Submitted by irinakovalyova on June 11, 2015 - 4:24pm
I wanted to do something different, so midway through last term, I wrote a proposal for Mutants and Monsters, a new science fiction course.
Since I teach biochemistry for a living and have been reading science fiction voraciously since I was six, it seemed only natural to splice the two subjects together, like genes.
The course, I imagined, would be offered to non-science majors and designated as “breadth." Students who take it would not only learn about real life science but also read bioscience-inspired literary works.
I incubated this idea for a long time, considering which texts to put on the syllabus.
Submitted by irinakovalyova on June 9, 2015 - 6:32pm
It isn’t (usually) wise to blame other people for things that happen to you, but I blame Dr. Kary Banks Mullis for everything.
Dr. Mullis is a Novel Prize-winning biochemist who devised paradigm-shifting improvements to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), for which he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Canadian Dr. Michael Smith.
Submitted by irinakovalyova on June 7, 2015 - 12:28pm
Last summer, I made chilled noodle soup.
Why? I was writing a short story that took place in North Korea, and I was stuck. The plot, for some reason, had twisted into a Gordian knot (if you know what I’m talking about, than you know how Alexander the Great dealt with it).
It was clear to me that in order to become unstuck I would have to take decisive action. I would have to either: 1) completely restructure my story or 2) give my characters something to eat.
The Sisyphean task of of restructuring something I’d been writing for almost two years petrified me. I was, therefore, left with food.
Submitted by irinakovalyova on June 5, 2015 - 9:15am
June is the month of graduation. On campus, SFU students seem happier, despite impending midterms. Relatives in high heels are carrying peonies. All parking lots are full.
As I pass by the Convocation Mall this morning, the weeping of bagpipes is suddenly cut off. The crowd hushes. Someone is going to make a speech.
And maybe because I’ve been reading Harry Potter to my daughter (we’re on book 5), I start thinking about the commencement speech J.K. Rowling gave at Harvard on June 5, 2008.
A terrific speech. J.K. Rowling knows how to make a rhetorical impact, and she does it right from the start.
Submitted by irinakovalyova on June 3, 2015 - 8:58am
If you’ve never heard of Shirley Jackson or read her sensational short story "The Lottery," you should stop doing whatever you’re doing and read it at once.
Submitted by irinakovalyova on May 30, 2015 - 7:08pm
Last Saturday, on a beautiful, cloudy morning in Vancouver, I went for a run on the Seawall. It was no ordinary run, mind you, but day 20 of my 16-week marathon-training schedule. I was to run 14 miles: the longest distance I’ve run in my life.
What possessed me to train for a marathon? Who can tell? But perhaps the fact that my debut collection of short stories (Specimen) will be released on June 6 had something to do with it.
Submitted by careytoane on May 29, 2015 - 9:24am
Dear reader, this is my last post as writer-in-residence. It’s been a slice, and I’m sorry it’s over. I leave the last word to the funny and talented author and co-founder of one of my favourite literary magazines, The Puritan, Spencer Gordon.
Name: Spencer Gordon
Recent work: Cosmo (Coach House Books, 2012)
How much time do you spend watching TV in a week?
Hmm. Probably 10 hours?
Submitted by careytoane on May 28, 2015 - 9:51am
In this installment of our Writers on TV survey, David Seymour elaborates on watching TV after working in TV all day every day.
Name: David Seymour
Recent publication: For Display Purposes Only, Coach House Books, 2013
Favourite TV show: Anything created/written/directed by Susan Wainwright / Hockey Night in Canada
Submitted by careytoane on May 27, 2015 - 8:36am
Sam Hiyate is president of The Rights Factory, a boutique literary agency in Toronto. In his 24-year publishing career, he has worked at literary magazines, small presses and with New York Times bestselling authors, editing, publishing and representing everything from debut fiction, memoir and narrative non-fiction to graphic novels. He has taught writing and publishing for 15 years privately and also at various universities.
I talked with Sam about TV adaptations and the stories he'd like to see on the small screen.