Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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The first thing you notice about Johanna Skibsrud’s author photo is how young she appears. That’s no surprise, really, because she is young. At thirty, she’s the youngest winner of the Giller Prize. One of the first things you might notice on reading her prize-winning debut novel, The Sentimentalists, is how mature the authorial voice sounds. It comes across as rich and dreamy and well lived-in. Skibsrud’s relative youth, combined with her experienced-sounding prose, makes for an interesting and enviable dichotomy.

Like many others, I followed Skibsrud’s publishing controversy with a sense of interest and excitement we rarely witness in publishing. On one hand, a maverick publisher was in effect telling the big chain stores, “I’ll do it my way, thanks. The doctor will see you when the doctor will see you.” On the other hand, the chances of a writer actually making a killing on a book are so slim that you grieved for Skibsrud’s potential loss of income as well as your chance to read the novel sooner rather than later.

In truth, the e-book version was readily available to anyone who wanted it, so it’s not as though Gaspereau Press was denying the world the right to read the book. Like many others, however, I breathed a sigh of relief when the deal was brokered with Douglas & McIntyre for trade paperback rights. Thanks to that deal, I’m able to enjoy the novel now without having to shell out for an e- reader I may or may not use in future.

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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Jeffrey Round

Jeffrey Round is an award-winning writer and director. His most recent novel is The Honey Locust.

Go to Jeffrey Round’s Author Page