Letters to Omar
Coteau Books / 25 May 2011

Letters to Omar by Rachel Wyatt Published by Coteau Books Review by Sharon Adam $21.00 ISBN 978-1-55050-448-4 Letters To Omar is a novel by Rachel Wyatt which revolves around three lifelong friends as they plan a dinner for a charity supporting Afghan civilians. Dorothy writes intimate fantasy letters to Omar Sharif and other notable people, none of which are sent. The letters attract the attention of a publisher, newly arrived from Europe and looking for his first project. Add to the mix an estranged husband looking to return, a daughter who returns from a self-imposed exile and other family chaos and you have the beginning of a story that will surprise and delight. Family is a huge part of the story: we feel Delphine’s confusion as her son leaves home for Afghanistan, not as a soldier but as a volunteer aid worker. We feel her guilty delight of having her home to herself, and resentment when a visiting cousin ruins that sense of privacy. People do odd things, sometimes in the face of common sense and the advise of friends. We are not always in control of our emotions and the heart doesn’t always agree with the head. Eventually we…

Mind the Gap!
Dunlop Art Gallery / 13 May 2011

Mind the Gap! Exhibition Curated by: Amanda Cachia and Jeff Nye Published by Dunlop Art Gallery Review by Kris Brandhagen $30 ISBN:978-1-894882-35-4 Mind the Gap! is an exhibition catalogue for a group show of the same name, co-curated by Amanda Cachia, then Gallery Director, and Jeff Nye, Assistant Director of the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. This exhibition displayed “contemporary visual art by 30 artists, including a three-person collective, from 13 cities and towns” in Saskatchewan. In her introduction, Cachia explains that the title, Mind the Gap! is a misguided term that refers to Saskatchewan as “the gap in Canada’s consciousness and geo-cultural landscape”. It is a good book that I am happy to have in my library. Nye’s essay, “Maps, Gaps, & Intersections: Navigating Saskatchewan” attends to some of the topics that affect artists in this province and their works, such as: the lay of the land, disease and the body, living traditions, environmental interruptions, and contemporary social and visual media. This catalogue also embraces the literary arts, including non-fiction and poetry inspired by Saskatchewan highways. “Looking for Tamra Keepness Along the Number 1” by Carle Steel was the most enjoyable personal essay I have read for a…

Moving Forward
DriverWorks Ink / 5 May 2011

Moving Forward The Journey of Paralympian Colette Bourgonje by Mary Harelkin Bishop Published by DriverWorks Ink Reviewed by Cindy Wilson $16.95 ISBN 978-0-9810394-4-2 Young people need heroes – individuals who meet life with determination and grace. It is surprising that an athlete of the stature of Colette Bourgonje, from my home province, was totally unknown to me. Colette Bourgonje has had amazing successes in her lifetime, yet I did not recognize her name. Bourgonje’s story should be celebrated and promoted. As a teenager in her hometown of Porcupine Plain, she was a star athlete. After a devastating car accident in her final year of high school, Bourgonje became paralyzed and could no longer participate in the active sports she loved. She had been a long distance runner who excelled in volleyball, cross country running, basketball, and in track and field. After her accident she graduated with a Bachelor of Education and a degree in Physical Education from the University of Saskatchewan. Colette had begun wheelchair racing near the end of her University career, and had done well. She was fearless and as her brother Everett said,”a bit of a daredevil”. She was never afraid of a challenge or to try…

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