40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology, ed. Jason Lee Norman

“Whisky tastes better in Edmonton because of the cold.”
-Gregory Ramshaw

Last Friday it was 40 below with the windchill. That night, I didn’t read. I drank whisky to rid my body of the bus stop chill. I tried to breathe through my nose but my inhalations were icicles. I tried to breathe through my mouth but my lungs would not accept the air. We live in a place where, some days, our lungs don’t work. And we still go and wait for the bus and take off our mittens to pull out our bus pass and we go to work and we pass the day and we take the bus back across the bridge and we drink whisky together.

I read this whole anthology grinning. This is us, Edmonton. We are people who cross-country ski to work. More than that, we’re tremendous writers, and I’m so grateful to Jason Lee Norman (EPL’s new writer-in-residence!) both for collecting these works and for sending a copy to my boss, which I promptly ‘borrowed’ upon seeing it on his desk this morning. I went to a briefing last week on the downtown arena and someone described the Edmonton Oilers as untouchable. That person has clearly never been to the Ranch on a Saturday night. I love Sam Gagner as much as the next girl, but we’re more than just a hockey town, and frankly this anthology is a testament to the whole grand world of Edmonton writing and our absolute literary titans. Read it, please.

Books read – 12


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