Some photos from Ottawa International Writers Festival, where I was part of a panel on Living History with the wonderful writer Natalie Morrill (there we are smiling afterwards). We missed Wayne Grady, who had to bow out sick, but we had a good time with our host Peter Robb and our lively audience. Please note the button I was given by Perfect Books. It too is perfect.
A few more pictures from my reading in Montreal with Maxime Raymond Bock and Alice Petersen, hosted by Sean Michaels at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly. More wonderful fellow writers, more listening. Goodnight.
Vancouver's Granville Island seduced us all with surprise October sun for the Writers Fest last week. I had the honour of sharing a panel discussion, Scars of History, with Esi Edugyan and Rawi Hage--both their new novels are outstanding. I was also among the readers at the Afternoon Tea event, where even the writers got scones and fancy sandwiches (that's Emma Hooper looking thrilled). Having heard them read, I recommend all the new stuff from Emma, Melanie Raabe (there she is onstage), Rabindranath Maharaj (next to Emma at the table), and Sofka Zinovieff. There was some sherry, hence the blurry selfie of Emma and me. I then fangirled all over Vivek Shraya and Buffy Sainte-Marie, so my work is done.
Some photos from last week in Toronto. Happy to have been part of the In Her Voice reading series at the gorgeous Ben McNally Books, hosted by Nick Mount with his usual smarts (and with cake!). My book and I also got to be on TV, thanks to The Morning Show on Global National. Photo credits to indefatigable publicist Kaitlin Smith.
I'm proud to have been at the 10th anniversary festival in Kingston this weekend. I had fun teaching a fiction masterclass to a lively group, which included a very cheerful baby with his ma. Reading with live jazz backup by the Trio Without Words at the Saturday Night Speakeasy was probably peak coolness for my life. Excellent hosting by CBC's Bill Richardson (and nice boutonniere!), with outstanding readings by fellow authors Waub Rice (that's him with the band during sound check), Shelley Tanaka, Alyssa Cooper, Bruce Kauffman, and Elizabeth Greene. Now to read all their new books.
Photo credits from the Speakeasy: KWF official photographer Bernard Clark.
Such a good time last night reading in the vintage section at Victoria's glorious Russell Books. Lee Henderson read his tragicomic parable of a pine beetle, Chris Humphreys gave us a section from his dashing new 1930s-set Chasing the Wind, and Michael Christie treated us to a preview from his forthcoming family saga, Greenwood (out in August--it's going to be brilliant). We had a friendly full house and and lots of discussion afterwards. Thanks to Russell Books for hosting in their beautiful space.
Last night at Bolen Books in Victoria, the inimitable Miriam Toews read from her newest novel, Women Talking, for a packed house of 400. Hearing that excerpt in her voice somehow drew out the humour in the huge tragedy that book covers. Onstage, she and I discussed rage (and aspirin), voices, the imaginative filter, and our old pal St. Augustine. I'm honoured to have had the chance to interview her and witness her connection with the audience. If you get a chance to see her, go. And don't pass up a trip to Bolen Books either.
Ian Weir and I had a great talk about writing (and TV, and perseverance) with students, faculty, and community members at Thompson Rivers University on Friday. The next evening, we read in the most beautiful venue, Kamloops's Old Courthouse, which brought all my Law and Order dreams to life (see Ian reading from the bench). Glorious live music from Crossbow, lovely booksellers from the local Chapters, and an inquisitive audience. Can't wait to read Ian's newest novel, The Death and Life of Strother Purcell, especially now that I've heard some in his own voice. Big thanks to the Kamloops Society for the Written Arts for having me! (That's the indefatigable JP Baker and Lindsay Curry with us below.)
Some photos from last night's hometown start to the book tour. Dania Tomlinson was my special guest--her novel, Our Animal Hearts, is a beauty, and you should read it. Both our books refer to water monsters, however obliquely! Thanks to her, our host Mary Ellen Holland, and friends and readers for coming out.
Photo credits: Suzy Larsen.
Here's a list of tour dates for My Name is a Knife events this fall, starting this week. Hope to see you!
Sept 13: Kelowna launch with Dania Tomlinson, Bohemian Cafe, 7-9 pm
Sept 14: Kamloops, TRU student event, 3 pm
Sept 15: Kamloops launch with Ian Weir, The Old Courthouse, 6 pm
Sept 16: Victoria, in conversation with Miriam Toews, Bolen Books, 7 pm (tickets in-store)
Sept 17: Victoria, reading with Michael Christie, Lee Henderson, and Chris Humphreys, Russell Books, doors at 7 pm
Sept 28: Kingston Writers' Fest fiction masterclass, 3:30 pm
Sept 29: Kingston Writers' Fest Speakeasy reading with Waubgeshig Rice and many more, doors at 8:30 pm
Oct 1: Toronto, In Her Voice series with Nick Mount, Ben McNally Books, 6 pm
Oct 20: Vancouver Writers' Fest, Scars of History panel with Esi Edugyan and Rawi Hage, 8 pm
Oct 21: Vancouver Writers' Fest, Afternoon Tea event with Emma Hooper and many more, 3:30 pm
Oct 28: Ottawa International Writers' Fest, Living History panel with Wayne Grady and Natalie Morrill, 8:30 pm
Oct 29: Montreal, reading at Drawn & Quarterly, time TBA
Nov 29: Penticton, reading with Corinna Chong and Adam Lewis Schroeder at Okanagan College, time TBA
I've been putting together a playlist to go with the novel--it's under "My Name is a Knife" at Spotify (if you don't have it, you can download a free version!). Below, I've listed a few of the pieces that have YouTube versions too.
Some are traditional, some more random, but all of them tie to the book's situations or moods, I think, or were songs I listened to while I was writing. Thanks to my friend Suzy Larsen for some of the Bach suggestions. (Bach is really good for writers.) Also happy to entertain your suggestions.
Hurray for the Riff Raff, Down by the River
Shawnee Pow-Wow Drums
Bach, Cello Suite #2, Prelude
Bach, Cello Suite #4, Sarabande
Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Body Electric
Bach, Violin Partita #3, Gavotte
Shawnee Stomp Dance
American Revolutionary ballad, All Things are Quite Silent
Couperin, Les Barricades Mysterieuses
Tanya Tagaq, Nacreous
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Love Charms (Mojo Bijoux)
I'm the author of My Name is a Knife, All True Not a Lie In It, and The Old Familiar.