Thursday, May 16, 2019

Upcoming Event: The Draft Reading Series

Hey ho, Toronto: I have an upcoming event to tell you about: I'll be taking part in the Draft Reading Series on Sunday, May 26, with other draft alumni at an event that includes featured readers Doyali Islam and Leslie Shimotakahara. Provided I can find a tight, five-minute excerpt, this event will mark the WORLD DEBUT of my forthcoming novel, All the Animals on Earth, slated for release by Wolsak & Wynn in spring 2020. If you're free and in the area, please come on out! Here are the details:

What: The Draft Reading Series
Where: St. Matthew’s Clubhouse, 450 Broadview Ave., Toronto
When: Sunday, May 26, 2019
What time: 3 pm.
Fellow readers: Doyali Islam, Leslie Shimotakahara,Nasim Asgari, Ronna Bloom, Melinda Vandenbeld Giles, Amanda Hale, Mahak Jain, and Julia Zarankin.
See event website for more details.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

My Quill and Quire review of Lands and Forests, by Andrew Forbes ..

... is now online on the Q&Q website. This collection is a mixed bag of stories, many of which deal with men grappling against their worst impulses. As I mention in the review, the best pieces in the book - "Graceland" and "Broadcasting" - really stand out and impressed me in multiple ways. When he gives himself the space, Forbes knows how to unwind a gripping tale with characters you get invested in and even come to care about. He remains a writer with tremendous potential.

M.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Interviewing Jamie Popowich

So I'm happy to announce that I'm back in the digital pages of Canadian Writers Abroad, this time conducting an interview with my pal Jamie Popowich about his wild and idiosyncratic new short story collection, Chrome Kisses

In our discussion, Jamie talks about how these stories came to be, the influences on his work, and the trials of publishing with a small Canadian press while living as an expat in England. As I say in my introduction, there are few Canadians writing stranger stuff than Jamie, and Chrome Kisses will be like any other book you've read before. So buckle up and check it out!

M. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

EVENT: The Tartan Turban Reading Series #15

I know it's been a while since I've had an event to add, or even posted to this blog, but I'm very excited to announce that I'm guest-curating the next edition of the Tartan Turban Reading Series, taking place on Thursday, March 14 here in Toronto.

This unique series, hosted at the offices of Barrett and Welsh, brings together an ensemble of readers from the GTA's deep, eclectic pool of authors. I read at the series back in 2017, and am very pleased that the organizers have asked me to come back, this time as a curator.

Our great lineup of authors include:
  • Randy Boyagoda
  • Pratap Reddy 
  • Bänoo Zan.
Details, including a link to the Eventbrite page, are below. Come out if you can!

What: The Tartan Turban Reading Series.
Who: Mark Sampson, Randy Boyagoda, Pratap Reddy and Bänoo Zan.
Where: The offices of Barrett and Welsh, 577 Kingston Road, Suite 301, Toronto.
When: Thursday, March 14
What time: 7 pm.
Web: See the Eventbrite page to RSVP.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Fresh reviews in Quill and Quire

It has been a while since I've had some reviews in Quill and Quire, but I'm happy to report I've published three recently in rapid succession. Taximan, by Haiti-born, Quebec-based Stanley Péan, is a kind of memoir-in-stories about the author's time spent riding around in cabs. I also have a joint review of two short story collectionsAngela of the Stones, by Amanda Hale, and Tread and Other Stories, by Barry Dempster.

Of these three books, Dempster's received the most favourable evaluation. As I say in the review, "[A]t their best, Dempster’s stories do what all good short fiction should: give us characters who live and breathe and themes that braid themselves effortlessly around a memorable premise." Overall, I found his stories sharp, edgy and quite memorable.

Anyway, you can find these reviews online or in the December and January issues of Q&Q respectively.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Acceptance: Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak & Wynn

Well folks, I have some pretty major news to report. Following my signing with Stephanie Sinclair at the Transatlantic Literary Agency back in September, I am happy to announce that my fourth novel (and sixth book overall), All the Animals on Earth, has been accepted for publication by Buckrider Books, an imprint of the publisher Wolsak & Wynn, out of Hamilton, ON. The release date is slated for the fall of 2020. You can learn more details about the deal from this announcement on Transatlantic's website.

Having a novel with Buckrider Book means I'll get to work with the inimitable editor and poet extraordinaire Paul Vermeersch. I've known Paul for about a decade now and I've wanted to work with him for just as long. So many fiction writers and poets have told me about the wonderful experience of being edited by him, and so I'm looking forward to his guidance and wisdom as we prepare this manuscript for publication.

Anyway, stay tuned to this website (I know, I know, it's been looking a bit moribund in recent years) as I deliver more news about All the Animals on Earth, including its finalized release date, cover design, launch events and readings, and more. A huge thanks to Stephanie and the whole team at Transatlantic for pulling this deal together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Publication: David Helwig - Essays on His Work


David Helwig: Essays on His WorksI was very happy today to open up the mailbox and find my contributor's copies of the new anthology, David Helwig: Essays on His Work, published by Guernica Editions as part of its Essential Writers series. My contribution to the book is a reprint of an essay on Helwig's 1976 novel, The Glass Knight, which I published in Canadian Notes & Queries back in 2011. This new anthology's editor, Ingrid Ruthig, wrote asking if I'd be willing to expand the essay a bit and include it in the book, which I was happy to do. The anthology also includes pieces by rob mclennan, Shane Neilson, Douglas Glover and others.
I first encountered Helwig's work when I reviewed his novel The Time of Her Life for Halifax Sunday Herald way back in 2000, and have read and enjoyed several of his other works since then. David is a prolific writer of some 40+ books and one of Canada's truly under-appreciated authors. He writes across genres and forms, having published novels, poetry collections, short story collections, novellas and nonfiction titles. I also consider him a friend: he is a member of what I affectionately call "the PEI Writers Mafia," a group of authors on Prince Edward Island I often get together with when I'm home visiting.


Regular readers of this blog will know this is the second essay I've published recently in a Guernica Editions Essential Writers anthology. I also published a piece on J.J. Steinfeld (another PEI Writers Mafia member) in the press's essay collection on his work, published last year.

I strongly advise checking out both of these books and these writers when you can.