Tag Archives: suzanne costigan

Talk About Being in Good Company !

The nominees for the Manitoba Book Awards have been announced and three members of my writing group The Anitas have made the short lists. suzanne costigan empty cupSuzanne Costigan is nominated in the fiction for older children category for her book Empty Cup. Suzanne’s novel has also been selected as a featured book in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Spring 2015 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens. 

deborah froeseDeborah Froese is among the nominees in the fiction for younger children category for her picture book Mr. Jacobson’s Window.

melanie mathesonMelanie Matheson is nominated in the same category as Deborah, for her picture book Hokey Dowa Gerda and the Snowflake Girl.

Some other good news for The Anitas recently was the announcement that Jodi Carmichael’s novel Forever Julia was featured in an article in Quill and Quire.  Jodi launches her book April 16th at McNally Robinson.

enslavement melinda friesenHighlights for our writing group this past year have been the publication and launch of Melinda Friesen’s book Enslavement the other r in educationand Pat Trottier’s The Other R in Education gabrielle goldstoneand the great news that Gabriele Goldstone had signed a contract for the publication of three historical novels for young people.

I realize how very fortunate I am to be taking my baby steps in the world of children’s writing and publishing with people as accomplished and successful as this! I can’t thank The Anitas enough for taking me in and allowing me to become a part of their group almost two years ago.  Talk about being in good company!

larry verstraeteNote:  Before I joined The Anitas I was part of a children’s writing group called Vast Imaginations which eventually came to an end and that’s when The Anitas took me in. Larry Verstraete was a member of Vast Imaginations and gave me lots of advice and encouragement on my very first manuscripts.  Larry is also nominated for a Manitoba Book Award this year for his novel Missing in Paradise.  

Other posts……..

Not One Book But Three

A Book Set Right Here in Winnipeg

Writing My First Amazon Review

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A New Book Set Right Here in Winnipeg

One of the reasons I enjoyed Suzanne Costigan’s new young adult novel Empty Cup,is because it is set in Winnipeg and the places its young protagonist Raven frequents are all within walking distance of my home. 

ghandi

Gandhi at The Forks in Winnipeg

Raven works at a coffee shop at the Forks. The statue of Gandhi near Winnipeg’s new Human Rights Museum plays a significant role in the story. Raven often walks along Henderson Highway and Waterfront Drive and has a romantic moment with her boyfriend on the Disraeli Bridge. It was easy for me to visualize many of the scenes in the book because they take place in my neighborhood, in the places where I walk everyday.empty_cover_cover_finalEmpty Cupshouldn’t be a feel good novel, yet strangely it is. Raven is dealing with some big problems. Her mother, who admits to Raven she doesn’t love her,  lives with a sleazy man named Trevor who Raven rightly fears. Raven’s kind biology teacher turns out to be anything but the white knight Raven longs to have ride into her life. Cole, the boy Raven lives with when her mother kicks her out of the house, has emotional problems that only the regular use of marijuana seem to ease.

 Raven makes some poor choices in the novel but also some courageous ones. She graduates from high school, holds onto her part-time job and resists the temptation to become involved with drugs. Given all the things she has going against her how is that possible?

kevin chiefRecently I heard Kevin Chief speak. He is the representative in the Manitoba Legislature for the constituency where both Raven and I live. Kevin faced some significant challenges in his youth but says he managed to rise above them because he was fortunate to always have at least one adult that cared about him, often a teacher or a coach. He also was a good athlete with a passion for the game of basketball and that was a key to his salvation.

Raven too has one person in her life that genuinely cares about her. Sarah is the mother of Raven’s long time best friend Lyla, and Sarah is there for Raven when she really needs it, offering the affection Raven’s own mother can’t provide. Raven also has a passion that is a key to her salvation. She loves art and she gets into an art class where the instructor helps her realize just how talented she is.

So although Raven’s life is tough and sometimes almost unbearable to read about, her story is also one of hope, not in an idealistic impossible kind of way, but in a realistic, ‘it can be done’ fashion. Young people who read this novel, and who may feel their own lives are hopeless, will get a real sense that they too can survive and move forward.

emptyful sculpture Winnipeg Millenium LibraryThe theme of the empty and full cup that Costigan weaves beautifully through the novel will especially appeal to readers. It reminded me of another Winnipeg landmark- the emptyful sculpture at the Millenium Library garden.

If I were still a high school English teacher Empty Cup would definitely be on my class reading list. Winnipeg high schools would do well to add a copy of Empty Cupto their libraries. It’s a young adult novel with a positive message and realistic characters set right in our home city.

Other posts about books set in Winnipeg…….

There is Winnipeg Mennonite Fiction

Fox

The Wittenburgs

Destination Winnipeg

One of the reasons I enjoyed Suzanne Costigan’s new young adult novel Empty Cup, is because it is set in Winnipeg and the places its young protagonist Raven frequents are all within walking distance of my home. 

ghandiGandhi’s Statue in Winnipeg

Raven works at a coffee shop at the Forks. The statue of Gandhi near Winnipeg’s new Human Rights Museum plays a significant role in the story. Raven often walks along Henderson Highway and Waterfront Drive and has a romantic moment with her boyfriend on the Disraeli Bridge. It was easy for me to visualize many of the scenes in the book because they take place in my neighborhood, in the places where I walk everyday.empty_cover_cover_finalEmpty Cup shouldn’t be a feel good novel, yet strangely it is. Raven is dealing with some big problems. Her mother, who admits to Raven she doesn’t love her,  lives with a sleazy…

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