Had the opportunity to write a review of Simon Brousseau’s fascinating experimental novel ‘Syapses’ for the summer issue of Montreal Review of Books. I get the opportunity to review a lot of great French literature in English translation, and this book is no exception.
rob mclennan had me contribute to his ‘My (small press) writing day’ blog. Reading about people's writing practice feels like sneaking a peak at their medicine cabinet, which is why it's both fascinating & slightly embarrassing. Enjoy! And feel free to let me know your own writing habits in the comments section.
Wrote a review of African Quebecois writer Edem Awumey's novel 'Descent into Night' for the Spring issue of Montreal review of Books. It is harrowing yet suffused with beauty. Check out my engagement with the text here.
I had the pleasure of reviewing Bertrand Laverdure's novel 'Readopolis' over at Montreal Review of books. The book is a frenetic collage of literary styles, and I can't recommend it enough. The translation by Oana Avasilichioaei only heightens the Quebecois atmosphere of the text. Click here to read the review.
Looking for a summer read? To celebrate the Kindle edition of my novella 'Chloes', it will be available from July 16th-18th for FREE at the Kindle store. If you happen to enjoy it, why not give it a review? (Because, apparently, much like a tree falling in a forest, an e-book never happened if no-one was there to review it!). Thanks, and happy e-booking!
I am incredibly pleased to reveal that my first novel, 'The Fish', published by Anteism Press in 2010, will see French translation on Les Allusifs for both the North American and European markets in August of 2015. Thanks to editor Jean-Marie Jot for finding it on the shelf at Drawn and Quarterly and taking a chance on it, and to René-Daniel Dubois for the fine translation. Can't really express how excited I am for 'Le Poisson' to swim the Francophone seas!!
I'm pleased to announce that 'Chloes' has been shortlisted for 'Best English Book' at the Expozine Awards on May 15th at Divan Orange. Friends Guillaume Morissette and Georgia Webber are also up for 'BEB' and 'Best English Comic' respectively. Looking forward to a fun evening!
Many people think of writing as a solitary pursuit. And it is a lot of the time, with hours spent staring at the wall with nothing but figments of our imaginations to keep us company. We research, plan, chart, write, rewrite, then rewrite again. No-one can help us with this. This is on us.
However, in my experience, the literary community is a vital part of a writer’s development. I’ve never enrolled in a creative writing program. It was in writing groups in Victoria that I received feedback on my earliest work. Writer-friends in Montreal have read early drafts, and even edited entire book-length manuscripts for me. Don’t worry about it. This is just what we do, is the response I got back when I offered to pay for services generously provided. Since then, I’ve made it a point to pay it forward whenever the opportunity arises.
Independent booksellers are crucial to the literary community. Shops in Montreal like Argo Bookstore, Drawn and Quarterly, and The Word hold our launches, reading events, and feature our books on their shelves. They are a place for us to socialize, and drink the complimentary wine that helps make that socializing possible. Spots like Monastiraki, or the zine rack at Le Pickup offer unexpected venues for literary discovery. By championing our books to those who would most likely never come into contact with them, indie booksellers are the nexus between writers and the wider reading community. In fact, my first book wouldn’t be seeing French translation in the fall if an editor from Les Allusifs hadn’t randomly come across it on the shelf at Drawn and Quarterly. Why would Independent Bookstores support local talent when there are so many blockbusters to make a buck off of? This is just what we do, is what I imagine their response to be.
People are reading more than they ever have, they just happen to be doing most of it on a screen. There are established online communities of writers who publish and promote one another’s work. We have social media to disseminate our accomplishments across the virtual landscape. And how could we forget the rise of e-books and e-readers to the world of literary pursuit. But nothing will ever replace the flesh-and-blood connections made possible through our local independent bookstores. Real people, real books, and real long-term relationships in a shared place and time. Booksellers have dedicated their lives to the written word, and are in a unique position as mavens and purveyors of the literary arts. Let’s value this by giving back and supporting them.
Authors for Indies is happening across Canada on May 2nd at an independent bookstore near you. For the event, I’ve chosen to promote works from three Montreal writers who have put a book out in the past year: Anna Leventhal’s Sweet Affliction, Guillaume Morissette’s New Tab, and Jacob Wren’s Polyamorous Love Song. All three represent distinct literary voices from the local writing community. I look forward to sharing my appreciation for their work with writers and readers alike at Argo Bookshop between 2 and 5pm on the day. And I hope you’ll find the time to come out, talk books, and perhaps buy one while you’re at it, because, as a good friend once told me, this is just what we do.
(The original article ran in the Montreal Gazette on May 1st, 2015, as a promotion for Authors for Indies).
I'm very happy for all the glowing reviews coming in for 'Chloes'. Seems all the querying and mailing of packages has paid off! Both the Montreal Review of Books and Weird Canada have offered interesting and insightful takes on the story. Come see me next weekend at Expozine in Montreal if you get the chance!!
Many thanks to Alison Lang at Broken Pencil for the insightful reflections on Chloes in the current issue of Broken Pencil. Come to Broken Pencil's #Canzine event in Toronto this weekend (Nov 1st. 2014), and check out the book if you haven't had the chance yet! Read the review here.
Some plans for the new novel.
This is me reading at the Metatron 'This Is Happening Whether You LIke It Or Not' Nature Special event. It was a memorable evening by the tracks at the "Champs des Possibles" in Montreal. Even got a train to blast its horn as it passed. Other readers included Sherry Huang, Fariha Roisen, Bukem Reitmeyer, Frankie Barnett, and Alex Manley.
The fine folks at Papirmass, who were kind enough to publish an excerpt of 'Chloes, are offering a copy of the book to the lucky winner of their monthly contest. All you have to do is take a photo of a Papirmass print, post it on social media, and you could win! At $5.75 a month for an original art print and accompanying piece of literature, you really can't go wrong. Kirsten McCrea is doing amazing things over there.
Thanks to everyone for coming out to the launch last Thursday in Toronto. Anjula at Another Story Bookshop was a gracious host. Jill Margo entertained us all with a surreal and sexy story about legless Patrick Swayze and a roasted chicken. And it was great to see so many faces from the past, as well as some new ones. Thanks again for making it an unforgettable night.
Here are some pics from the launch at Drawn and Quarterly on May 29th. Thanks to Klara du Plessis for taking them! The night was a great success. Toronto folks, feel free to come out to the event at Another Story Bookshop on Thursday, June 12th.
I'll be launching my book 'Chloes' this coming Thursday at Drawn and Quarterly with the support of Melissa Bull and Mike Spry (http://tiny.cc/eokfgx) and in Toronto on June 12th at Another Story Bookshop with my friend Jill Margo (http://tiny.cc/eokfgx). Come on out for readings, refreshments, and some projections of Nicole Aline Legault 's amazing illustrations. It'd be great to see you there!