Galloway to highlight magic, memories

Nathan Liewicki
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Author making his third FOW appearance

If you are a fan of magic and rhetorical questions, partaking in a Saskatchewan Festival of Words (FOW) session with Steven Galloway is a must.

Vancouver-based novelist Steven Galloway will be making his third appearance at next week's Saskatchewan Festival of Words. Galloway is currently an associated professor in the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.

“In sessions I like to ask lots of rhetorical questions of the audience,” Galloway told the Times-Herald in a phone interview from Vancouver. “I'll probably tell some interesting stories about Harry Houdini, magic tricks and talk a little about how our memories actually work."

Galloway, who is currently an associate profession in the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia,  and will be making his third appearance at the FOW, which lasts from July 17-20.

The fiction writer will not, however, be hopping on an airplane. Instead, he has elected to drive the approximately 1,600-kilometre trek from Vancouver to Moose Jaw – not by himself either.

“I’m going to bring my kids because they haven’t done the trip before,” said Galloway. “So, we are going to make a little trip of it.”

He is looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the likes of Miriam Toews, C.C. Humphreys and Wayne Grady, but also interacting with Moose Javians.

“In my opinion, the Moose Jaw festival is one of the three best festivals in the country,” he said. ”I think that the small town vibe and the enthusiasm of the audiences is really not something you find everywhere. As a writer, it's a heck of a lot of fun to go to.

“I don't know if the people of Moose Jaw quite realize it, but it's a really special festival.”

During the FOW, Galloway is scheduled to participate in three author sessions and he will join Mark Medley for the Friday Feature at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.

His fourth novel, The Confabulist, was released in April and will be the focus of his discussion with session attendees. Galloway described it as a tale about a man who, while losing his memory, attempts to explain to Harry Houdini’s illegitimate daughter how and why he came to be the man who killed the world’s most famous magician.

Where did his inspiration for the novel come from?

“It was kind of a confluence of a bunch of small moments, combined with an interest in magic and this weird intersection of arts, showmanship and craftsmanship,” said Galloway.

He also noted that a lot of things in his personal life that made him think about memories and how people have become focused on the truth of said memories and less focused on what the meaning of the story behind the memory is.

An admittedly slow writer, Galloway said The Confabulist was about a five-year project that required plenty of patience – something he likened to running a marathon.

“You break it up into increments. You do what you can one day and then move on. It's hard to do, but it's an incredibly rewarding thing to do,” said Galloway. “I think as long as you don't get too focused on the size and enormity of what you're doing, it's not so bad.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

Organizations: Times-Herald, University of British Columbia, Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Geographic location: Vancouver, Moose Jaw

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