Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lengthy blog review of Sad Peninsula

So I had a pretty emotional time reading this thorough and thoughtful review of Sad Peninsula that was published yesterday on the blog, A Pilgrim in Narnia. The blog is written by a guy that I went to high school with, Brenton Dickieson, who attended the Charlottetown reading for the novel back in December 2014. Brenton covers quite a lot of ground in his lengthy piece. He talks about how Sad Peninsula was one of the last novels his mother read before she died, and that she, a voracious consumer of books, considered it one of the best she'd ever read. He also mentions remembering the intense drive I had for writing back in high school in the early 1990s (yes, I was getting up at 4:30 am every day to write, even back then) and his mixed feelings about that ambition. Mostly, he provides a deep and generous analysis of Sad Peninsula itself, discussing many of the book's ideas and themes. Anyway, it's great to see that my previous novel still has some legs out there in the world, causing thoughts and sparking discussion. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Announcing: The Slip's Toronto Launch Party


So, what are you doing the evening of Wednesday, May 31? If the answer is nothing, and you live in Toronto, why not come down to Ben McNally Books for the launch of my third novel, The Slip? The evening will include great conversation, snacks and drinks, and a short reading from the book. Here are the details:

When: May 31, 2017.
What time: 6:00 pm.
Where: Ben McNally Books - 366 Bay Street, Toronto, ON.
Facebook invitationhttps://www.facebook.com/events/237382073406125/

I'm so excited to share this book, and Philip Sharpe's delightful misadventures, with the world. Please come out if you can!

Mark

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Slip's first major review!

And it's a real dandy. Yes, for the third time in third years, a book of mine has had the privilege of getting reviewed in the pages of Publishers Weekly, the big publishing/book industry trade magazine in the United States. The review is glowing, calling The Slip "riotous but astute" and adding, "Sampson’s gift to his protagonist is not judging the 49-year-old 'compulsively type A' prof as a hopeless jerk. Like Robertson Davies, he grants him the ability to direct his prodigious intellect inward, with satisfying results." Hazzah!

And in case you're curious, here are the other two reviews I received from PW: one for Sad Peninsula (2014) and one for The Secrets Men Keep (2015).

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Reminder: Reading on Tuesday night

If you've checked out my Events page recently, you know I'm reading as part of the Toronto Review of Books' Spring Party. I'll be sharing the stage with an illustrious crew of other writers, including my wife, Rebecca Rosenblum, as well as Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell and Antanas Sileika.  We'll be at the Poetry Jazz CafĂ©, 224 Augusta Avenue in Toronto. The festivities kick off at 7pm. I'm also happy to announce that my reading will be the world premiere of my new novel, The Slip. I'll be sharing only a short excerpt, but it will give you a taste of what I've been thinking and writing about for the last three and a half years. Hope you can make it out!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Reminder: Reading next week at Art Bar Poetry Series

I'm looking forward to being back at the Art Bar Poetry Series here in Toronto next week, where I'll be reading with Nicole Saltz and Jane Byers. I hope you're all able to make it out. Once again, here are the details:

When: Tuesday, March 21, 2017
What time: 8 to 11 pm
Where: Free Times Cafe. 320 College St., Toronto
Cost: $5 cover charge
See Facebook invitation.

Monday, March 13, 2017

My review of The Long Dry, by Cynan Jones

So I'm back in the virtual pages of Numero Cinq this month with a review of the dark, brooding and strangely beautiful novel The Long Dry, by Cynan Jones. It's a very short book - almost more of a novella - but it really packs a wallop. Set on a farm in Wales, it tells a compelling story of a family trying to locate a missing cow during a brutal drought. Definitely worth checking it out. See my full review here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Upcoming events

So I have a couple of upcoming poetry-related events to tell you about - one happening fairly soon, and one occurring much later:
  • On March 21 here in Toronto, I'll be back at the Art Bar Poetry Series, reading at Free Times Cafe, 320 College St., sharing the stage with Nicole Saltz and Jane Byers.
  • Then, waaaay into the future, I am booked to appear at the Planet Earth Poetry reading series,  in Victoria, BC, on January 19, 2018. This will be my first reading ever on the West Coast, so if you live in Victoria and are seeing this, please come!
If I can also throw in a pitch for my wife, Rebecca Rosenblum, she will be launching her new novel, So Much Love, at Ben McNally Books here in Toronto the night after I read at Art Bar (we live a rock 'n roll lifestyle around here), on March 22. This book is going to blow all of your socks off, so come on out if you can.

Finally, I will be announcing the Toronto launch party for my own new novel, The Slip, slated for release in May, shortly. So please stay tuned for that.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Most Anticipated Spring 2017 fiction ...

... from the 49th Shelf includes not one but TWO books coming out of the Sampsenblum homestead. Yep: both RR's novel, So Much Love, and my novel, The Slip, made the list, along with a slew of other cool names, including Pasha Malla, Terri Favro, Andrew Kaufman and list-maker extraordinaire herself, Kerry Clare, whose debut novel, Mitzi Bytes, is on our own must-read list. Looks like a solid season for Canadian fiction all around.



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Publication: The Humber Literary Review

One of the great things about being away on vacation is coming home to discover that a bumper crop of good mail has built up during one's absence. For me this year, that meant returning from the holidays on PEI and finding my contributor's copies of The Humber Literary Review  (Issue 3, Volume 2), which contains my poem, "Dysthymia," waiting for me.

This special issue of the journal is dedicated to the theme of mental health, and it includes work by a raft of literary luminaries, including Jowita Bydlowska, Stevie Howell, Anakana Schofield, Matt Cahill and Angie Abdou. Thanks again to the editors for selecting my poem to be included with them.

M.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Interview in Open Book Ontario

Well, I'm starting 2017 with a bang. The year kicked off with the very gracious Koom Kankesan conducting this interview with me as part of his stint as Open Book Ontario's writer in residence. We discuss a number of interesting topics here, including my new novel, The Slip, president-elect Donald Trump, and what it's like for me being married to the brilliant Rebecca Rosenblum.

Koom is a good friend, and this role with Open Book is in support of his own new novel, The Tamil Dream. You may recall that I reviewed his two previous works, The Panic Button and The Rajapaksa Stories, last year. The latter was one of my favourite reads of 2016 and a book that both RR and I feel deserves much more attention.

Anyway, thanks to Koom for this interview, which marks the first bit of promotion for The Slip ahead of its May 20th release. I'll be sure to update you all on others, if and when they come.

M.