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Afternoon of Literature and Art featuring Clark Blaise to take place this Thursday

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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Written by Stephanie Rennie

On Thursday October 27th, English professor J.R. (Tim) Struthers will be hosting a unique opportunity for the Guelph community to experience Canadian art and literature under one roof.

The event will take place Thursday afternoon in segments beginning at 2pm and finishing at 6pm at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.

The afternoon will begin at 2pm and will take the form of what Tim Struthers calls “my first three-act play,” involving a melange of art and literature. At the beginning and end of the afternoon, as well as during scheduled intervals, guests will be offered the unique experience of examining remarkable works of art by Noreen Mallory and Ron Shuebrook and to explore book displays by Biblioasis, Ergo Productions, The Porcupine’s Quill, and The Red Kite Press.

Artist Noreen Mallory, wife of the late Hugh Hood, has devoted much time and effort to creating extraordinary prints to illustrate Hugh Hood’s numerous story collections. Noreen produced six of the ten cover art pieces to accompany Hood’s respected publications. J.R. (Tim) Struthers, the host of this Thursday’s event, has commissioned Noreen to complete this collection in creating the final four art pieces to finish the collection. This Thursday will mark the first ever debut of all ten bodies of art being showcased together, including two fully finished versions of the final four and two nearly finished versions. In fact, it will be the first time that the brilliant artist Noreen Mallory will experience her entire collection in one capacity.

Artist, University Administrator, and Art Critic Ron Shuebrook is a resident of Guelph with a deep connection not only to this city, but to our proud University. Shuebrook is the former director of the School of Fine Arts and Music and developed the Masters of Fine Arts degree program at the University of Guelph. Shuebrook is also the former president of the Ontario College of Art and Design, but upon retirement has committed himself full time to painting in the fine city of Guelph. Several small pieces by Shuebrook will be on display, including his latest work. Tim Struthers and Ron Shuebrook both share a deep connection to the University of Guelph and this region.

The first act will promptly begin at 2:15pm in the form of a roundtable discussion with Clark Blaise, Noreen Mallory, and Ron Shuebrook, followed by a brief artist’s talk by Ron Shuebrook.

The second act of the afternoon will begin at 4pm and will feature an introduction by François Paré to greet the remarkable Canadian author, Clark Blaise, currently shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust of Canada prize. Blaise will give the audience a taste of his latest work, the story collection The Meagre Tarmac.

Tim describes Clark Blaise as “a brilliant short story writer” and suggests that “if I were pushed to provide a short list of Canada’s greatest short story writers, Blaise would certainly be one of the top four.” After spelling off a well thought through list, Struthers acknowledged that Blaise “would likely demur” of ranking himself among the great Canadian short story writers. Struthers passionately expresses his appreciation for Blaise’s work and has had a long-standing relationship with this well-known Canadian writer. In fact, Tim wrote a major portion of his PhD dissertation on A North American Education, Blaise’s first book published in 1973.

The third, and final, act of this extraordinary event will present a wide array of speakers. Beginning at 5pm, the publisher of The Porcupine's Quill Tim Inkster will instruct the audience on the importance and the art of book design. Tim and Elke Inkster have published four volumes of selected stories written by Clark Blaise.

Following Tim Inkster’s talk on book design, Stephen Henighan will discuss the nature of book translation. Henighan is the head of the Spanish Department at the University of Guelph and is a renowned fiction writer, essayist, and translator with Biblioasis. Afterwards, English professor Marianne Micros will present a short reading on one of her Greek stories.

To conclude the afternoon, Tim Struthers has prepared a few words in tribute to Clark Blaise entitled “In Search of the Perfect Metaphor: Up and Up and Up!”

This event is unique and empowering as it will exhibit works of art, present author readings, a round table discussion, and an opportunity to participate in a close and intimate afternoon with some of the finest writers, publishers, and artists in this area. This event will facilitate a growing relationship between visual art and literature, while housing four Southwestern Ontario publishers in a mere afternoon.

Whether you have an interest in short stories, book design, cover art, or all of the above, this event will surely be memorable and is one that you will not want to miss!

For more information, please contact

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