Sunday, June 13, 2010

Serendipitous chat at Chapters Rideau Centre

See, this is why I stopped writing. I suck at titles. My last short story was titled by my mother after I wrung my hands over it for ages.


So, Kris and I read about this guy in the Citizen, and he was speaking this weekend (Sat at Pinecrest Chapters; Sun at Rideau Centre). So off we went, expecting a reading and some Q and A. Alas, Chapters Rideau Centre jammed him into a small table by the escalator with no signage and no reading ('cause, you know, they have music on...). Anyway, those are all my words, not the author's. Just to be clear. He was very gracious about his corner.

The author is David Charles Manners, and his book is In the Shadow of Crows. I hate to blog before I've read it, but as a compromise, I will blog both now and later when I've finished it.

Manners was born in England, "to a mother raised amongst dairy cows on a Sussex farm and a father raised on India's North-West Frontier and in the idyllic hill-stations of the old East Punjab" (source). His book is about traveling to India as an adult for the first time and making discoveries about his family's past. He also became involved in initiatives to help India's poor, specifically those with leprosy, and has since founded a charity, Sarvashubhamkara (a Sanskrit name meaning 'he who does good to all').

Kris and I had a long talk with Manners about his book, his travels in India, poverty, political corruption, and desperation in India and in Canada, and Western attitudes towards all of the above.

I am now also interested in Reportage Press, "a new publishing house specialising in books on foreign affairs. All our books give a percentage of the profits to a charity chosen by the author."

Alas, I have little left to say until I get past page 10 (I can only read so much standing up in Chapters, you know). Meanwhile, you can watch part 1 and part 2 of these readings by Manners on YouTube.


  1. Delighted to have met you both. I very much appreciated your kind interest.
    Should you decide that it proves worthwhile, once you have read 'Crows', and still think there might be some opportunity for a talk in the library, maybe a return trip to Ottawa could be arranged!
    Top blog, by the way.
    All best and thanks again,

  2. Thanks, David! It was great to meet you too. We will lure you back to Ottawa sometime....