Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Lynn Coady

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Lynn Coady was nominated for the 1998 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction for her first novel, Strange Heaven. She received the Canadian Authors Association/Air Canada Award for the best writer under thirty and the Dartmouth Book and Writing Award for fiction. Her second book, Play the Monster Blind, was a national bestseller and a "Best Book" of 2000 for the Globe and Mail; Saints of Big Harbour, also a bestseller, was a Globe and Mail "Best Book" in 2002. Her latest novel, Mean Boy, was a Globe and Mail "Best Book" of 2006 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's George Bugnet Award for Fiction. Most recently, she acted as editor on The Anansi Reader: 40 Years of Very Good Books. Her articles and reviews have appeared in several publications including Saturday Night, This Magazine, and Chatelaine. For many years a resident of Vancouver and then Edmonton, Lynn Coady now lives in Toronto. Her website is

Ten Questions With Lynn Coady


What was your first publication and where was it published?


I wrote a poem about the space shuttle Challenger exploding when I was in high school, and my English teacher sent it to a publication of Cape Breton literary writing called ‘Windrow Anthology’. I think I was about 15 or 16, and quite thrilled. In later years, of course, I was quite embarrassed by it. But I’m pretty embarrassed by every poem I’ve ever written.


Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.


I think EM Forster said that every novelist secretly wishes he or she was a musician, and that is the case with me. I’m very inspired by and envious of a great many people in the independent Canadian music scene these days. Lately I’m fixated on some of our most gifted songwriters. People like John K Sampson and Christine Fellows and Joel Plaskett. It’s a literary art form and I think our best practitioners don’t really get their due.

The Anansi Reader: Forty Years of Very Good Books

By Lynn Coady (Editor)

In September 1967, then-unknown writers David Godfrey and Dennis Lee founded a tiny press they grandly named "The House of Anansi," after an African trickster spider-god (Godfrey was fresh from a trip to Africa). Their goal was to publish groundbreaking new Canadian work in three core genres: literary fiction, poetry, and topical nonfiction. Jack McClelland, the legendary publisher of McClelland & Stewart, is said to have given the enterprise eighteen months. Forty years later, Anansi is not only going strong, it is enjoying a fascinating creative renaissance, bolstered in part by the strength of its rich backlist and in part by its renewed independence and commitment to seeking out the best new writers and ideas to publish alongside its established, now iconic ones.

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

Harlan Ellison is my hero

Do you remember some rap song from a few years back, the refrain of which was a lilting female voice asking: "Where's my money? Where's my money??" I used to have a fantasy about downloading that snippet as a sound file and emailing it as an attachment to all the magazine editors who had ignored my invoice for more than a month.

Preach it, Harlan.

At YouTube

picture me making devil horns

What a swell time I had reading at the Fictitious Reading Series last night. It's so great to be part of this TO institution. Everybody rawked. The host, Stuart Ross, rawked. His co-organizer Kate Sutherland? Rawked. My co-reader Jeff Parker? Totally rawked. Audience rawked. I might have even rawked a little once I could be sure no one was looking. Every the art on the freaking walls--my eyes kept lingering on those two ghostly chairs. It was a warm, cozy, all around pleasant literary affair, and I don't often say that about venues where booze isn't served.

By the way, you need to know more about Jeff Parker. Go here for that:

Jeff has a beard, but no moustache. It's mesmerizing.

Leonard Cohen Mocked

And it's about time too. Last night at the Drake Sean Cullen did an impromptu impersonation of the uberdroner singing a medley of upbeat Christmas standards such as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Jinglebells. And I am here to tell you: it was good. Imagine if you were dying of some disease that had ravaged your esophagus and you were on your deathbed and every noise you uttered was an unspeakable torment and then you decided to bust out a few verses of Jingle Bells. Like that.

ow my head

Can't we come to some kind of gentleman's agreement in Canada that we will henceforth comport ourselves as the kind of civilized, intelligent population that doesn't yank works of literature out of the hands of children only to replace them with pitchforks and torches with which to roust the godless book-writin' heathens?

Can't we do that? Must we remain a Simpson's episode our whole lives, with Helen Lovejoy forever shrieking "Won't someone think of the children!?" in the background?

a page on the information superhighway which those who are interested in issues of concern to creative writers may like to visit

My friend Jessica told me about this great place for writers on the web. It's name? Wait for it. "Places for Writers".

Tons o' stuff Tuesday

I must be in Toronto. Lookit all the book-stuff going on tonight! How will you decide?


Mansfield Press celebrates the launch of its fall poetry titles by Christopher Doda, Lillian Necakov and Steve Venright with a reading and billiards party!

Tuesday, November 20, from 6:30 till late.
The Rivoli Pool Hall, 334 Queen West

Readings at 7:30. Pool tables on the press till 10.
Door prizes, munchies, and cash bar.

Your host: Denis De Klerck, Mansfield publisher and editor Your emcee: Stuart Ross, Mansfield associate editor

Your authors:

Christopher Doda - Aesthetics Lesson
Lillian Necakov - The Bone Broker
Steve Venright - Floors of Enduring Beauty

We'd love to see you there!


hear me roar

. . .And by roar I mean 'read'. From something I've written. I don't know what it will be yet, but I'll be reading it at the Fictitious Reading Series on November 25.

See? http://www.fictitiousreadingse...

whither snark?

So, Lizzie Hay walked off with the big prize. That's not particularly galling at all, gall-darn it. I'll just have to save my snarky remarks for America's Next Top Model tonight, where they properly belong I suppose. Lord knows it would be downright perverse to combine snark and literary culture--that sort of thing's just not done here in TO. We're above it, you see.

I wonder if anyone has started using this blog as a makeshift TV listing yet.

Oh yeah

Isn't there some kind of fiction award thingy going on tonight? The. . .Galler? (Oh, it's bound to be a galler all right. Hyuk hyuk.)

Not to be a bad Torontonian, but I'm kind of rooting for Alissa York.

Random link:

Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts

I didn't go to the Insomniac launch. Surprise! I stayed home and watched the American Masters on Carol Burnett and cried at the end when she sang "I'm so Glad we Had this Time Together" and jiggled her ear.

Meanwhile, more Facebook poaching. It's a good thing Paul Vermeesch stays on top of this kind of thing. . .Pretty wonderful news really. Ontario rawks.

***$100,000 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts***

Is there an Ontario artist or arts organization that inspires you?
This is your chance to nominate them!

Deadline for nominations: December 3, 2007

Artists and arts organizations in Ontario enrich and inform our lives. That’s why, this year, we’re awarding both individual artists and an arts organization with the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Insomniac Press Fall Poetry Launch

Tomorrow night: It's the Insomniac Press Fall Poetry launch. This is good, you should go. Facebook tells me many a fabulous personage is considering maybe perhaps almost attending. I might go, but the event is taking place on the Danforth, which is very far away. So it is possible I could get all bundled up and count out my subway change and stand gazing dubiously out the window at the dicey weather for a while, and then lose heart at the last minute. I'm always pretty close to losing heart frankly. I lose heart at the drop of a hat.

I totally cut and pasted the stuff below out of Facebook.

Event InfoName:
Insomniac Press Fall Poetry Launch
Olive Senior launches her new poetry collection Shell
Insomniac Press
Music/Arts - Performance

The Drug of the Nation

Oh! Holy crap! This has nothing to do with books, or Toronto, but it does have to do with artistic genius, perhaps the greatest comedic genius of our time: Carol Burnett. Monday night at 9 PBS will air an American Masters dedicated to The Great One and her work. My favourite was when she used to put oranges into an extremely de-elasticized bra and swing them wildly to and fro. The woman knows from funny!

Nobody call me Monday at 9. And don't call during America's Next Top Model on Wednesday either. (Because, um, that's when I do all my reading of GREAT CANADIAN LITERATURE!! Which perhaps one day I will even post something about. But not when Heros is on.)

This is Not a Blog Entry

Dangit, I missed the IV Lounge reading series last night. I always mean to go, and I almost always miss it. Instead, I made the mistake of going to Winners, and Winners, as usual, exhausted and defeated me, so I had to go home. They were playing Christmas music at Winners. I needed to buy gloves because it is getting cold out. It took me about an hour and a half; cost a weeny piece of my soul.

And yet I know I will return to Winners.

Anyhoo! Go here for upcoming IV goodness:

Speaking of Poetry. . .

Here's some info on a little known poetry sub-genre. I would tell you about it but it would be like using a tuna fish sandwich to. . .tell you about it.

Box last night, Crozier tonight

I'm still new to Toronto, so I'm trying to do as many Toronto-y things as possible. I experienced my first of Louise Bak's quarterly Box Salons last night, on all hallows eve, at the Rivoli. What a good idea this is--a mish mash of music, video, literary readings, performance poetry. I particularly enjoyed the poetry, by Moheb Soliman. It reminded me of a reading I attended at the March Hare in Newfoundland, by Irish poet Paul Durcan. Very different kind of writer, but Durcan's a bit of a perf-poet himself--that is, he didn't read from his work, he recited it, brilliantly, expressively. This sort of experience, when it works, makes me think maybe all poets should be performance poets, to an extent. When it's good, it's pretty electrifying.

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.