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."

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Launch Party Announcement

I'm very excited to announce that Wolsak & Wynn has announced details for its fall prose launch, which I'll  be a part of in support of my new novel, All the Animals on Earth. The virtual event will take place on Thursday, November 19, at 7 pm EST. You can register for this FREE event by going to this EventBrite page.

It's going to be a killer lineup as I share a virtual stage with fellow authors Jenna Butler (Revery: A Year of Bees), Anne Stone (Girl Minus X), and Susan Perly (Stella Atlantis). The great thing about this is sort of online event is that anyone around the world with an internet connection can attend if they like. If that's you, please do!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Globe's best fall 2020 readers from Canadian indie publishers

What? Who? Where? What? What? When? Yikes! My new novel, All the Animals on Earth, has been included in the Globe and Mail's annual Best independent reads to pick up this fall list. Colour me chuffed! It's a great list to be on, and features new releases from Ian Williams (previous Giller winner) Farzana Doctor (my fellow Dundurn alum), and other luminaries. Anyway, it sometimes sounds like crickets after a book's been out for a month or so, but this is some really excellent news to receive. Hazzah!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Reading: Launch Party for the Cootes Paradise Writing Anthology, Volume 2

I wrote the foreword to the second volume of Cootes Paradise, a lovely new anthology out of Hamilton, Ontario. I'll be doing a short reading from my new novel as part of the launch tomorrow night, Tuesday September 29. The event kicks off at 7 pm EST. If you're free, come out support this talented group of young people. Here is the link to the event on Zoom.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Appearance on All Lit Up's Indie Reading Room

And the hits just keep coming. Yesterday I did a reading as part of All Lit Up's Indie Reading on its Instagram page in support of my new novel, All the Animals on Earth. You can watch the reading by going here and clicking on my face. They also posted a Q&A with me on their blog, where I talk about the book and how I came up it. All Lit Up's online store is also offering the novel for 20% OFF with promo code READINGROOM until Oct 1, 2020 - so if you haven't purchased a copy (and really, why haven't you?) this is a good chance to do so and save some money.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Appearance at Toronto Word on the Street's Booth Chat

We can chalk up the short-noticedness of this to COVID-19, but I'll be appearing this Monday, September 21, live on Toronto Word on the Street's instagram page from 6 to 6:15 pm as part of its "booth chat." If you're free, come on by and say hi. This will mark my first ever public reading from the new novel, All the Animals on Earth since it was published earlier this month.

The organizers have put together this snazzy poster for it with more details. Please come!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Radio interview about All the Animals on Earth

Episode 199 and feelin' fine! Back in the spring, before my new novel, All the Animals on Earth, got delayed to the fall, I was interviewed by Jamie Tennant for his boss radio show, Get Lit, on CFMU at McMaster University, Hamilton. The interview is now online and ready for your listening pleasure. I'm very proud of this book, and proud that Jamie invited me back on his show to chat about it. (He also interviewed me when my previous novel, The Slip, came out in 2017.)

So yes, the new novel is out! The official publication date was September 6 and Animals is slowly making its way out into the world. It is, of course, a very strange time to be publishing a book. Thanks to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, bookstores, libraries, reading series and literary festivals are still showing lots of (very understandable) restraint as the pandemic continues to hamstring all the important work they do.

But I want to mention that I do have a handful of virtual events cooking, and should be able to announce dates and times soon. In the meantime, if you're able to get to a library or a bookstore, if you're free to check out an online festival event or reading series, please do so. The publishing industry, precarious at the best of times, needs the support now more than ever.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Featured in Quill & Quire

A bit more early buzz has arrived for my new novel, All the Animals on Earth. I was interviewed for this Quill & Quire article, Publishers question how best to promote novels that have unexpected real-world relevance during COVID-19 (paywall), by reviews editor Steven W. Beattie. You have to have a subscription to read the article online, but I've included a screen grab from the print edition here:

The article also talks to my publisher at Wolsak & Wynn, Noelle Allen, my fellow W&W author Anne Stone about her new novel, Girl Minus X, and author Saleema Nawaz and her editor at McClelland & Stewart, Anita Chong, about Nawaz's new post-apocalyptic novel, Songs for the End of the World, which has some creepily spot-on parallels to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyway, it was great to be included here and chat up All the Animals on Earth.

Just a reminder that the book's new publication date is September 6. You can, of course, pre-order a copy from all the usual suspects, including Chapters-Indigo,, or your favourite local independent bookstore, such as McNally Robinson in the Prairies, Another Story Bookshop here in Toronto, or the Bookmark in Halifax or Charlottetown.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Novel release delayed due to you know what

Hey gang: So today was supposed to be the official publication date for my new novel, All the Animals on Earth, but Wolsak & Wynn has wisely decided to hold off its release until September. It is absolutely for the best as we wait to see how the book retail landscape will shape up over the next few months of the pandemic.

For those who have already pre-ordered a copy - thank you so much! Sorry you'll have to wait a bit longer to have one in your hands. If you haven't yet but are thinking about it, this is still a good time to do so. Pre-orders really help publishers and bookstores out (and give a much-needed confidence boost to lowly writers scribbling away in isolation on the next thing). The book industry, like so many in these strange and troubled times, need as much support as you have to give.

As always, huge thanks to Noelle Allen, Paul Vermeersch, Ashley Hisson and the whole team at W&W for their continued awesomeness. Thanks to Emily Dockrill Jones, who did a corking-good job on the copy edit, and to Michel Vrana for that amazing cover design.

Monday, May 11, 2020

My Quill and Quire review of Where the Waters Meet, by St├ęphanie Boulay ...

... is now up on the Q&Q website. This novel was one of the odder reads I've had so far this year. It's quite an elliptical treatise on identity, set in the wilds of rural Quebec. Translated from the French by Ghislaine LeFranc, this book will be an acquired taste for English readers, but if you like tales about young girls coming of age told in an opaque voice, this may just be the novel for you.

Friday, May 8, 2020

My review of The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel ....

is now available on the Canadian Writers Abroad website. This novel has been getting a lot of attention lately, and deservedly so. It's about many things, but it's primarily about a Bernie Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme and its impact on a multitude of characters, whose lives interlock in various ways throughout the story. It's definitely one of the best books I've read so far in 2020 and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Best New Reads for Spring!

Well, imagine my excitement this weekend when I woke to discover that my forthcoming novel, All the Animals on Earth, made the Globe and Mail's Books section's list of best new reads for the spring. This a really killer list of books by authors like Gil Adamson, Vivek Shraya, and Emma Straub, and I'm still walking on air that my weird little book has been included with them. Hazzah!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Interview re All the Animals on Earth

As we start to close in on the publication date for All the Animals on Earth, I've got another tidbit of media to share with you: this interview with me by Steven Buechler for his blog, The Library of Pacific Tranquility. Steve has been very supportive of my work over the years and has interviewed me a few times now about various books I've published. In this latest interview, I talk about the origins of All the Animals on Earth, discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted plans to promote it, and provide a sneak peek into I'm working on next. Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2020

My Quill & Quire review of Radiant Shards: Hoda's North End Poems, by Ruth Panofsky ...

... is now on the Q&Q website.  Radiant Shards is quite a strange little book, really - a poetic rendering of a fictional character from a Canadian novel, Adele Wiseman's Crackpot, published more than 45 years ago. This review was part of a series of reviews of poetry collections for April, which is poetry month. It was great to be back in the pages of Quill & Quire - it had been a while. Anyway, if you're a huge fan of Wiseman's novel, you should definitely check this collection out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

First interview for the new novel: Halifax magazine

So, yes, it has been a while since I've posted anything here on the blog, and yes, we're all hunkered down and trying to ride out this pandemic, but I do - finally - have something new to report. The first media regarding my forthcoming novel, All the Animals on Earth (out May 12 with Wolsak & Wynn) has just been published.

The article, A world turned upside down, comes from my long-time friend, Trevor J. Adams, at Halifax magazine. The piece does a great job of describing the premise and themes of the novel, and also ties it very nicely into what we're all going through right now with COVID-19. I'm very grateful to have some ink out there on the book as we approach the publication date.

There will be more pieces coming soon, I promise. In the meantime, you can pre-order All the Animals on Earth from all your usual bookselling vendors.