Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writers at Night: The Writers' Trust Gala Series with Russell Smith

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Russell Smith

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.

This week, Open Book is pleased to host a series of interviews with six of the event's guest authors, asking about great gala memories (or exciting expectations) as well as the most important question — what everyone will be wearing on the big night. Today we begin by speaking with Russell Smith, author of Girl Crazy (HarperCollins 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?

Russell Smith:

I go every year — I can’t remember how many times I’ve been! I love the opportunity to dress up. And to look at dresses. One of my favourite memories is watching Lynn Crosbie do elegant little doodles of women’s faces in blue ball-point pen on the linen tablecloth.


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


It’s a novel called Girl Crazy, which is a love story set in Toronto. It has a lot of sex in it.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


A plain black classic dinner jacket that I had made for me. A black bow-tie from Gieves and Hawkes that is the official width for British armed forces dress uniforms. The best thing about this tie is that it is not adjustable — it is a size 15 ½. (Geeks will understand why this is cool.)


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


I would most like to sit beside Hubert Aquin (1929-1977), the mad and brilliant novelist and would-be terrorist. I would like to ask him how an intellectual came to consider violence as a political means. And what it was like to live through the hysterical times of the Quiet Revolution.

Russell Smith, born in South Africa and raised in Halifax, is a writer of wide acclaim. His debut novel, How Insensitive, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Both his short story collection, Young Men, and his novel Muriella Pent were shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. He is also the author of Noise; The Princess and the Whiskheads (a fable); Diana: A Diary in the Second Person; and the style guide Men’s Style. Smith works regularly with the CBC and the Globe and Mail.

For more information about Girl Crazy please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

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

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