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!

M.

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!

M.   

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Publication: Grain magazine

So I was very excited to receive my contributor's copies of the new issue of Grain magazine, which contains my poem "A Consortium of 26 Lien Lenders," a piece from my (very slowly) amassing new poetry manuscript. The issue also contains work from a number of other familiar names, including Nancy Jo Cullen and Trevor Corkum.

Astute readers may notice a slight error on the poem's page itself: the "26" is missing from the title. (Also, oddly, the poem's listing in the table of contents is not in title case.) The full title of the poem is "A Consortium of 26 Lien Lenders." No biggie, and I'm certainly stoked to finally be published in a journal I've been submitting to for many years. The issue is on better newsstands everywhere, so go check it out!

M.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Upcoming events

So I've a couple of late-breaking Toronto appearances happening over the next couple of weeks to let you know about. Check them out:

  • October 26 at 7 pm: I'll be reading, along with Koom Kankesan (curator), Nat Than, and Michelle Alfano, as part of the Tartan Turban Secret Readings #5, happening at Barrett and Welsh, 577 Kingston Road, suite #301. Check out the Facebook invitation for more details. 
  • November 1 at 6 pm: I'll be reading as a special guest, along with Emily Saso and my wife Rebecca Rosenblum, at the launch of Daniel Griffin's new novel, Two Roads Home, at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St. See this Eventsi page for details.
If you're able to make it out to either (or both!) of these events, it would be great to see you.

M.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A tough but fair review of The Slip ...

... appeared in The Winnipeg Review last week, which I found during a fit of self-Googling during my lunch hour today. As outlined in the piece, reviewer Keith Cadieux struggled with the fact that protagonist Philip Sharpe spends the vast majority of the novel in ignorance over the true nature of his "slip" on live TV - a perfectly valid opinion to hold about a premise that, by its own admission, stretches the boundaries of plausibility. (Cadieux also took exception to the narrative's admission to this implausibility.) He found the opening scene, i.e. the initial argument between Philip and his wife Grace, "fairly generic," and he also found the novel's ending to be "a series of neat resolutions."

But he also had lots of nice things to say, too. He loved the flashback to Philip's childhood growing up in a downmarket pub in Charlottetown; he appreciated the flashback to Philip and Grace's honeymoon, where he rejects her suggestion that they have a foursome with another couple they meet; and he got a hoot out of scene where Philip loses yet another Remembrance Day poppy while getting chewed out by the dean about his "slip."

Anyway, these sort of mixed reviews just come with the territory of putting a book out into the public sphere, and as always I'm grateful that work of mine gets any attention at all. Props to Cadieux for taking the time and the space to reviewing The Slip, and to The Winnipeg Review for running it.