Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writers at Night: The Writers' Trust Gala Series with Robert Hough

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Robert Hough

The Writers' Trust Gala is an annual black tie fundraising event for the titular charity. The evening not only raises much-needed funds for Canadian writers (awarded through the programs and prizes of the Writers' Trust), it also plays host to dozens of the finest writers in the country.

This Thursday, November 15, will see the 27th annual gala. To celebrate, Open Book: Toronto is once again running our Writers at Night series, asking a handful of the invited guest authors to spill about their plans for the glitzy evening, including the most important question — what everyone will be wearing on the big night.

We launch this year's series by speaking with Robert Hough, whose newest book, Dr. Brinkley's Tower (Anansi), was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award.

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?

Robert Hough:

Though I've never attended this event, I can tell you that, as a full-time writer, chained to my computer, sick of the sight of my office carpeting, I quite honestly will take any opportunity to get out of the house. Seriously — I get excited for dental appointments. My daily walk to buy milk is often the highlight of my day. The fact that I'll be adequately fed and watered at the event is icing on the cake.


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


In Dr. Brinkley's Tower, a charlatan doctor builds a million-watt radio station in Mexico to promote a sham medical treatment. Goats are involved. It's a cautionary tale.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


It's black-tie, isn't it? That means I'll be wearing the ill-fitting tuxedo I bought several years ago at a Freeman warehouse sale. For years I wore the thing, even though the cummerbund was about five sizes too big. So the last time I needed a tux, I went back to Freeman's to replace the cummerbund. The salesguy then showed that thing actually adjusts in the back, and I was like: really? No sh*t!


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


Oh easy. Milton Acorn. See, that's the problem with my generation of writer: we take care of ourselves. We exercise to reduce stress. We get married and acquire mortgages. We don't behave badly anymore, and that's a shame we all have to shoulder. What would I ask Acorn? I'd wait till he was good and loaded, and then ask him about sleeping rough, head injuries and life in the Silver Dollar ...

Robert Hough is an award-winning novelist. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

For more information about Dr. Brinkley's Tower please visit the Anansi website.

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

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