Stories in the North is the home baking literary festival in Thessalon.

SiN with Gail Anderson-Dargatz

SiN with Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Another event over. Another great author connection made. This one with Gail Anderson-Dargatz.

We are thrilled and honoured to have connected with this talented Canadian author. It was wonderful having Gail with us for a couple of days sharing her knowledge, wisdom and especially her stories.

Gail Anderson-Dargatz already had so many fans in Algoma (going back to 20 years ago when A Cure for Death by Lightning was released in the New Face of Fiction program). We’re pretty sure she’s gained a whole bunch more fans now that she visited Thessalon. Not only is she a two-time Giller nominee and recipient of numerous other writing awards, she’s a very nice person and a fabulous writing teacher.

Cover of Cure for Death by Lightning  Recipe cover  cover of the book, The Spawning Grounds

We captured a bit of the weekend through photos and if you were present for any part of the weekend, ‘we’ll bet you’re still floating from the experience. That’s the case whether you’re a reader, a writer, or just someone who enjoys a great evening of stories and music.

SiN members and a number of volunteers welcomed Gail and her family Friday evening. The family is en route to Providence Bay where they’ll spend the summer. Gail will also host two week-long writing camps there. (Who wants to go next year?)

Saturday’s lineup of events, which included writing workshops and an evening show, took place at the more than 100 year-old IOOF Hall (also known as the New Ontario Lodge)  in Thessalon where the amazing Rebekahs served lunch to the hard-working writers and then an elaborate spread of finger foods for the evening show.

Here’s Gail leading the morning workshop. She kept everyone’s attention with her wealth of information for writers.

And she’s got a great sense of humour too (see photo 3).

photo of Gail Anderson-Dargatz photo of Gail Anderson-Dargatz photo of Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Workshop participants enjoyed the two sessions with the author.

a photo of participants in the writing workshop

Just before lunch, Gail gave participants a chance to do a little writing exercise she developed. (See the book, Writer’s Gym)

And then lunch…nothing like a well-fed writer!

lunch at the Stories in the North workshop

Amanda, who’s a member of the locally renowned BBC book club, told us she reads anywhere, any chance she gets. We believe her. We caught her doing it before lunch had ended! Not that it’s a problem–who doesn’t want to take the time to read more?

Workshop participant on a break

These flip chart pages may not make sense to everyone but if you took part in one or both sessions with Gail, these photos may help you remember everything that was discussed. Gail’s biggest advice for us: “Write crap. Lots of it!”

Notes from Gail Anderson-Dargatz workshop Gail Anderson-Dargatz workshop notes

When it was time for the evening show, we lit the candles and dimmed down the lights. Our Rebekah caterers started setting out the food….

audience at Gail Anderson-Dargatz reading

…and a couple of great volunteers from the BBC book club stationed themselves at the door.


Emcee (and SiN co-founder) Angie Gallop got the show started with a great introduction for Gail.

Stories in the North emcee Angie Gallop Gail Anderson-Dargatz reading

After the first of three readings from Gail, our very talented musicians, The Crossroad Magdalenes came on stage.

(Rumour has it they have a CD in the works. We can’t wait!)

The Crossroad Magdalenes

Did you KNOW they wrote a song especially for Gail Anderson-Dargatz based on her book, The Cure for Death by Lightning?

The duo, both teachers, wrote a song for Lauren Carter (author of  Swarm) who was guest author at our show last fall. You can hear that song here and as soon as we can get a video of Gail’s song, we’ll be sure to share it with you!

Here’s a group of people enjoying the evening of reading and music.

people at the reading

These people are not only family of musician Christina Foster, they also quickly became fans of Gail!

Fans of the musicians

We snapped a photo of Christina and Rob Foster chatting with Dr. Eric Haapala (left) during intermission.

Our musicans with Dr. Erik Haapala

These ladies came from Sault Ste. Marie and told us, “We’re having a blast!”

Sault ladies

Here’s another Saulite, Jena (on the right) with our new friend/Gail-fan, Rosanna from Sudbury.

Rosanna & Jenna

How about those fab Rebekah Lodge bartenders? They even got into the reading!


And here’s one of our unofficial members, Gerry Clark talking with Kathy Gallop.

Gerry Clark & Kathy Gallop

After the show, Angie Gallop (yes, Kathy is her Mom!) hosted an excellent question and answer session with our writer and musicians. The audience got an inside look at the writing processes for writers and musicians and saw many similarities. Gail also gave some insight on her works and her life as a writer.

After the show Gail took some time to chat with fans and sign books. We always encourage our authors to bring lots of books because everyone loves an autographed book. Right?

Gail Anderson-Dargatz chatting with a fan Gail Anderson-Dargatz signing autographs

We managed to get The Crossroad Magdalenes and Gail together for a photo…

The Crossroad Magdalenes with Gail Anderson-Dargatz

…and then we got our BBC book club gals, Marla and Jennifer with Gail as well.

BBC volunteers with Gail Anderson-Dargatz

…and lastly, we got three SiN members into a photo…

SiN members with Gail

That’s (from left) Pauline, Gail, Angie, and Elizabeth.

There you have it. Be sure to check out Gail’s website at http://www.gailanderson-dargatz.ca.

A big shout out to Ontario Arts Council for funding us! Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.

Stories in the North (SiN) is taking a bit of a break while we regroup and take a look at where we’re headed. If you have any ideas, thoughts or would like to be a part of this, please get in touch. We’d also love to find one or more sponsors for our Open Mike Nights so that we can continue with those.

Thanks again for your support.




SiN presents: author Gail Anderson-Dargatz on June 25th

SiN presents: author Gail Anderson-Dargatz on June 25th

You’ve been waiting and we’ve got details on author Gail Anderson-Dargatz. And yes! She’s coming to Thessalon.
Stories in the North is excited to bring Anderson-Dargatz, a two-time Giller nominated novelist, to town on Saturday, June 25.

photo of Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Anderson-Dargatz will be in Thessalon to teach writing workshops and to share with us at an evening of reading and music.

The event gets off to a start with morning and afternoon workshop sessions at Thessalon’s IOOF Hall. (Across from the post office on Main St.)

Anderson-Dargatz’s workshops are always lively exchanges and these will be no exception.  The morning session starts off with an exercise Dargatz has used in her courses at University of British Columbia (Yes, she teaches!). In the “Blind Cat” exercise, participants will be asked to engage their senses to come up with a very short piece of writing, which they’ll be able to read aloud later in the day.

“I am consistently amazed at the quality of writing that comes out of this deceptively simple exercise.,” says Dargatz. And with an obvious talent for foreshadowing, Dargatz says participants will see how that exercise ties into her own evening reading.

And that’s just a warm-up.

The theme of the first workshop is Writing Home. Here’s Anderson-Dargatz’s description:

We’ve all heard the phrase “write what you know” but writing fiction from real life isn’t easy. We worry about what mom will think. We worry if we have the right to tell the story, or write about a given location. We get stuck in reality — what “really happened” — and our fiction flounders because of it. In this workshop we’ll explore all these issues and more with the goal of writing powerful fiction that has the authority that can only come from “writing what you know.”

Writers should come equipped with a notebook or tablet in hand, prepared for a writing exercise that will excite and inspire you.

The second workshop, titled, Get Your Book Noticed will be of interest to anyone who ever hopes to publish a book. Here’s what Anderson-Dargatz says about this workshop:

Thousands of books are published each year, through self-publishing and traditional publishers. How do we get an agent or editor to notice our book? Or, if we self-publish, how do we get our book noticed by readers? We’re told to promote our writing on social media sites. But most of us aren’t comfortable with promoting our work at all. And how do we connect with readers in the ocean of Facebook and Twitter posts? 

During the workshop, Gail will talk about approaches that have helped the many writers she’s worked with find a home for their books. She’ll also talk about what helped her own novels become national and international bestsellers. Writers will then divide into groups and, under her guidance, come up with strategies for promoting their own writing. Writers will then share their ideas with each other, and leave the session with tools to promote their books to agents, editors, and readers.

To register for workshops; contact Pauline Clark at 705-842-3132. Cost is $60.00 for both workshops and lunch. Individual workshops are $25.00 each (without lunch). Workshop times are as follows:

  • Writing Home – 9:30 am to noon
  • Get Your Book Noticed – 1:30 to 4 pm

Gail Anderson-Dargatz is perhaps best known for her first novel, The Cure For Death By Lightning, which garnered her the UK’s Betty Trask Award and a nomination for the Giller Prize. This year marks the 20th anniversary for the book, which was the first to be published under the Penguin Random House New Faces of Fiction program. A Recipe for Bees soon followed with nominations for the Giller and the IMPAC Dublin Award. She’s written several other novels which have been published in several languages worldwide and have received other accolades. Her newest novel, The Spawning Grounds, is slated for release in September. You can find copies of some of her books at Thessalon Public Library.

Cover of Cure for Death by Lightningcover of the book, The Spawning Grounds

After nearly a decade of teaching within the optional-residency creative writing MFA program at the University of British Columbia, Gail now mentors writers around the world through her own on-line forums.

She also hosts the Providence Bay Writers’ Camp for adults on Manitoulin Island. She divides her time between Manitoulin Island and the Shuswap-Thompson region in BC.

The evening show takes place at the IOOF Hall on Main Street, Thessalon (across from the post office). Doors open at 7 pm with show-time at 7:30 p.m. Anderson-Dargatz will read from some of her works throughout the evening and the show will also feature musical entertainment by popular local singers, The Crossroad Magdalenes who appeared at SiN’s last event with author Lauren Carter.

Admission for the evening show is $10. This event will once again feature the ever-popular spread of hors d’oeuvres and  finger foods served by the Elizabeth Rebekah Lodge. A cash bar will also be available.

Look for Anderson-Dargatz’s books at the Thessalon Public Library. You can also follow her at www.gailanderson-dargatz.ca and on Twitter @AndersonDargatz.

And be sure to follow Stories in the North on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/storiesinthenorth/ and Twitter @storiesnorth where you might just find the occasional giveaway for show tickets.

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