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.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Event: Western University's Write Now! series

For folks living in the London, Ontario area, I'm happy to announce I'll be doing a reading/lecture on September 26 at Western University as part of its Writing Studies department's Write Now! reading series. This event is open to the public, so if you live in the area and are free to come, please do so! Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, September 26, 2018
What time: 4:00 to 5:15 pm
Where: UCC 56 - Western University
Website: Writing 2520A - Write Now!

As you can see from the website listed above, the reading series has a great line-up of writers scheduled throughout the fall, including Kevin Hardcastle, Cherie Dimaline, Shane Neilson, Tom Cull and Casey Plett. I'm very chuffed to be included, and I hope you'll be able to make it out.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

NEWS: Representation by Transatlantic Agency

Well, I know it has been crickets here on the blog for most of this summer, but I'm making it up to you now by revealing some HUGE news that has been in the works for a while. I officially have a literary agent! Yes, I'll be represented by the incredible Stephanie Sinclair at the Transatlantic Agency of Toronto, as we move forward with my new novel, called All the Animals on Earth.

You can read about this news and get details on the new book by checking out the press release here. If you're on Twitter you should also follow Stephanie and check out some of the other awesome writers she represents.

For those of you who don't know, Transatlantic is one of the premier literary agencies in Canada, representing a diverse range of authors, including Sharon Bala, Iain Reid, Kerry Clare, Nathan Ripley, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Jordan Abel and our very own Rebecca Rosenblum. The agency has signed some of the biggest literary deals in Canada in recent years, and I'm just tickled pink to have them going to bat for me and my crazy new novel.

Anyway, I will keep y'all posted on further developments as they arise, including news on the status of All the Animals on Earth itself.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Article on digital archiving in Canadian Notes and Queries (CNQ) is now online

... so the second piece I want to alert you too is an essay I published a few issues ago in the pages of Canadian Notes & Queries (CNQ) about author archives in the digital age. The piece first appeared last October in the print edition only, but due to a request, the editor at CNQ decided to add it to the website. So if you missed it then, you can go check it out now!

Covering StanFest for the Globe and Mail

Yep, I know. It's been months since I've updated this blog. But the truth is it has been a bit quiet on home front here over the last little while. (Though I will have some fairly huge news to share fairly son!) In the meantime, I do have TWO new pieces of writing to share with you.

The first is a feature article I wrote this weekend about the Stan Rogers Music Festival for the Globe and Mail. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Stan Rogers' death, and I've had a long, if somewhat complicated, relationship with the man's music. The Globe was generous enough to grant me 1,000 words to reflect on that, as well to provide a bit of a travelogue about the festival itself. The above article - the final draft of which I submitted while on the PEI ferry en route to see my parents after leaving the festival grounds (thank you WiFi!) - was the result.

As for the second piece, let me keep the Google Search Engine gods happy and put that in a separate post ...  

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Review of Weathervane in Arc Poetry magazine

I was very happy to learn this week that a glowing review of my debut poetry collection, Weathervane, has appeared in Arc Poetry magazine. Poet and reviewer Peter Richardson has many kind things to say about several poems and the book as a whole, touching on such pieces as "Daylight Saving," "Dressing in Layers," "Choosing a Mattress," "A Millisecond of Gravitas" and others.

Richardson closes the review with this great line: "This is a spirited debut by a poet who combines keen observation with the metaphoric chops of a serious funnyman." Much thanks to him and to Arc for this piece.

Read the full review here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Column the Seventh for Open Book Ontario

The flip side of writerly solitude is the chance, every now and then, to be a bit of a showperson. My penultimate column.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Column the Sixth for Open Book Ontario

Whereby I share my affinity for how-to guides to writing. Here's a handful of my favourites.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Column the Fifth for Open Book Ontario

There have been many times in my life when I felt like I had to start from scratch. But when it comes to writing books, I make sure I feel that way every time.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Column the Fourth for Open Book Ontario

My wife Rebecca Rosenblum has brought countless wonderful things into my life, but probably the best is her insistence that we pause and recognize great things when they happen in our lives. I'm still getting used to doing that.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Column the Third for Open Book Ontario

In which I pontificate about my love of book reviewing, and why I think it's a way of contributing to the broader literary ecosystem.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Column the First for Open Book Ontario

My writer in residency with Open Book kicks off with In Praise of Generosity. My thoughts on giving more than you think you can - in writing, in reading, in life.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Open Book Writer in Residence begins! Up first: Proust Questionnaire

Okay, here we go! I'm the writer in residence for May at Open Book Ontario, and really looking forward to it. I'll be posting eight, count 'em eight, columns over the course of the month, the first tomorrow morning. In the meantime, editor Grace O'Connell posted this lovely intro/Proust Questionnaire interview. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Announcement: Writer in Residency at Open Book, May 2018

So after a relatively quiet second half of January/first half of February, I've got some great news to share. I've been asked to be the writer in residence for the month of May for Open Book, a popular website focused on Ontario's writing and publishing scene.

My residency will involve writing eight to 10 blog posts about some aspect of my creative life, along with an accompanying Q&A. I'll be joined by an exciting group of fellow writers: novelist David Demchek (for March), poet and critic Emma Healey (for April) and poet Shannon Webb-Campbell (for June).  Looking forward to it!