1221 2 St SW Calgary
AB T2R 0W5
How do you describe an event about a book about a kingdom where authors rule that only exists because another writer willed it into being in 1880? Welcome to the curious history of Redonda, which has captivated Alberta writer Michael Hingston for years. In Try Not to Be Strange (September 13, 2022) he’ll regale you with tales featuring with a cast of characters including forgotten sci-fi novelists, alcoholic poets, vegetarian publishers, Nobel Prize frontrunners, and the bartenders who kept them all lubricated, detailing the friendships, feuds, and fantasies that fueled the creation of one of the oddest and most enduring micronations ever dreamt into being.
This one-hour book launch, hosted by Ali Bryan, includes an audience Q&A (no questions can be too strange!) and book signing. The event will take place at Memorial Park Library, Alexander Calhoun Salon on Saturday, October 1 at 1PM MT.
Tickets and more details here.
Order your copy of Try Not to Be Strange here!
On his fifteenth birthday, in the summer of 1880, future science-fiction writer M.P. Shiel sailed with his father and the local bishop from their home in the Caribbean out to the nearby island of Redonda—where, with pomp and circumstance, he was declared the island’s king. A few years later, when Shiel set sail for a new life in London, his father gave him some advice: Try not to be strange. It was almost as if the elder Shiel knew what was coming.
Try Not to Be Strange: The Curious History of the Kingdom of Redonda tells, for the first time, the complete history of Redonda’s transformation from an uninhabited, guano-encrusted island into a fantastical and international kingdom of writers. With a cast of characters including forgotten sci-fi novelists, alcoholic poets, vegetarian publishers, Nobel Prize frontrunners, and the bartenders who kept them all lubricated while angling for the throne themselves, Michael Hingston details the friendships, feuds, and fantasies that fueled the creation of one of the oddest and most enduring micronations ever dreamt into being. Part literary history, part travelogue, part quest narrative, this cautionary tale about what happens when bibliomania escapes the shelves and stacks is as charming as it is peculiar—and blurs the line between reality and fantasy so thoroughly that it may never be entirely restored.
Michael Hingston is the author of Let’s Go Exploring and The Dilettantes. His journalism has also appeared in National Geographic, Wired, and the Washington Post. Hingston lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his partner and two kids.