Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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He will be mythed
Really, who even knew that Claude Lévi-Strauss was still alive? Or rather, that he was alive up until a few days ago? The father of anthropology died on Nov 4, just shy of his 101st birthday. Honestly, I'm gobsmacked. This would be like learning John Kenneth Galbraith, or Ian Flemming, or Simone de Beauvoir were still living, all of whom were also born in 1908. The great scholar Guy Davenport called him "the Champillion of table manners", and wrote about Lévi-Strauss: "I would like to think that he will be ranked higher than Freud as a reader of riddles and a rediscoverer of the primacy of human behavior in our knowledge of the world." The Times and New York Times offer obits.

Got Gaul?
Happy 50th birthday to Asterix! The Guardian has a gallery of images of, and about, everyone's favourite cartoon Gaul.

"F*** that, quite frankly."
Also in the Guardian, AL Kennedy offers a foul-mouthed lament of the state of British publishing and what it means for future writers: I have no idea what a new writer would do now – attempting to burrow into a market that's in free fall and a literary "culture" that drastically limits the numbers of books that are published or that will ever be visible in major bookshop chains, reviews or the media generally.

Wrestling with writing
John Irving, meanwhile, on, talks about the writing process in a long yet surprisingly watchable video.

Is there something disingenuous about celebrities looking down their noses at the writings of other celebrities, even if those other celebrities are dolts? You decide: Will Forte reads Tommy Lee & Kristin Wiig reads Suzanne Somers.

Speaking of looking down on other writers, while I was away last week I missed a juicy little review by Nathan Whitlock in the Toronto Star of, I mean Yann Martel's new book, Recommended Reading for a Prime Minister and Book Lovers of All Stripes. Gee, doesn't that title just make you want to stay right were you are?

Awards at The Royal
The winners of the Canadian Culinary Book Awards were announced last Friday at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. I chatted with the authors for my column Cookbook Club, and also got some great recipes.

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.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page