My friends at the UBC Creative Writing Alumni Association have posted to their website a brief interview and an audio recording of me reading the first few pages of SAINTS, UNEXPECTED.
Thanks to the amazing Francine Cunningham and UBCCRAA crew for the nod!
(If you like what you hear, don't forget that, as always, you can buy SAINTS, UNEXPECTED online or at your local bookseller.)
...the day a writer realizes that his biggest literary accomplishment is out there and running.
I've talked about it for months, held it in my hands, read from it in front of eager listeners, and chatted about it at an amazing literary festival, but today is the day my debut novel officially gets launched into the world.
Available at your favourite local bookstore, or
Click here to order from Amazon.ca, or
Click here to order from Chapters/Indigo.ca
Thanks, everyone, for your support—this is quite a ride.
On Sunday night (March 20, 7pm), I'll be doing live radio for the first time in 20 years! (I was a radio junkie/host in a former life.)
I'll be talking with Bernadette Rule, host of ArtWaves, on 101.5FM The Hawk, Mohawk College's radio station. I'll join Jennifer Gillies, the director of GritLit, to read from SAINTS, UNEXPECTED and to talk about the festival, writing, and what it means to find a voice in Hamilton.
If you're in Hamilton, you can dial into 101.5FM on your radio. Alternatively, the show can be live-streamed by clicking here. Finally, the show will be archived at this location, too.
I'm excited to share the cover design for Saints, Unexpected, which will be released on April 15 from Invisible Publishing!
Thanks to Megan Fildes for the stunning design.
(Don't forget: Saints, Unexpected is available for preorder from the Invisible Publishing website.)
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.
I washed my hands before opening the thick, rigid, courier-style envelope and sliding out the paper inside. Fingerprints? Smudges? No way.
Pulled the tab, the plastic strip cutting through the cardboard end to end. Held the paper in my hand for a long moment, read the words, felt the weight of the expensive bond. Snapped a photo.
Boom. It be official, I posted online.
Finished my MFA coursework in July, slightly less than two years after I began. Creative Writing at UBC is a competitive, prestigious program, difficult to get in. Took me three tries. Then 36 credits of reading, workshopping, personality differences, lessons in diplomacy, the sublime experience of absorbing work better than my own. A degree conferred in September, permitting me to add Holds an MFA to my CV and website bio.
But I’d been waiting for the actual diploma, that incredibly expensive piece of paper, signed and sealed, to arrive. A flattened bit of pulped wood that signals to the world that I’ve become more than I was. Eligible to teach writing at college or university. Membership in a new kind of tribe. Hitting the literary world with a new gleam in my eye.
The confidence to say, most importantly, that I’m a better writer now.
The biggest payoff.
I'm so pleased that The Short Story, a UK site dedicated to the craft and promotion of brief fiction, approached me with a few questions about my writing successes and process.
Click here for the interview.
"Qom," my longlisted story from the 2014 CBC Canada Writes Short Story Prize, has been accepted for publication in EVENT Magazine, and will appear in the January or May 2015 issue.
My creative travel memoir "Finding Iraq" will appear in The New Quarterly's summer 2014 "War" issue, alongside my story "Fairly Traded," which was a notable mention in TNQ's 2013 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award contest. Look for the issue in mid-July.
Here's the query that got TNQ's attention:
“Finding Iraq” is a travelogue structured around a drive from Kuwait City to the Iraq border at the height of the 2005 insurgency. Along the way, the narrator and his wife visit a number of sites still bearing the scars and memories of the 1991 invasion and liberation, exploring the tension between a free, liberated Kuwait trying to be new and bold as contrasted with a nation's inability to let go of its violent past. Further complicating the landscape is Kuwait’s willingness to play host to and support the American military which is embroiled in an increasingly unpopular occupation next door.