Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Wordfest is always a real celebration for me.  I enjoy hearing authors read.  The voice of an author, telling their own story is a gift unwrapped.  The text is suddenly transformed authentically by the voice.  I find the conversations, dialogues and question periods that follow readings, insightful and inspiring.  I always leave, connected with at least a few new authors and can design updates to my reading list, accordingly.  This is how, last year, I discovered Hannah Kent, writer of Burial Rites.  Last evening, and again today, I had the chance to listen to and engage with Gail Anderson-Dargatz, one of my favourite female authors.

Short story collections The Miss Hereford Stories (1994) – ISBN 1-55054-160-9

Novels

I’ve been fascinated by the ‘otherworldly’ sensibility of Gail’s writing for years and just today, she assigned a label to what has come to be known as ‘magic realism’ in her writing.  Rich settings and believable characters move the novels forward.  One can not help but feel immersed in the air and the water and the dialogues that happen through these troves of stories.

Just two evenings later, my night time reads took me through Chapter one and beyond in the writer’s most recent novel, The Spawning Grounds.  Most reviews, thus far, toot the powerful first chapter and I can not argue.  It is heart-breakingly beautiful.

Today, among other things, I enjoyed hearing about the inspirations for Gail’s writing, the inclusion of the physicality of precious objects, or as I call them, objects of affection, and their place in her writing and her personal writing process.  I appreciated her speaking with me, in particular, about Turtle Valley and her journey with her mother.  This isn’t my story to share, here, but her offering did impact me, given that I have journeyed a similar road.  We think of our mothers every day.  I highly recommend Gail’s books to my readers and I also suggest that if you have a part of you that wants to write, connect with her website, attend a summer workshop or receive guidance on-line.  She is an extraordinary person!

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