April 24th, 2017
There was just a gorgeous review of So Much Love in the Globe and Mail on Saturday–I was really moved by the way the reviewer, Marsha Lederman, reacted to the book. And I feel incredibly lucky that my novel received such an attentive, thoughtful review.
Tomorrow I head off to the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens in Aldershot for Different Drummer Books’ Books and Brunch event with Kyo Maclear and Trevor Cole. That should be fun (and delicious)!
Then on Thursday I’ll be at the Bibliobash to benefit the Toronto Public Library. How great that a fun and fancy night out can also benefit one of my favourite causes. Great when that sort of thing works out.
April 21st, 2017
Oh, you guys, the Pivot at the Steady reading was so nice. Every reader was great (even me, if I do say so humbly–I lived up to the evening I think!) the host was great, everyone that I spoke to in the audience was great, the vibe in the room was great, even the temperature was great. I wish I went out to readings as often as I used to–it was about once a week, more or less, in my late twenties and I just went to anything my friends suggested or that sounded cool to me. Now 10 years later it’s less than once a month unless I am myself reading and I really miss it. Stupid increasing decrepitude.
BUT I am reading a lot these days in support of So Much Love and while that in itself is a lot of fun, it’s also wonderful in that it gets me out listening to all the talented folks who are on the bill with me at readings. Like Saturday night, for example, when I’ll be reading at the Toronto launch of the Making Room anthology with so many brilliant and talented women like Amy Jones, Ayelet Tsabari, Eleanor Watchtel and tonnes more. It should be an amazing night. If you can’t make it or don’t live in Toronto, you can still order the anthology, which is huge and amazing and well worth reading. $26 is a steal for a book that covers 40 years of female and feminist writing in Canada. I’m not all the way through yet but I’m just floored by the strength and diversity of the gathering.
Sunday will be a day off from me and my book, but if you miss me, you actually hear me on the radio talking about the only other thing besides books people ever want to talk to me about–my big crazy jaw surgery! I’ll be on Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay at 11am on Sunday morning, 11pm on Tuesday, or you can listen online at the link above. It’s an interesting show concept, on personal transformation, and I’m looking forward to listening to all the interviews myself!
April 18th, 2017
There’s a lovely starred review of So Much Love in the current issue of Quill and Quire by Josef Grubisic that is making me really happy. It is easy for sensitive writer to take even a positive review and get agitated about things we disagree with or feel aren’t quite accurate, but this review has none of that for me–how amazing! It’s online now and you can read it at the link above but I urge you to stay tuned–or pick up the print issue–because this issue of Q&Q contains another great review of a really wonderful book by an author I am VERY FOND OF. I’ll say no more.
In other news, I’m reading at Pivot at the Steady tomorrow night, with Shane Neilson, Erin Robinsong, and Kevin Connolly, which will be swell. I love Pivot, maybe most out of all reading series. Not just because I read at the very first night of Pivot, and for every book since, not just because it has always been amazingly curated even as a number of different folks have hosted it, all equally amazing in their own very different ways, and not just because everyone is always so nice there, the audiences so warm and supportive, the readers so interesting and engaged. But also because I met my husband there, in January 2009, when Kerry Clare brought me to hear Jessica Westhead read. I didn’t know Jessica either at that point and I now am lucky enough to count her as a friend, and a few weeks after that I was sitting alone at Pivot and a cool-looking couples set their coffees down on my table and we’re still friends too, despite the fact they now live on another continent.
But Mark is my biggest Pivot win and I’ll always be grateful to the series for bringing us together, even though that is corny and there are potentially 10 000 people on earth I could be happy with and perhaps I would have met one of them if I’d gone to a different reading. I don’t want to be married to those people. I only want to be married to Mark, and I am, and so–thank you, Pivot. See you tomorrow.
April 11th, 2017
Er, yes, sorry, it’s another post about me and my book. I’m just trying to keep the blog more or less up to date on So Much Love stuff while actually DOING all this stuff and also my 9-5 job, and that doesn’t seem to save much time for any actual creative work of any sort, even the little flights of fancy require for blog postery. I will get back to it, promise.
Anyway, I did a fun Magic 8 interview for CBC Books that’s live now, and an interview with Jamie Tennant at CFMU in Hamilton that will air in a month or so. In a cool turn, Jamie had a column in the Hamilton Spectator when I was a teen and I thought he was just the coolest–it was really fun and sort of a dream to be interview by him. Really looking forward to reading his new novel, too–it’s called The Captain of Kinnoull Hill and it’s about a man considered to be the least likeable person in the Chicago music scene!!
Looking forward to May, I’m a part of a dream event at IFOA on May 10 reading and talking with the ever-excellent Kerry Clare about our respective books with the also-excellent Amy Jones as our interviewer and Sheniz Janmohamed as host. That one should be a really great evening–you should come! But even if no one comes, I think we’ll have fun on stage.
And this one is weirder, but also cool…I’m an honourary caption for the First Book Pongapalooza event on May 16 in support of literacy for First Book! Come out and play some Ping Pong and help kids learn to read!
April 5th, 2017
So I made it back from Vancouver safe but tired, spent a day sleeping and moving my car around, and then went out to Pickering for the delightful Festival of Authors. The weekend was more sleep and also taxes, and then on Monday I went out to Waterloo to visit the brilliant Claire Tacon‘s creative writing class. Claire’s students were engaged, thoughtful and well-read, and we spent a good hour together talking about writing in general and mine and theirs in particular before I got on the Greyhound home and passed out. Yesterday was the Toronto Review of Books We All Feel So Foolish reading, which was good fun and surprisingly packed–but with fellow readers Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell, Mark Sampson, and Antanas Sileika, you can see why.
Today is a breather, thank goodness. But my CBC Magic 8 interview is posted, in case you’re curious about yet more of my thoughts.
Tomorrow I’m off to Hamilton to read at GritLit, Hamilton’s literary festival. My reading is at 9:30pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and is entitled The Disappeared, co-starring Ian Reid, but you should really take in any events at GL you can, as the whole weekend promises to be exceptionally good. I’ll also be on CFMU Radio with Jamie Tennant at some point tomorrow–that should be cool as well.
And then you get a break from the relentless RRing, and I will get some sleep and go back to talking about things other than myself and my book–which sounds just fine to me!
March 30th, 2017
Hello from Vancouver, where last night I read at the Incite series and yesterday was on the Global BC News at Noon. I find the clip pretty unwatchable, but apparently that is how people feel about seeing themselves on TV–most other people who have watched it think it’s fine (or have been too kind to tell the truth). It was very fun to do the interview with Sophie Lui and Squire Barnes, who were total pros and very good and making me feel both comfortable and smart–what good TV presenters do! I still can’t watch the clip, though.
I’ve discovered this lovely blog review at the Bookshelf blog by Andrew Hood. Andrew is an old friend whose work I deeply admire, so this was a delight to stumble across.
I also finished off a blog interview with Steven Buechler at Sea of Pacific Tranquility about So Much Love. I talk about how we are all know about crimes like the ones described in SML but we know about them in tiny ways, and most of us have the privilege of turning off the news when it gets distressing–but some don’t. The people who experience the crimes and their families don’t, and I wanted to use fiction and whatever empathetic imagination I possess to explore that world and that experience, an experience that doesn’t end.
It’s hard thing to get right–and I’m never going to capture the breadth of experiences in the world, because I’ve only written about a handful of characters and also because fiction is an art and what people think of art can be subjective–but just because I’m done the writing of the book doesn’t mean I can stop thinking carefully and deeply about the subject matter and how I present it each and every time I’m in public or online. I think I need to work on that.
Can you tell I’ve had some tough talks recently? Or have been spending too much time by myself perhaps? Or both? I have one brilliant sunny day left in Vancouver and then I’m going to come home and read at The Ontario Writers Conference Festival of Authors. And then maybe lie down for a little while.
March 25th, 2017
Oh boy. We had the launch party on Wednesday evening and despite me being pretty intense about the whole thing–I showed up over an hour early “just in case,” and then when everything appeared to be fine went out to dinner with friends but didn’t eat–it was really a lovely, loving evening. The M&S publicity staff did a great job setting up a party with wine and cheese and books and chairs for all who wanted them, and my brilliant editor Anita Chong made a lovely speech where she put the brilliance all on me (lies!) I was truly touched by how many friends, old and new, came out to wish the book well on its journey into the world. It was pretty great to have my family there, and as a special favour I had asked my in-laws to extend their vacation in Toronto half a week to be there too, and they did it, and even baked me a cake. And my brother- and sister-in-law even managed to get my niece there for part of the evening, no mean feat with a two year old. I laughed, I didn’t really cry too much, there was a lot of gorgeous cheese, and I received many hugs. It was intense, but great–and then some friends drove me off to finally get some food and I kind of slowly and gently collapsed. One cannot do too many evenings like that in a lifetime, but I’m glad this one happened happened.
Then I spent Thursday evening frantically working on the lecture I gave Friday at Laurentian University (Barrie campus) on the women in media/gender studies themes in my novel. They are most certainly there, but it is not necessarily a novelist’s role to pull them out or identify them, so it was a bit challenging to talk about my process with the book and stay in line with the the syllabus’s goals, but the class seemed to go well and I certainly enjoyed talking to the youth, so we’ll count it a win.
I’m taking this weekend off from book stuff, but on Tuesday I fly to Vancouver for more. Wednesday is a “media day,” in which I do interviews around Vancouver. Since those are local outlets, I don’t know that I’ll be able to share any of the results here, but if I can, you know I will. Then that evening I am very much looking forward to returning to the Incite reading series presented by the Vancouver Writers Festival and the Vancouver Public Library, where I’ll be reading with Janet McNulty and Lori McNulty. Hooray!
After spending Thursday frolicking in Vancouver (please don’t rain) I’ll be back in Toronto Friday morning to prepare for my Friday evening event at the Ontario Writers’ Conference Festival of Authors. That is in Pickering, suburban friends–please stop by if you are free. I have to admit that tickets–available on the site–are a bit pricy at $20, but I will try to make it worth your while. Also, I hear there are snacks.
After that, I plan to collapse or else start living in my car in order to defend it from being towed as my parking lot is being torn down and my poor car is homeless. This is really not your concern but is taking up a lot of space in my brain! ANYWAY, elsewhere on the internet there was a nice blog review of So Much Love posted today at Literary Hoarders and yesterday a lovely interview I did with Brad de Roo went up at Canadian Notes and Queries. That one was one of the most thoughtful and well-read interviews I’ve done in recent memory, and it was a real pleasure as a challenge to answer Brad’s questions–I hope you enjoy it.
Things promise to calm down soon–well, by the end of April anyway–and I will make an attempt to talk about something other than myself/my book in my next blog post but really, all this attention for SML is pretty thrilling and I am most certainly grateful for it.
February 13th, 2017
Guys, I’m having a book launch–like really, actually, getting celebrate my book in the flesh with people who supported me to get to this point, plus anyone else who is interested in the book or some free cheese. Please come!
The above is in Toronto, since that is where I live, but I’ll also be hitting the road at least a little bit to promote the book and connect with readers in other regions. It’ll be fun!
Here’s the schedule, if you are curious. Please note that the starred events aren’t public ones, and that this plan is still a work in progress–new events will be added, so if you are sad I’m not doing an event close to you, please let me know! I can’t promise it’ll work out, but knowing people will come to an event is definitely a deciding factor in the event existing or not, so it’s worth getting in touch!
March 22: Book launch!
*March 24: Guest Lecture at Laurentian University at Georgian College in Barrie
March 29: Incite reading series in Vancouver with Lori McNulty and Janet Rogers
*April 3: Guest Lecture at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo
April 6-9: GritLit Festival in Hamilton
April 19: Pivot at the Steady in Toronto
April 22: Toronto launch of Making Room with Amy Jones and Ayelet Tsabari (technically, this isn’t an SML date, as I’ll be reading from an older story included in their anthology. But I’m including it anyway!)
April 27: Bibliobash in support of the Toronto Public Libary
August 31st, 2016
Back in May, I did a reading with a group of wonderous folks including Suzanne Alyssa Andrew who so kindly invited and presented me. There is now video evidence online, and despite my horror of ever seeing myself on film, I kind of like it. If you like, you can watch it too. Enjoy!
May 16th, 2016
Last Friday night I read at the lovely lovely Pages Unbound festival, and on Saturday I attended four panel discussions at The Festival of Literary Diversity. Aside from being a pretty festival-centric weekend, all that immersion gave me a little jolt on why literary community–some kinds more than others–are important.
From a self-involved standpoint, after TWO years of editing my book, not being able to publish stories (because they are under contract) and rarely being invited to read anywhere (nothing personal, but I haven’t been asking and most invitations are tied to book promotion), it was very very nice to get up on stage in a fancy theatre at the AGO, in the company of many impressive peers and after being so generously introduced by the wonderful Suzanne Alyssa Andrew. It was nice to be included, and listened to, and applauded for. It was nice to share my stories in a non-editorial context–my editor shows her regard for my work by suggesting ways to make it better, which I deeply appreciate, but sometimes it’s nice when people show regard by clapping, asking questions, or just saying they liked it. Just accepting what I have to offer and engaging where they can. I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to share my work, but now that it’s a bit rare, it’s especially precious.
Which was an interesting frame of mind to be in the next day when I hit the FOLD, a festival devoted to stories and voices that often get pushed off the stage, denied that very attention, engagement, and applause. You can read Kerry Clare’s run-down of the day on her blog (Kerry kindly invited me to go with her and a couple other smart women, and we attended all the same panels, so you can assume I had similar experiences, though not that I had Kerry’s level of insight!).
I actually meant to write a longer post about what I heard at the FOLD and how it made me feel, but I think I’m still digesting or am just overwhelmed by the amount of good and challenging discussion and debate I saw in one speedy Saturday. In any event, I feel privileged for getting to both speak and listen, and the listening was especially beneficial.