Monday, January 9, 2017

Most Anticipated Spring 2017 fiction ...

... from the 49th Shelf includes not one but TWO books coming out of the Sampsenblum homestead. Yep: both RR's novel, So Much Love, and my novel, The Slip, made the list, along with a slew of other cool names, including Pasha Malla, Terri Favro, Andrew Kaufman and list-maker extraordinaire herself, Kerry Clare, whose debut novel, Mitzi Bytes, is on our own must-read list. Looks like a solid season for Canadian fiction all around.



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Publication: The Humber Literary Review

One of the great things about being away on vacation is coming home to discover that a bumper crop of good mail has built up during one's absence. For me this year, that meant returning from the holidays on PEI and finding my contributor's copies of The Humber Literary Review  (Issue 3, Volume 2), which contains my poem, "Dysthymia," waiting for me.

This special issue of the journal is dedicated to the theme of mental health, and it includes work by a raft of literary luminaries, including Jowita Bydlowska, Stevie Howell, Anakana Schofield, Matt Cahill and Angie Abdou. Thanks again to the editors for selecting my poem to be included with them.

M.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Interview in Open Book Ontario

Well, I'm starting 2017 with a bang. The year kicked off with the very gracious Koom Kankesan conducting this interview with me as part of his stint as Open Book Ontario's writer in residence. We discuss a number of interesting topics here, including my new novel, The Slip, president-elect Donald Trump, and what it's like for me being married to the brilliant Rebecca Rosenblum.

Koom is a good friend, and this role with Open Book is in support of his own new novel, The Tamil Dream. You may recall that I reviewed his two previous works, The Panic Button and The Rajapaksa Stories, last year. The latter was one of my favourite reads of 2016 and a book that both RR and I feel deserves much more attention.

Anyway, thanks to Koom for this interview, which marks the first bit of promotion for The Slip ahead of its May 20th release. I'll be sure to update you all on others, if and when they come.

M.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Poem in PEI's The Buzz

Yes, folks, I am alive and well. I realize things have dried up here at the blog over the last several months, and I apologize for the extended radio silence. My main excuse is that I'm actually technically working on three (yes, three!) separate books right now, on top of everything else going on in my life (busy day job; awesome marriage; travel; aging elders; etc.) and so the free-range book reviewing and life updates here on the blog have had to suffer. Not sure if that's going to change any time soon, but I will try to keep my small sliver of web in my thoughts, especially as we draw closer to the release date of my new novel, The Slip.

In the meantime, here is a bit of news: the free monthly arts and entertainment paper on PEI, The Buzz, has reprinted my poem, "Tableau," from my poetry collection, Weathervane, in its December issue. This wintry little number was a fitting choice for The Buzz's poetry column, considering that PEI (which I'll be travelling to in a couple of weeks, by car, Lord love me, for the holidays) has already received a whack of the white stuff since the end of November. Anyway, thanks to curator and fellow poet Judy Gaudet for choosing my piece. Really glad to see it getting another run out there in the world.

M.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Some love on the 49th Shelf

It has been my experience that recognition - especially of the literary sort - can be a deeply fleeting, perplexing or relative thing. Writing fiction is one of the few activities I know of where it's perfectly normal to spend a lot more time creating something than that will spend in the limelight. So it was very moving to see writer Emily Saso include my novel, Sad Peninsula, in an article she has written for the 49th Shelf in which she lists a handful of books published over the last five years that she feels didn't receive nearly enough kudos. Emily's own novel, The Weather Inside, has just been published by Freehand Books, and by all accounts it is looking to, if you'll forgive the pun, take the world by storm. Anyway, very chuffed to be included on this list along with Matt Cahill, Dani Couture, Erin Bedford and Amanda Leduc. Thanks Emily!

M.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Poetry Weekend in Fredericton

Me, reading at Poetry Weekend in Fredericton.
So a couple of weekends ago I got to take part in what has quickly become one the biggest events in Canadian verse: the annual Poetry Weekend festival at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Celebrating its 13th year this year, Poetry Weekend gathers many established and emerging poets for two solid days of readings. I was there in support of my debut collection, Weathervane, published by Palimpsest Press back in March. I also got to spend time with a number of really great versifiers, including John Wall Barger, Cory Lavender, Katherine Leyton, Daniel Renton, Shane Neilson, Jan Conn, Roy Adams, Jim Johnstone (my editor at Palimpsest) and event organizer Ross Leckie. It was a fabulous weekend and I hope I get to do it again sometime.

M.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Review of The Gloaming, by Melanie Finn

So I'm back in the pages of Numero Cinq this month with a review of Melanie Finn's novel, The Gloaming, which I hope a lot of you will seek out. In this review, I praise Finn's range and inventiveness, and also take a gentle dig at one of my own books. Here's a sample of what I have to say:

[I]t is at once exhilarating and humbling to see a writer as immensely talented as Melanie Finn take this standard formula and turn it inside out, to subvert it so thoroughly, so brazenly, so originally, in her new novel, The Gloaming. If you yourself are a writer and thinking about forging your own “going aboard to learn something about yourself” kind of story, you would do no harm to it by reading this small masterpiece. It’s good to know what you’re up against.

It is books like this that remind me why I love reviewing for Numero Cinq: I often get exposed to works that would otherwise not pass over my radar. Anyway, check it out if you have the chance.

M.