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Poets in Profile: Bruce Whiteman

There are long poems and then there are long poems, and Bruce Whiteman's poetic endurance is beyond reproach. This fall sees the publication of his newest collection of poetry, Intimate Letters (ECW Press), which comprises the seventh (yes, seventh!) instalment of his acclaimed prose poem The Invisible World Is in Decline.

Taking its title from a string quartet by Leoš Jánaček, Intimate Letters begins, as a book of its title should, with love poems, and moves on through themes of loss and dispossession. This newest collection from an incisive and authentically creative poet is not to be missed.

Kid Lit Can, with Susan Hughes

Striving for a "wow" factor: Writing science books for kids

Welcome to my October blog about kids books in Canada! Hope you had a great summer. This month I’ve been thinking about nonfiction books for kids, especially science books. After I wrote Case Closed: Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science (KidsCan, 2010), I was searching for ways to connect with other authors interested in science writing for kids. I stumbled upon a terrific online group, Canadian Science Writing for Kids. Bingo!

Photos! The Open Book Salon

On Wednesday, October 8, Open Book hosted a literary salon at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Guest authors Kamal Al-Solaylee, Camilla Gibb and Steven Heighton took the stage with moderator and Open Book columnist Becky Toyne for an evening discussing writing and place.

The discussion started around the idea of home, with Al-Solaylee saying at one point, "Home is simply where you can be yourself." A transplant to Toronto, he questioned whether he would have embraced the city with the same enthusiasm if he were to arrive in the Toronto of 2014.

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Deanna Young

House Dreams (Brick Books) is the third collection of poetry from Deanna Young and like the titular house, it is inhabited by more than meets the eye. These smart, ominous poems tells the story of a woman's life, imbued with the uneasy power of a storm about to break. Poetry fans won't want to miss this excellent offering from an incisive and talented poet.

You can hear Deanna read from House Dreams online, courtesy of Brick Books.

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Bruce McDougall

Part mystery, part family story and part coming-of-age tale, Bruce McDougall's newest book is the short story collection Every Minute is a Suicide (Porcupine's Quill). The collection revolves around a father's disappearance and his son's attempt to find answers over the long years that follow. Eventually, the now-grown son finds himself — in more ways than one — in the darkness of a brutal Yukon winter.

A witty, clear-eyed take on the struggle to find one's place in the world, Every Minute is a Suicide is a great addition to any short fiction reading list.

IFOA Podcast: Michael Crummey on Storytelling

The powerhouse contingent of east coast writers in Canada shows no signs of slowing down. One of our most successful eastern scribes, Michael Crummey, recently landed on Governor General's Literary Award shortlist, for his new novel, Sweetland.

At the 2013 iteration of IFOA, Crummey was joined by Wayne Johnston and Peter Robinson for a discussion about the importance of setting in their stories. Now you can check out this fascinating discussion at the IFOA website. In the recording, Crummey observes that “Storytelling in Newfoundland was how people entertained themselves and … how they kept history alive.”

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Any Questions by Marie-Louise Gay

Every kid is unique, but if there is one thing that every young person has in common, it's their endless curiosity — anyone who spends time with kids knows that half the job is answering a lot of questions.

Marie-Louise Gay remembers her own time as a curious youngster well, and that memory inspired Any Questions? (Groundwood Books). Gay is an acclaimed creator of children's books and has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. In addition, Any Questions? is also nominated for the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award. She is best known as the creator of the beloved Stella series.

Charlotte Gray captures 2014 Toronto Book Award!

Acclaimed author Charlotte Graywas awarded the 2014 Toronto Book Award for her non-fiction book, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial That Shocked a Country (HarperCollins Canada) last night at Toronto's Reference Library.

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Gillian Wigmore

Gillian Wigmore's third collection of poetry, orient (Brick Books), includes three long poems. Forceful and bold, it builds beautifully on the career of a writer whose work has been called "place-literate, fully flexed, often suspenseful". Fred Stenson has said that when you read Gillian's work "you love and grieve".

Today Gillian joins us to take on the The WAR Series: Writers As Readers questionnaire, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Naomi Klein Wins $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction!

Last night at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Naomi Klein was named the 2014 winner of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, for her newest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Doubleday Canada).

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Any Questions by Marie-Louise Gay

Every kid is unique, but if there is one thing that every young person has in common, it's their endless curiosity — anyone who spends time with kids knows that half the job is answering a lot of questions.

Marie-Louise Gay remembers her own time as a curious youngster well, and that memory inspired Any Questions? (Groundwood Books). Gay is an acclaimed creator of children's books and has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. In addition, Any Questions? is also nominated for the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award. She is best known as the creator of the beloved Stella series.

Any Questions? focuses on the questions that Gay often gets from her young readers, who love to ask her about how her books are made.

The trailer for Any Questions? will have you feeling like a kid again, so be sure to check it out!

Writer In Residence

October 1, 2014 to November 1, 2014

Nicolas Billon »

Nicolas Billon’s work has been produced in Toronto, Stratford, New York and Paris. His triptych Fault Lines won the 2013 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Drama. He recently adapted his first play, The Elephant Song, into a feature film starring Bruce Greenwood, Xavier Dolan, Carrie-Anne Moss and Catherine Keener. His newest play is Butcher, which is published by Coach House Books and premieres at Alberta Theatre Projects in October 2014. You can visit him online at http://www.nicolasbillon.com.

You can contact Nicolas throughout the month of October with questions and comments at writer@openbooktoronto.com.

Whazamo

Random reads

Curry is Thicker than Water

(BookLand Press, 2009)
Jasmine is a very engaging personality and her view if Indian culture is fascinating.

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