It has been a banner year for Sarnia authors, from sports to history, and children’s books to poetry.
To help match local readers with local writers The Journal has prepared a compendium of 2014 titles. Here, in no particular order, is Part One:
Cribbin Six: Moments of Heart & Mayhem
Cribbin’s previous five books have sold more than 10,000 copies and been read by people in 24 countries. That places him in pretty rare company among Canadian authors.
Cribbin, who has cerebral palsy, is a storyteller who sells many of his books door-to-door and finds humour – sometimes with a biting edge – in those personal encounters.
His first four books of stories and anecdotes were grounded in the reaction of potential customers to his slow manner of speech, or what he has called “my distinct accent.”
The fifth book focused on his relationship with family and friends.
The recently released sixth book marks a departure for Cribbin, with more detail and in-depth storytelling. He no longer talks about his speech, but delves instead into two recent and traumatic events: a bout with heart surgery and an arsonist who set his garage on fire.
Cribbin Six is available at The Book Keeper and tomcribbin.com
Sarnia, You Are In My Heart
In honour of Sarnia’s 100th anniversary as a city, Najah Shuqair has written Sarnia, You Are In My Heart, a collection of poems from, yes, the heart.
A cancer survivor who lost her eldest son and father in recent years, Shuqair was determined to stay positive and actively engaged in her adopted city. Writing in English, her second language, is both a passion and therapy, she said.
Shuqair was a journalist in her native Jordan, where she wrote for the ‘Women Section’ of the newspaper. She moved to Sarnia 27 years ago and has been active in encouraging Arabic women to enter the workplace.
She is a long-time volunteer at Bluewater Health, city schools, and belongs to Writers International Through Sarnia and The Ontario Poetry Society.
Sarnia, You Are In My Heart, is her second book of poetry and available at The Book Keeper. Half the proceeds go the Sarnia branch of The Canadian Diabetes Association.
Debbie Okun Hill
Writer Debbie Okun leads readers into the world of sports in her first book of poetry, Tarnished Trophies.
She began the project in 2006 and it took almost four years for her sports manuscript to be turned into a book published by a traditional publisher.
“All my life I’ve wanted to write a novel,” said Okun Hill, a former journalist and communication specialist. “However, when I started writing short stories my mentors kept insisting I was a poet.”
One reviewer said Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014) brings readers deep thoughts about what it is we look for in the sports world, what will last, and whether it is worthy.
Okun Hill has been co-host of Sarnia’s Spoken Word event for the past eight years. She is past president of the Ontario Poetry Society and a League of Canadian Poets member with more than 270 poems published over the past 11 years.
The book is available at The Booker Keeper and online at Amazon.ca
Two Paths Through The Seasons
Norma West Linder & James Deahl
The two veteran Sarnia writers teamed up to produce this first collaborative collection of poetry, launched in May at a Bluewater Reading Series event.
Norma West Linder was born in Toronto in 1928 and spent her childhood on Manitoulin Island and teenage years in Muskoka. She is the author of five novels, 15 collections of poetry, a selection of short fiction, a memoir of Manitoulin Island, a children’s book, and a biography of Pauline McGibbon.
Linder was on the faculty at Lambton College for 24 years, where she taught English and creative writing.
Two Paths Through The Seasons (Cyclamens and Swords, Metulla, Israel, 2014) is the 23rd book title by James Deahl, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1945 and moved to Canada in 1970.
He has won numerous awards for his work and taught creative writing and Canadian literature at high school, college, and university. He is a full-time writer and editor these days, as well as a leading scholar on Canadian poet Milton Acorn.
Cannon Soldiers of Burma
James Myint Swe
This is the second book of historical fiction by Sarnia’s James Myint Swe, who was born in a Portuguese settlement village in Burma (Myanmar) and came to Canada in 1976.
Cannon Soldiers of Burma required a decade of research and fills in some of the blanks in Burmese history books. Much of the history about the arrival of Europeans is largely unknown to the people of Burma today, he said.
Myint Swe is also working on a companion book, The Cannon Soldiers of Burma – Historical Perspective.
Both works are being translated into Burmese for publication this fall.
Myint Swe has a degree in political science, a Masters of Healthcare Administration, and is the author of Introduction to Contemporary Political Structure.
He has extensive experience working with foreign governments, opposition parties and NGOs lobbying for peaceful democratic changes in Burma.
In 1995, he and his wife Janis were awarded the YMCA Peace medallion.
The book is available at Amazon.com and The Book Keeper.
Chico’s First Trip to the Dentist
First-time author Jen Dafoe learned as a child how to be patient and face health challenges with optimism.
That continued as an adult, as she underwent 38 different reconstructive dental surgeries.
During those numerous visits to dentist offices she often saw stressed out and anxious children, and decided to do something about it.
The result is Chico’s First Trip to the Dentist, a children’s book starring a cute dog named Chico who leads children through the entire process.
Her goal was to empower young readers with knowledge and make them feel comfortable in an unknown environment.
The book has been an instant hit.
Patterson Dental bought 5,000 copies for its Canadian offices and local, national and U.S. media have interviewed Dafoe.
In the works are entire series of books, featuring Chico’s trip to a hospital emergency room, an appointment with the eye-doctor and other health care providers.
Chico’s First Trip to the Dentist is available at The Book Keeper and chicosadventures.com
TO BE CONTINUED …