Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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The Hon. Michael Coteau announces 2016 Trillium Awards short-listed Authors

For almost 30 years, the Trillium Book Awards have showcased the Ontario government's dedication to supporting and celebrating the literary arts.

Open Book is pleased to present this video, featuring Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport for the province, discussing Ontario's enthusiasm for great writing. Filmed in beloved local bookshop, Ben McNally Books on Bay Street, the video also features owner Ben McNally, who praises the "diverse and amazing literary talent" in our province.

Mona Awad Wins the First Novel Award for 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

Last night at a reception in Toronto, Mona Awad was awarded the First Novel Award. This year was a special occasion — it is the 40th anniversary of the award (which has been sponsored by for the past ten years), and in honour of the anniversary, the prize purse was increased to $40,000.

Awad's novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Penguin Canada), was selected from a strong, six-title shortlist. The book tells the story of Lizzie, growing up in Mississauga and deeply dissatisfied with the way she looks. Praised for its humour, frankness, and insightful skewering of our cultural obsession with perfection, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl deeply impressed judges Russell Brown, Gurjinder Basran, and Nick Mount.

The In Character Interview with Susan Perly

In Susan Perly's Death Valley (Wolsak and Wynn), war photographer Vivienne Pink is tasked with taking pictures of servicemen about to head into active combat. While the men contemplate their uncertain futures, Vivienne confronts an abuser from her past. A quest for vengeance and the elusive perfect shot overlap in the Nevada Desert, as adrenaline junkie Vivienne careens towards a future she never expected. Described as “Equal parts Twin Peaks and Alice in Wonderland" by writer Michelle Berry, Death Valley is a fast-paced fiction that will leave you as scorched as the desert sun.

Rhubarb Crisp

By some trick of heredity, or upbringing, or brain chemistry, my greatest talent lies in finding the negative in what should be uniformly positive experiences. I'm generally on the hunt, when presented with a silver lining, for the dark cloud at the heart of it. Know thyself, they counsel. Well, here I am, routinely skittery when placed in scenarios with outcomes I can't control. Which is hilarious, when you consider that not only am I a writer, but that I have three kids, meaning that I can't really control anything in my life.

How to get your book published (No, Really)

by Vivek Shraya

When I asked friends what they would want to know about the literary world, the consistent response I received was: How does someone get published?

A quick Google search reveals that many, many articles have been written about this topic. Despite this, the publishing world remains inaccessible for many writers.

2016 Trillium Award Shortlists Feature Strong Indie Press Presence

Today the Ontario Media Development Corporation announced the nominees for the Trillium Book Award and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry.

This year, the lists feature a strong showing from independent presses, including House of Anansi, Invisible Publishing, Biblioasis, Tightrope Books, Pedlar Press, and Coach House Books.

Several debuts made the list as well, including Open Book's own Kevin Hardcastle, shortlisted for his debut short story collection, Debris. Read on for the full 2016 shortlists!

English-language Finalists for the Trillium Book Award:

  • Lynn Crosbie for Where Did You Sleep Last Night, House of Anansi Press
  • Special Feature! Pedlar Press' Beth Follett interviews Anne Fleming

    Anne Fleming has worked for CBC Television, The Georgia Straight, and taught creative writing at British Columbia's best universities. Both a poet and prose writer, Anne's previous books include Pool Hopping and Other Stories, Gay Dwarves of America, and Anomoly. Her newest is the collection poemw (Pedlar Press), the title of which originated as a typo and became an emblem for a new kind of poem — the "approxi-lyric". poemw examines the beauty of the quotidian — secondhand clothes, graffiti, dead crows. The tenderness and humour of the collection create a warm, smart collection.


    This is a damned weird country. Culturally and geographically, it has some peculiarities which rest not off to the side but squarely in the middle of our shared national consciousness. There is a rib of Precambrian rock which juts out of the earth and runs through much of the middle of the country, a hard and barren interruption. What do we do? We build cottages on it, run highways over it, paint pictures of it. A band emerges from a city made of limestone and sings songs about Canadian novelists and Elvis's manager and tragic hockey figures. So what do we do?

    Form Blurbs For Your Friends' Books

    by Monica Heisey

    "From page one, this book had me enraptured. I could barely wait to turn to page two. I can say with complete certainty that pages 3-10 were equally incredible, and think we can all agree that's all you need to recommend a book. In short: you'd be a fool not to buy this and read at least the first eighth."

    "This book is required reading for all parents, or children of parents."


    "To quote beloved Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo: 'Books are essentially paper—sheets of paper printed with letters and bound together.' This is one of those."

    The Entitled Interview with Nick Thran

    Trillium award-winning poet Nick Thran's Mayor Snow (Nightwood Editions) delves into questions of power — personal and civic, poetic and political. Using parody, dark humour, and lines imbued with his trademark stripped-down beauty, Thran creates a collection that is clear-eyed and timely. The collection includes an indirect hat tip to a Canadian poetry icon, ending with a story of domestic life in the refurbished Al Purdy A-Frame.

    We're pleased to welcome Nick to Open Book today as part of our Entitled Interview series, to talk about Mayor Snow and his view on the power and function of titles.

    Writer In Residence

    May 1, 2016-June 1, 2016

    Andrew Forbes »

    Andrew Forbes’s work has been nominated for the Journey Prize, and has appeared in The Feathertale Review, Found Press, PRISM International, The New Quarterly, Scrivener Creative Review, This Magazine, Hobart, The Puritan, All Lit Up, The Classical, and Vice Sports. He is the author of What You Need, a collection of fiction, and The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario.

    You can write to Andrew throughout the month of May at


    Random reads

    The Blue Guitar

    The Blue Guitar

    (Dundurn Press, 2013)
    From the publisher's website: At the International Classical Guitar Competition in Montreal, top-flight musicians fly in from all over the world to compete in a gruelling week. A career can be made or lost here, and the slightest mishap — a lapse of memory, a shaking right hand, a broken fingernail — can ruin years of preparation. More than a decade ago Toby made the finals in a similar competition but suffered a breakdown and is only now venturing back into the fray. Middle-aged Lucy is tired of playing bar mitzvahs and weddings and is determined to perform the recital of her life. Trace is a kayaking teenager from the West Coast who seems careless in her talent.

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