Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street Interview Series: Charlie Angus

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Charlie Angus

If you're in Toronto this Sunday and you love books, you won't want to miss The Word on the Street. With readings by some of the country's finest writers in every genre, amazing and interactive children's programming and a marketplace populated by publishers of all your favourite books and magazines, The Word on the Street is a highlight of the literary calendar and a great community celebration of the love of reading.

Today we speak to Charlie Angus, author of Unlikely Radicals: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War (Between the Lines Books) as part of our The Word on the Street interview series.

Charlie tells us about a political David and Goliath story, shares a favourite The Word on the Street memory from his magazine days and gives us a good idea who he’s rooting for on the Giller Prize longlist.

Charlie will be reading in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent at the Toronto The Word on the Street festival on September 22 at 2:00 p.m. The Word on the Street will also take place in Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Halifax on September 22 and on September 21 in Kitchener.

And don't miss our exciting contests in partnership with The Word on the Street — you can enter now for a chance to win a set of fantastic non-fiction titles!

Open Book:

Tell us about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Charlie Angus:

I will be reading from the book Unlikely Radicals: the Story of the Adams Mine Dump War. The book tells the story of how a rural region with little political clout defeated the biggest waste plan in Canadian history. The book explains how a politically under-represented group of blue-collar miners, farmers and First Nation people organized into a grassroots non-violent army that took the fight to their opponents. Along the way, blockades were set up, political careers trashed and private eyes hired to track backroom investors. This creative and determined campaign has lessons for citizens groups attempting to take on large corporate interests today. It’s a story where the little guys win.


Have you attended The Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


I was a regular at The Word on the Street when I was co-publisher of the northern cultural journal HighGrader Magazine. I have always loved the vibrancy of The Word on the Street. My favourite memory is when the vendors come in the morning to begin setting up their tables. It is always an exciting time to see the extent of the product and possibilities.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


I am a huge fan of Joseph Boyden — Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce are haunting books with deep roots in the James Bay region.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


Edit as you go. The spoken word experience is not the same as the written word experience.


Word on the Street is happening simultaneously in Toronto, Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Halifax on September 22 this year (as well as in Kitchener on September 21). If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival, in addition to Toronto, would you attend?




Do you have a favourite spot in Ontario?


I love the old mining town of Cobalt.


What can you tell us about your next project?


I am looking to write an alternative history of the Cobalt silver mining boom with my partner Brit Griffin. We have already written one history of the era. We are looking to explore the subject again by digging deeper into the darker side of the last of one of the most storied mineral rush sagas. Canadian history has a tendency to put a false sepia glow on such histories. We will present a grittier story — resurrecting the overnight millionaires, con men, immigrant families and labour radicals who all tried to stake their future in the swampy woods of Northern Ontario.

Charlie Angus has served as the NDP Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay since 2004. In 1985 he formed the Juno-nominated alt-country band Grievous Angels. He became involved in politics through his organizing efforts to stop the Adams Mine garbage proposal and numerous plans to import PCBs to Northern Ontario. He is author/co-author of five books on Northern Ontario life and culture including We Lived a Life and Then Some and Mirrors of Stone.

For more information about Unlikely Radicals please visit the Between the Lines website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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