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!


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.


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.


Monday, October 3, 2016

My Quill and Quire review of Chasing Utopia, by David Leach ...

... is now online on the Q&Q website. I was very happy to give a glowing review to this very accomplished nonfiction work about the kibbutzim of Israel. As I say in the piece, Leach provides a multifaceted overview of the role that the kibbutz has played in the formation of Israel and its long-protracted conflict with the Palestinian people. He writes with humour and charm, but also deep insight. A book very worthy of a Q&Q star. Go check it out.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Acceptance: Humber Literary Review

Well, I had some good news earlier this week: A poem of mine, called "Dysthymia," as been accepted for the fall issue of The Humber Literary Review, slated for release in late November. It will be a special edition of the magazine focusing on the theme of mental illness. This poem is the first in a batch of new verse I started writing earlier this year to get accepted for publication, so I'm very pleased about that. It looks like there will be a Toronto launch for the issue, which is exciting as well. Anyway, I will keep you all posted as we get closer to the publication date.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Word on the Street 2016

Just a short note to say I'll be appearing at the Word on the Street festival in Toronto this Sunday, September 25, at Harbourfront Centre. You can find me at the Palimpsest Press booth between 4 pm and 5 pm in support of my poetry collection, Weathervane. My spies indicate that there are still several Canadians who have not yet purchased this book, so if you're one of them, why not come by, pick up a copy, and have me sign it for you. The day is always loads of fun, with dozens of writers, publishers and booksellers around to help you get your bibliophilic fix. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Slip has a cover!

Aaaaaand here it is! I'm very stoked to reveal the cover for my new novel, The Slip, which goes on sale next May from Dundurn. Check it out:

The book has cleared the copyediting stage and I should be receiving the first page proofs in a couple of weeks. Then the Advance Reading Copies (or ARCs) get printed and sent around to various magazines, awards committees, booksellers and so forth.

And for those of you who may have forgotten what The Slip is about (or, indeed, forgotten that I'm publishing a new novel in the spring), here is the updated back cover copy:

In this wickedly funny novel, one bad afternoon and two regrettable comments make the inimitable Philip Sharpe go viral for all the worst reasons.

Dr. Philip Sharpe, absentminded professor extraordinaire, teaches philosophy at the University of Toronto and is one of Canada’s most combative public intellectuals. But when a live TV debate with his fiercest rival goes horribly off the rails, an oblivious Philip says some things to her that he really shouldn’t have.

As a clip of Philip’s “slip” goes viral, it soon reveals all the cracks and fissures in his marriage with his young, stay-at-home wife, Grace. And while the two of them try to get on the same side of the situation, things quickly spiral out of control.

Can Philip make amends and save his marriage? Is there any hope of salvaging his reputation? To do so, he’ll need to take a hard look at his on-air comments, and to conscript a band of misfits in a scheme to set things right.