Collection a walk down memory lane

Books: Okotoks author Lee Kvern’s third book an array of short stories

By: John Barlow

  |  Posted: Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 09:43 am

Okotoks author Lee Kvern will be hosting a book launch for her third book “7 Ways to Sunday” on April 26 at the Blue Rock Gallery in Black Diamond.
Okotoks author Lee Kvern will be hosting a book launch for her third book “7 Ways to Sunday” on April 26 at the Blue Rock Gallery in Black Diamond.
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A Nobel Prize for Literature has changed the landscape for an Okotoks author.

Renowned Canadian short story writer Alice Munro was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013, which immediately legitimatized the work of authors who specialize in short stories. Perhaps most importantly, publishers realized there is a market for short stories and have started paying more attention to the works of Canadian writers and their work.

“Alice Munroe winning the Nobel Prize for Literature changed the landscape,” said Okotoks author Lee Kvern, who has published three books including novels and now a collection of her short stories. “Short stories were always thought of as the novels poor cousin. It was so hard to get published because publishers didn’t see a market. Now they are looking for short stories.”

They are looking for authors such as Kvern.

Kvern will be hosting a series of events throughout southern Alberta over the next couple of months in support of her new book “7 Ways to Sunday”, which is a collection of short stories she has written over her 20-year career. The book includes 13 selections and nine of them will be well known to fans of her work. Those nine have already been published or honoured in some way.

Kvern is an award-winning author whose short stories have been recognized by the CBC Literacy Award, Western Magazine Awards, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize and her work has been produced for CBC Radio. In addition, her novels “Afterall” and “The Matter of Sylvie” were nominated for an Alberta Book Award.

She said it was not hard to sift through 20 years of work and choose the 13 she wanted to include in the collection. The most difficult part was reading through stories she did earlier in her career and ignore the urge to do some selective editing before publishing the stories in “7 Ways to Sunday.”

“I didn’t go back and edit the early stories because that is what is great about being a writer ‘in the wild’, someone who wasn’t trained in university or college,” she explained. “You get to see the process over the 20 years. These stories have to stand on their own or not.”

When she did review some of her older work Kvern said she could see how she has matured and grown as a writer.

“I am bolder as a writer,” she said. “There is more of my natural voice. When I was just beginning it was hard enough just to write let along worry about tone and voice.”

Although it is like trying to pick your favourite child, Kvern said she is especially proud of two of the pieces which are included in the collection. “7 Ways to Sunday” is a short story, which has never been published and she is eager to see what response it gets from readers. It was originally a 70-page novella, but Kvern continued to work on the piece until it was reduced to a 40-page short story. The other story is “This is a Love Crime” which is an issue driven piece with a nice mix of humour.

The stories in “7 Ways to Sunday” are quite different and the topics range from death, relationships, family and even police and prostitutes come over for afternoon tea.

If there is one common theme to her work is the fact it is based on people and how they react to different situations and environment.

All in all, Kvern said she is extremely proud of the collection she has put together and she is excited to visit with her friends and fans at the various book launches.

The first book launch will be held in Calgary at the Memorial Park Library on April 15, however, there will be a function on April 26 at the Blue Rock Gallery in Black Diamond from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The theme of the book launch is beer and bathrobes because Kvern said it takes Village beer and a bathrobe to raise a writer.

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