Submitted by Ginger on December 11, 2013 - 4:54pm
Ottawa writer Christian McPherson is the author of four books of short stories and poetry, but it was in his 2010 debut novel Cube People (Nightwood Editions) that he introduced us to would-be writer/government office worker Colin MacDonald. The often hilarious and occasionally terrifying misadventures of Colin continue in Christian’s follow-up, Cube Squared (Nightwood Editions), in which Colin faces off against middle age, an enemy far more threatening and volatile than the slow smothering of bureaucratic and domestic ennui.
In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Christian McPherson coins a useful phrase, explains his beverage schedule and reveals a soft spot for little plastic bricks.
The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.
Submitted by Open Book on December 10, 2013 - 4:48pm
IFOA Ontario & Open Book: Ontario announce this year’s winners of Write Across Ontario competition
After much deliberation, IFOA’s touring programme, IFOA Ontario, and Open Book: Ontario are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Write Across Ontario creative writing competition. Students in grades 5 to 12 were asked to write a story in 500 words or less, using the story-starter provided for their age group by one of four well-known authors. This year, Kevin Sylvester provided the story-starter for grades 5–6, Richard Scrimger wrote one for grades 7–8, Lesley Livingston covered grades 9–10 and Dionne Brand created the story-starter for grades 11–12. The story-starter was used as a place for students to begin their story, but where the story went from there was in the hands of each individual.
Submitted by erinknight on December 10, 2013 - 9:55am
Barry Dempster is best-known for his Governor General's Award-nominated poetry and for his role as editor at Brick Books. This is an exciting season for fans of Barry's work: not only did we see the publication of his latest book of poetry, Invisible Dogs (Brick Books), we've also been rewarded with a novel, his first in 20 years. The Outside World is an absorbing coming-of-age story set in the suburbs of 1960s Toronto, and it's just been released with Pedlar Press. In his very own version of the Open Book Dirty Dozen, Barry shares twelve memorable quotes that describe his life and state of mind right now.
Barry Dempster will launch The Outside World at Ben McNally Books in Toronto on Thursday, December 12. Visit our Events page for details.
Submitted by erinknight on December 9, 2013 - 10:08am
Eric Bronson is a writer and philosophy professor at York University. He can often be found working on his novels at Yerba Mate Cafe on Queen West, but while he might be a familiar face, his New Jersey accent suggests that he hasn't always known these streets. Before landing in Ontario he travelled through the USA, Thailand, Russia and the Ukraine, and you might say he's learned a life lesson with each precarious journey. He shares some of these — and a few confessions, in his take on the Open Book Dirty Dozen.
Eric's new novel, The King of Rags (Neverland Publishing), follows the life of ragtime pianist Scott Joplin.
Submitted by Ginger on December 6, 2013 - 2:39pm
From our friends at The Canadian Children’s Book Centre:
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Announces Amy’s Marathon of Books
Submitted by Ginger on December 6, 2013 - 1:39pm
Congratulations to Barbara Bell, who has been named to the top position at Kingston WritersFest!
Barbara Bell has been with Kingston Writersfest since its launch in 2009 as Producer, and in 2013 as Associate Director. In addition to her many contributions to KWF, Barbara is an award-winning actor, a playwright, director and producer, a freelance editor and she has hosted several seasons of Page Turners for TVCogeco in Kingston.
Submitted by Ginger on December 6, 2013 - 9:04am
Award-winning poet Deborah Lawson is a woman of words. Whether she’s teaching communication, trimming texts with her editorial expertise or singing soprano with the Richard Eaton Singers, her days are spent immersed in the exploration of language. And now she has collected her own words into her Frontenac House debut Reckless Toward Blossoming, in which she explores solitude, landscape and awakening.
Today Deborah takes on the Open Book Dirty Dozen, which gives authors the chance to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves. Deborah reveals her Linda Ronstadt moment, her love for the great Canadian boat and an electrifying experience with a hair pin.
Submitted by Ginger on December 4, 2013 - 4:55pm
For each book we readers eagerly open, there's a writer who's spent countless hours researching, organizing, writing and rewriting. The place where all this happens is unique to every writer, and we love nothing more than to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the site where it all happens! In Open Book’s At The Desk series, writers tell us about their creative processes and the workspaces that inspire them.
Allison Baggio, who makes her home in Whitby, is fascinated by the ways in which our bodies tell stories. In her books, the body is a conduit for the spirit, a tangible manifestation of the experience of life. And it doesn’t always play by the rules. In Allison’s coming-of-age novel Girl in Shades (ECW Press), young Maya can see colours around people’s bodies and even sometimes read their thoughts. Allison first turned to this theme In her collection of short stories, In the Body (ECW Press), which includes stories on organ transplants and life after traumatic injury. Today Allison talks to Open Book about the desk where she writes — and the one where she doesn’t.
Allison Baggio is one of our featured authors in this month’s Focus On: Durham Region — The Recommended Reads.
Submitted by Ginger on December 4, 2013 - 8:15am
By Ginger Pharand
The Durham Region boasts poets, novelists, fiction and nonfiction writers, filmmakers, songwriters — if it involves words, you can find someone writing it here! Home to the WCDR (Writer’s Community of Durham Region), which hosts the annual Ontario Writers Conference and Blue Heron Books, where artists, readers, even dogs are welcome!
Durham Region authors include Trillium Award-winning poet Jeramy Dodds and Trillium Award and Toronto Book Award winner Rabindranath Maharaj. But the region is also home to Ingrid Ruthig's textworks, the young adult writer Wesley King with his topsy turvy universe of villains and heroes and Allison Baggio tuning readers in to the body as barometer of the soul.
Somewhere among the 14 books below, every reader can find the next must-read selection for December. And any one of these titles would look great wrapped for the holidays!
Follow Open Book: Ontario's Focus On: Durham Region throughout the month of December to find out more about the talented, diverse and supportive writers who make their homes here.
Submitted by erinknight on December 3, 2013 - 8:57am
By Ingrid Ruthig
HC SVNT DRACONES. “Here be dragons”, which came to signify mysterious unexplored territories, first appeared on the 16-century Hunt-Lenox Globe. Uncharted turf sometimes isn’t at the map’s edge, but right next door. During my years living in Toronto, what lay beyond the city’s eastern boundary remained largely a mystery. Then in 1988 I moved east, to a town named after a World War II battleship, one in a string of small towns that pearl this part of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. The lake marks the southernmost edge of the Regional Municipality of Durham, a 2,500-square-kilometre area that stretches north to Lake Simcoe. Yet my knowledge of my new home remained minimal, because I continued to visit friends and work in Toronto. That changed when I began to write.
Any journey, literal or figurative, takes time. When family life shifted my notion of time and community, a new sense of direction also began to build. I tackled my absence from work and staying home with two youngsters by challenging myself to write. Not one to do things by half measures, I searched out resources and found a newspaper announcement for a workshop sponsored by an organization called the Writers’ Circle of Durham Region (WCDR). I signed up. Then I joined the WCDR. Well, one workshop led to another, which led to more writing, to researching and submitting work to literary journals, to noticing that someone local was publishing one, which led me to approach Ruth Walker, co-editor of the fledgling Lichen Literary Journal. I mentioned I’d seen a copy, admired the initiative, and if extra hands were ever needed, mine were willing.