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3 new books from Calgary writers

By SILVIA PIKAL 

BIG BAD DAD

 

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Two years ago when Ryan Bourquin sat down to write a story with his daughter, Winnie, on a snowy afternoon in Calgary, he didn’t know the story would become the basis for his first published book.

Winnie, who was only four at the time, wanted to write about how much she loves painting nails, playing dress-up and having tea parties with her dad — a tattooed, weightlifting, six-foot-four chef.

“We were talking about how her friends were a little bit afraid of me, and she didn’t understand why, because I do all this stuff with her,” Bourquin says. “People who see me from the outside might not think that I’m at home playing dress-up with my daughter.”

He wanted to publish one copy of the short story to gift to Winnie for Christmas, but after showing the handwritten copy to an editor friend, he saw its potential and suggested Bourquin submit it to publishing houses.

After figuring out how to format a manuscript, find a literary agent and all the other prep required to submit a book to publishing houses, he landed a book deal for Big Bad Dad earlier this year. The illustrated book for kids shows readers the man behind the tattoos is a devoted father willing to play in princess dresses with his daughter, proving you should never judge a book by its cover.

“I’ve had a lot of dads reach out to me about the book,” Bourquin says. “It’s been a pretty cool adventure so far.”

I’M AFRAID OF MEN  

 

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Vivek Shraya is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Calgary who creates music, poetry, visual art, film and fiction. Her new book I’m Afraid of Men is part memoir, part manifesto and takes us through Shraya’s life and how she’s been negatively impacted by gender norms.

She charts the fear of men she’s felt throughout her entire life, describing the acts of cruelty inflicted on her when expressing femininity as a young boy, to the panic she now feels in public spaces as a trans woman, and alarm at not appearing “feminine enough” to society.

The book challenges dominant ideas about race, gender and identity and ultimately invites us to embrace our differences and envision a world where gender creativity is celebrated instead of punished, freeing all of us to live without fear.

It’s a notebook-sized novel so you’ll be able to finish it relatively quickly, but its message will stay with you long after the last page.

THE KNIFENERD GUIDE TO JAPANESE KNIVES

 

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This book is not only an education on why you should nerd out on Japanese knives (like author Kevin Kent does), but also an ode to the art of knifemaking — Kent and photographer Visti Kjar captured a behind-the-scenes look at the forges of Japanese blacksmiths who craft these super-sharp knives.

Kent is the “knifenerd” behind Knifewear, which sells Japanese knives and accessories. He discovered the knives while working as a sous-chef in London, England. Back in Canada he sold them to chefs out of a backpack before opening the storefront in 2008.

Inside The Knifenerd Guide to Japanese Knives you’ll find answers to the top 50 questions asked by customers at the shop, so you can take the expert knife knowledge home with you.

 

 

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OUR FULL Calgary COVERAGE

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