Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Announcement: Writer in Residency at Open Book, May 2018

So after a relatively quiet second half of January/first half of February, I've got some great news to share. I've been asked to be the writer in residence for the month of May for Open Book, a popular website focused on Ontario's writing and publishing scene.

My residency will involve writing eight to 10 blog posts about some aspect of my creative life, along with an accompanying Q&A. I'll be joined by an exciting group of fellow writers: novelist David Demchek (for March), poet and critic Emma Healey (for April) and poet Shannon Webb-Campbell (for June).  Looking forward to it!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Events Events Events!

So apparently there is no rest for the wicked. I've got three big events coming up in the month of January that I want to tell you about, so if you live in these cities and you're free to come out, please do! They promise to be loads of fun.

Event the first
I will be back reading at the Pivot Reading Series here in Toronto next Wednesday, January 3rd starting at 8 pm. I have a special place in my heart for Pivot, as its where I met my wife, Rebecca Rosenblum, as well as a number of other friends in the Toronto literary scene. Wednesday's event will happen in the Tiki Room at the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, and I will share the stage with Kate Sutherland, Ralph Kolewe, and Jessica Westhead. See the Facebook information here.

Event the second
I've mentioned this one before, but just a reminder that I'll be reading at the Planet Earth Poetry reading series with fellow poet Wendy McGrath at Hillside Coffee and Tea, 1633 Hillside Ave in Victoria, BC on Friday, January 19, starting at 7:30 pm. This will be my first time visiting the lovely city of Victoria, and I'm looking forward to getting out there and having a blast at this long-running reading series.

Event the third
Back in Toronto, Rebecca and I will have another joint reading together, this time on Monday, January 22 at the S. Walter Stewart branch of the Toronto Public Library, 170 Memorial Park Avenue, Toronto, starting at 6:30. RR and I are always up for doing a reading together and look forward to sharing our work with readers and talking about what it's like being married to a fellow writer. See the event page on the TPL website for more details.

Monday, December 18, 2017

My review of Kinnoull Hill, by Jamie Tennant

... is now posted at the Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine website. This novel, published last year by Palimpsest Press, is about an unsavoury record executive who finds himself stranded in small-town Scotland and discovers redemption with the help a thousand-year-old goblin. It's loads of fun. As I put it in the review:

The Captain of Kinnoull Hill earns its cred across a number of vectors: it is at once a passionate love letter to the world of popular music a la Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, a perfectly believable foray into the realm of the supernatural, and a riotously executed example of literary humour.

The novel was also recently shortlisted for the Hamilton Literary Awards in the fiction category, for which I was on the jury. It's a great read and definitely worth checking it out.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Upcoming reading: The Common Reading Series at the Belljar

Hey hey, Toronto: RR and I have one last reading of 2017 together. This time we'll be sharing a stage with Cornelia Hoogland at the Common Reading Series at the Belljar Bar/Cafe on December 11. Here are the particulars:

Where: The Belljar Bar/Cafe, 2072 Dundas West, Toronto.
When: Monday, December 11, 2017.
What time: 8 pm
Cost: Pay what you can.
See the Facebook event page here.

This will mark my thirteenth event for 2017 (oof!) and it promises to be an evening of great readings and a lot of fun. Please come out if you can!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My review of Arrival: The Story of CanLit, by Nick Mount ...

... has been published on the Canadian Writers Abroad website, run by Debra Martens. Some of you may recall that Debra interviewed me back in 2014 ahead of the release of my second novel, Sad Peninsula, and she asked if I would be interested in writing a review of Mount's book for her site, which of course I was.

Arrival is a look back at the "boom years" of CanLit, which Mount defines as between 1957, with the formation of the Canada Council, to about 1974. I liked his book a lot, and especially appreciated his honest capsule reviews (complete with star ratings) of many of the major titles published during this period. Definitely a work worth picking up. See the full review here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tartan Turban Reading Series on Tag TV

Last Thursday's Tartan Turban Secret Reading Series was an incredibly special evening of stories, poems, and discussions about Toronto and its diverse range of neighbourhoods and people. Thankfully, the wonderful night was recorded for posterity by online television channel Tag TV. Thanks to Koom Kankesan and all the organization for the invitation to take part. I had a blast.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

CNQ 100 is here!

And I'm in it - twice! Yes indeedy, I've got not one but two articles in the 100th issue of Canadian Notes & Queries. One is a feature-length article called "Will Anyone Care? Archiving in the Digital Age," which I talk about my own obsessive habits for preserving my work, interview other authors about their approaches to archiving, and walk readers through the more technical side of valuing and preserving authors' digital materials at the Thomas Fisher Library at the University of Toronto.

The second piece is a review of a debut short story collection called Life on Mars, by Lori McNulty. It's one of the weirder books I've read in a while, but McNulty shows a great deal of range in this pieces and I'm sure there's something to love in there for everybody. Hers is definitely a name to watch on the CanLit scene.

There are lots of other interested pieces in this issue as well. There's an excerpt from Nick Mount's new book on the CanLit boom from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s, called Arrival (I'm reading the book right now for review somewhere else); James Polk looks back at the history of House of Anansi Press; and Robert Wringham writes about his desire to win the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour (something I can relate to A GREAT DEAL!).

Anyway, it looks like another stellar issue, and I want to extend my fondest congrats to CNQ for hitting this impressive milestone. Here's to a hundred more!