Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writers at Night: The Writers' Trust Gala Series with Martha Schabas

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Martha Schabas

This Thursday, November 24, marks the 26th annual Writers' Trust Gala, a black tie fundraising event for the venerable literary charity that plays host to dozens of the finest writers in Canada.

Martha Schabas is the second author in Open Book's Writers at Night series, which celebrates the gala's talented guest authors. Martha is the author of Various Positions (Random House Canada).

Open Book:

Is this your first time attending the Writers' Trust Gala? If so, to what aspect of the event are you most looking forward? If you've attended before, what is one of your favourite gala memories?

Martha Schabas:

This is my first Writers' Trust Gala. I don’t know too much about what the evening will entail, except that it will involve dinner and games. I am a fan of both dinner and games.


Each guest at your table receives a copy of your latest book as a gift. Tell us a bit about your recent book.


Various Positions is my first novel. It’s about ballet and it’s about sex. It’s about a young girl’s attempt to seduce her male ballet teacher and it questions whether this is an act of naivety or shrewdness.

To expand a bit, the novel is told from the perspective of Georgia, a teenage girl who wants to circumvent the sexualization of her body and find a way to be physically powerful on her own terms. She throws herself into ballet — but ballet, of course, provides a rather questionable form of empowerment. Georgia struggles to maintain a sense of physical self-determinism, but her interpretations of status and sexuality lead her to draw some pretty disturbing conclusions about men.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


It’s down to either Versace or Valentino.


What Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to sit next to at dinner? What might you ask him or her?


Malcolm Lowry. He would have been naturalized as a Canadian if he’d stayed sober long enough. I’d get his tips on picking a good Mescal.

Martha Schabas was born in Toronto. She holds an M.A. in English Literature from Queen’s University, and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she received the David Higham Literary Award. Her articles, book reviews and fiction have appeared in the Globe and Mail, The New Quarterly, ELLE Canada, Broken Pencil and Maisonneuve. Various Positions was recently named one of the Top 5 Books of The Year in Quill & Quire, and will be published in the U.S. and Australia in 2012.

For more information about Various Positions please visit the Random House Canada website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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