Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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Ten Years of Type

by Becky Toyne

In March 2006, across the street from the not-yet-hip Trinity Bellwoods Park, a storefront window on Queen Street West held a teaser display: a brown leather armchair piled with books. Behind the chair was a black curtain obstructing the rest of the coming-soon new store from view. Behind the black curtain, two employees sat amid piles of publisher catalogues entering orders while the two owners and a carpenter put the finishing touches to the shelving, the flooring, and the office. Now and then a curious passerby would push open the door: “What are you going to be?” they’d ask. “We’re going to be a bookstore.” “Well, that’s brave. Good luck!” And off they’d go.

By Way of Introduction

If, as I am given to understand, the point of a writer-in-residence, whether virtual or actual, is in part to hold forth on the mechanics and practice of writing, then let me start by laying bare my understanding of the subject: I believe that you should do whatever works. Which is to say that I think trial and error is essential. Which is to further say that I don't think there are any easy or quick answers. Meaning: any advice or pointers I might inadvertently let slip over the next month or thereabouts should be seen to be highly subjective, if not downright flawed. They will be, in other words, basically worth the paper they're printed on.

#WritingTips Mondays: Zadie Smith's Rules for Writing

We love to talk to amazing writers on Open Book in order to celebrate and spread the word about their newest books. But before writers get to that point, there are years of hard work, revised drafts, and false starts. For all of you out there who are in the early stages of your writing life, we want to share tips, encouragement, and tricks of the trade from some of our favourite writers. So we're launching #WritingTips Mondays, where we will highlight some of the best writing advice on the web. Whether you're working your way through a first draft or a fifth, it's always interesting to hear what fellow writers have to say about the craft.

Special Feature! Interview with FOLD Festival Guest Author Chase Joynt

YOLO is old news. For truly interesting stories, consider YOLT — which is both the title of and driving philosophy behind You Only Live Twice (Coach House Books), by trans writer and media artist Chase Joynt and HIV-positive movie artist Mike Hoolboom.

On Back and Forth

Much like how poetry and fiction can give perspective on inner dialogue—the stuff of conscious thought—and how it works, interviews can be displays of outer thought—the stuff of collaboration and conversation: the bricks and mortar of society. In the best cases what we witness in an interview is an exercise in empathy, two minds tossing language back and forth, trying to get at a point, and working to get at that point together. Whether that goal, that conclusion of thought, is reached is not important, and not why we play audience to the exchange. It’s the exchange itself that is significant.

Carolyn Wood, former Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, receives Janice E. Handford Award

Yesterday afternoon, the Ontario Book Publishers Organization honoured Carolyn Wood, former Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, with the Janice E. Handford Award. Wood was given the award — which recognizes "an individual who has advanced the cause of small and literary Canadian publishing” — at a reception in Toronto sponsored by Friesens. Photos of the event can be viewed and downloaded here.

Special Feature! Friends of Toronto's Type Books Look Back on 10 Years of Indie Bookselling

It's no stretch to say that Queen West just wouldn't be Queen West without Type Books. In the indie bookstore's ten year lifespan, it has become as iconic and essential a part of Toronto's west end as Trinity Bellwoods, the park that faces the beloved little shop. There isn't a book lover in Toronto who won't rave about Type, from its perfectly curated shelves to its brilliant staff. A true community destination for readings, children's programs, and most importantly, remarkable reads, Type is the rare store that has become more than a store and evolved to be a part of Torontonians' lives.

Call for Submissions! The OBPO's What's Your Story Writing Competition

Everyone has a story — what's yours? You've got the perfect chance to tell it in the OBPO's Short Prose and Poetry Competition for Emerging Writers.

The Ontario Book Publishers Organization is accepting submissions until May 9, 2016 for the competition as part of What’s Your Story?, a new series of events that celebrates the literary communities in four different community hubs: Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, and East York.

In the summer of 2016, literary events will be held in each of these neighbourhoods featuring one winning emerging author and their works (along with three established writers). There will be a total of four winning, emerging authors.

"We're All Teachers," an Interview With Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser is a high school teacher and author of two collections of poetry, The Serenity of Stone, and, most recently, To Greet Yourself Arriving. If you attended NOW Magazine’s Battle of the Bards this year at IFOA, then you had the pleasure of seeing his powerful reading of a selection of poems from his latest collection, a portrait series of significant figures in black history, from Harriet Tubman to Oprah to Basquiat. I wanted to ask him about how he picked these individuals and the relationship between poetry and teaching.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Interview with Melanie Raabe, author of The Trap

How would an author catch a murderer? Through a book, of course. So starts Melanie Raabe's The Trap (House of Anansi), where a reclusive author baits her sister's murderer by writing a book that exactly follows the event of her sister's death.

Check out this interview with debut author Raabe, where she speaks to House of Anansi about the process of writing The Trap, an electric moment of inspiration at a lunch table and the experience of writing a novel within a novel.

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


Random reads

Arms: The Credo and Culture of the Gun

Arms: The Credo and Culture of the Gun

From Biblioasis: In Arms, novelist, sports shooter, and former army reservist A.J. Somerset instills new life in the gun book’s third wave: neither reportage nor redneck tourism, Arms brings ballistics, legal history, and criminology to bear on the gun in fiction and film. A sharp-eyed, snarky, sure-handed, and sportive take on America’s favorite weapon.

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