Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Hello Open Book Readers!

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Hello Open Book Readers!

I’m incredibly happy to be this month’s Writer in Residence.
I’m so honoured to join the list of writers whose work I love, who’ve been writers in residence in the past.
The timing is perfect because my new book, a collection of short stories called For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I’ve Known will be published this month by Tightrope Books.

For All the Men… is my second collection of short stories (my first was called Got No Secrets, and it was published in 2010) My first novel, Too Much on the Inside, was published last year.
For All The Men is a collection of eighteen stories about relationships, friendships, and family. There are several characters who reoccur. We meet a heartbroken Ariel in Love and Polar Bears, the first story in the collection, and we see the confrontation between her and her ex lover’s girlfriend happen in real time in Wolf Eyes. We meet Melanie as she falls exhilaratingly in love in The Keeper Of Your Secrets, watch as things disintegrate in Start Being More Independent (And Stop Telling Me That You Love Me) and look back at her past in My Second Family. People often ask if the stories are autobiographical. On a certain level, I’m glad that the characters feel real enough for people to assume that. The truth is, the inspiration for many of the stories often came from very unlikely (and quite fictional) places.
I was at a party once, and someone told a joke with a punch line about a bulimic and a dentist. I don’t remember the joke, but I do remember wanting to write it as a real story, which was the premise for Valentine’s Day.
A friend who was considering protesting against a circus in her hometown inspired the original idea for This Circus We’re In (and when I got to the more difficult part of the story, I listened to the Tori Amos song Spark which had the line: “You say you don’t want it/this circus we’re in/but you don’t really mean it”)
I’m also grateful that my friends were all willing to share every detail about their romantic histories.

There were a lot of books that really inspired me as I wrote the collection, but none more than the life changing Liar, by Lynn Crosbie. I have never read a book so exquisitely, and painfully honest about the dissolution of a relationship. Every line is so precise, gorgeous and emotionally acute. The part I often came back to was: “The moment we let someone enter our lives, they come equipped with enough ammunition to destroy us, though the terms of destruction are unclear. Looking back, it was not as much the lying, but that you laughed at me, because I had not caught on”
I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Another book I referenced often (along with her short stories and novels) was Heather O’Neill’s collection of poetry, Two Eyes Are You Sleeping. The poems are all incredibly beautiful, but my favourite is Hepatitis in C Minor. It has a line that I think describes every character in For All the Men. “My heart was too big too crawl around in one body, I thought”

This month, I am so excited to share lists of books and music that influenced me, interviews with amazing writers including Jowita Bydlowska, who has a new book, Guy, that is coming out in Oct (and who is also responsible for the beautiful cover photo of For All the Men) Amy Jones, Chad Pelley, Megan Coles and a lot more.
I’m also going on tour this month, launching in Montreal, Halifax and Toronto (with more dates in October) I’m excited to share notes and stories from the road, to talk about the writing process (and how to balance writing with having an eighteen- month old son at home)

Thanks so much for reading.

Looking forward to hearing from you, too,

Danila

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.

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Danila Botha

Danila Botha is a fiction writer based in Toronto. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, she has lived in Ra’anana, Israel, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her first collection of short stories, Got No Secrets (Tightrope Books, 2010) was praised by the Globe and Mail, the Chronicle Herald, and the Cape Town Times. It was also named one of Britannica’s Books of the Year (Canadian short stories) in 2011, and was published in South Africa (Modjaji Books, 2011). Danila has guest-edited the National Post’s “The Afterword,” and her short stories have appeared in Broken Pencil Magazine, Douglas Glover’s Numero Cinq Magazine, Joyland and more. Her first novel, the critically acclaimed Too Much on the Inside was published by Quattro Books in June 2015. She will be teaching at the Humber School for Writers in the correspondence program in 2017. She is currently working on her second novel and a new collection of short stories.


You can write to Danila throughout the month of September at writer@openbooktoronto.com

Go to Danila Botha’s Author Page