Meet the Authors: Daniel Macdonald and Eileen Laverty
Meet the author and composer of the powerful family portrait Blow Wind—Daniel Macdonald and Eileen Laverty!
Describe yourself in one sentence.
DM: Clown, lover, fighter. In that order.
EL: I love a sad song, The Beautiful Game, and a grand adventure.
Tell us a little bit about your new book.
DM: Inspired by elements of King Lear, Blow Wind takes us inside the world of the matriarch of a family farm who is suffering from early onset dementia. The story plays out through the eyes of the youngest daughter with live music, crazy laughter, and drifts of memory and illusion. I mean, I could rewrite this eleven different ways and each one would be true.
EL: I was very fortunate to work with Daniel MacDonald and wrote the music for his beautiful play.
What’s something unique about you or something you like to do?
DM: Help others tell their stories or find their voice. I do a lot of that. I love it. I taught high school creative writing for many years and their stuff was some of the best I ever read. The love, hope, tumult inside a sixteen-year-old is something fleeting that never be recaptured.
EL: I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, and most of the songs I have written have been composed in and around the rivers and lakes of Northern Saskatchewan. Recently, though, I’ve become obsessed with backcountry camping and canoeing and spend an inordinate amount of time studying maps of the Churchill River.
What does your happy place look like?
DM: Walking my five-year-old son from the bus stop. That’s as good as it gets. I don’t need much else.
EL: A fireside jam with good friends at a rustic campsite on the mighty Churchill River. Or being locked inside a bakery. (Either way, carbs are involved.)
What is something you’re curious about?
DM: Are Bubly drinks addictive? Cause I think I may have a problem.
EL: That is a long list. Mostly based on themes connected to history, art, music, world cultures and traditions, cooking, and currently, canoe routes.
What are some of your favourite plays?
DM: I love dance. So plays with movement impossible to communicate on the page are very jammy to me. You can imagine what Betroffenheit did to me. And of course, the works of Pina Bausch. Oh and let’s see, Jerusalem, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapusskasing, and The December Man.
EL: Translations by Brian Friel was one I read many years ago that has stayed with me.
What are you reading these days?
DM: In honour of the Salman Rushdie attack I recently read Joseph Anton: A Memoir. Reading Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster right now.
EL: Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of biographies of well-known songwriters and musicians. I recently finished I Piped, That She Might Dance by Iain MacDonald, a historic novel about legendary piper, Angus McKay, which was fantastic. I’m also mad about poetry (currently enjoying the work of Mary Oliver).
What’s something that makes you laugh?
DM: Holy shit. Really, almost everything. Except things that make me cry. I’m usually doing one or the other. Big laugher/crier. (That’s the Clown).
EL: My husband Greg finds it amusing that I laugh at cheesy (even predictable) sight gags. Every. Single. Time.
Learn more about Daniel Macdonald:
Daniel Macdonald’s plays for adults include Blow Wind, A History of Breathing, Velocity, Bang, MacGregor’s Hard Ice Cream and Gas, and Pageant. He is also the author of numerous plays for young people, including These Things I Know, Flock Formations, Waking, Tragedie, The Romeo Project, Radiant Boy, Blind Love, and HERE. His work has been shortlisted for the Carol Bolt Award and the Saskatchewan Book Awards. He is also a two-time recipient of the City of Regina Writing Award, the Enbridge Playwrights Award, and the Saskatchewan Arts Award. He is writer-in-residence at St. Paul’s Hospital with the Healing Arts. He also teaches at the University of Saskatchewan and heads the New Voices playwriting circle at Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre. Daniel hangs out with Melanie, little Xavier, and Fenster the cat in Saskatoon.
Learn more about Eileen Laverty:
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Eileen’s family emigrated to Canada when she was six and, while she calls herself a Prairie girl, her Irish roots run deep. With the heart of a storyteller and a poet, her deeply intimate and stirring music will leave you with a sense of hope. Over the past two decades, Laverty has entertained audiences of all ages, as a solo performer and with her band. A look at the acts she has supported will underscore her universal appeal: the late Kenny Rogers, Tom Cochrane, Mary Black, John McDermott, and Ian Tyson. Eileen’s track record includes several songwriting accolades and numerous radio and television appearances, and she is a frequent guest of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. Eileen is also a dedicated teacher and coach, and a lifelong fan of The Beautiful Game--still playing when her schedule permits. She loves the outdoors and many of her songs were composed in and around the northern forests and rivers of Saskatchewan. She lives in Saskatoon.