Award winning fantasy and sci fi author coming to Morinville

By Robert Jump

Morinville – The third instalment of the Morinville Public Library’s Centennial Author Series takes place Thursday night at the Community Cultural Centre with an appearance and reading from award-winning fantasy and science fiction author Jo Walton. The Welsh-Canadian author of nine novels is the highest profile author to make an appearance in Morinville since the series began this past summer.

“Jo Walton’s presentation is an opportunity for library patrons who enjoy science fiction and fantasy to meet one of the major players in the genre today,” said library board member and author talk co-organizer Stephen Dafoe. “Walton has, since the publication of her first novel in 2000, racked up an impressive list of awards for her writing. Nine years ago Walton received the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer and followed that with the World Fantasy award two years later for the novel Tooth and Claw.”

Walton’s awards did not stop with her early work. Farthing, the first book in her alternative history trilogy set in a world where the UK made peace with Hitler prior to the US entering WWII, was nominated for a string or awards, including the Nebula, a Quill award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction.

Dafoe said the library was able to bring Walton to town by partnering with the organizers of the Pure Spec Convention taking place in Edmonton this weekend. “When we heard Pure Spec was bringing in Walton as the keynote speaker and guest, we talked to the organizers to see if we could bring Walton to town on the Thursday night if we sponsored the convention,” Dafoe said, noting the library’s sponsorship of the convention resulted in Morinville’s name being plastered on the Edmonton event as a major sponsor while getting the community access to a high-profile speaker who the library could not have afforded to fly in for a talk on their own. “The entire author talk series was made possible through a partnership with the Town of Morinville whereby we received centennial grant money for the series. We were able to maximize that grant money by partnering with the Pure Spec Convention.”

The series has been successful thus far. Last summer the library was able to bring in Andrew Foley, who wrote the graphic novel last summer’s blockbuster Cowboys and Aliens was based on. The event was followed this fall with a book launch of Marty Chan’s latest children’s novel and a writer’s workshop hosted by Chan and fellow writer Jessica Kluthe.

The Jo Walton event will take place in the Morinville Community Cultural Centre meeting rooms Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. There is no charge for admission to the event. Walton’s appearance will be followed in early December by a reading and presentation from Edmonton mystery novelist Janice MacDonald. Her fourth novel – Hang Down Your Head – was launched in Edmonton Nov. 9.

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