlessly smart, it’s a crucial work of fiction for people of all ages.” Quill & Quire

There is much to learn from The Marrow Thieves as well as much to enjoy while reading it. There are warm and tender moments as well as harsh reminders of residential schools and the effects of societal carelessness in allowing global warming to become irreversible. Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers alike will think about the themes and the characters long after they close the cover.” CM Magazine


Heather O’Neill’s The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a dazzling circus of a novel set in the seductive underside of Montreal and New York in the early part of the twentieth century. It is an unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose fortune hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to escape one’s origins. It might also take true love. Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their true talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing for the rich, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen. Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both escape into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. Vicious, absurd and perverse, Montreal in the 1920’s is no place for song and dance. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes—after years of searching, and desperate poverty—the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. After Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls hit the stage and the alleys, the underworld will never look the same.

O’Neill is an extraordinary writer and her new novel is exquisite. The prose is luminous, but this novel has a pitch-black heart. O’Neill has taken on sadness itself as a subject, but it would be terribly reductive to say that this book is sad; it’s also joyful, funny, and vividly alive.” Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

O’Neill has an extraordinary imagination and a wonderful ability, like Angela Carter, to turn fairy tales on their heads and rewrite them for her own ends. One of Canada’s finest contemporary writers.” John Boyne [on Daydreams of Angels]


Craig, Cherie and Heather are part of a delegation of writers from Canada selected by Ottawa International Writers Festival. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Craig Davidson

Craig Davidson was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls. He has published four previous books of literary fiction, including Rust and Bone, which was the inspiration...

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Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline is an award-winning Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at...

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Heather O’Neill

Heather O’Neill is a Canadian novelist, poet, short-story writer and essayist. Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Daydreams of Angels, The Lonely Hearts Hotel, and Wisdom...

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Bantry Library

Directions to the Library: From Bantry Main Square, turn left at Harrington Estates. Continue straight up New Street and then on to Bridge Street (all one way streets) until you...

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