Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Literary Holiday Parties: Gowan, Moore, Munday (with a preamble on How Very Sick I Have Been)

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Happy Boxing Day, everyone! Is everyone enjoying themselves in bed with a hot coffee and a dog snoozing at their feet? Or are you at a mall, or an outlet mall, or in a line somewhere with your credit card clutched in your trembling fist? I hope the former. Much cozier.

I've spent the holidays thus far waiting mostly for the Advil to kick in. First came the cancelled performance at a holiday show as I rolled from the left side of the bed to the right side of the bed growing increasingly confused, then came the Christmas dinner at my partner Tim's lovely family's home where I sat quietly playing with the toy from a cracker while the ground pounded and shook only for me. I've rounded out the week with a one-two punch of bronchitis and laryngitis, which is actually working out rather well for me, in terms of belting out a good raspy Joplinesque carol or two (likely extending my voicelessness with each O Holy Night).

There, that's done.

The real occasion for this post is not to catalogue in detail my illness (although I do delight in it, now that I feel better). It is to present to you the penultimate LitHolParty post! Behold answers from Lee "Probably Less Sick Than Me" Gowan! Nathaniel "Gesundheit" Moore! And Evan "Ate His Apple a Day, Kept Doctor Away" Munday!

You're having a holiday party, and can invite any number of literary figures, living, dead, or fictional - who's invited, and why?


I would invite Scott Fitzgerald and Nathanaell West and when it was time to leave, I would urge Scott to see a doctor immediately and tell Nate to drive very very carefully.

I say this because apparently they did both go to an Xmas party in 1940 and less than a week later:

On December 22, 1940, West and his wife Eileen McKenney were returning to Los Angeles from a hunting trip in Mexico. Possibly distraught over hearing of his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald's death (Fitzgerald died on the 21st, his death was made known the next day), West ran a stop sign in El Centro, California, resulting in a collision in which he and McKenney were both killed. McKenney had been the inspiration for the title character in the Broadway play My Sister Eileen, and she and West had been scheduled to fly to New York City for the Broadway opening on December 26.[3] West was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens, New York, with his wife's ashes placed in his coffin.


I would want Kathy Acker, Jean Genet and Oscar Wilde to be my guests because it would be a riot. We'd make a zine, a youtube video, a VHS confessional, play road hockey and I'd get them to be in my biopic. We'd talk about our families, what sort of sheets are the most comfortable, the poetry of cowboys, fascinating line breaks in contemporary poetry and of course the erotica of the common bagel.


The guests to my holiday dinner would all be fictional characters or dead authors (obviously), because why would I waste a fantasy dinner like this on some living author? (No offence, living authors.) So, invited would be: (1) Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson, so we could talk about all the best science-fiction and horror stuff, (2) Oscar Wilde, to bring the zingers ... plus, at the end of his life, he was almost penniless, so he could probably use a decent meal, (3) Flannery O'Connor: she could bring the Catholicism ... she'd probably have some amazing Southern gothic tales, too, (4) Voltaire, to pretend to faint once he got bored of the evening, and (5) Matter-Eater Lad from The Legion of Superheroes, just so we could watch him eat, like, the chairs and carpets and utensils. (He can eat any matter! That's his superpower! And -- bonus -- he wears sunglasses indoors.)

We would eat Chinese take-out, and the only drink served would be egg nog. Following dinner, we'd drink more egg nog and watch one of the top five all-time Christmas films, Gremlins. (Assuming, of course, that Voltaire hadn't pretended to faint by that point.)



Nathaniel G Moore is currently adapting his impossible novel into an even more unlikely feature film.

Lee Gowan is the author of Going to Cuba, a collection of short stories, and the novels Make Believe Love, The Last Cowboy, and Confession. He directs the creative writing program at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto.

Evan Munday is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling by Jon Paul Fiorentino (ECW Press) and DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains by Natalie Zina Walschots (Insomniac Press). Evan is also the cartoonist behind the self-published comic book, Quarter-Life Crisis, set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto, and the author of a Silver Birch-nominated series of novels for young adults, The Dead Kid Detective Agency. He works as a book publicist for Coach House Books.


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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Sachiko Murakami

Sachiko Murakami is the author of the poetry collections The Invisibility Exhibit (Talonbooks, 2008), a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and Rebuild (Talonbooks, 2011). She lives in Toronto.

Go to Sachiko Murakami’s Author Page