Story by Amy Jones, Photos by Alastair MacKay
Michael Christie, Thunder Bay native and author of the acclaimed, genre-bending novel If I Fall, If I Die, appeared at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery on Thursday night. Fresh from an appearance at the prestigious Ottawa Writers’ Festival, and on his way to a promotional tour of Australia, where his novel has recently been released, Christie charmed his hometown crowd with his trademark self-effacing humour, honest depictions of life as a writer, and, of course, great literature.
Christie read three excerpts from the novel, which is set in Thunder Bay, choosing sections that featured a few inside jokes for the local audience. Following the reading, Christie answered questions from the audience about everything from his skateboarding career to his writing process. A former art gallery employee, Christie jokingly assured his former co-workers that none of the novel had been written while on the job, although one gets the sense that his time at the gallery, along with many other experiences he had while living in Thunder Bay, shaped the book greatly.
Following the event, the gallery held a reception and book signing, where a table of delicious-looking cheese and fruit and sweets stood neglected as the crowd lined up to have their books signed and their pictures taken with Christie. The atmosphere was happy, relaxed, and familial—everything a homecoming should be. Christie might be a literary superstar, but he is also a Thunder Bay boy at heart, and If I Fall, If I Die is his love letter to the city that shaped him. And Thursday night’s event, in some ways, was Thunder Bay’s love letter back to him.
For additional photos from the event, please visit the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s on Facebook.