Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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The Kickstart Book Tour Hits Calgary

Andrew Feindel and Alexander Herman met at the Calgary Airport. Andrew was wearing a shirt that read Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started. There were far too many books in each of their bags. They took a taxi, chauffeured by a wild-haired woman of, oh, sixity-five, who took them for a ride through all four quadrants, telling them that no one in Alberta really hated people from Toronto (except when they complained about how "spread out" everything was). Andrew and Alexander found themselves at the door of familiarity and knocked. A friend of a friend answered. Suddenly, they were face to face with hospitality and a place to stay for two nights. Then the real work began...

Everybody Knows this is Nowhere

"I gotta get away from this day to day running around,
Everybody knows this is nowhere."

My friend Andy Bull and I wheel around my dust-caked 98 Tercel coupe, dancing ecstatically for the rising sun. It's March, 2005 and we are in Big Bend National Park in Texas. We have been driving for a month. We have been arrested for accidentally trespassing on US Navy Property. We have been waylaid by police for the "possession of a dubious odour". We have trundled through the heart of the United States of American. And now we are here, in Big Bend, and it feels like the beginning of time.

"Everybody knows this is Nowhere."

Bora Laskin and the Obscurity of the Supreme Court

Does anyone here know much about Bora Laskin? Probably not. And yet he was one of only a handful of people who has left an indelible imprint on Canadian society. If you were to trounce down to Bay Street, or to Osgoode Hall, or to Flavelle House off Queens Park, you would find small communities that worship the man, almost as a saint. But out in the general public? Not a chance.

Who needs real friends...

Paul here -

I know I shouldn't do this. I know that OpenBook is an a quiet oasis on the prurient, trash-clogged net; that it should be reserved for high-minded discussions about semi-colons and the passive voice, but I kinda want to talk a bit about Facebook.

Now, before I get too far with this, you should know I'm a recovering Luddite (who still occasionally re-lapses when things get to be too much). Until just over a year ago, I didn't even have a bloody cell phone. And when my brother, then at Queen's University, spent the better part of his Christmas vacation ignoring his grandmother and looking at photos of undergrads on some hoaky-looking social networking site, I mocked him relentlessly.

Open Book on the Open Road

The authors of Kickstart are about to set out on a book tour across Canada! That's right, the Open Book writers in residence for May will be mortgaging that residence for three weeks in order to explore what lies beyond the 416 (and even the 905). These are our dates and events. Please notify whoever you may know in these places. If you're actually from one of these places and are a frequent visitor to this Toronto literary site... well then, more power to you - and please stop by at one of our events.

May 9-11: Regina, SK

EVENT: Sunday, May 11 at 2:00 pm: Reading and signing at the Book & Brier Patch, 4065 Albert Street

May 12: Saskatoon, SK

May 13-15: Calgary, AB

EVENT: Wednesday, May 14 at 7:00 pm: Reading and signing at the Calgary Central Library, 616 MacLeod Trail SE

The City of Concrete

What does Toronto stand for? Well, it’s a good question and one that I imagine has bugged more than a few contributors to this site. Ever since my earliest memories of moving to the city at the age of four, Toronto has been searching for an identity. At least in my mind. Maybe it’s because I’ve never belonged to one of those lucky groups who rarely seem to lose sleep over questions of Toronto’s civic identity: the hockey players, the bankers, the immigrants. In fact, those groups are likely the best representatives of the city and the uniqueness it has to offer.

Voices are Slippery Fish

Paul here -

I ran into an old friend at a film screening the other day. He had heard about Kickstart and asked, quasi-jokingly, whether I considered myself an author, an editor, or a "compiler." This was a bit of a toughy.

Everything changes. Nothing changes. (part four)

Continued from Everything changes. Nothing changes. (part three).

Final blog....

So what is the point?

Well, not long ago a man...an icon, a legend, a very special figure in the world of Canadian writing, died. His name: Robert Weaver. Of course, I looked to see what would be written about him, what would be said, how he would be valued at the moment of passing. As I recall, the Globe, with its serious but I thought modest piece, was a day late.

Everything changes. Nothing changes. (part three)

Continued from Everything changes. Nothing changes. (part two)

Two years later, when I was up for tenure at York University, the professors preparing my file, sent copies of all my political writing in the Telegram... about French Canada, the emergence of Trudeau, the middle east, etc.... to three professors at the University of Toronto, one an historian and two political scientists, for evaluation. They wrote back saying pretty much the same thing; they had had no idea I was writing such fine stuff... one even used the word brilliant... two confessed they couldn't explain why they hadn't known about my work, but one (who wrote regularly in the Star), spoke for all of them, or so it seemed to me. "I have not read and do not," he said, "read the Telegram on principle."

Everything changes. Nothing changes. (part two)

Continued from Everything changes. Nothing changes. (part one)

Now to the point.

One afternoon, the woman responsible for sending out review copies for Random House phoned me to explain that she could not continue to send me any more books. Why, I asked, flabbergasted.

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