This year the SPARKS Literary Festival, in collaboration with the Irish Newfoundland Association, is bringing a prominent Irish writer to join the festivities on Sunday, Jan. 19. Poet, editor, and director of the Muenster Literary Centre Patrick Cotter will read from his work, along with 15 other writers.
Among those at the podium will be Giller-nominated author Elisabeth de Mariaffi, longlisted for her short story collection How To Get Along With Women. Michael Crummey will be reading from his first collection of poetry in some time, Under the Keel; Marjorie Doyle offers her frequently hilarious essays in The Doyle Reader. Festival founder and director Mary Dalton will read from her 2013 collage work Hooking: A Book of Centos, dubbed a standout by reviewers across the country. Chris Brookes will share stories of the theatre group The Mummers' Troupe. Katie Vautour and Shannon Page are emerging writers also bringing their gifts to the festival.
SPARKS 2014 includes a new category of creation this year. Two translators whose work has garnered much praise will be taking part. Dr. Jean M. Snook of the Department of German and Russian has translated several works of German fiction. She received the inaugural Austrian Cultural Forum Translation Prize in New York and the Wolff Translator’s Prize in Chicago for her translation of German novelist Gert Jonke’s so-called untranslatable novel The Distant Sound. Dr. Neil Bishop of the Department of French and Spanish has written seven book-length translations that have received much acclaim, including a Governor General's shortlisting for his Death of the Spider. He will be reading from Of Ambers Water Woven, translations of poems by St. John’s local Annick Perrot-Bishop.
As well the haiku competition associated with the festival is morphing this year into a nature poem competition. With the support of Brown Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis, SPARKS is providing cash awards for three outstanding nature poems selected by the judges. The deadline is Jan. 15; details about submiting to the SPARKS Nature Poem Prize will be posted on the website.
For a full list of authors and schedule, see the website or visit the Facebook page.