Featured in the Edmonton Journal

Although I keep telling friends that this is it, the last you'll hear about Rumi and the Red Handbag, I continue to be (happily) quite wrong about that. Earlier this past week, I received an email from Brent Wittmeier from the Edmonton Journal asking me if we could sit down and chat about the book. We met at a downtown coffee shop and talked about the book, purses (of course), philosophy, and the writing process. 

You can read the article online: "Edmonton author dives deep into purses and philosophy."

As you can see in the photo above, my mug was not only used for the article, but also appeared on the front page, and on the front of the section page. So I got to feel all fancy and famous for the day, which was a bit of fun. 

Reviewed in Alberta Views Magazine


Rumi and the Red Handbag has been reviewed by Merna Summers in the latest (December 2015) issue of Alberta Views. The review isn't available online, but here is a short excerpt:

"Lemay's superb writing holds the many disparate elements of this novel together. The author is a respected poet and has written a short non-fiction book, but Rumi marks her entry into the world of the novel. Clearly it is a form for which she has great gifts."

"...this allusive and gracefully written story." 


The Pickle Me This 2015 Best Books of the Year

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Another list! Rumi and the Red Handbag is on The Pickle Me This 2015 Best Books of the Year list, and with a great description: 

Rumi and the Red Handbag is a slim, heartbreaking and perfect read, rich with gorgeous prose, and depth and texture. Infused with allusions, explicit and otherwise, it’s a hushed and quiet celebration of women and their lives and their words and the secrets they carry. There is the Woolf, of course, and references to Clarice Lispector, who I’ve never read, but now I have to, and Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath. Plus vintage Harlequins—this is a book that permits great reverence to women’s stories and women’s spaces.” 

Meanwhile, there's a short interview with me on Stephanie Medford's blog, Everyday Artistry, about creative living. Very lovely to be asked to do this. 

Hometown Love and First Fiction Fridays

I was really happy to see Rumi and the Red Handbag in the number one position on The Edmonton Journal's Best Seller List again. To get that hometown support is terrific. 

On Friday, it was featured on the All Lit Up blog for their First Fiction Fridays

In other news, I received a City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Citation Award last week. You can see my Facebook post (even if you're not on Facebook as I've made the post public). It was a pretty swanky ceremony and I was pleased and honoured to be recognized. 

Lastly, I'll just point out that Rumi and the Red Handbag is on Goodreads. So if you're also on Goodreads, I'd love it if you could rate it or say a word or two about it. 

Winner of the Giveaway

After work today, I wrote the names of all who had entered my fun giveaway on sticky notes. (When you read the book the sticky notes will make sense). 

I had Chloe fold and stuff them into one of my favourite red handbags. 

Then she drew one name. Which was: Mary! Congratulations, Mary!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Your comments were fun, revealing, poignant, magical, and lovely. I'm so grateful to you all for sharing. What a wonderful week I had reading each of your entries. 

Mary, you can contact me using the form on this website, or writing to me at shawnalemay (at) me.com. Can't wait to mail you out a copy of Rumi and the Red Handbag and the tote. 


Giveaway - Book and Tote Bag

Because it's Friday, and because I have a tote bag leftover from my launch swag, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway. So, if you'd like to win a signed copy of the book and the cute tote pictured above (modelled by my daughter, Chloe), here's what you need to do: 

Leave a comment below telling me about a favourite purse, an unusual thing you have in your purse, or something you always must carry. Or, tell me a story that involves a purse or handbag. Or, tell me what your favourite literary reference to a purse or handbag might be. Or, tell me about the purse or handbag of your dreams. 

I'll do a random draw next Friday, November 20, 2015, and announce the winner here. Please leave your email in the comments and I'll notify you personally. 

Fall's Must-Read Fashion Books (Globe and Mail) and More

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It was another rather fabulous week for Rumi and the Red Handbag, I have to admit. It started off with this blog post and amazing photo by my lovely friend, Susan Licht. Treat yourself and scroll through the rest of her blog and drink in all the light and poetry in her extraordinary photos. 

Next came this review by Kerry Clare of the very cool and bookish blog, Pickle Me This. I love all the connections she makes and especially her last line: "For what is a handbag anyway but a place to keep a book?" Again, treat yourself to Kerry's blog, because her readings are always thoughtful and clear and openhearted. We have her book to look forward to, as well: Mitzi Bytes will be published by Harpercollins Canada in Spring 2017.

Lastly, Rumi and the Red Handbag ended up on another list (Fall's Must-Read Fashion Books), this time in the Globe and Mail's Fashion section which is super cool. Nathalie Atkinson names RRH a "fashion fable" and says it's "lovely and lyrical." I'll take that. 

#1 on the Edmonton Journal's Bestseller List


This past weekend I launched Rumi and the Red Handbag in Calgary at Pages in Kensington. What a sweet book store. A lovely space for a reading - would certainly recommend it to other authors. I was introduced by one of my very best friends, Lee Elliott. Lots of family and friends in attendance, and again, a sell-out of the book store's stock. (More on order, though, I hear)! 

The other fun news last week was that the book landed on the Edmonton Journal's bestseller list in the number one position. This was, of course, thanks to the amazing support I had at my Edmonton launch at Audreys Books from friends and family. 

The next reading I'll be doing is in Edmonton again, as part of The Rasp and the Wine series, on November 11.