NORTH BATTLEFORD — The Saskbooks Book Week tour arrived in the Battlefords last week with a reading and Q&A from local author Miguel A. Fenrich, author of Blue: A Novel. Fenrich read the first chapter of his book and took questions from the crowd.
The North Battleford Public Library hosted the event on Sept. 28th, with Saskbook’s Finance Officer Daniel Parr and Book Week Intern Logan McKay in attendance.
McKay spoke before the event, welcoming the crowd and Fenrich before thanking funders, including the Government of Canada and Creative Saskatchewan. McKay thanked the North Battleford Public Library and acknowledged the traditional lands of the Cree and Metis.
Blue: A Novel is set in a future society where people with blue eyes are discriminated against and used for their cheap labour in slave camps, farms, and factories. The main character, Wolfe, tries to overthrow the system and free the millions of oppressed blue-eyed people while oppressive forces work against him.
Miguel A. Fenrich is the local author of Blue: A Novel and owner of Battleford’s Supernova Press which is currently open for submissions. According to Supernova Press’s website, Fenrich wrote his debut novel during the COVID-19 pandemic and said he was inspired to write the book to encourage critical thinking and start conversations around race relations in Canada. As a POC himself, he says he felt required to speak.
“I think … people need to start having conversations again. We need to do something about the real-life issues like poverty, racism, classism, inequality, and violence against women, and we need to talk about it. By not talking about it, we’re letting it continue,” Fenrich said
When asked about his book’s sometimes intense subject matter and political nature, Fenrich offered a few comments.
“It’s a dystopian novel … it’s darker by nature. Books like Blue aren’t going to be easy reads, but they make you think about the world differently. Books like Blue make you look straight into the reality of a situation and face it head-on instead of ignoring it.
“Dystopian novels are also warnings. Blue is warning people about being apathetic, quick to hate ‘the others,’ and being ignorant about something as silly as skin colour, sexual organs, what gender you’re attracted to, who you pray to, etc. … That’s why I created Blue.”
Fenrich is currently working on two other books and says a sequel is not currently in the works, “If there is a sequel to Blue, it’s many years off still. I’m focusing on two completely separate universes now.”
According to the SaskBooks website, the Regina-based organization represents the best interests of book publishers in Saskatchewan. When the Minister of Parks, Culture, and Sport declared Book Week in 2016 to celebrate books published in Saskatchewan, Saskbooks teamed up with local libraries, schools, and community centres to showcase some of the books Saskatchewan has to offer.