Tag Archives: RMTC

From page to stage

Fall isn’t just the season of shorter days, falling leaves, and frost — it’s also the time when new artistic seasons are launched. This year the Winnipeg Public Library and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre are teaming up again to offer new ways to enrich your play-going experience.

Go behind the scenes of two great plays with two great lunchtime talks at the Millennium Library. On Tuesday, October 20, discover how the classic western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is brought to life on stage. On Tuesday, October 27, members of the Royal MTC’s production team will discuss the behind-the-scenes magic that helps a show like Alice Through the Looking Glass come together.

And before picking up your tickets, check out these suggested companion pieces to Seminar, the opening play at the RMTC Warehouse.

Explore More: Seminar

Four young writers pool their money to hire a famous novelist for a series of master classes. Hard-drinking and oversexed, Leonard makes ends meet with freelance jobs and pricey seminars. Undeniably charismatic and indisputably harsh, Leonard throws the book at his students in workshops that are punctuated by professional envy, personal jealousy, and sexual tension…

Explore More Theresa Rebeck

Free Fire Zone: a Playwright’s Adventures on the Creative Battlefields of Film, TV, and Theater. Rebeck’s career has spanned Off-Broadway success to award-winning work writing and producing television and both independent and studio feature films. This writer’s guide attempts to address what she considers a writer’s two primary concerns: how to tell a story with truth and vision, and how to maneuver in a dangerous world of career politics.

twelveTwelve Rooms with a View. When three sisters inherit an $11 million property from their estranged mother, they aren’t the only siblings vying for it. Their mother’s wealthy second husband had two sons who are furious at the thought of losing the apartment. Tina moves in to solidify her claim, but she soon discovers that the co-op board has designs on wresting control of the apartment from both sets of children. As Tina fends off everyone who wants to evict her (or worse), she becomes entangled in her neighbors’ complex lives.

Explore More False Fronts

liesForbidden Lie$ [DVD]. Norma Khouri won fame and fortune with her “true story”, Forbidden Love, about a shocking honor killing in Jordan. The book was a runaway best seller and became the toast of the literary community – until a journalist exposed the book as a work of fiction, and the protagonist as a figment of Khouri’s imagination. This documentary follows Khouri as she attempts to fend off criticism and prove that the incident really took place.

Literary Hoaxes: an Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds, Melissa Katsoulis. Fame, fortune, mischief: why would any writer hide behind another’s identity? From Dionysius the Renegade, who wrote a fake Sophocles play, to modern examples, this is a reader’s guide to some of the works that have fooled publishers, readers, and critics the world over.

Explore More Authors Behaving Badly

Byron: a Portrait, Leslie A. Marchand. “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know”: Lord Byron was the original literary wild child. Marchand’s biography conveys the spirit of this charismatic poet who ran up vast debts, slept with hundreds of women and men (including his half-sister), and died while supporting the Greek battle for independence from Turkey.

circleThe Killing Circle, Andrew Pyper. This suspenseful page-turner explores the repercussions of stealing another’s story and calling it your own. Patrick is still recovering from his wife’s death when he joins a writers’ group in Toronto – and then the circle’s members start to go missing, one by one. The Killing Circle explores the side effects of an increasingly fame-mad culture, where even the staid realm of literature can fall prey to ravenous ambition and competition.

Explore More Writers’ Circles

craftSteering the Craft, Ursula Le Guin. A true master class, this writing primer “for the lone navigator or the mutinous crew” discusses the fundamental components of narrative with charm, wit, and lively opinion. Examples from the global canon are combined with exercises that can be done solo or in a group. An appendix offers a comprehensive guide to working with a writing group (actual or online).

The Writing Group Book, edited by Lisa Rosenthal. In this insightful guide, more than thirty members of writing groups explain how and why they found a group to join or established their own, how they’ve kept their group flourishing, and what it enabled them to accomplish.

From Page to Stage: Sherlock Holmes

Winnipeg Public Library and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre have teamed up to bring you new ways to enrich your theatre experience! Interested in the current RMTC production, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily? Join crime writer Catherine Macdonald as she examines the amateur sleuth “template” established by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Millennium Library on Tuesday, October 21, at 12:10 p.m. And if you can’t make it to the theatre or the library, try a few of the suggested reads below…

Explore More Sherlock Holmes

First introduced in 1887 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes quickly became the archetype of the cerebral detective and has inspired hundreds of novels, stories, and dramatic adaptations. We can rest assured that Holmes will continue to be rewritten, remixed, re-interpreted, and re-imagined for the next hundred years.

Explore the Original Stories

holmesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. The character of Irene Adler in “A Scandal in Bohemia” was widely believed to be based on Lillie Langtry. That short story and eleven others are brought together in this collection. (Because the book is in the public domain, free etexts are also widely available.)

annotatedThe New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. This massive four-volume edition reprints all 56 Holmes stories together with critical interpretations, historical notes, lavish illustrations, and much, much more for the devoted Sherlockian.

Explore More Drama

brett Jeremy Brett in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes [and various other titles]. Considered the definitive Holmes of our era, Brett portrayed the detective in more than forty episodes for British television. (Also available online via hoopla, the streaming video service WPL subscribes to.)




cumberbatchSherlock. The BBC’s modern-day version of Holmes as a texting, asocial genius has been both critically acclaimed and wildly popular, due in no small part to the charisma of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock.

Explore Works Inspired by Holmes

In a loving act of homage, authors have been inventing varied and creative ways to explain how they discovered “lost” Sherlock Holmes case histories ever since Doyle ceased publishing. A staggering number of these pastiches have been published over the past century; here’s a sampling of just a few.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King. In 1915, a retired Sherlock Holmes is quietly studying honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles onto him on the Sussex Downs. Under his reluctant tutelage, Mary Russell proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner in the first of a long-running series.

enolaThe Case of the Missing Marquess, Nancy Springer. This first in a series for younger readers introduces Sherlock Holmes’s (much) younger sister – an engaging and intelligent detective in her own right – as she searches for her missing mother.

Dust and Shadow, Lyndsay Faye. This atmospheric novel pits Holmes against Jack the Ripper as he himself is wounded while trying to capture the East End killer.  

The House of Silk, Anthony Horowitz. Holmes and Watson find themselves being drawn ever deeper into an international conspiracy connected to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston, the gaslit streets of London, opium dens and much, much more.

A Study in Sherlock, edited by Laurie R. King & Leslie Klinger. Eighteen well-known authors from Lee Child to Neil Gaiman provide their own original perspectives and variations on the consulting detective.

Explore More History

Bertie: a Life of Edward VII, Jane Ridley [also published as The heir apparent]. Edward VII (aka “Bertie”) was 59 when he finally came to power and reigned as King of England for only the last ten years of his life. This colourful biography paints a balanced portrait of his life, including his relationships with Lillie Langtry and other women.

Oscar Wilde, Richard Ellman. Ellman’s beautifully written, profoundly researched biography won a Pulitzer Prize and is still considered the standard life of Wilde.

scienceThe Science of Sherlock Holmes, E.J. Wagner. Doyle grounded Holmes’ investigatory methods in the cutting-edge science of his day, and this book uses Sherlock’s adventures to explore the real-life developments in forensic science during the late 19th century, from fingerprints to handwriting analysis.

Explore More Sherlockiana

On Conan Doyle, Michael Dirda. Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda is a passionate Sherlock fan. His highly engaging introduction to Holmes’ creator combines memoir and personal appreciation as well as an insider’s account of The Baker Street Irregulars, the club dedicated to the study of Sherlock Holmes.

A Sherlock Holmes Handbook, Christopher Redmond. This exhaustive reference to the world of Sherlock Holmes gives a full background to the original stories and everything related, including movie and television versions, Victorian era history, and the entire Holmes phenomenon.

bioSherlock Holmes: the Unauthorized Biography, Nick Rennison. “What carefully plotted conspiracy led Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to declare that Holmes was merely a literary invention?” A delightful exercise in mock scholarship tracing the life of Holmes in incredible, imaginative detail.



Explore More: The Secret Annex

Last night, local playwright Alix Sobler‘s The Secret Annex had its world premiere on the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s Warehouse stage.

secret annexAnne Frank has survived the war, and at age 25, she’s ready to start a new chapter in New York City. Eager to publish a memoir of her time in hiding, Anne is sure it will launch her career as a writer. But when the only interested publisher demands drastic rewrites, Anne questions the meaning of her new life. Why did she survive, if not to share stories? In her compelling and provocative play, Manitoba playwright Alix Sobler asks: can the past be rewritten?

Explore more “behind the scenes” of the production with these recommended reads…

Explore What Might Have Been

Anne Frank’s open and vibrant personality, as expressed in her own words, has captivated millions of people. It’s hardly surprising that writers other than Sobler have also wanted to depict her life and how it could have been different, if just a few details had changed. Here are a few of the possibilities they’ve imagined.

margotMargot, Jillian Cantor. It’s 1959 and “Margie Franklin” has a secret: she is really Margot Frank, Anne’s older sister, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported but escaped to America. As her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed post-war life begins to fall apart as she copes with grief and survivor’s guilt.

The Ghost Writer, Philip Roth. A young woman writer tells her literary mentor she is Anne Frank. Is she trying to impress him? Is she mentally disturbed? Regardless, Roth’s protagonist invents for himself a convincing tale of how Anne might have survived and adopted a new identity.

“The Eighth Grade History Class Visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging” , Harry Turtledove. “She’d wanted to be the best writer in the world…” Award-winning science fiction author Turtledove is well-known for his alternate histories. In this online story (first published January 2014), he introduces us to a strangely familiar old woman.

Explore the Ethics of Historical Fiction

Some of the works above have come under harsh criticism by readers and reviewers for altering the facts we know of Anne’s life and death. What do you think – does doing so trivialize the Holocaust or exploit Anne’s memory?

“Are novelists entitled to use real-life characters?”, Guy Gavriel Kay. Canadian novelist Kay explains his refusal to write in the voices of real people (whether living or dead) as a matter of privacy in this essay from the Guardian.

historyNovel History, Mark Carnes (ed). Can fiction ever reflect the past with accuracy? Twenty historians consider the question as applied to several classic novels; most of the essays are followed by a response from the novelist. The dialogues illuminate one of the most fascinating literary issues of our time – the relation between the “real” past and our portrayal of it.

Explore Other Children’s Stories

bergThe Diary of Mary Berg. Her real name was Miriam Wattenberg, and her story of life in the Warsaw ghetto was one of the very few eye-witness accounts published in the English-speaking world before the end of the war. Unlike Anne, she survived to see it.


ginzThe Diary of Petr Ginz. In 1941, Petr Ginz was an adventurous, artistic teenager living in Prague who painted and wrote poetry and novels. His diaries describe daily family life and document the introduction of anti-Jewish laws from a young adult’s point of view.

Tell No One Who You Are, Walter Buchignani. Anne’s family stayed together, but many other Jewish children were separated from their families to be protected. At the age of ten Régine Miller, completely alone and shuttled from hiding place to hiding place, heard that her mother and brother had been taken by the SS. Only the hope that her father might return sustained her.

Explore the Impact of the Diary

Anne Frank Remembered, Miep Gies. Written by the woman who helped to shelter Anne’s family for more than two years, and who was responsible for preserving the famous diary and other papers. A vivid tale of Dutch life under German occupation, including the “Hunger Winter.”

afterlifeAnne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, Francine Prose. Prose analyzes the diary as a piece of literature rather than as history and makes the case for it being a deliberate work of art from a precociously gifted writer.


schlossAfter Auschwitz, Eva Schloss. After the war, Eva’s mother married Anne’s father, and so she grew up with one of the most famous girls in the world as a kind of ghostly stepsister. Her autobiography is honest about the toll that ensuring Anne’s legacy was never forgotten took on the entire family.


January is (unofficial) Jane Eyre month

And we’re back! Across the city, winter programming for adults and kids is getting under way. (I can’t pass up the chance to specifically mention our Skywalk series of talks and concerts, our free Folk Fest concerts, and our variety of movie screenings).

Here at Millennium, this means the return of our popular From Page to Stage series with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. This series offers casual talks about the process of turning a book into a play.  They are currently mounting an adaptation of the beloved classic Jane Eyre and we thought we’d have some talks about that!

**Important note: it was necessary to switch the dates for these programs after the newsletter went to print, so the details in the newsletter are no longer accurate.

Jane Eyre

Tuesday, January 21, 12:10 pm: Vanessa Warne (Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in the Department of English, Film and Theatre at the University of Manitoba) will discuss the novel and what may explain it’s continuing popularity.

Tuesday, January 28, 12:10 pm: The two leads in RMTC’s new production, Jennifer Dzialoszynski (Jane Eyre) and Tim Campbell (Edward Rochester), will discuss playing the classic romantic couple.

Tim Campbell and Jennifer Dzialoszynski in MTC's Jane Eyre. Photo by Bruce Monk

Tim Campbell and Jennifer Dzialoszynski in MTC’s Jane Eyre. Photo by Bruce Monk

In excitement and anticipation of all this, and because this is what we do, we put together a list of related books (and movies) that you might enjoy. Some are inspired by the Jane Eyre story, some are inspired by the author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, and her remarkable novelist sisters, and some offer a little more information about the life and times of both the fictional, and the very real, characters.

Explore more of the Jane Eyre story

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
The remarkable, dark, and compelling story of Antoinette Cosway, Creole heiress from the West Indies, who becomes the first Mrs. Edward Rochestor and brings ruin to Thornfield Hall.

FlightThe Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesay
An intelligent and passionate orphan triumphs over misfortune and a largely uncaring world. Gemma Hardy is Jane Eyre set in Scotland and the Orkney Islands in the 1950s and 60s, with more than enough originality to make the familiar story new again.

Jane Eyre (1944 film adaptation)
With Aldous Huxley collaborating on the screenplay, and Orson Welles influencing the script and the filming (and starring as Rochester), this dark and moody adaptation is still thought of as one of the best.

Jane Eyre (2011 film adaptation)
Cary Fukunaga directs a popular and lauded adaptation, with Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester and Mia Wasikowska as what some consider the best Jane yet.

Explore the Brontës – fiction inspired by Charlotte and her sisters

BecomingBecoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
A vision of what life could have been like in the secluded Brontë home, from the thoughts of the Brontë patriarch to the family nurse, from boarding school deaths to the genesis of the Jane Eyre character, and the interrelationship between life and fiction.

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James
This fictional diary turns Charlotte into a romantic protagonist in her own right. The setting is the moody moors of Yorkshire. Charlotte and her sisters are desperately trying to handle their peculiar father, who is slowly losing his eyesight, and a brother with a drug problem. The plot thickens with the introduction of Arthur Nicholls, a mysterious, and intriguing, new neighbor.

Explore the Brontës – what we really know about them

LifeThe Life of Charlotte Brontë Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
The official biography of Charlotte by a fellow female Victorian novelist, who also happened to be her friend, and so had access to personal letters, interviews, and her own observations.

The Brontë Myth by Lucasta Miller
The Brontës have inspired more works (biographies, plays, movies, and novels) than they themselves produced, and have reached what could be argued is cult status. This work tracks the different ways they have been and continue to be portrayed and analyzed, whether romantic, feminist, Marxist, or postfeminist.

VictorianThe Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed by Judith Flanders
Running water, stoves, flush toilets – even toilet paper – arrived slowly throughout the century, and only to the prosperous. See the not-too-charming manual labour behind the outward elegance, with a room by room tour of everyday life in a Victorian home; From childbirth in the master bedroom, through the scullery, kitchen, and dining room (cleaning, dining and entertaining) and upwards, ending in the sickroom and death.

And on that cheerful note – hope you find something you enjoy!

Christmassy Things to Do and Borrow

This week, the Christmas decorations went up here at Millennium. With lights lit up, and snow coming down, we’re starting to get in the holiday mood, and starting to look forward to our holiday programming:

Nutcracker Storytime

Tomorrow at 2:00 pm, Millennium’s children’s department is hosting some wonderful folks from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (including Filbert the Bear!) for their annual Nutcracker Storytime.

HandbellsSt. Andrew’s Handbell Choir performs next Thursday (December 5), over the lunch hour, as the last event of our fall Skywalk Concert and Lectures. Look for that to return in January!

Next Friday, in motion @ the library is going to be a Dance Explosion, guaranteed tohelp you dance away your holiday stress over the lunch hour.

Sounds of the Season

Finally, we’re once again hosting Sounds of the Season! Local elementary school choirs will be performing in Millennium Library’s lobby at 12:15 every day from Monday, December 16 to Friday, December 20. Elementary school kids singing holiday tunes – how can you lose?

A Christmas Story

Meanwhile, our friends over at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre are in the middle of their run of A Christmas Story. It’s on until December 14, so, we put together a little list of A Christmas Story-inspired reads.

I’d like to share them here, for those of you who like a little laughter during the holidays:

The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. The horrible Herdman kids hijack the neighborhood Christmas pageant—and surprise everyone with their version. The original book for children has been adapted into both a play and a picture book.

Holidays on IceHolidays on Ice by David Sedaris. Hysterically funny essays on the difficulties of the holiday season, including the SantaLand Diaries, his unforgettable tale of what it’s like to be a Macy’s elf (not for kids!).

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for ChristmasScaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas by Mélanie Watt. Everyone’s favourite neurotic squirrel prepares for Christmas in this fun children’s picture book.

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle DogThe Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry. It’s 1960 in a small town, and drama and holiday miracles surround Doug Barnes, his family, and the annual church Christmas pageant.

SSurviving the Holidays with Lewis Blackurviving the Holidays with Lewis Black (DVD). A comedian’s take on staying sane during the holiday craziness.

Christmas CuriositiesChristmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark, and Forgotten Christmas by John Grossman. A revealing look into the little known origins and forgotten traditions of Christmas past.

God Rest Ye Grumpy ScroogeymenGod Rest Ye Grumpy Scroogeymen: New Traditions for Comfort & Joy at Christmas by Laura Jensen Walker and Michael K. Walker. A dose of practicality and insight for those looking for alternative ways to participate in the holiday season.

Christmas MiscellanyChristmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas by Jonathan Green. More trivia and facts about the most well-known Christmas symbols and customs, from stockings to reindeer to mistletoe.

I hope everyone is able to stay warm, relax, laugh a little, and overall have a great December. And, don’t forget the pile of other holiday cookbooks, craft books, stories, and magazines we have! In the meantime, let me know: Do you have a favourite holiday book or movie?

Money, money, money, or, “Greed is good”

Making it, spending it, needing it. It’s on the news and in commercials, game shows, and reality shows. Some days it seems money is all anybody talks about. Well, that and the weather.

The world is still struggling with the financial crisis triggered in 2008, so it is quite fitting that the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre is exploring themes of money, greed, and corruption with a remounting of Other People’s Money, a satire on the excess of the 1980s by Jerry Sterner.

In the business world, corporate takeovers are the ultimate seduction. Larry the Liquidator preys on companies that are worth more dead than alive and he’s set his sights on the aging New England Wire and Cable Company. As he prepares to play monopoly with people’s lives, Larry realizes this family business has more game – and heart – than he anticipated.

If the financial ridiculousness of the ‘80s (and today) is of interest to you, or if you would just enjoy similar stories, we have compiled a list of good reads (and movies) that explore the themes in the play:

On the Financial Mischief of the 1980s

Barbarians at the GateBarbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar is the definitive account of 1980s-style deal making, corporate mergers, and what was at the time the largest takeover in Wall Street history.

Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart tells the story of four top Wall Street players and the massive insider-trading scheme that made them billions – before they were caught and brought to justice.

Liar's PokerLiar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage On Wall Street by Michael M. Lewis is an often humourous take on his own experiences as a bond trader in the 1980s and the greedy high-stakes game known as liar’s poker.

Going for Broke: How Robert Campeau Bankrupted the Retail Industry, Jolted the Junk Bond Market, and Brought the Booming 80s to a Crashing Halt by John Rothchild outlines the legacy of a Canadian real estate developer, financier, and leveraged buyout enthusiast who bankrupted Bloomingdale’s, Abraham & Straus, Jordan Marsh and others.

Roger & Me

Roger & Me. When his hometown was devastated by an automobile plant closure, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tried to track down General Motors Chairman Roger B. Smith (the elusive Roger of the title) for an interview. A devastating look at the victims of downsizing in the midst of the 1980s economic boom.

On the More Recent State of Things

I.O.U.I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester. How could so many smart people be so dumb? This entertaining overview of the recent financial crisis explains how the booming global economy collapsed seemingly overnight.

Inside Job is a documentary examining the sources of the global financial crisis of 2008 through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, and journalists.

Some Fictional Explorations

Capital, by John Lanchester. It’s 2008 and the world’s financial markets are falling apart. The residents of Pepys Road in London receive anonymous postcards reading “We Want What You Have.” Who’s behind it, and what do they want? A novel of a city at a moment of extraordinary tension.

FinancialIn The Financial Lives of the Poets, by Jess Walter, Matt is losing his job, his house, and his wife – until he discovers a way to possibly save his family from economic disaster. Of course, it happens to be illegal…

The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee. Wealthy New Yorkers Adam and Cynthia Morey seem to have it all, but they believe they deserve even more. As their marriage begins to collapse, Adam is confronted with an ethical choice that may destroy his family.

A Week in DecemberA Week in December, by Sebastian Faulks. A shady hedge fund manager touches several intersecting lives over seven days in London. The writing on the wall appears in letters ten feet high, but the characters refuse to see it in this vicious satire on modern life.

Wall Street. “Greed is good.” This 1987 classic features corporate raider Gordon Gekko, a composite of the most notorious private equity figures of the 1980s, and his scheme to take over a failing airline, lay off its employees, and strip its assets.

Local HeroLocal Hero. This charming film by Bill Forsyth portrays another clash of big business and small-town values, as a Texan oil executive is sent to acquire an entire Scottish village to make way for a refinery.

I hope there’s something in this list that you enjoy. If you get to see the play, drop me a line and let me know what you thought of that Larry the Liquidator guy. Quite a character, no?


Expand your theatre experience with us

Suddenly, it seems like so much is going on in my department here at the Millennium Library. This month, we followed in the footsteps of those clever folks at Westwood Library and launched our own Tales in the Afternoon: Readings for Grownups (every second Wednesday at 4:30 pm). We have our ongoing Folk Fest in the City workshops and in motion events, as well as our ongoing weekly lectures and concerts of our long-running Skywalk series. The push is also on to get ready for the Freedom to Read Marathon being held on Saturday March 2.

The PenelopiadDespite the busy-ness, I wanted to be sure to take the time to let a you all know a little bit about the continuation of our partnership with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. When we launched the partnership in January with artist talks and a recommended reading list for MTC’s new adaptation of Gone With the Wind we received a lot of very encouraging feedback. So, to continue the fun, we have created a reading list for MTC’s new show The Penelopiad (Feb. 21-Mar. 9), which Margaret Atwood has adapted from her short novel of the same name. The story brings a twist to the classic Odyssey myth, this time focusing on Odysseus’s wife Penelope, left to run a kingdom and cope with a spoiled teenaged son and exploitive, aggressive suitors.

Her KindWe have also planned a lunch hour talk for Friday, March 8. Dr. Jane Cahill, Chair of the Department of Classics at the University of Winnipeg and author of Her Kind: Stories of Women from Greek Mythology will discuss the adaptation of classical myths to reflect the female point of view. Until then, if you’d like, you can dive into the story’s themes on your own using our further reading list:

Explore More
The Penelopiad

For More from a Woman’s Point of View:

Her Kind: Stories of Women from Greek Mythology by Jane Cahill
Current University of Winnipeg Classics professor Cahill imagines how Medusa, Jocasta and other women, cast in a less-than-flattering light by the established version of their stories, might seek to set the record straight.

Women’s Life in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation edited by Mary R. Lefkowitz & Maureen B. Fant
The public and private lives of Ancient Greek and Roman women, from prostitutes to housewives, including information on property rights, legal statuses, and religious roles.

Helen of Troy (2)

Penelopeia by Jane Rawlings
After her husband’s return, Penelope sets off for adventures of her own, told as an epic poem in the style of Homer’s Odyssey.

Helen of Troy by Margaret George
This retelling of the circumstances that triggered the Trojan War reveals a woman driven to act of desperation, despite the prophecy that foretells of its disastrous repercussions.

For More Reimagined Myths:

The Greek Myths by Robert Graves
For many, the definitive retelling of Greek myths, which Atwood cites as research for The Penelopiad.

Odyssey Graphic NovelOdyssey: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds
A visual retelling of the adventures of Odysseus as he tries to make his way home from the Trojan War hindered by storms, monsters, sirens, and sorceresses.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
In this new interpretation, told from the point of view of his sworn companion Patroclus, Achilles is a charismatic yet naïve warrior struggling unsuccessfully against his destiny.

Weight by Jeanette Winterson
A medition on the story of Atlas, sentenced to forever bear the weight of earth and heavens on his back, and the conundrum he faces when the possibility arises of offloading his gruelling task onto Heracles. From the Canongate Myths series for which The Penelopiad was written.

For More From the Canongate Myths Series:

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith
Iphis is a girl raised, by necessity, as a boy, who becomes enamored with and engaged to another girl. Miraculously, just before the wedding Iphis, is seemingly transformed. Or is she simply flouting the conventions of her society?


Where Three Roads Meet: The Myth of Oedipus by Salley Vickers
In the last years of his life, Freud is visited by an old man, who, it turns out, witnessed the story of Oedipus firsthand.

Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt
Truth and story intermingle as a young girl delves into the concluding myth in the Norse canon, even as she is being evacuated from her war-torn home.

I hope you can make it out to one of programs and/or enjoy some of the materials we offer. Stay warm — spring is just around the corner.

– Erica

Play on Words: WPL and MTC team up

Happy New Year! We’re very excited to tell you that the Winnipeg Public Library’s new partnership with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre launches next week!

Mairi Babb in Educating Rita , John Hirsch Mainstage2009/10 season. Photo by Bruce Monk.

Mairi Babb in Educating Rita , John Hirsch Mainstage
2009/10 season. Photo by Bruce Monk.

When the Library and MTC first met to discuss the possibility of working together, everyone felt there was a lot we could offer each other. Together, we provide fresh paths for people to connect with the theatre experience: through interactive programs with playwrights, actors, and backstage artists, as well as through free access to resources that delve into the themes of the plays.

We’re so excited to get word out that we’ve arranged a treat. Starting early in January, at each of our branches you can enter a draw for a Gone with the Wind-inspired prize pack of books, a book bag, and a signed cast photo. That’s 20 prizes! The draws will be held on January 23, 2013. One lucky winner from those 20 prize packs will also receive a pair of tickets to the MTC production!

From Page to Stage: or, how a story becomes a play

Our very first artist talk series begins next week! Find us on Tuesdays in January from 12:10-12:50 pm in the Carol Shields Auditorium on the second floor of Millennium Library (you can enter directly off the Skywalk). As always, the programs are free and all are welcome. And we’ll be holding a draw for tickets to see the play

Tuesday, January 8: Niki Landau, playwright of Gone with the Wind, on adapting the well-known novel into a stage production

Tuesday, January 15: The two leads, Bethany Jillard (Scarlett O’Hara) and Tom McCamus (Rhett Butler), on playing these iconic roles

Tuesday, January 22: MTC’s Wardrobe department shares the secrets to creating the elaborate costumes seen on stage

Explore More: prepare beforehand or extend the experience

First edition cover

We’ve also put together a list of library resources that will give you a deeper understanding of Gone with the Wind. If you haven’t already, you may want to start by reading the original Pulitzer prize-winning novel. Of course, many of us are  already familiar with the story through its famous 1939 film adaption.

It’s also worth mentioning that though Mitchell did not want to write a follow-up to the novel, her estate later authorized two: Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley and Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig (which gives Rhett’s perspective).

Here are more possibilities for all kinds of ways to look at the play.

For More Sweeping Fictional Sagas

Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles. Falsely accused of being a Confederate spy, Adair Colley is thrown into a women’s prison but finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Now an escaped “enemy woman,” Adair makes her long return journey on faith, seeking a home that may be nothing more than a memory.

Cold MountainCold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Inman escapes from a war hospital and begins the long trek back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to be reunited with Ada, the woman he loves. Meanwhile, Ada struggles to survive and save her derelict farm.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. This epic novel of post-revolutionary Russia (also made into a classic film) follows Yuri Zhivago, physician and poet, as he wrestles with the new order and the anguish of being torn between the love of two women.

Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. Left pregnant and penniless on the streets of London, Amber St. Clare uses her wits and beauty to climb to the high position of Charles II’s favorite mistress. Frequently compared to Gone with the Wind, Forever Amber was the other great American historical novel, outselling every other book of the 1940s.

For More on the Other Side of Tara

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton. In her early 20s Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and became the first–and only–woman, fugitive slave, and black to work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. After being so successful at it that the state of Maryland put a $40,000 bounty on her head, she went on to be a scout, a spy, and a nurse for the Union Army.

Uncle Tom's CabinUncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe wrote one of the great polemical novels to expose the evils perpetrated by slavery. It galvanized the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done, and as Gone with the Wind notes, it became “second only to the Bible” for many abolitionists.

Red River by Lalita Tademy. Based in part on the author’s family history, this novel shows the struggle of newly freed black Louisianans to make a place for themselves in a country deeply divided in the aftermath of the Civil War. (If you enjoy this book, look for Tademy’s first novel, Cane River, as well.)

For More About the Civil War

Battle Cry of FreedomBattle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson. Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, this book has become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. A fast-paced narrative packed with drama and insight.

Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust. As the Confederacy crumbled, the prerogatives of whiteness and the protections of “ladyhood” began to dissolve (as Scarlett discovers). Faust chronicles the clash of the old and the new within a group that was both beneficiary and victim of the social order of the Old South.

For More on Its Echoes Today

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr. This entertaining account of a pop culture phenomenon tells how Mitchell’s book was marketed, distributed, and otherwise groomed for success in the 1930s, and the savvy measures taken since then by the author and her estate to ensure its longevity.

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz. Inspired by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarked on a search for places and people still enthralled by the “Lost Cause,” and an adventure into the soul of the South.

Stay tuned for more on this partnership as it continues…  and we hope to see you at our programs January 8, 15, and 22!