Had a great time this morning signing ARCs of SAINTS, UNEXPECTED at the 2016 OLA Super Conference in Toronto. Leigh Nash, head of Invisible Publishing, my publisher (MY publisher!), brought a nice big pile along with her, none of which she'll have to carry home. In the end, only one remained (which I grabbed), a nice indicator for promotional purposes, but also because it gives a nice nod to The Niche, a magical space in the novel that delivers one perfect thing for a single person every day. That last ARC, as it were, is my very own Niche item! (Cheers, Leigh, for spotting that.)
I've signed the occasional copy of my self-published books over the past few years, but it was a completely new and amazing experience to see my novel coming to life—in quantity—right in front of me, and to talk to folks who might actually read my novel, and/or pass it along to others. And to personalize it—well, scrawl with nervous hands—for OLA people, librarians and such who love reading.
All in all, a nice step towards the full launch of SAINTS on April 15!
(Mark that calendar, readers. Or, better still, pre-order a copy here.)
"Two Barbers," a creative nonfiction piece about how getting a haircut in Kuwait can teach us about heartbreak and fear, has been accepted for publication in The Sycamore Review, Purdue University's literary journal, and will appear in the next issue, 27.2.
Thanks to Wayne Grady and my UBC creative nonfiction classmates for the excellent insights and editing suggestions towards this essay! The "A" is solidly yours.
I'd say it's hard to believe we're nearing the end of January, but in truth I'm having trouble remembering that we're now in 2016.
In slightly less than three months, my debut novel Saints, Unexpected will be released into the wild, and I couldn't be more excited. It's early days, but I have a few events already booked for you to put into your calendar.
(And don't forget, Saints, Unexpected is available for pre-order from Invisible Publishing!)
Friday, January 29, 9:30-10:00am
I'll be signing Advance Reading Copies of Saints at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (222 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9. Booth: Ontario Book Publishers Organization, booth #535/537).
Sunday, April 3. 7:30pm
I'll be reading at LitLive, an advance event for GritLit, Hamilton's Literary Festival.
At HomeGrown Hamilton (27 King William St, Hamilton, ON L8R 1A1), a licensed venue with delicious beverages and fantastic, Hamilton-true ambiance.
Sunday, April 10, 2:00pm
As part of GritLit, Hamilton's Literary Festival, I'll be reading from Saints and participating in a panel of authors who write about Hamilton. GritLit is held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, also licensed and also fabulous. GritLit is a great event--lots of excellent authors including Camilla Gibb • Anakana Schofield • Nino Ricci • Helen Humphreys • Terry Fallis • Russell Smith • Plum Johnson • Bernadette Rule • Rachael Preston • Gary Barwin.
Wednesday, April 20, 7:00pm
The official Hamilton launch party for Saints, Unexpected.
At Bryan Prince Bookseller (1060 King St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 1L7), my neighbourhood independent bookstore. Come on out for refreshments, readings, and book signing.
I'm really excited to be working again with The New Quarterly, one of Canada's best litmags.
This time, in my creative nonfiction piece entitled "You'll See the Sky," I explore the lasting impact of a horrific tree-planting accident I was involved in more than twenty years ago that resulted in a broken back, popped sternum, fractured skull, and uncounted stitches. But even more notably, how that experience has continued to echo in my life, as a newlywed on a long road-trip, as a new father weighing what could have been against the pink, bright newness of a baby girl, and as a person of faith in what some call a faithless world.
For the record, I'm not buying that our world has less faith: we're all searching for some greater meaning, a narrative we can attach to the big "why" of our existence. Even when we say--and how loudly and piously it can get said--that we don't believe anything.
So check out TNQ's Issue 137 and test yourself on the sacred, profane, and faith-filled. I'm excited to dig in, and feel privileged to have my work appear alongside another TNQ who's-who of literary craft.
"Declination," my short story published in 2015 by The Prairie Journal, has been nominated by the journal for the 2016 Writers' Trust / McClellan & Stewart Journey Prize.
The Journey Prize is Canada's most prestigious award for a single piece of short fiction, so this is a significant recognition—the winner gets riches, fame, and glory, of course, but what an honour to have my story nominated! Shortlisted stories (which will be published in the M&S anthology, will be decided in May, and the winner announced in the fall of 2016.
My publisher has posted the New Years resolutions of me and a number of my fellow Invisible writers. Check them out by clicking here!