Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


on making sausages

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.

and then they were upon her...

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.


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.


Writers on TV survey: Spencer Gordon

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?

Writers on TV survey: David Seymour

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

Agents on TV: Sam Hiyate

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.

Writers on TV survey: Nancy Jo Cullen

Award-winning short story author and poet Nancy Jo Cullen is next up in our survey series.

Name: Nancy Jo Cullen

Recent work: Most recent book is a short story collection: Canary (Biblioasis)

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week?
14 (ish) hours

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week when the new Downton A Abbey/Game of Thrones/etc comes out?

Writers on TV feature interview: kevin mcpherson eckhoff

Poetry about television isn’t something you see done often, but kevin mcpherson eckhoff pulled it off in his chapbook “Game Show Reversed” (Bookthug).

As the title suggests, the long poem is a transcription of an early episode of Wheel of Fortune flipped on its head, so the reader starts at the end with the credits (can’t you see them in your head already?) and announces the winner before you even meet her. (Spoiler: it’s Lynda!)

I asked Kevin to tell me a bit about the chapbook and his gameshow-watching habits. Check out their biography his latest collection out from Bookthug this spring.

Writers on TV survey: A.G. Pasquella

Our next survey respondent is the writer, publisher and super-funny human A.G. Pasquella.

Name: A.G. Pasquella

Recent work: The This & The That

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week?
Between 7-10 hours… oh God! I’m wasting my life!

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week when the new Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones/etc comes out?

Agents on TV: Samantha Haywood

To get a different perspective on the ways in which books and television intersect, I asked some agents to give us some insights. First up is Transatlantic Agency’s Samantha Haywood.

What is the market like for TV adaptations (vs. film) of books these days? Is it growing?

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