I must say I’ve been very blessed lately to have met and been able to interact with a number of great writers.
I’m currently writing my second novel – with the working title of “Old Habits” – through the Humber School of Writers and under the mentorship of Nino Ricci. If you didn’t know, Nino (and yes, I can now call him Nino) is one of Canada’s biggie writers, with Giller and Governor General prize buzz all over him, so it is at once a great honour and an incredibly intimidating reality all at once. Many Humber writers don’t get to meet their mentors, so I was very fortunate to meet Nino at a reading he did to benefit literacy in Bancroft, Ontario, speak to him a little and have him sign my copy of Lives of the Saints. And shake his hand five times. I may have been a wee bit nervous…
Yesterday, I went to an IFOA reading at Toronto Harbourfront with readings from Helen Humphreys, Riel Nason, Ruth Roach Pierson, and Miriam Toews. They were all great, but I was particularly impressed by Helen Humphreys (who I’d never heard of) and Miriam Toews, whose A Boy of Good Breeding was a favourite read while overseas. I put Miriam back on my fave authors list, because of her incongruous wit and wonderfully understated prose, and I was able to say hello after and have her sign Irma Voth, her latest work. I may become a reading groupie now, and just trawl bars and theatres in the hopes of taking in some writing and shaking hands and getting books signed and meeting other writers and making a fool of myself.
I also had the great pleasure to meet Ian Weir and Mary Robinette Kowal at SIWC2011. Ian read the first three pages of Aeden’s Wake and was quite complimentary, and Mary Robinette was very gracious when I referred to her as “The Puppet Lady” because I didn’t know her name at the time. I bought both of their books, which both writers were gracious enough to sign. Sweet!
And I won signed copies of all the Man Booker shortlisted authors for my contribution to a contest on the Booker website. Each day for a week, writers contributed one line (of 100 characters or less, including spaces) for a six-sentence story, and each day’s winner received the mini-library. My line was: “He holds the cool, black cloth he had taken from her eyes. ‘Finish it,’ she says.” Mysterious, right? Anyhow, I didn’t actually interact with any of the Booker finalists, but I have their signatures, which is pretty cool – at least they interacted with the copies of their novels I now own!