Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
National Arts Centre Panorama Room53 Elgin st.

Books and Brunch with Sandra Martin, Dorothy Speak, Carolyn Abraham and Stephen Maher

Books and Brunch with Sandra Martin, Dorothy Speak, Carolyn Abraham and Stephen Maher

National Arts Centre Panorama Room
53 Elgin st.
Carolyn Abraham
Dorothy Speak
Sandra Martin




Enjoy your weekend with good food, good company and short talks by four great authors: 


Globe and Mail columnist Sandra Martin honours the lives of Canada's famous, infamous, and unsung heroes in Working the Dead Beat, a unique collection of obituaries of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Here are Canadian icons such as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, social activist June Callwood, and urban theorist Jane Jacobs. Here are builders such as feminist and editor Doris Anderson, and businessman and famed art collector Ken Thomson. Here are our rogues, rascals, and romantics; our service men and women; and here are those private citizens whose lives have had an undeniable public impact. Finally, Martin interweaves these elegant and eloquent biographies with the autobiography of the obit writer, offering an exclusive and intimate view of life on the dead beat.


In her eagerly awaited third collection, Reconciliation, Dorothy Speak brings her familiar wit, compassion and irony to bear on stories about the fragility and elusiveness of love. A house painter whose wife dies of cancer learns a painful truth about his marriage from his estranged son; a woman involved in a fatal car accident discovers that the husband she took for granted has become a stranger; a small-time journalist in a coastal city is betrayed by her best friend. These stories about adult relationships in urban settings explore the themes of loss, betrayal and self-discovery for which Speak has been praised. 


Carolyn Abraham, bestselling author and senior medical-science writer for the Globe and Mail, explores the stunning power and ethical pitfalls of using genetic tests to answer questions of genealogy--by cracking the genome of her own family. Armed with DNA kits, Abraham criss-crosses the globe, taking cells from relatives and strangers, a genetic journey that turns up far more than she bargained for--ugly truths and moral quandaries. With lively writing and a compelling personal narrative, her new book The Juggler's Children tackles profound questions around the genetics of identity, race and humanity, and tells a big story about our small world, with vivid proof that genes bind us all to the branches of one family tree. 


In Deadline, the debut political thriller by Postmedia News national affairs columnist Stephen Maher, reporter Jack Macdonald is having a bad day. He wakes up with a terrible hangover, a hazy memory and an extra BlackBerry in the pocket of his wine-stained suit. He’s doing better than his friend, political staffer Ed Sawatski, who is floating face down in the icy Rideau Canal. The same morning, Prime Minister Bruce Stevens tells his wife he has decided to retire from politics, which sets off a ruthless, no-holds-barred power struggle in the backrooms and bedrooms of Ottawa. Macdonald doesn’t know it, but he has a great story on his hands, if he can stay alive long enough to tell it.


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