Thursday, August 26, 2021

Upcoming Event: The Lit Live Reading Series

Lo and behold - I have an event lined up! That's right. On Sunday, September 5 at 7:30 pm EST, I'll be a part of the next Lit Live Reading Series extravaganza. Normally this would be held in Hamilton, Ontario, but due to the pandemic, it will instead be hosted online. Which means no matter where you live in the world, you can come! All you need to do is registrar for this free event on Eventbrite here. I'll be reading from my novel All the Animals on Earth, published last fall by Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider Books, and I'll be sharing the virtual stage with authors Phil Hall, Hollay Ghadery, Grace Lau, Annick MacAskill, and Senaa Ahmad. Please come if you can! Here's a nifty poster for the event with all the details:


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Publication: "Legacy Act" in The Quarantine Review

Okay friends and neighbours, here it is: my poem, "Legacy Act," appeared earlier this week in The Quarantine Review as part of the journal's Summer Special series. This piece is from a nearly completed new poetry manuscript I've been pulling together over the last five years. As you can probably guess from the title, the poem is about an aging rock star whose reputation has long surpassed his talent. Enjoy!

And speaking of enjoyment, there are some other wonderful poems and stories in the Quarantine Review's Summer Special series, all published this past week, including pieces by Sofi Papamarko, Maureen Hynes, and Kenneth Sherman. You should definitely go check them all out!


Saturday, June 19, 2021

Forthcoming: My poem "Legacy Act" in The Quarantine Review

Getting sick of lockdowns and social distancing and all the rest? Me too! Thank goodness there's a new literary journal out there acknowledging how much we need to be re-sensitized to the beauty of life in the wake of COVID-19. The Quarantine Review has been making waves ever since it started publishing last year, and I'm so proud to announce that I'll be a part of their upcoming Summer Special lineup. 

Look for my poem, "Legacy Act," taken from my new poetry manuscript in progress, to be published on the journal's website soon. This is my first publication in what feels like a long while, and I'm very grateful to be included in this series, along with fellow writers Sofi Papamarko, Maureen Hynes, and others. Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2021

My review of Saleema Nawaz's Songs for the End of the World ...


... is in the latest issue of Canadian Notes & Queries (CNQ), #108, which just landed in my mailbox today. I really loved Nawaz's novel, which tells the story of a fictional coronavirus that rages across the world in 2020. Considering the fact that this long, lovely novel was written well before our actual coronavirus, COVID-19, became a pandemic early last year, it's an impressive feat of prescient imagination to say the least. Here's a snippet from my review, in which I call Songs for the End of the World:

"an expansive and richly imagined fictional world full of characters whose lives converge and interlock in startling and compelling ways ... The message [here] is clear: it's better to find connection where can than face catastrophe alone."

I think this is something we can all relate to as the pandemic continues to grip the world.

Beyond my review, there's lots of other great stuff in this latest issue of CNQ, including poetry by Phoebe Wang, fiction by Shaena Lambert, and reviews by regulars Alex Good, Brett Josef Grubisic, and Steven W. Beattie. However you get a hold of print magazines these days, check this one out.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Announcement: Judge for the New Brunswick Book Awards

I'm excited to announce that I've been selected as the judge for the Fiction category of the New Brunswick Book Awards. I received the 13 eligible titles this week, which will keep me busy over the next couple of months as I read and evaluate them to determine a shortlist of three books, with one winner.

I've judged a few contests and awards over the years, and I've always enjoyed the experience. Not only does it put writing on my radar that I'd otherwise not encounter, but it also provides a window into the challenging and subjective nature of literary prizes themselves. I always believe in treating the work on the stack in the same manner I would want my own work treated, and the whole process is another reminder that, in a competitive literary landscape, even very good books can go unrecognized - a nice lesson for any writer to relearn from time to time.

Anyway, stay tuned next spring when the Writers Federation of New Brunswick announces the shortlists and winners for each category.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Book Launch Recording

Did you miss last week's book launch for my new novel, All the Animals on Earth, along with the other great prose titles that Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider Books published this fall? Good news! You can now watch the whole event on YouTube.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Animals review on A Pilgrim in Narnia blog

 I really do love the smell of a book review in the morning. This one popped up yesterday: Dr. Brenton Dickieson provided a thoughtful and thorough critique of All the Animals on Earth on his blog, A Pilgrim in Narnia. Brenton and I were in high school on PEI together, and even shared a very formative Grade 11 English class. He also reviewed Sad Peninsula and The Slip on his blog, and I remain deeply grateful for his continued interest in my work.

In this latest critique, he writes: "What was the most effective part of All the Animals on Earth for me as a reader was Sampson’s ability to pull me into sympathy with the increasingly disagreeable protagonist. I itched to be out of the world that Sampson created as much as I wanted Hector to find a way to succeed. I would have been disappointed if at the end of the novel we all found out that it was a crazy dream, and yet I kind of wished it was. I felt so badly from the humans in this urban jungle while I found myself entirely drawn into the story."