Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Sue Sinclair

Sue Sinclair's Heaven's Thieves (Brick Books) gets right to the heart of the questions that drive us. What is beauty? What is the point of art? How are we meant to live, and how do we engage with the natural world? These are big questions for a poet to take on, but Sinclair has proved in her past collections that she doesn't shy away from tough subjects. Fierce and original, with a focused, pared-down lyricism, Heaven's Thieves is a collection showcasing a poet who has proven herself "insightful, even — dare I say it in this secular age — soulful" (The Toronto Star).

Comic: What did Ben McNally do when he wasn't selling books?

I must have met Ben McNally weeks after moving to Canada. The details are a little fuzzy on when that was. It might have been at Harbourfront for IFOA, or maybe at Nicholas Hoare, where he was selling books when I rolled into town.

There's something I can't quite pin down, equal parts shared hippy values, a certain sense of humour, a depth of kindness that spills out of his eyes – it's a delight to know Ben. I feel like I've known him much longer than I have.

Finding a connection like that when you move to a new country, like I did, is a gift. It makes a city feel like home faster. It means the world.

“These Two Things Are One,” an Interview With Kilby Smith-McGregor

by James Lindsay

Kilby Smith-McGregor’s debut poetry collection, Kids in Triage, explores the in-betweens that exist just out of sight. Psychology/biology, art/philosophy, literature/legend all expose their connective tissue that often goes overlooked, causing the red lines that were assumed to be dividers to show themselves as illusions. Though primarily a writer of short fiction and essays, Kids in Triage brings together her first poetic works.

James Lindsay:

#WritingTips Mondays: Junot Díaz on Writing in the Bathroom

Where is your favourite place to write? How do you keep plots and characters organized in your head while you write?

The Wall Street Journal spoke to 11 internationally acclaimed authors about the ins and outs of their writing routines. Check out the full posting to learn everything from Michael Ondaatje's preferred brand of notebook to Junot Díaz's strategy of writing while sitting on the edge of his bathtub.

What thrills Amy Stuart?

As suddenly as the publication of my first book made me a writer, I started to see Amy Stuart everywhere, which was such a great stroke of luck for me.

She's warm and quick and smart. She listens so closely that you feel like you're the only thing worthwhile going on within earshot.

Every time I meet her, I find myself liking her better. I learn more about how engaged she is in living with integrity and passion and personal truth.

I don't usually read thrillers, but I liked Amy so much that I wanted to read her book, Still Mine. It was clever, with just enough twists, cinematic, and (yes) thrilling.

Working at home: the fine line between distraction and productivity

I have learned that it's not unusual in that I like to listen to podcasts while I draw comics. Those of us who work on things alone much of the time have tricks to feel less isolated. Music, podcasts, pets, maybe even houseplants or a garden, or both – these can be distractions, tools to help channel productivity, or gifts that make us feel less alone. 

The In Character Interview with Dawn Green

Bennett Ryan led her basketball team to a State championship at her old school, but after her mother's new job forces her to transfer to Riverside High, she finds herself playing alongside her former rivals and facing off against her old friends. With a scholarship hanging in the balance, Bennett can't afford to allow her conflicted feelings to affect her on the court. This tense set up is the premise for In the Swish (Red Deer Press) by Dawn Green, which has been called "a slam-dunk for basketball fans".

Marianne Dubuc and Susan Nielsen win 40th anniversary Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards

On June 22, the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Arts Foundation announced the winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the awards, which honour excellence in English-language writing for young readers.

At an event at Toronto’s Scarborough Village Alternative Public School, Marianne Dubuc and Susin Nielsen were honoured as the Children's Picture Book Award and Young Adult/Middle Reader Award winners, respectively.

The prizes are unique in that the winners are selected by juries of young readers, in grades three and four for the Children's Picture Book Award, and in grades seven and eight for the Young Adult/Middle Reader Award.

Poets in Profile: Vivek Shraya

Multi-talented and multi-genre artist and musician Vivek Shraya is running out of debuts — she has tackled short fiction and the novel and now she's completing her literary hat trick with a gorgeous, powerful collection of poetry: even this page is white (Arsenal Pulp Press).

even this page is white has been praised as "dexterous and sinister... revelatory". Vivek "dares to ask the unspoken yet screaming questions" in her clear-eyed interrogation of what it means to be racialized, rendered in poems that are as stylish as they are intelligent.

Kevin Hardcastle & Soraya Peerbaye win 2016 Trillium Book Awards

Open Book is thrilled to announce that our own Kevin Hardcastle, Open Book Toronto's Assistant Editor, has won the $20,000 2016 Trillium Book Award for his debut short fiction collection, Debris (Biblioasis). Debris was also nominated for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. 2016 marks the second year in a row where the Trillium Prize has been awarded to a collection of short stories from an independent publisher (the 2015 award was given to Kate Cayley for her story collection How You Were Born, published by Pedlar Press).

Writer In Residence

June 1, 2016-July 1, 2016

Teva Harrison »

Teva Harrison is a writer and graphic artist. She is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic memoir, In-Between Days, which is based on her graphic series about living with cancer published in The Walrus. It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2016 by the Globe and Mail, which also named the author one of 16 Torontonians to Watch. She has commented on CBC Radio and in the Globe and Mail about her experience. Numerous health organizations have invited her to speak publicly on behalf of the metastatic cancer community. She lives in Toronto.

You can write to Teva throughout June 2016 at

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


Random reads

The Tweedles Go Electric

The Tweedles Go Electric

(Groundwood Books)
From our friends at Groundwood Books: Meet the Tweedles: Papa, Mama, daughter Frances and her brother, Francis. It’s the dawn of a new century—the twentieth century! — and the Tweedles have decided to buy a car. But no gas guzzler for this modern family. Only an electric car will do for them.

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