Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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Domestic Epic: an Interview with Ken Sparling

by James Lindsay

The Long Odds

I used to keep a Word document detailing where I'd sent what. Now it's a Google spreadsheet, colour coded, sortable. It lists the titles of completed stories and their word counts, tells me where I sent a certain piece, on what date and, eventually, the decision rendered by the outlet. A white row means that, for whatever reason, I have not yet released that piece out into the world to be judged. A row bathed in yellow means I am in the midst of the frequently months-long wait to learn of the editors' decision. Green means a piece has been accepted, and thus retired from the submission circuit. Red means rejection.

There is a lot of red.

Work

In January the flu raced through our house. It hitched a ride home from school on one child – one of the senior kindergarteners or the fourth grader, who can say which? – and in turn each of them took ill. When it was done with the third child, it revisited the first, and we did it all over again.

One clear, bright, frozen morning during this seasonal quarantine, my boy T, who'd been up most of the night losing the contents of his stomach, woke bleary and hot, his skin flush and damp. His fever was high, and it was immediately clear he'd be spending the day home with me.

On Writing, with J. Scott Kenney

Freemasonry has played a significant role in as a social history, but few non-members know much about the organization's history and operations, often lumping it into the media-hyped category of "secret societies".

J. Scott Kenney's Brought to Light: Contemporary Freemasonry, Meaning, and Society (Wilfrid Laurier University Press) explores the organization's contemporary significance in a sociological context. Through interviews with freemasons, documentary footage, and his own experiences as a freemason, Kenney has created a unique text that moves beyond the
history of the Masons to delve into how an ancient society remains relevant today.

2016 CBC Shakespeare Selfie writing challenge winners talk Beyond and Trump

CBC's 2016 Shakespeare Selfie writing challenge asked Canadian students to write a monologue or soliloquy in the style of the Bard about a subject of current social, political, or economic interest. Each entry had to be in the voice of one of Shakespeare's characters.

The 500 submissions received covered everything from Beyonce's visual album Lemonade to the Syrian refugee crisis. 20 finalists were eventually narrowed down to a single winner in each of the Grades 7-9 and Grade 10-12 categories.

Kid Lit Can, with Susan Hughes: The Magic, The Wonder - Chatting with YA Fantasy Authors (Part 2)

by Susan Hughes

Today, I continue my conversation about writing fantasy with these four amazingly talented and experienced YA authors: Lena Coakley, Alyxander Harvey, Nicole Luiken, and Arthur Slade. Please feel free to register or log in, and add your own observations and comments below!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Susan Hughes:

Thanks again to you all for agreeing to chat with me!

The Entitled Interview with Stuart Ross

Poet and short story writer Stuart Ross has been a mainstay of the vibrant CanLit Indie press scene for years, carving out a niche for his witty, playful, and beautifully bizarre books while gaining fans amongst writers and readers alike. His newest offering is A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Buckrider Books). The book represents an increasingly intimate approach from Ross as he delves into the complex relationships we have with the ones we love (including the longest relationship of our lives — the one we're in with ourselves). Ross' fans will be happy to see his trademark humour, innovation, and daring is well on display in this new collection.

Faking It

Writers' early careers are characterized by a sort of inconsistent confidence, a herky-jerky belief in themselves and their divinely appointed mission interspersed with paralyzing instances of clarity wherein they recognize that they have no earthly idea what they're doing. They'll be infatuated with an historical literary moment and stay up all night imitating its exemplars. Kerouac frequently figures in this process. Plath, too. It'll all mean a lot of false starts and questionable efforts, but there'll be a high volume of output, and the law of averages allows that some small percentage of the yield might not be half bad. Somebody in a position of so-called import – a “real” writer, a teacher – will say as much, and the young hopeful will be flush with a sudden filament-hot belief.

On Writing, with Lisa Moore

Newfoundland author Lisa Moore's gorgeous, moving, and whip-smart novels and short stories have gained a devoted following across Canada (and beyond), but her newest offering is particular exciting as it showcases a new aspect of Moore's impressive writing chops.

Flannery (Groundwood Books) is Moore's first young adult novel, and tells the story of the titular sixteen-year-old, a supposed love potion, and its disastrous consequences. Brimming with Moore's trademark wit and empathy, it's a coming of age story that is being hailed as "smart, bold, heartbreaking" (Kirkus Reviews).

Public Exhibitions of a Private Act

A great many things in life that I expected to go one way have instead gone another. Imagine my surprise. Maybe this has happened to you, too. As example: I thought I'd know when I became an adult; that maybe somebody would contact me to say, “You're an adult, you can now do adult things.” Instead, I just kind of had to guess, though the mortgage was a pretty big tip-off. Second case in point: I figured I could avoid having to speak to people if I sequestered myself in a room with a computer and wrote all the things I couldn't or wasn't able to say aloud. Turns out if you do that, and someone else publishes those things, then people sometimes contact you and ask you to read those things in public.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Teva Harrison on the Magic of Drawing

Teva Harrison's graphic memoir In-Between Days (House of Anansi) is one of the most anticipated titles of spring 2016. The lushly illustrated, moving, and incredibly open memoir deals with Harrison's cancer diagnosis through illustration and essays.

In this short video, courtesy of House of Anansi, Harrison discusses her artistic development, including her childhood as the daughter of an artist.

In-Between Days launches on April 23, 2016!

Writer In Residence

May 1, 2016-June 1, 2016

Andrew Forbes »

Andrew Forbes’s work has been nominated for the Journey Prize, and has appeared in The Feathertale Review, Found Press, PRISM International, The New Quarterly, Scrivener Creative Review, This Magazine, Hobart, The Puritan, All Lit Up, The Classical, and Vice Sports. He is the author of What You Need, a collection of fiction, and The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario.

You can write to Andrew throughout the month of May at writer@openbooktoronto.com

GritLit

Random reads

The Bourgeois Empire

The Bourgeois Empire

(ECW Press, 2010)
Read more about The Bourgeois Empire at the publisher's website.

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