Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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A Roadblock All Writers Set for Themselves Every Now and Then

When I teach classes in creative writing at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies and at Haliburton School of the Arts, I have on occasion faced this predicament: A bright, talented, energetic student sets limits upon their work by deciding far too early what the story is about.

Here’s a hypothetical situation: A man – we’ll call him Jerry, as I don’t think I’ve had a student named Jerry – wants to write a fond memoir of his grandfather. “I’m working on a memoir of my grandfather,” he announces, “because my grandfather was a great influence on my life.” This may be true. Jerry clearly reserves some of his fondest emotional space for his grandfather, long passed.

Wattpad Announces Scholarship for Students

Wattpad has announced the launch of a new scholarship for Canadian and U.S. students. The Wattpad Scholarship provides an opportunity for up to five students to receive a $1,500 scholarship towards their educational aspirations.

The scholarship is open to high school seniors and undergraduate students. To apply for the scholarship, students are asked to share a true story on Wattpad about something that has impacted their life. Creativity of format is encouraged, students may write an essay, a biography, a letter, a confessional or in any other form of their choosing. The application process is now open, and the deadline to apply is August 15, 2015.

At the Desk: Megan Crewe

The adventure that began for teenaged protagonist Skylar in Megan Crewe's Earth & Sky continues on an even larger scale in the series' next instalment, The Clouded Sky (Razorbill). After her heightened awareness pulls her into an alien plot, Skylar and her otherworldly friend Win are back in action, this time in the enormous space station that houses Win and the rest of his group of rebels, who are attempting to save Earth. Skylar is forced to pose as an earthling "pet" in order to survive, but soon her instincts and expertise earn her an uncomfortable amount of attention.

Contest! Win Tickets to a New Film Adaptation of Madame Bovary!

Are you a fan of classic literature? Then you'll be happy to hear that Flaubert's much-adapted and widely influential realist novel Madame Bovary is coming to the big screen again, with a spectacular cast, including Mia Wasikowska as the ill-fated and complicated Madame, as well as Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Ezra Miller, Laura Carmichael, Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans and Logan Marshall Green.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Pictures, we're excited to give away passes for the film at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox, opening on July 3, 2015. Each winner will receive a pass for two people, redeemable for one-time entry to a screening during the film's engagement at the Lightbox.

On Getting My First Novel into Print

My first novel, Eulogy, has just been published.

What has the experience been like?

Well, it only took eleven years, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. Things could have been far worse: I could have never tried and could now be sitting in a bar somewhere talking about the novel I’m gonna write one day or that I should’ve written long ago, or Eulogy simply might never have found a home.

Or, possibly worst of all, the novel might have found a publisher before it was ready, or I could have given up.

keep going

This is my last post as the writer-in-residence for this website. It’s been a lot of fun. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my blogs as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

What remains to be said? Only that I hope you will keep writing. And running. Making sausages, surfing, buttering butter, creating monsters, or hearing cells when they whisper to you. All you have to do is listen.

Whatever you get up to, keep going. And I will see YOU at the finish line.

With your arms raised in the air, not in defeat but in triumph.

The Lucky Seven Interview, with Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois

In 2012, the Quebec Cabinet, headed by Premiere Jean Charest, announced a provincial university tuition hike of nearly 75% to be rolled out over six years. The resulting outcry and protests from Quebec students became national news, not only for the strength of the reaction but for the students' organised and focused protest strategies; by April 2012, over half of the student population was involved in protests, strikes and walkouts. Nicknamed the Maple Spring, the protests were some of the largest of their kind, and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was one of the student leaders at the centre of the storm, as lead spokesperson for CLASSE, the main student organisation attempting to negotiate with the Quebec government.

Lollipops (take 2)

Keep going, the poster read. Your legs will forgive you…eventually.

On Sunday, I ran my first half-marathon. It might not seem like a big deal, but there were hills and it was hot. So hot in fact that the announcer mediating the start of the race reminded everyone that June 28th was NOT the day to try to set personal records.

He went on, “We are proud to host an event that has grown five percent since last year. In other running events around the world, runners drop out of races. But not in this beautiful city! No sir! In this city, runners keep running because running is cool. I speak metaphorically, of course, because today is pretty hot!”

The crowd of runners at the starting line laughed nervously.

Video of the Week: BookThug interview series speaks with Daniel Karasik

Daniel Karasik has been a very busy writer the past few years, publishing four books in three genres, with a fifth forthcoming in 2017.

His most recent publication is the play Little Death with BookThug, who sat down to speak with him for their video interview series.

Daniel tells us about the erotic aspect of Little Death, its complex relationships and how to figure out what genre a particular project will become.

Check out this in-depth interview for a great discussion with one of CanLit's rising stars.

can we hear a cell?

When asked recently about influences on my writing, I expounded on literary things. But the exercise also led me to think about questions I come across in my day job as a scientist.

A former professor once told me that all philosophical questions were ultimately biochemical ones. I don’t know if he was right, but lately I’ve been coming across some pretty incredible things.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: BookThug interview series speaks with Daniel Karasik

Daniel Karasik has been a very busy writer the past few years, publishing four books in three genres, with a fifth forthcoming in 2017.

His most recent publication is the play Little Death with BookThug, who sat down to speak with him for their video interview series.

Daniel tells us about the erotic aspect of Little Death, its complex relationships and how to figure out what genre a particular project will become.

Check out this in-depth interview for a great discussion with one of CanLit's rising stars.

Writer In Residence

July 1, 2015-August 1, 2015

Ken Murray »

Ken Murray lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario. He teaches creative writing at Haliburton School of the Arts and at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. His fiction and non-fiction have been published in journals, newspapers and magazines in both Canada and the United States. An avid athletic amateur, he likes kiteboarding, skiing, snowboarding, running and cycling. He is a volunteer broadcaster in community radio and dabbles in several sports. Eulogy is his first novel.
You can contact Ken throughout the month of July at writer@openbooktoronto.com

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