Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writing, Teaching and Traveling to Europe

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Dear OB-ers,

I’ve been off the OB grid but have very much appreciated your comments and interactions. Last year, was mostly promotion for The Drifts (ON, SF, LA, FL, NC) and research for presentation and then paper on Benjamin, melancholy, brooding and trace. An aussie editor/poet/professor, Dominique Hecq, was presenting on the same panel and invited me to write a chapter exploring the relationship between creative writing, neo-liberalism and the public good. That chapter, Selling It: Creative Writing, Neo-liberalism and the Public Good will be out this year in The Creativity Market: Trends in Creative Writing in the 21st Century, Francis Group, UK. On top of all of that research and writing, I took on two screenwriting classes at University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. The students were all so focused, eager to learn and some have even banded together as writing posses beyond the class. I’ll be teaching Rewriting: A Toolbox That Works class at UTSCS starting in July. There’s room, sign up!

Just after screenwriting wrapped, I headed to a professional arts residency where I met sculptors that build from discarded pianos, sugar and beeswax; not to mention the poets, novelists and memoirists who were truly inspiring. The literary novel that’s been brewing reared its head and I made a lot of unexpected progress on that project but also learned phenomenal things like that Walter Benjamin considered iron to be the blood of the nineteenth century. What is the blood of our époque do you think?

In the meantime, I’ve made loads of progress on that literary novel (the name prose requiem for Toronto, the city that took us in). Later this afternoon, I am headed to Berlin for a month and then Paris for June to research the years of Walter Benjamin’s exile. The residency and the research trip to Europe are generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. I am thrilled to represent and am sure that feeling those Gestapo walls and studying the structures of the Gare du Nord will reveal, as a friend said to me yesterday, ‘so many ghosts wandering around everywhere there.’

Stay tuned…

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Thom Vernon

Thom Vernon has worked in film, television and theatre since 1989. He has been the Actors’ Gang Youth Education Program director and has worked as an arts educator at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. The Drifts (Coach House Books) is his first novel.

Go to Thom Vernon’s Author Page