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The Novel Dinner

Saturday, October 22, 6:30 PM
Algoma’s Water Tower Inn & Suites
360 Great Northern Rd

The Algoma Fall Festival is pleased to present A Novel Dinner for the third year, bringing together extraordinary and diverse authors and actors.  Experience one on one conversation with an author at your table; enjoy their interaction with each other as they discuss their books, the creative process and their life experiences and stay for the book signing at the end of the evening.  The evening features your host, Jesse Brown – disruptive journalist; humorist, novelist & travel writer – Will Ferguson; Dr. Vincent Lam – physician & award winning author and author; highly acclaimed writer & actress – Miriam Toews. 

Reserved Seating (Tables of 8) / Doors:  6:30 p.m.  / Dinner:  7:00 p.m.

Jesse Brown:  Digital Media Expert | Disruptive Journalist | Futurist

What does the future hold for Canada? Are our institutions and economy at odds with rapid technological and cultural change? Are we keeping up? From business to government to media, disruption is here. Jesse Brown runs Canadaland, the crowd-funded news site that has disrupted the way the Canadian media works. He pioneered a new business model for news while uncovering scandals at the CBC, The Globe and Mail, and in government. His hit podcast has become a destination for guests like Margaret Atwood, Jay Baruchel, and Chantal Hébert.

Jesse launched his career at CBC Radio, creating and hosting two national programs. He has contributed to such publications as The Guardian, The Toronto Star, and Vice, and his commentary has been broadcast on the BBC and on NPR. He has won the National Magazine Award for Humour and the Hillman Prize for Investigative Reporting.  Jesse is also a co-founder of Bitstrips, makers of Bitmoji, a cartooning app used by millions.

Will Ferguson:  Award-Winning Novelist and Travel Writer

Will Ferguson is as Canadian as canoes and hockey. The hilarious author of numerous acclaimed books, including Canadian History for Dummies, How To Be a Canadian, and even (counter-intuitively) Why I Hate Canadians, Ferguson wears his nationalism on his sleeve, peppering all of his work with the sidesplitting observations and insights he’s known for.

A former columnist for Maclean’s, Ferguson’s writing also includes the novels Happiness, a comedic tale about a self-help book that actually works (and thereby ruins the world), and his Giller Prize-winning book, 419, a sobering tale about the dangerous world of internet scams.

Also a travel writer, his journeys include an end-to-end hitchhiking trip across Japan; a 600-mile walk across Northern Ireland in the rain; and a series of cross-Canada jaunts. His next book, Road Trip Rwanda, will be published in September, 2015.  A three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Ferguson has been published in 21 languages around the world and has been nominated for an IMPAC Dublin Award twice, and for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He has also received the prestigious Pierre Berton Award from Canada’s National History Society.

Dr. Vincent Lam:  Award Winning Novelist & Physician

Dr. Vincent Lam is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam, and was born in Canada. Dr. Lam did his medical training in Toronto, where he worked for thirteen years as an emergency physician. He now works in addictions medicine; is a Lecturer at the University of Toronto; and has also worked in international air evacuation and expedition medicine on Arctic and Antarctic ships.

Dr. Lam's first book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada. Dr. Lam co-authored The Flu Pandemic And You, a non-fiction guide to influenza pandemics, which was recognized in 2007 with a Special Recognition Award by the American Medical Writers' Association.  His biography of Tommy Douglas was published by Penguin Canada as part of Extraordinary Canadians series. His novel, The Headmaster's Wager, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Prize and was longlisted for the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Prize as well as shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Miriam Toews: Acclaimed Author, Writer, Actress

Miriam Toews was born in 1964 in the small Mennonite town of Steinbach, Manitoba. She left Steinbach at eighteen, living in Montreal and London and touring Europe before coming back to Manitoba, where she earned a B.A. in film studies at the University of Manitoba. Later she packed up with her children and partner and moved to Halifax to attend the University of King's College, where she received a bachelor's degree in journalism. Upon returning to Winnipeg with her family in 1991, she freelanced at the CBC, making radio documentaries. When her youngest daughter started nursery school, Toews decided it was time to try writing a novel. 

Miriam Toews' first novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck, was published in 1996; it was nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and won the John Hirsch Award. Published two years later, her second novel, A Boy of Good Breeding, won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. A Complicated Kindness, was a Giller Prize Finalist and won the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction. Toews has also written for the CBC, This American Life (on National Public Radio), Saturday NightGeistCanadian GeographicOpen Letters and The New York Times Magazine, and she has won the National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Humour. 


Jessica Holmes: Celebrated Comedian and Author

Jessica Holmes, a favourite on CBC TV’s Royal Canadian Air Farce, has brought the house down opening for giants such as Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, and Oprah Winfrey. Her hilarious and validating take on life’s challenges have audiences in stitches, and her unique knack for skewering celebrities (including Nikki Minaj, Liza Minelli and Celine Dion) launched her to the top of Canadian comedy. Her grace, bilingualism, and ability to react on the fly make her a natural choice as an entertainer or emcee, and she has garnered rave reviews for her wellness and motivational presentations.

As a performer, Jessica’s productions have garnered her a “Platinum Award” at The Worldfest International Film Festival; nominations for Gemini Awards; and the prestigious Tim Sims Scholarship. She is also known for her work in films, including Welcome to Mooseport, Citizen Duane, and Moonpoint. She continues perform comedy across the country, with a recent appearance on CBC’s Winnipeg Comedy Festival television special.

Jessica also devotes much time to helping others live well. In her wellness keynotes, she mixes humour with her message about the importance of de-stressing and laughing at life’s shortcomings, and speaks with intelligence and insight on her own experiences of dealing with post-partum depression, finding work-life balance, and re-igniting passion. She recently received certification as a wellness coach from San Diego’s Life Purpose Institute. Her autobiographical book, I Love Your Laugh, was published in 2010, and she’s currently working on a follow-up book about mental health.

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