In the history of literature (especially in Canada), you may think that we’ve said all we can on the subject of winter, from clichés of Old Man Winter to horror stories about being snowed in. 40 Below Volume 2: Alberta’s Winter Anthology, edited by Jason Lee Norman, adds new colour and meaning to winter, freshening up the tired and oft-complained-about season. The poems surprise with images of corpse flowers, orographic lift, and broken eggs, while the stories surround the life and death of an ice rink, a city’s decision to hibernate for the winter, and nightmares of Russian spies.
Fans of the first volume — which focused on stories set only in Edmonton — will find new delights and perspectives in this follow-up collection. The anthology features many of Alberta’s most prominent and celebrated writers, including Diana Davidson, Thomas Trofimuk, and Ali Bryan. 40 Below also gives space to the emerging stars of the literary scene, such as Charlotte Cranston, Erin Carter, and Lucas Warren.
Editor Jason Lee Norman is one of the organizers of the Words with Friends reading series that takes place at local bars in the city and that welcomes new and established writers and musicians. And he curates the short stories and poems that appear on coffee sleeves at Transcend Coffee, Elm Café, Blackbird Café, and other cafés in the city. With such an eye for writing talent, Norman’s skill for discerning engaging stories and poems shines like a freshly Zamboni’d rink in this collection.
Meet some of the anthology’s authors, hear their stories and poems, and eat a slice of cake at 40 Below‘s launch event at Audreys Books (10702 Jasper Ave.) on November 8 at 2 pm.