Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 16, 2015 - 9:36pm
BT: You’re currently a poet/fiction writer, family physician, and PHD student in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. In your dissertation, “Damage, Weapons, and Medicine: Pain Re-Presented as Possibility,” you argue that pain can be transcendent rather than a negative experience. Anyone who has experienced severe or chronic pain would probably be skeptical. I think most would agree that pain changes you as it affects your mood, how you concentrate, your ability to socialize with other people, etc. but it's hard to imagine it as anything other than negative. How exactly can the bearer of pain "transcend?" What might that look like in concrete terms? How can it not default into the negative framework?
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 14, 2015 - 2:36pm
BT: So, Laura, you’re a talented book designer with Dundurn Press in Toronto, and you’ve recently had two of your designs ranked in the top CanLit Book Covers of 2015 by CBC Books. (You can check out all the covers here)
Tell us about these two covers in particular. Why do you think these covers stood out to the judges?
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 12, 2015 - 5:30pm
BT: Phoebe, you’re a talented poet, reviewer, and educator living in Toronto, and you also run an insightful blog where you post articles related to writing, two of which were incredibly well done: One titled “What to Grab Onto: A Newcomer’s Guide to Toronto’s Literary Huddle” and “You aren’t the only Winner,” which readers can find here
You also published a chapbook titled “Occasional Emergencies” by Odourless Press in 2013, and you’re currently finalizing your debut full-length collection of poems, some of which have recently appeared in several literary magazines including This Magazine, CV2, Grain, The Malahat Review, and Arc Poetry.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 10, 2015 - 11:58am
Welcome back Open Book readers! Here's Part Two of an earlier post on some advice for new writers embarking on their first book experience.
# 3 Give Back to the Community
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 8, 2015 - 4:09pm
“The problem with the writing community right now is that we’re not reading each other anymore.” This statement came from a friend and fellow poet over a beer at a recent Pivot Reading in Toronto. At first, I wanted to disagree. I thought about all the books I had purchased, the stacks I bring home from stores and literary events, how I try to make a point of reading a decent percentage of what comes out of the Canadian Poetry community, especially Ontario. I knew that others did the same. Then I thought about my own book and fell into one of those self-pitying, insecure pits that many emerging writers are prone to. I thought about my own sales last year. I made the connection. I agreed. We’re not reading each other anymore.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 7, 2015 - 8:52pm
BT: Stevie, in 2014 you published your brilliant debut collection, Sharps, with Goose Lane Editions. Not only did you receive numerous rave reviews in The National Post, Canadian Literature, and The New Quarterly, to name a few, but you were also nominated for The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A lot of writers get asked about the experience of publishing their first book, but I'm more interested in your experience afterward. After such a successful debut, what comes next for Stevie Howell? What have you been up to the last year and what can readers look forward to?
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 3, 2015 - 5:12pm
BT: Daniel, you're a permanent and vital fixture in both the Toronto and East Coast literary communities, and you're the host of one of Toronto's best reading series, The Common Readings at The Belljar Cafe. You've recently finished a long-anticipated chapbook with Frog Hollow Press that is officially launching early next year. Tell us about Milk Teeth, and give us a glimpse of what readers can look forward to after your chapbook is released.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 2, 2015 - 11:12am
Hello Open Book readers! It’s a pleasure to be here, and I look forward to acting as the writer in residence here at Open Book for the month of December. Having been given time to contemplate what topics I might want to write about during my online residency, I became all too aware of how daunting the task could be. About twenty times a day I check my newsfeed on Facebook and see countless articles, reviews, essays, blog posts, etc. being circulated, all the virtual pats on the backs, the moments of awe that come as I read a particularly interesting piece.
Submitted by Kevin Hardcastle on December 1, 2015 - 3:10am
About a year ago I got an email that I had to read about twelve times over before it really settled in. That email was from Janet Turnbull Irving, the wife and agent of one of the most famous literary fiction writers in the world, John Irving. At the suggestion of Nick Mount (fiction editor at The Walrus, University of Toronto English Lit professor, and general champion) they asked me if I’d be interested in interviewing for a position as Irving’s assistant. Long story short, that assistantship ended up going to a far better person for the job, but I got along well with John and Janet, and talked a long while with them about a range of things from writing to wrestling to mixed martial arts to Georgian Bay.
Submitted by Kevin Hardcastle on November 27, 2015 - 8:45pm
Over the past while I’ve noticed a number of situations where an author is asked about the autobiographical or non-fiction elements in their books. It has always been something that people are interested in, and that interviewers or reviewers tend to gravitate toward, but recently it seems I’ve had to consider this very closely during a project, or have had to think on it more and more while engaging with writers and readers. In writing a profile of John Irving for the National Post (and interviewing for a job with the man last year), I saw an almost obsessive amount of material on how much of his writing comes from real life.