Please join me in supporting the book “Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter” by Carmen Aguirre in this year’s CBC Canada Reads competition. This year, for the first time, the competition will focus on non-fiction. It would be extraordinary to have Carmen’s book make the shortlist.
Below I have pasted in the paragraph I submitted as my reason for nominating the book. I have also included a paragraph describing the Canada Reads competition, a short biography of Carmen Aguirre, and links to some interviews and reviews of the book.
Please nominate “Something Fierce” today, and urge all your friends to do so, too. You can keep it short—anything from up to 250 words counts as your vote. The deadline for nominations is midnight on October 14.
Nominate here: http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/2012/recommend right now!
CBC Canada Reads opts for non-fiction lineup
This morning, CBC Books announced that the 2012 edition of its annual book battle, Canada Reads, will focus on non-fiction. Canada Reads: True Stories follows the same format of last year’s 10th anniversary contest by culling its list of contenders from public recommendations and a popular vote. Recommendations are being accepted online over the next three weeks via CBC Books. The longlist will be released Oct. 18, at which point public polls whittle the list down to 10. From there the celebrity panel — to be revealed in November — takes over, selecting five titles to champion over the airwaves in February. It seems, though, not just any non-fiction fare will cut the mustard. The contest is open to works of memoir, biography, and literary non-fiction only. From CBC Books: We want stories. Books that are page-turners with captivating narratives, memorable characters and vivid prose. Books so riveting you forget they are non-fiction. Books that introduce readers to a brand new world and bring them wholly into it. While we love the work that Canadian essayists, academics, chefs, decorators and self-help gurus do, those books aren’t quite right. We want the final five to have stories that captivate the country.
Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based writer and theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written and co-written fourteen plays. In the spring of 2012, her one-woman show Blue Box, commissioned by Nightswimming Theatre, will premiere in Toronto and Vancouver. As an actor, Aguirre has dozens of film and TV credits, including a lead role in the independent feature Quinceañera, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, an Independent Spirit award, GLAAD awards and various People’s Choice awards at festivals around the world. As a stage actor, Aguirre has worked with a host of acclaimed Vancouver theatre companies.
Aguirre was the founder and director of The Latino Theatre Group, was playwright-in-residence at The Vancouver Playhouse from 2000 to 2002, was playwright-in-residence at Touchstone Theatre in 2004, and facilitates Theatre of the Oppressed workshops around the province. Set in Vancouver, her comedic drama The Refugee Hotel (Talonbooks) reflects the predicaments and concerns of refugee communities worldwide while focusing upon Chileans who fled their homes in the wake of Augusto Pinochet’s coup in 1974.
My nomination of Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter
I found this book gripping–exciting and inspiring at the same time. As the story of one family’s lives after the violent 1973 coup in Chile, it evokes a depth of political passion that is rare in recent years. Carmen Aguirre arrived in Vancouver with her parents at the age of six as a political refugee. Five years later, she returned to Latin America with her mother, sister and stepfather. While their parents set up a series of safe houses for resistance members, the girls’ dangerous double lives began. In her first book, award-winning playwright Aguirre has crafted her amazing story with drama, humour and a skill for fast-faced narrative. Hers is also a uniquely Canadian story–many Chileans fled to Canada after the coup, and Aguirre explores with insight and affection the difficulties of life in exile. On the back cover of the book, novelist Camilla Gibb calls this “a moving, heart-racing journey,” It is that and much more.