Monday, October 17, 2016

Some love on the 49th Shelf

It has been my experience that recognition - especially of the literary sort - can be a deeply fleeting, perplexing or relative thing. Writing fiction is one of the few activities I know of where it's perfectly normal to spend a lot more time creating something than that will spend in the limelight. So it was very moving to see writer Emily Saso include my novel, Sad Peninsula, in an article she has written for the 49th Shelf in which she lists a handful of books published over the last five years that she feels didn't receive nearly enough kudos. Emily's own novel, The Weather Inside, has just been published by Freehand Books, and by all accounts it is looking to, if you'll forgive the pun, take the world by storm. Anyway, very chuffed to be included on this list along with Matt Cahill, Dani Couture, Erin Bedford and Amanda Leduc. Thanks Emily!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Poetry Weekend in Fredericton

Me, reading at Poetry Weekend in Fredericton.
So a couple of weekends ago I got to take part in what has quickly become one the biggest events in Canadian verse: the annual Poetry Weekend festival at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Celebrating its 13th year this year, Poetry Weekend gathers many established and emerging poets for two solid days of readings. I was there in support of my debut collection, Weathervane, published by Palimpsest Press back in March. I also got to spend time with a number of really great versifiers, including John Wall Barger, Cory Lavender, Katherine Leyton, Daniel Renton, Shane Neilson, Jan Conn, Roy Adams, Jim Johnstone (my editor at Palimpsest) and event organizer Ross Leckie. It was a fabulous weekend and I hope I get to do it again sometime.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Review of The Gloaming, by Melanie Finn

So I'm back in the pages of Numero Cinq this month with a review of Melanie Finn's novel, The Gloaming, which I hope a lot of you will seek out. In this review, I praise Finn's range and inventiveness, and also take a gentle dig at one of my own books. Here's a sample of what I have to say:

[I]t is at once exhilarating and humbling to see a writer as immensely talented as Melanie Finn take this standard formula and turn it inside out, to subvert it so thoroughly, so brazenly, so originally, in her new novel, The Gloaming. If you yourself are a writer and thinking about forging your own “going aboard to learn something about yourself” kind of story, you would do no harm to it by reading this small masterpiece. It’s good to know what you’re up against.

It is books like this that remind me why I love reviewing for Numero Cinq: I often get exposed to works that would otherwise not pass over my radar. Anyway, check it out if you have the chance.


Monday, October 3, 2016

My Quill and Quire review of Chasing Utopia, by David Leach ...

... is now online on the Q&Q website. I was very happy to give a glowing review to this very accomplished nonfiction work about the kibbutzim of Israel. As I say in the piece, Leach provides a multifaceted overview of the role that the kibbutz has played in the formation of Israel and its long-protracted conflict with the Palestinian people. He writes with humour and charm, but also deep insight. A book very worthy of a Q&Q star. Go check it out.