Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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The Dirty Dozen, with Monica Heisey

Writer and comedian Monica Heisey has been making people laugh for a long time in publications like HelloGiggles (the website founded by indie darling Zooey Deschanel), The Hairpin and VICE, but now her perfectly skewed and cheeky observations can live on your bookshelf in the form of I Can't Believe It's Not Better: A Woman's Guide to Coping with Life (Fitzhenry & Whiteside). Essays like "Pizzas I Have Loved", along with advice on how to sext, watch hours of TV and cry in public make I Can't Believe It's Not Better the perfect gift for the wittiest women in your life.

"...my reading pile inevitably grows: Books to Read, and Books To Read Again"

Several years ago a talented and passionate writer friend said to me, when I complimented her work, “Yes, but I want to be Virginia Woolf.”

I said that if she wanted to be Virginia Woolf, then she should do like Virginia Woolf did. Look at the world, know your language, and use language to reflect the world of your consciousness, reflect the experience of life in your time.

From our conversation, what I learned was that my friend didn’t want to do as Virginia Woolf did, but wanted to write what Virginia Woolf had already written.

This was unfortunate.

Ronna Bloom turns a poem into a moving tribute to a friend

Poet Ronna Bloom has created a moving tribute to a late friend in the form of a short, simple film and accompanying poem, called "Radiance".

Ronna created the film in memory of her friend Frank Lawson, and describes it as a way to "say goodbye to him. And to anyone you have to let go of, including yourself".

The video is a simple dark waterscape, almost invisible, with the soothing sound of waves. The text of the poem runs along the bottom of the video. It's a dreamy, surreal piece that anyone who has lost a loved one will relate to.

Check out this unique and creative application of a poem, transformed into an assurance that we are not alone when we grieve.

Special Feature! Joseph Boyden on Place and Landscape in His Writing - an AGO Lecture Preview

The name Joseph Boyden has become synonymous with Canadian literature — a curious turn of events given that Boyden writes about Canadian characters and landscapes while teaching for much of the year in New Orleans. Though Boyden returns to Canada, and particularly his beloved Northern Ontario, frequently, living part of his life south of the border seems to have bestowed a beneficial clarity.

“I love that ability to capture the surreal and the comical” — A Chat with Emily Schultz

Emily Schultz is the co-founder of Joyland Magazine, host of the podcast Truth & Fiction, and creator of the blog Spending the Stephen King Money. Schultz’s newest novel is The Blondes (St. Martin's Press 2015, Doubleday 2012).

The Anti-Block

People like to talk about writer’s block, the horrible dead end feeling of a blank page and nothing to write, or of a work in progress that has lost its energy and for which the writer can find no direction.

But there is another career risk, I’m not sure what to name it so I’ll call it anti-block, and this is the feverish mania that sets in when a writer can’t stop writing. The story is exhilarating, so the work goes on into the night, to exhaustion and beyond. I used to do this quite regularly, but now I am more guarded about how often I let it happen.

The Lucky Seven Interview, with Adam Lindsay Honsinger

Adam Lindsay Honsinger is a Toronto-based writer, teacher and illustrator. His work has been published in several literary journals including Descant and PRISM International, has twice been nominated for The Journey Prize and his story "Silence" won Silver at the National Magazine Awards.

A Bona Fide Once in a Lifetime: Awaiting the First Review of My First Novel

Coming off a one hour presentation about my novel this evening at The Haliburton School of the Arts, a presentation that I enjoyed immensely (largely because of the engaging and welcoming audience), I would now like to write something I can write only once in my life.

I’ve been informed by my publisher, Tightrope Books, that a review of my novel is about to appear, likely tomorrow. This would be the first review of my first novel and, given that Open Book has asked that I write about things that may be of interest to readers and writers, I thought it might be worthwhile, here, to record a few observations of how I’m feeling right now.

The short answer: excited.

Now, for the long answer.

Read an Excerpt from Brenda Leifso's Barren the Fury

Brenda Leifso's Barren the Fury (Pedlar Press) finds power in what is traditionally forbidden — embracing anger. The women in these poems turn expected narratives on their head, transform stories of salvation into stories of destruction. They mirror the female experience with the neglect and abuse suffered by our natural environment. These unflinching, lyrical pieces deftly and slyly question our expectations around what is "natural", while weaving a story of mother and daughter, questioning and exploring.

We're thrilled to offer a special excerpt of Barren the Fury today on Open Book, courtesy of Pedlar Press. Get a taste of Brenda's powerful poems below.

Talking in Public About Writing a Novel

I’m putting the finishing touches onto a talk about my novel, Eulogy, which I’ll present tomorrow as part of the weekly Artist Talk series at Haliburton School of The Arts. This is to be a one hour presentation and, while I was momentarily tempted to simply open my book and start reading for one hour, that approach just doesn’t sit right with me or fit with the spirit of the college. This is a place where artists of many disciplines learn from each other, where faculty and students talk not just of their work, but how it was made, so it seems appropriate to read from the book, yes, but also to go behind the scenes, to give background on what I did to write the book.

Video of the Week

Ronna Bloom turns a poem into a moving tribute to a friend

Poet Ronna Bloom has created a moving tribute to a late friend in the form of a short, simple film and accompanying poem, called "Radiance".

Ronna created the film in memory of her friend Frank Lawson, and describes it as a way to "say goodbye to him. And to anyone you have to let go of, including yourself".

The video is a simple dark waterscape, almost invisible, with the soothing sound of waves. The text of the poem runs along the bottom of the video. It's a dreamy, surreal piece that anyone who has lost a loved one will relate to.

Check out this unique and creative application of a poem, transformed into an assurance that we are not alone when we grieve.

You can see more of Ronna's work, including her book Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement (Pedlar Press) by visiting her website.

Writer In Residence

July 1, 2015-August 1, 2015

Ken Murray »

Ken Murray lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario. He teaches creative writing at Haliburton School of the Arts and at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. His fiction and non-fiction have been published in journals, newspapers and magazines in both Canada and the United States. An avid athletic amateur, he likes kiteboarding, skiing, snowboarding, running and cycling. He is a volunteer broadcaster in community radio and dabbles in several sports. Eulogy is his first novel.
You can contact Ken throughout the month of July at writer@openbooktoronto.com

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Random reads

A History of Just About Everything

A History of Just About Everything

(Kids Can Press)
From the publisher's website: From Buddha and Muhammad to King and Mandela, from the discovery of fire to the invention of the World Wide Web, and from Romeo and Juliet to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, this is a thorough and thoroughly entertaining compendium of important people and events.

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